Saturday, May 30, 2009

Our Cell Church!

Each Sunday we meet at the Stamey's (Brad, Lori, Drew, Mark, and Ben) for cell church.  It's so great to be a part of it.  It's all in Russian, but usually Lori or Brad help out here and there.

Myself, Beth, Natasha, Anatoly, Brad

To start we all eat together and talk.  We also discuss prayer requests.

Natasha writing out the principles of the group.

Blurry Anatoly (every picture of him turned out blurry, sadly).  He and Natasha led this week's study.  After singing a couple Russian praise songs we discuss a particular passage in the Bible together.

Reading from Acts 13.

I don't know, maybe I did something funny.

On a similar note, please be in prayer for their son Drew.  He's 13 and had his appendix removed yesterday.  He's doing fine and in recovery right now, but please pray that it's speedy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Our trip to IKEA!

Beth and I have been to IKEA here before, and it's always an event.  We love going to IKEA; it feels more like home (even though, ironically, IKEA isn't American).

Of course you can drive there (there are several IKEAs right outside Moscow), as we have in the past, but this time we decided to take a free bus ride.  There are certain bus stops outside of particular metros that you can take to MEGA (a mall housing IKEA) for free.  It's always packed.

We decided, however, to go to IKEA on a Friday evening.  I didn't really think about the fact that many Muscovites will be leaving the city.  While on the highway, just a few minutes' drive to IKEA, there was a standstill in traffic.

After about 10 minutes the driver opened the doors, and about half of the people on the bus just left.  They walked to IKEA.  Well, we decided to join them:

Myself, Beth, Mary Louise, and Charlotte

Andrea and Beth (and another bus escapee)

Crossing the highway

A cool view from the other side

We could see it in the distance!

Stolen Wallet!

I'm completely embarrassed to say, but someone stole my wallet today.  I can't believe it.  The worst part about it all (something I wasn't going to tell you guys) is that I wasn't even pick-pocketed.  I'm not especially worried about that kind of thing, but it just makes sense to be aware and careful with you're belongings.  I've got a murse (man-purse, but it's really common here in Moscow) where I keep all my important documents, and it's on me at all times. 

But whoever took my wallet didn't take it from my murse, or from my body.  I LEFT IT ON THE FOOD COURT TABLE WHERE WE WERE EATING.  I just walked away without it, only remembering about five minutes after walking away.  It was already gone.

On the plus side, the whole reason I took my wallet out was to give Beth money to go shopping-- I only had a couple thousand rubles in there (60-ish bucks).  The downside was the credit/debit cards.

Beth and I ran home as quickly as we could to report them stolen, and when we got home our internet wasn't working.  I have no idea why.  So we called Beth's parents to see if they could make the calls from America.  Fortunately (thank you Barbara and Bob!) we were able to put all cards on hold or cancelled.  And thankfully after about 20 minutes or so our internet was magically back on so we could finish things up.

Thankfully it looks like nothing was really damaged except my pride.  We don't think any of our cards were used (or if they were we were able to report them fast enough).  We'll see in the coming days how easy or difficult it will be to pick back up with our finances.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Our Night at the Museum!

Saturday was Moscow's "Museum Day" where all museums allowed free entry and were open late. Beth and I joined some good friends to see what all we could learn about Moscow/Russia!

We first decided to try out the Moscow Museum of Archaeology:

The lines were INCREDIBLY long


After completing a quiz we received certificates! (coming soon to a resume near you)

The last time Beth and I were together in Red Square (in 2006), I almost proposed to her.  This time she said yes!

Our next stop was a space museum!


A mascot that looked just like Sputnik!  But really I think he's Strelka, one of the dogs sent into space.

Here are the actual dogs.


I had always wanted to be an astronaut.... until I saw THIS.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day of Perogies!

About a week ago (last Wednesday), our language teacher Valentina began bringing lunch over to show us how to make Russian dishes.  The first day she did this she brought ingredients for perogies!  Perogies are basically vegetables in fresh dough and baked.  For this particular perogie Valentina used onions and cabbage.

Beth and Valentina

Working on the dough (I must say, because of this experience I now want to learn how to flip pizza dough)

The finished product!

That same evening we had invited a friend of Beth's over to show us how to cook some traditional Russian dishes.  Beth's friend Tanya (and her friend Vera) came over, excited to show us how to make-- you guessed it-- perogies!

Tanya chopping the vegetables

Our friend Charlotte also stopped by to say hi!





The final product!

By the end of the day our fridge was stuffed with leftover (but delicious) perogies!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Victory Day in Moscow!


May 9th is a pretty big day in Russia.  Celebrated as the day Russian forces defeated the impending German army in 1945, Victory Day is huge.  Fortunately for Beth and I, we were able to find ourselves amidst the celebration.

Pardon the hastely made video and cheesy music.  But I hope you enjoy it.  We were able to see a parade of military vehicles down Tverskaya, as well as multiple Communist demonstrations.  We were also able to catch some fireworks afterward.  Our friend Andrea took us to a particularly good spot overlooking a portion of the city--we could see up to 6 different firework displays at once!

The crowd around the Tverskaya was enormous.

Before and during the beginning of the parade jets flew overhead.

Something happened mid-parade to stop the procession.  It was about a 15 minute wait in which people tested the boundaries of the police and ventured closer and closer to the military vehicles.

We were two of those people.

After the parade, the protests and demonstrations began their march towards the Kremlin.  Beth and I followed.
A picture on the side of a van.  It pretty much summed up the purpose of the celebration.






One of the louder guys.

Veterans on Victory Day are received with flowers and gracious thank-yous.

After a long day we sit waiting for fireworks.