“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new. Now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19
We have been back in the states from Russia for one week and three days. Before we left, I thought that I was very prepared. I have lived overseas, I have experienced culture shock and the awkwardness of standing out, and I thought that it would be very similar. Once I got there, I realized that I had been ok because I had been clinging to a few things that were not necessarily going to be true in this place. I did not realize just how isolated Novo is, when we lived overseas before we were a short plane ride or drive to some amazing locations. Right now the nearest good airport is in Krasnodar, 2.5 hours away! I also really thought that there would be some Americans there already, and right now there really aren’t. Normally in overseas assignments there is a whole expat community that existed before you even arrived that you can ease right into, and we currently only have one couple there who were lovely enough to show us around on our trip. There are virtually no expats there. I can’t change how isolated it is, but thankfully there will be about 17 families coming at around the same time with my husband’s company so we should all be in the same boat in navigating the Russian culture.
Once those things that I had been clinging to were stripped away, I sort of freaked out a little bit, and Nick did a little bit too. I started to think of all of the downsides to moving overseas like Isla doing a lot of growing so far away from her Grandparents, and wishing that I were going to be a Minivan Mama, dropping Isla off at Mommies Day Out, and doing all of those other delightful things that US Moms get to do!
Thankfully Nick and I regrouped and remembered that we have felt God’s hand in all of this, and we know that he is the reason that we are going. It was almost as if I could hear him saying to me “Stori, you have been clinging to all of these external things… now they are gone. Will you cling to me instead?” There is nothing like moving away from everything you know and completely stepping out of your comfort zone to make you completely depend on Him.
Nick has already located a Calvary Chapel located in Novo, which I am thrilled about. The services will be in Russian of course, but that’s ok. We are all members of the body of Christ! I am praying that this will be our church home, and it kind of has to be because that’s pretty much all that is there. It’s crazy how few churches there are in a town of over 250,000 people! We probably have 10 times more here in little Madisonville.
Anyway, Nick and I are getting very excited about going and setting up house. My Mother-In-Law is in, and she and I have been shopping up a storm, and I am not even close to being done! We got to see our apartment and take pictures… it is wonderful, but it only has two closets, YIKES! One of them is huge, but I have been racking my brain to come up will storage solutions. Thankfully there is an IKEA 2.5 hours away in Krasnodar!
Here are some pictures of our apartment as it stands today, lol! I know that it will be beautiful once it is completed. :) At least we got to see the layout.
Here is some of the shopping we have been doing stateside, and we are not even close to being done! I am a little bummed because we cannot ship food, and although the food there is great, there are certain things that we love to eat that we cannot get there. I am getting pumped about coming up with some creative cooking solutions though!
Isla sleeping in the hotel in Moscow. I’ve never seen a more tired baby.
Best room service ever! Except that my freshly squeezed orange juice was room temperature. Fun Fact: Russians do not chill their beverages and ice is a rarity. Another Fun Fact: Food at restaurants is served as it is prepared, so you better eat it as soon as it comes because it could be 45 minutes before the rest of your party gets their food!
Isla in the fleece pajamas that I packed for Moscow! They were totally unnecessary. Fun Fact: In Russia the buildings heating is turned on in the fall and not turned off again until the spring. It is all centrally managed, and the only way to regulate the heat in your room is to open doors/windows. Even our apartment will be heated this way!
We got many disapproving looks for not turning Isla into a star fish! Fun Fact: Russians love babies, and they love to bundle them up so that they cannot move! They even do this in Novo, which was not that cold, in my humble and afraid of cold weather opinion.
Women’s toilet in the business class bathroom at the airport in Krasnodar. Yes, I said business class. :)
The Russian Hooters. Nick made me take a picture.
While we were there, we also found out that the visa process has changed. That mean no 10 day is Moscow. Boo. BUT it means that we will be spending 3 weeks in Houston instead because we can get Nick’s working visa stateside. Yay! I am excited to get some more time with friends and family before we leave for good.
All in all it was a really lovely trip, and the Russians that we encountered were lovely for the most part. We are very excited, and we can’t wait to see what God is going to do there!