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And Then I Try Not to Cry…

20 Jun

While I really do have tons of fun living here in Russia, it’s not all international travel and exciting adventures. There are days like today, days when I am completely exhausted and only want to sleep for a week, but, instead, I find myself sitting outside of a bank on the verge of tears in the middle of Moscow.

A few weeks ago, while I was back in the States for a long weekend, a news story hit that the bank in which Ben’s pay is deposited (and has been for almost three years) would begin phasing out service to clients who are U.S. citizens. Despite multiple inquiries and expressions of concerns from American employees, his employer has insisted that this will not be a problem for us in the immediate future.

We decided not to risk it and to get as much of our savings out of there now, allowing us the peace of mind to enter July with our money secure either way. After successfully transferring a small amount back to the States, we learned that in order to transfer more we had to sign a form. (Note: we only learned this because we have friends who went through the process, there was no indication on the website about it.) We went to the bank today to sign this form only to be turned away because Ben does not have a notarized translation of his passport. He has had multiple interactions with this bank without needing one, so this was a big surprise. We were annoyed, but there was absolutely nothing that could be done, so we gave up for the day.

On our way out, we stopped by the ATM to get cash. The first ATM said the operation could not be completed, but a man in front of us also had trouble, so we switched lines to another machine. The next two ATM’s gave the same message and spit out the card.

This is the point when we began to get really nervous.

Ben went back inside to find our friend (who speaks Russian) to follow up with him, while I sat down outside and put every bit of energy I had left into not crying.

The end result is that a block was put on our account in response to resent charges. We never would have been able to figure this out on our own. This could not even be taken care of in the branch, Ben was sent away to call and take care of it over the phone.

So. Freaking. Frustrating.

We are so lucky to have awesome friends willing to translate notes and show up in person to translate for us. Navigating this system would be impossible without them. I understand that we do not speak the language of the country, but we were brought here knowing that this is the case. We never expected to have so much trouble with things that we consider to be so simple.

I often think about sharing my frustrations like this one, but usually never end up posting them. The reality is that life here is both amazing and so, so hard. It’s not all sunshine and roses; sometimes, it’s grey skies and smelly metro cars.

So, I cry. I process. Then, we figure out how to deal with whatever it is that is happening. At the end of the day, living here is worth dealing with situations like the one today. As long as we feel this way, that the positives outweigh the negatives, we will continue to support each other and get through the frustrations.

до свидания!

One Month

27 Sep

Today marks one month since Ben and I arrived in Moscow.  It’s been a busy month of finding an apartment, starting work, and figuring out how to live here.  We had a huge learning curve when we arrived – everything from navigating the metro system to simply learning how to buy groceries.  By now we have settled  into a daily routine and are using our weekends to relax and explore a little.  We’ve made some friends (including a few with knowledge of the city!) and have been enjoying a bit of social time, as well.   Continue reading

Language Update

23 Jul

I am slowly working my way through the Rosetta Stone lessons – taking my time to go back and review sections when the new lessons become overwhelming. I haven’t even put a dent in the overall program, but anything I can learn before arriving in Moscow will help. I struggle with grammar, but think that learning the vocabulary will be the most important thing upfront and hope that the subtleties of the language will come with time.   Continue reading

Time to learn Russian

18 May

I just completed my first hour of Rosetta Stone!

While I don’t feel ready to hit the streets of Moscow just yet, I was very impressed by the lessons. I can definitely see the potential in this method of learning. So far it seems to be based on pattern recognition and repetition of images/vocab. It will take some time for me to remember the concepts outside of the program and I think they may be a little too forgiving with regards to my pronunciation. I’m sure that will get better with practice, though.

до свидания!