Tag Archives: employment

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!

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!


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!

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