"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

SUYL: International Day–RUSSIA

I almost didn’t enter Kelly’s Korner SUYL, but then I decided to go ahead and do a post on Russia, besides it has been approximately one year since we found out that we were moving to Russia and 6 months since we’ve been here so its always nice to evaluate where you are.  Plus, better late than never!

My husband applied for this position, never dreaming that he would get it because he so young, it was mostly to show that he had an interest in overseas assignments… Well, we found out that we were moving to Russia last September although we didn’t get the official letter until November when we shared it on the blog.

We made out first visit in January. You can read about it here. We were totally overwhelmed during that trip!

Here are some questions/comments that we get a lot.

Why are you living in Russia?

  • The official story is that my husband works for a major energy company that has a project on the Black Sea.
  • The unofficial story is that this is where God wants us right now, and we are making every effort to bloom where we are planted!

Brrr… sounds cold!

  • Yes, Russia is the coldest country in the world, but thankfully we live in the warmest part on the Black Sea in the town of Novorossiysk!  Thank goodness, I don’t think a southern girl like me could handle Moscow winters.  It does get chilly in the winter time, but it rarely gets cold enough to snow! I have put a little star next to our location on the map below.


What is Novorossiysk like?

  • It is a port/industrial city so it is not as pretty as some of the towns near here, but it is still very nice.  There is amazing promenade along the black sea that is several kilometers long. Here is picture of part of the promenade that does not run along the water!  I need to get more pictures.


  • Since Novorossiysk is located in Russia’s biggest summer vacation region, we are close so some very beautiful beaches and pretty tourist towns.
  • We are also in Russia’s main wine making region called Abrau Dyurso, and it is beautiful.  The countryside around is beautiful too.

How long will you be in Russia?

  • We are unsure how long the project will last, but current estimates say 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 more years, but who really knows?

Are you trying to learn Russian?

  • YES! We have lessons for 3 hours a week, but it is SO HARD because everything is different, grammar, vocabulary and there are very few connections between English.  Even the alphabet is different, so we are literally starting from the very, very beginning.

Do you like it there?

  • We not only like Russia, we LOVE Russia.  I once told God that I would anywhere he sent me but Mongolia… so he dropped me off one country over! We really don’t feel like we are here for any other reason than to spread the Good News!  We have an amazing church, and the people we encountered have been so lovely to us.

What are the people like?

  • Before I came to Russia, I was so nervous that everyone would be mean to me.  But you know what? People have been incredibly nice to me, in the grocery stores, at the airport, and just about everywhere we go!
  • Russians LOVE children!  And everywhere I go, I get so many people coming and talking to me about my daughter, Isla.  The babushkas (grandmothers) especially love to give me lots of advice Smile.
  • I know you should never stereotype or generalize, even in a good way, but I don’t care.  I LOVE Russians.  God has put the most amazing Russians in my life, and I have a soft spot for this country and the people!

What is the food like?

  • Yum, yum, yum!  We get the most delicious bread and cheeses here, and the food is very fresh.
  • There are some things that we cannot get, but most of the foods that I want from the states I can bring in my suitcase.  We have found peanut butter, maple syrup, salsa, tortillas, avocado, and many other foods that I never thought that I would find here.
  • No Dr. Pepper Sad smile.
  • The restaurants are amazing.  All of the food is delicious and freshly prepared!  Sadly there are no Mexican restaurants, but we have a lot of great Italian and Sushi places.

What is your life like?

  • I wrote here that our life pretty much feels like life in the states!  Nick goes to work, I cook and take care of Isla, we go to church.
  • Some of the major differences are that we don’t drive so we have two drivers who alternate days.  Their names are Andrey and Victor, and we like them so much.
  • We get to travel way more than we would in the states.  This year we have been to St Petersburg, Moscow, Scotland, Ireland and Italy.  Nick has also been to Dubai, which he loved.  We are very fortunate.
  • We also live in a high rise city apartment (think New York) which is very different after living in a house for almost all of my life.

Random comments

  • I wrote here about my expectations for moving to Russia after going through an extensive cultural orientation provided by my husbands company.  And to be more candid, I was also nervous about the following things: 
  • I was so nervous about alcoholism and pressure to drink Vodka. 
  • I was nervous about the Russian mafia since there have been so many American movies and TV shows on the subject in recent years. 
  • I was nervous that everyone would be mean to me.

But you know what?  Those have all been WRONG!  I think Nick’s company just gave us the worst case scenario, so that we would be happily surprised, and we were!  The story of Pavlik Morosov totally freaked me out, and I told my pastor’s wife all about it.  She was shocked and ask me “Why would they tell you about that? That’s horrible!”  Haha, I was so happy to know that at least one Russian thought that that was a scary story.  And the Russian mafia thing… I think I was being a little bit paranoid (duh)!

There have been some hard days, but most days I just cannot believe that I am in Russia.  Its surreal.  I feel so blessed to be here and so thankful that God has put such sweet, Godly people in my life, and has given such an amazing opportunity to serve His global church.


  1. Thank you for your post. My husband and I are adopting from Russia right now and we are excited to take our first trip over to such an interesting country.

  2. how exciting! I lived in poland for two years, for grad school, and really wanted to go to russia, but couldn't at the time...though I will visit one of these days!


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