Friday, September 28, 2007

Wishing I didn't speak English....

I know this sounds like a weird title. But sometimes I wish I didn't speak English. There is one teacher here who is foreign, speaks English but is not from America. He is a single,older man and very difficult. He is constantly complaining about everything here. Sometimes I want to say,"If you hate it so much just leave!" But today he said to the wrong things. As many of you know I do not make a lot of money over here. I make about 1/3 of what a teacher in Oklahoma makes. But the Lord always provides. So its all good. Well aparently our wages, good accomidations, holiday time, etc. is not good enough for this man. He is ranting and raving in my office about how we don't get paid enough, don't get enough holiday time, etc. He goes on to tell me that at the British International and Anglo American school they pay their teachers much more and give them all this time off during holidays. Well I continued to tell him that this is no those schools. I guess he didn't like that I wasn't agreeing with his anger. But then he stepped over the line. He said, " That's the problem with all you fundamentalist baptists! You just accept whatever people give you and don't complain. You make it too hard for the rest of use who are trying to make a living. You say that you don't care how much you make as long as you survive and that is so childish!" Yes I use ! becuase he was shouting. Well as you can guess this was not a good thing to say to me. So I said something like, "First of all, do not call me a fundamentalist baptist becuase I'm not sure you or I would use that term correctly. Senond, never slander my faith like that. Do not use my faith against me. Yes, you are correct, I am a believer. And I do believe that as long as I make enough to make it and take care of my responsibilites then I am just fine. And yes, I teach not for the money. If I expected a lot of money, I would not be a teacher. So do not criticize me for teaching for a deeper meaning. Maybe you need to think about why you teach. I do not think we teach for the same reasons." He went on to say that that was a childish way of thinking. And that if I had real responsibilities then I would understand. Again, not a good thing to say to me. I went on to tell him that I do have responsibilities and I take care of them just fine. And just becuase I have faith does not mean I am childish. I was pretty fuming at this point but keeping my composure quite well.

If there are two things I am most passionate about it is my faith and teaching. Do not ever tell me that I am childish for not teaching for the money. And do not ever tell me that its you fundamentalist baptist who make it harder for the rest of us. Leave!!! Is what I wanted to say to him. Obviously this is not the place for you! And I think the worst part is, the drama teacher shares an office with us, and he understands English very well.

Oiy Vey (sp)!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Broken Shower

So I guess things just like breaking around here. As soon as we get one thing fixed something else breaks. Last night it was our shower. I decided that since I was freezing (becuase of no heat in our apt.) I would take a hot shower last night before bed. Well I was in there like a whole one minute before water started spewing everywhere! The ancient cord had split. So I thought well I will just take a bath instead. That will still be nice. But as soon as I begin filling the tub, the water is kinda a dark grey color. This completely freaks me out. (but is better than when Kat tried it and it was yellow) So I wash off and get out. Hopefully today the school will send someone to fix it. It was quite the experience.

But on another note. I was invited to go with 2nd and 3rd grade on their field trip yesterday. We went to a park that has one of Cathrine the Great's palaces in it. I visited this park last weekend and we spent 6 hours walking it and still didn't see it all. This time I got to go inside the palace. I asked one of the teachers if I needed to pay for my ticket into the palace. she said "no, our parents pay a lot of money so we can do these things" It was just great. I laughed. This museum/palace reminded me of a small version of the Hermitage, her winter palace/art museum in St. Petersburg. There was even a gold ballroom. It was beautiful.

I am continuing to enjoy the sunshine! I love it. Plus I have to soak it up while I can. I am about to not see the sun shine for like 4 months!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Washing Machines

We have our washing machine back!!! The repairman came yesterday and took a wire out of the pump that did not belong in there. Now we can finally wash clothes again. It has only been broken since Thursday which may not seem long to you. But when your washing machine does about 1/3 of what yours in the states does and you have to hang EVERYTHING to dry, this can be a bad deal. So I am trying to catch up on laundry. There are wet clothes hanging everywhere in our apartment!! Its quite the site. Since it had been so long I had plenty of hangers to hang everything on. We were a little nervous about having a repair man come into our arpartment. But we scheduled the time so that we were both home. And he turned out to be very nice and he even stayed a little while to make sure that it worked properly. So I was very pleased with the service. We did have a Russian friend call and explain to the company what the problem was so that they fully understood when they came out. A wonderful experience!

Other than that life is the same old same old. I did get invited to go on a field trip to the park tomorrow. So I don't have to go to any classess! This should be exciting. It is with the second grade. I feel honored that I was asked to come along. Parents are coming to so maybe I will meet them.

Life here is good. The sun is shining this week! And we are told it will be the last week of sunshine until the spring!! So I am trying to soak in as much as possible.

