Suddenly it’s Monday. I’m finally emerging from the fog of jet lag and culture transition (culture shock would be an exaggeration.) Not many hours after my arrival here in Russia on Friday, I was already out on the street walking to the bazaar. My head fought against the reality that the (long) day before, I had been in pastoral Atascadero and now I was in a big city surrounded by foreign-word billboards, buses, and bustling. Welcome to Samara!
I’ve already reunited with many friends (and missed getting pictures with some!) Of course, Tanya was waiting for me with flowers at the airport. Long-time friends Igor and Marina also were there in their car to take me home to Alla, who was waiting with open arms and a huge hug. All this is happening at 4 a.m. (yes, this is real friendship!)
A problem with my previous cell phone was remedied by a visit from Dinara (always so helpful) and another walk to the bazaar the next day. And fun Ira Klimchuk had me to dinner on Saturday evening. Due to my new healthy eating regime, she wasn’t sure what to fix. So she fixed everything! Can you imagine? Three salads, then fish, stuffed cabbage rolls, chicken, potatoes, fruit, tea, and a really tasty “pie” (Russian style) that I broke down and tried.
Sunday was an even bigger day. Started out with the Bible study group at 10 a.m. here at “our place” (Alla’s house). I love this group of ladies who have been meeting regularly for about 15 years. And, yes, more food (see the photo of the table at the end of this post). After that, directly to Olga Starostina’s for the traditional pelmini and blini lunch which we have been having together for ten years or more. It’s always bittersweet as her mom and dad are both gone now. But nephew Alex serves as the host and is so proud of his new baby girl, Masha. I love being a part of these sweet families and watching them grow and thrive.
After lunch, Tanya and I joined several other friends downtown at the opera house for a performance sponsored by the Orthodox church–a close to their Easter celebration. About 15 different groups sang, danced, played–all extremely talented–to a backdrop of professionally choreographed graphics on translucent screens. It was (in my humble opinion) an outstanding presentation of all that is the best of Russia–its love of motherland, its rich culture, its excellence in the arts, and its love of God. Such a joy for me to be able to exclaim “Christ is Risen!” with an auditorium full of the faithful.
Especially inspiring was my seatmate. Do you remember my story “Tea with a Hero” – the woman who was born in a prisoner of war camp in Finland? She is now battling stage 4 cancer and has recently completely chemotherapy. At age 72, she has amazing strength and a level of determination I can only imagine. Her hope is in the Lord, and it shows. Doesn’t she look great?
Today (fortunately) is an at-home day. I’vd done laundry, had a glorious nap, finished knitting another dishcloth, and think I might cook something. LOL! As if I need more food.
Well, after all, it’s Russia, where hospitality is the rule. People matter, and there is always an adventure waiting.
Cathi Fagan says
Although full & busy from the get go….. it sounds rich, in more ways than one. love from Cathi Hello to Tanya for me? ( :
Love from all back at ya! So glad you said yes…
It IS Russia!!! Did you distribute my kisses? Remember to drink plenty of water. XOXOXOXOXO L
still smooching away! Water,yes!
Susan Kuhn says
I thought you may be in Russia now. I will follow your journey with prayer and thanksgiving. Give hugs from me.
Susan from Colorado
Will do! So blessed to have you along …
Galina Filipova says
Loving the picture of the group of ladies…years go by, but it seems nobody changes!:) I am writing today to boast – I have received by mail a knitted scarf, for my birthday, made by JEANETTE!! Nothing short of fantastic and another evidence of your great taste in colours and style, my friend:) Thank you so much, I feel so very special, indeed…plus I LOVE knitted scarves (and with our weather here, I can wear it right now!:) I am so delighted and moved:) Just thought I would write right here:) xoxoxo
Ahh…so glad you like it! Wear it as a hug from me.