Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Trial Run for Russia

For all of you out there who think what we're doing is romantic and idealistic, let me take a moment to burst your bubble. Now that I am finally done with work (as of last Friday), we have spent every waking moment dealing with logistical hurdles. Melanie, who runs the JDC program out of New York insists that this is good practice for Russia.

On Monday, we tried to register our car in DC (which we have been remiss about doing for the last, um, let's say year or two). We need to do it now because our registration in Maryland expires while we'll be away. That "charming" crack in our front windshield wasn't so charming to the folks at the DC DMV Inspection line. Needless to say, we failed inspection. Then we tried to get our HIV tests (required for business visas in Russia), which took about two and a half hours. I spent Monday afternoon calling around to various auto glass shops while Matt ran errands. We also realized on Monday that we don't yet have our plane tickets or our invitation required to get a Russian visa. The plane tickets were never sent to us and the visa invitation was "lost in the mail." (In reality, it was mistakenly sent to Matt's old office.)

Yesterday, Matt sat home waiting for various people to show up. The auto glass people came four hours after they said they would and the cable guy who was supposed to come to uninstall the cable did so without telling us. Now we're left with the responsibility of having to return our cable modem to the cable company!

Fortunately, both our airline tickets and our visa invitation showed up as of today, so we can go pick up our Russian visa this afternoon, after three solid days of trying to acquire this elusive little document. And we successfully registered our car in the District this morning. Now if only you could imagine our house without Internet, cable and phone service -- it feels like we're in Russia already! So where am I now, writing this blog, you wonder? Yes, I'm sitting in the hallway pirating someone's wireless service. (Thank you, Bill Hicks, whoever you are!)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Paka: See You Later!

Thank you to all of our wonderful DC friends who showed up to Gazuza tonight to wish us a found farewell! The pictures are posted on flickr for everyone to see:
We leave for Cleveland for part of our training on Thursday, return to DC briefly on Monday and then leave again -- for real this time, next Thursday, August 3rd. The next four weeks are going to be a whirlwind replete with stops in Cleveland, Delaware, St. Petersburg and China!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

At Home, for Now

Home is where the heart is, according to the saying, but I'm not even sure where my heart is these days.

Over the last few weeks, we've been emptying our drawers, cabinets and walls of all things personal. The photos are gone, our ketubah is off the wall, our drawers are more than half empty and home is starting to feel less and less like home. As we've begun packing up our possessions, we are reminded how life is less about things and more about memories, experiences and the people around us. As box after box gets loaded into the car, driven to Delaware and stowed away in my parents' crawl space, it's clear that we are distancing ourselves from our life here in Washington to create and build a new life for ourselves in St. Petersburg. Home will soon be somewhere else, somewhere far away where only my imagination can devine. But my heart still isn't quite there -- I have my fair share of worries and doubts, for sure. We found out today that an apartment has been secured for us, which effectively eliminates one of my primary worries. It is located in historical center of the city in Petrogradsky District, but that's all we know. (More details to come once we've laid eyes on the place.)

As I wrap up my last week at work and pack up the house, I have to admit that I've been overcome by a tinge of sadness. I am most saddened by the idea of missing out on all of the joys we are leaving behind: Close friends of ours are expecting their first child in January. Matt's cousin Arielle is getting married in May. And these are just the simchas we know about now; certainly, we are going to miss more than a few life cycle events. I know that our adventure will bring new joys to our lives, but I am just a tad bit wistful, leaving our friends, family and community behind. The next few weeks will be the hardest, well, at least until I have to brave my first Russian snowstorm. If only my pink parka could shield me from the homesickness as easily as it will from the snow and rain!

The National Cathedral

With only 16 days left before we leave on August 3rd, I thought it would be fun to do one last touristy activity. After five years of living in DC, I've always wanted to see the National Cathedral, which is just a mile-and-a-half from where we live. So here are my pictures!

Unemployment is fun!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Hey everybody,

The only really annoying thing about Blogger is that you can't post anything but pictures. So you'll notice that the WAV file below, and the PDF file I'm posting here, are actually hosted at other sites (Thanks, Tripod!). You hear me, Blogger people??? Add more functionality to this site!

Anyway, I wanted to share with you the PDF that Alyson created to explain the whys, hows, and whats of our year of service in St. Petersburg. As with everything she does, it's beautiful, informative, and entertaining. Check it out:

Happy Anniversary to Us!

We had a great first anniversary. We had already celebrated a few weeks back by splurging and going to see "Avenue Q" on Broadway. But for our real anniversary, we went to a Nationals game (which they won, 9-1 or something like that) and then finished with late-night drinks with friends. The whole day, our cellphones rang with happy wishes from our friends and family. It was really nice--something I could get used to, in addition to my birthday later this week!

Of all the anniversary wishes, this was the cutest. Check it out:
(For those of you who don't know, this is our wonderful niece Hannah wishing us a happy anniversary, along with her parents, Jen and David.)

Wishing ourselves many more years of happy married life :-)