Sunday, August 30, 2009

Movie Night!

As you have seen from the pictures from the English Camp blog post, there is a lot of excitement at the camps.  There is this sense of displacement from ordinary life-- a sense of comfort and welcoming that does not take place in the day-to-day normal routine.  Beth and I wanted to change that.  We want to figure out a way to take even just a portion that excitement and fun back to Moscow.

We are starting an English Movie Night every Friday night.  We decided to begin yesterday, not knowing how it would turn out.  It was very short notice, letting people know about it only the Wednesday before.  But in all it was a great turnout.  We had sixteen people in all, including myself and Beth, and it was a great night.

As I mentioned, we hope to do this every week.  Provide a welcoming, neutral, and comforting atmosphere where people can relax and deepen relationships.  We hope the movies will provide insightful discussion where we can grow together.

We don't really know what we're doing and we don't know where this is going.  We have a very clear idea of what we would like, but we have more questions than answers.  We look forward to figuring things out as we go.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Test Results

Begrudgingly, and with great hesitation, Beth and I walked to the language certification offices yesterday. I was torn--I had no desire to find out my grades on the certification exam, yet I HAD to know.

Beth and I did much better than we thought we would! Beth passed all of the sections of the exam (with some of them being near perfect grades I might add)! I passed all but the grammar section (ironically the one I thought I did the best on)!

All I have to do is go back two weeks or so from now and retake the grammar section. Thank you guys for your encouragement and your thoughts and prayers for us. Although this test ultimately did not have a say in anything we were doing here, it was a good barometer for how far we've come since we've gotten here. Now we feel like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Russian Weekend

Last weekend Beth and I ventured outside of the Moscow city limits to go out to the dacha with some friends:  Vasya, Vika, and Masha.  Joining us were two of Vasya's classmates and their girlfriend and wife, and Vika's cousin Ilya.

We all decided to leave Moscow Friday evening at around 7.  Because of traffic and the lengthy drive (500 km outside of Moscow), we arrived at the dacha around 1:30 a.m.  Beth and I just assumed that we would settle in and go to bed, but others had something else in mind.  They pulled out the shashlik grill and different drinks and snacks, and we were up eating and talking until around 5 in the morning.  It was a blast and completely unexpected.

The next Saturday and Sunday consisted of mushroom and berry picking, duck hunting, shashlik eating, and so on.  Although the weather was rather cold and rainy, the location was beautiful.










 Our ride out to the woods.  I want one of these!

Our loot.

Apparently this species of hawk is very hard to find.








If you were wondering how we were getting all the aerial photos-- Vasya decided to climb a tree!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our Week at English Camp

I don't know how well I could put into words how great this week was for us.  Beth and I were able to help with the English Exchange Camp (the organization Beth worked with in the past).  This was the same camp we went to during a weekend in July.  They hold two camps a summer, and we were very fortunate to be able to make it for almost the entire camp this time.  We were able to make new friends and reconnect with old ones.  It was fantastic.

There are four reasons to be at the English Camp.  And they are:
  1. Have fun.
  2. Speak English
  3. Make new friends.
  4. Relax.
We definitely did all four things.  Here are some pictures from throughout the week:

The American team (plus two great Russian interns) who led classes during the week.  They were awesome!







Eliel:  One of the coolest people on the planet.

Getting footage of the week-- a video will be posted shortly!


Charades night!





Gorilla court!