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Our Next Adventure

31 May

I recently mentioned that Ben and I were waiting for confirmation of plans for next year as our visas will be expiring at the end of August. Well, we now know what we’re doing and it’s not what we expected a few weeks ago.

An opportunity arose and after much discussion, we decided to go for it. I am happy to say that we are moving, but our Russian lessons will not be wasted since we’re heading to St. Petersburg!

STP_07_1_scaled

In some ways this decision required more discussion and consideration than when we decided to move to Russia three years ago. I was offered a promotion that required the transfer and it’s an amazing opportunity, but since we’ve both been pretty happy with life here in Moscow we had to consider how much would change. Ultimately, I accepted the offer and we are moving our home to St. Petersburg. Ben will keep his affiliation with the Moscow campus of his employer, making regular trips back down here throughout the year. We are fortunate that his job allows this flexibility so that we can still spend the majority of our time together. This also means that I will come back to Moscow throughout the year to visit friends (and favorite restaurants).

SPB-Pt3_07We’ve both spent a good amount of time in St. Petersburg as tourists and Ben has been there many times for work. It’s a beautiful city and I’m looking forward to exploring it more. I’m super excited about my job and can’t wait to get in there in a couple months to get started.

We’ll be moving up in August, which I know is going to be here sooner than we expect given how busy the next couple of months will be. It will be a much easier move this time around as we do not have a townhouse full of furniture and eight years of stuff hanging around.

For those concerned about Nebbie, she is, of course, coming with us and will be adding a train to her list of transportation used, even though she would probably rather not.

We’ve definitely learned over the years that things do not always happen the way we want or expect them to, but sometimes we can take a chance and be really happy as a result. I truly hope that this is one of those chances and I’m looking forward to finding out.

до свидания!

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Checking In

13 Apr

Hi there. It’s been awhile, huh? Despite my desire to use this blog as a way to stop and appreciate the amazing city that I am living in, I continue to find myself so caught up in just living that I don’t bother to post often. Also, I felt like every thing that I wanted to post about was related to travel and this is not exclusively a travel blog. The fact that I have been able to see amazing places is certainly one of the perks of living over here, but I felt like it had become all there was to share. I will try again to commit myself to noticing and sharing the experience of living in Moscow. With any luck, I will bring myself to post more, even if it is just about my travel adventures.

Hanging out at the top of the Eiffel tower

Hanging out at the top of the Eiffel tower

The past few months have included some great times. I saw my sister and brother-in-law in Paris. I attended an amazing conference in Boston that happened to be run in part by one of my besties. We have spent time with friends eating, drinking, and enjoying the community that we are building for ourselves here in Moscow. And, recently, the snow defrosted and spring is finally settling in. 

The past few months have also been a little stressful, though, and, in truth, this may be one of the major reasons I haven’t posted much.

I am a planner. More specifically, I am an ADVANCED planner. I like to plan vacations the moment we decide to take them. I like to put dinners and parties on my calendar as soon as possible. And, most of all, I like to know for sure where we will be living next year.

Unfortunately, Ben’s employer (our visa sponsor) does not take my desire to plan into account. So, we are still waiting for confirmation that his contract renewal has been approved. We are hopeful and have reason to be confident, but the fact that our visas expire in just over four months makes me a little twitchy.

The good news is that I have an amazing partner in Ben who I have been able to talk to about all of this since August when we began our final year on the current contract. Shortly before we moved to Moscow, I had a bit of a break down and admitted how terrified I was about what we were about to do. I never would have made it through the last few weeks in California without Ben. Knowing that he is here with me is what reminds me that no matter what happens, we will get through it.

In case you were wondering, we are both really, really happy here. We are working in jobs that are in the specific fields in which we pursued graduate degrees, we have made amazing friends that we would be happy to know regardless of where we lived, and we have been having  a lot of fun experiencing something that neither of us ever dreamed of. And we do have a safety net, just in case, so don’t worry about us!