God is good!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fourth Graders

So I know this is the class I am usually complaining about. But today they were so much fun. And, at the end of the lesson several of them said, "Thank you for the lesson Miss Dana." Now this didn't come from my suck up kids either. I think it was actually for real. I was pretty excited and took it as a compliment. It doesn't happen everyday that a student thanks their teacher for teaching them. Especially coming from students who I continually got onto in class. Actually, I think I began to make a boy cry today. oops. I didn't mean to. He simply could not find his self control so I made him sit in the front row next to the girls who chose to sit there. I think they like to be as far away from the boys as possible. But he chose the option of staying in my class so that is what he had to do. And then he was fine later but his face got all red and his eyes teary. At least he took me seriously! But I did feel kind of bad.

So hopefully I will not be getting sick anymore! I'm about tired of this! But it was a wonderfully blessed day thus far. And tonight is small group at Nathan and Masha's which is always a blessing. Can't wait!

Carpe Diem!

Friday, September 14, 2007


As we all now, I hate being cold. Now this is kinda funny since I might has well have moved to Antartica! I am already so cold and it is only half way through September. Well, let me clarify, I am so cold indoors! Yes, the heat has not been turned one yet. Because I guess we still live in the Soviet times and cannot control our own heat. So we are almost a week into the temperature being in the low forties. One more week and they should turn on the heat. I bundle up to go outside and I am walking so quickly and walking everywhere that I don't seem to be cold outside. I'm only cold inside! So I drink a lot of hot tea, praise the Lord for my water boiler thingy. It boils the water in about 2 minutes. So now not only is the water clean to drink but also warm to make tea. Between the hot tea, my warm socks, fleece, hot showers, and a lot of blankets I am able to stay warm. But I will be so thankful for the heat when it comes on. But don't worry, then I will complain about it being to hot because there is no way to regulate the heat. Oh and its been poring down rain for about a week now too. So staying indoors is key. Oh wait, I have to walk everywhere. haha! Life is great isn't it.

But on another note, work is going very well. I am really enjoying the majority of my students. I am also loving getting to know my new roomie better and making new friends. When this happens it is like a sweet aroma from the Lord. Sometimes I think he does things in my life just to see me smile. Of course then there are the times when He does things so that He can get a good laugh. Either way isn't too bad!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sitting in a chair

So I have been reading lately (because we all know that I don't have any tv to watch) and I just thought I would share with you something I found just great and refreshing.
"...I recently heard a man, while explaining how a person could convert to Christianity, say the experience was not unlike deciding to sit in a chair. He said that while a person can have faith that a chair will hold him, it is not unitl he sits in the chair that he has acted on his faith.
I wondered as I heard this if the chair whas a kind of symbol for Jesus, and how irritated Jesus might be if a lot of people kept trying to sit on Him.
And then I wondered at how Jesus could say He was a Shepherd and we were sheep, and that the Father in heaven was our Father and we were His children, and that He Himself was a Bridegroom and we were His bride, and that He was a King and we were His subjects, and yet we somehow missed His meaning and though becoming a Christian was like sitting in a chair." - Searching For God Knows What, Donald Miller

I wonder how often I could be accused of comparing having a relationship with Christ like sitting on a chair. If that is as deep as my relationship goes then I don't have much of a relationship to speak of. I do understand how people us this comparison when explaining faith but knowing Christ and being His takes a lot more from me that sitting in a chair.

...just food for thought...

Friday, September 7, 2007


One of my favorite profs used to always say: Thou shalt be flexible and you will never be broken. I have tried to continue remembering that this week as every hour seems to get a little more frustrating. This is becuase I continually show up to class but the teacher is not expecting me, or I show up to class and several teachers are looking for me because I am not in their class. This is because no one grade operates on the same time schedule so they double book me! And they give me classes but don't put it in my schedule so I don't even know why I am being looked for. It is a little crazy. But the best one was yesterday 11.10 am, 3rd grade. I walk into class after being told that I would be assisting the teacher in translating some key words of the lesson into English. The lesson was on communities, what they are, why we have them and how they function. Well when I walk in, I am told that the class is now all mine! I definately made up a 40minute lesson on the spot. And taught two of them back to back. I didn't have any materials, anything prepared. I just winged it, led a discussion, and had them copy down what I put on the board like the teacher asked me to. It was quite unexpected.

So if you think things are crazy in America please come visit me!!

continually suprised, Dana

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Real Teacher!

So I am officially a real teacher! It has been great. I am surprised by how much English my students know but then there are some who don't know any. Today I have taught 2 classess and I have two more to go. Hopefully all goes well.

Things have been wonderful. I believe we had what you call a divine meeting with someone the other day at the Bellini stand. We happened to make friends with an Italian guy who is doing research in Moscow. He heard us speaking English and we began to speak. We invited him to our church picnic at the Embassy country home. He came and brought friends. It was a wonderful beginning to building great friendships with non believers (or so I think they are not). So I am so excited about this. This is not something that happens every day. People do not just walk up on the streets and begin talking to total strangers in Moscow. Usually I would not spend much time talking with a stranger but you could tell he had good intentions. As he put it, he had a headache from trying to speak and understand Russian all day and wanted to let his head rest and speak some English. So this was wonderful.

I love seeing the Lord work. It begins so small but I don't believe in things happenign by chance......