After two and a half years, there is no doubt that Moscow is our home. It will take some work to step back and figure out which parts of our daily life are worth sharing, but I will try. I apologize if this at times seems like it is simply a place for me to share travel stories, but 2014 does seem to be a year of travel, so…

до свидания!

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho

12 Aug

Tomorrow is my first day back to work after almost two months of summer vacation and I. CANNOT. WAIT.

While having the summer off has been nice and I certainly would not mind having an extended break every year, my job is a really important part of my life here.  Waking up and having something to do every day really makes me feel like I am living here, not just waiting for our next move.  It also makes lazy weekends of nothing but reading so much more enjoyable.  Without a doubt, my job plays a major role in my happiness living in Moscow.

This year I am changing positions and tomorrow will be my first day working as a Library Assistant.  I am still amazed that not only do I have an awesome job, but I have an awesome library job.  This is a pretty important position for me, not only while I am here, but also for my professional future beyond Moscow.  We took a chance by making a move across the world, and it certainly hasn’t been the easiest place to live, but I think Ben and I have both found opportunities here that we would not have in the States.  I just have to remember this next time someone is sternly talking to me in Russian and not accepting the fact that I do not understand them.

до свидания!

Spirit Day

27 Apr

Two of the things that I love about working at an international school are the familiarity and the diversity. These may seem inconsistent, but today’s Spirit Day in the elementary school provides a great example of how they work together.

It was Sports Jersey Day which allowed the kids to get a break from their uniforms (and staff from the no-jeans policy!) by wearing clothing supporting their favorite sports teams. If I was still in SoCal, I would expect to see about half of the kids wearing Lakers jerseys (most with BRYANT written across the back), the baseball fans would be wearing Angels red with a few in Dodgers blues, some Ducks hockey thrown in, and a handful of of other teams from around the States.

Today, though, there were Moscow teams supported, in addition to Qatar, Latvia, England, Ireland, Germany, and many, many more. There were so many different sports and teams represented that it reminded me how many places these kids have either lived in or have family. They all have such unique stories and histories already in their short lives. It is such a different perspective than what I had at that age.

In the middle of all of that, though, was a fifth grader wearing a Florida Gators t-shirt. When I complimented it and told her that was where I went to school she said, “Oh yeah, the Gators are awesome!’ as if Gainesville wasn’t on the other side of the world. I could turn around and see those Lakers jerseys alongside Red Sox, Bears, Redskins, Yankees, and Patriots shirts.

I love working somewhere that allows me to share my own American experiences with others while learning so much about the world. It is a great balance of familiarity and diversity.

All this, though, and no one seemed to recognize my Ducks tee. 😦

до свидания!

Мой дом Россия (My Home is Russia)

1 Dec

One of the perks of my new position is that I chaperone field trips. This promises to be an excellent way for me to learn about my city. Today was the first one since I began and we went to the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia to see the exhibit entitled “My Home is Russia.”

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Back to Work

17 Sep

This week I began working as a substitute teacher/teacher’s assistant at one of the schools here (the curriculum is entirely English language based).  The whole thing happened really fast – I went to the school on Monday to pick up the application and left with a few scheduled days.  I ended up working four days this week and already have a decent amount on my schedule for the next two weeks – add in a few last-minute calls and this will hopefully result in somewhat steady work.  It seems like a nice transition position for me here:  I don’t have the stress of taking my work home with me at night and I can adjust my availability, if necessary, when I go back to grad school in January (I took this semester off to sort out the relocation).  If we can make this work for awhile it will also offer me a similar vacation schedule to Ben so we can enjoy our breaks together.  I’ll continue to keep my eyes peeled for opportunities that will better support my LIS education, but for now it’s nice to have somewhere to go during the day.

до свидания!

On the Job Hunt

3 Jun

The top three questions that I receive when I tell someone that I am moving to Moscow are:

  • How do you feel about moving to Russia?
  • Is Nebbie (кошка) going?
  • What are you going to do there?

The answers are, respectively, “SO EXCITED!!!,” “Yes!,” and “I have no idea.”   Continue reading