Thursday, August 19, 2010

A taste of life

As I was walking down my busy street today I thought to myself, "My life here is pretty crazy. I don't even have enough words to explain all the different, odd things I go through just to maintain a normal life routine here."

So I thought I would jot them down (well really, type) for your enjoyment!

1. We don't have a car. In order to get from A to B, we walk down to the bus stop, take a certain bus according to where we are going, then get off at another bus stop, walk down the stairs into the metro terminal, scan our metro card, go down an escalator, wait for the metro to come, get in, find a seat or stand and hold on, then make sure we stop at the right place. Sometimes we have to get out at a certain stop then transfer to a different metro. Then we get out at the desired metro stop location, go up the escalator, and walk some more until we reach our destination. Sometimes I am doing this alone with Sitora... sometimes it's our whole family. We are always bombarded with hundreds of people at these metro stops... its really crowded. Did I mention that it can really stink when you are crammed inside a metro car next to some people who possibly don't use deodorant in the heat of summer? But actually I don't mind taking public transportation, for the most part I quite enjoy it... it is very efficient. Like my sister-in-law Annah says in her blog about South Korea, there just isn't enough room on the roads for everyone to have a car so, public transportation is the way to go!

2. Since we don't have a car, I have to walk to the nearest grocery store, then carry my groceries home. I bring two huge bags so that I can stuff all my groceries inside. When you have to carry your food home, you end up not getting much... so I usually end up only getting the healthy necessities like fruits, veggies, bread, juice, milk, eggs, etc. Not much room for junk food. Thankfully we have a little mini store in the courtyard of our apartment complex and we can run down there for last minute cravings such as... snickers.... or chips :) So basically this is why we lose so much weight living here.

3. I am stared at every single place I go, no matter what. I am blonde, there's no hiding it. Sometimes I get used to it, sometimes I can't stand it. I forgot what it's like to be invisible in public. Therefore I usually try to dress nicely everywhere... since in this culture everyone dresses WAY UP. I'm talking a dress, high heels, hair curled, cute sparkly purse, makeup, the whole sha-bang. Even if you're just going grocery shopping...

4. Every time I go shopping I am asked the same questions over and over, "Why are you here? Where are you learning the language? What does your husband do? Do you like it here? Where are you from?" It guess its ok that I have this conversation at least twice a week... but sometimes it gets a bit old.

5. We have an elevator and live on the 6th floor. At first I thought we'd only take the stairs because the elevator was so scary... but after living here for almost a year with a toddler, you start taking the elevator instead. This elevator is SCA.RY. I mean... really scary. Anyone who's been to our place knows about this elevator. The lights kind of blink while you ride, and you can hear the wheels and chains grinding the whole way up (or down). It's really small with trash and yucky things on the ground. Danny doesn't let Sitora touch the walls because someone told him that boys pee in there. Otherwise I am really thankful for our elevator, I don't even think about the gross-ness anymore!

6. We have none of the typical "parks" you would imagine in this city. The "parks" they do have are mostly concrete walking areas with small patches of grass but you're not allowed to walk on the grass (sometimes we do but I'm always afraid of getting in trouble). There are lots of benches and little fountains and people sit on the benches staring and people watching. There are not many nature-y areas to just go and relax.

7. We have so many deep relationships here. In America we had lots of things to rely on for fun and recreation... a big yard to take care of... parks to go play in... stores to go shopping in... restaurants to try... but here we don't have much. So we rely on each other. We go to people's houses for game nights, invite friends over for tea and coffee, schedule play-dates with other mom's and hang out in our apartment, have youth group events, volunteer at orphanages, and make friends with neighbors and people we meet who live here.

8. We hardly have any earthly possessions anymore. We live in a small apartment and can't store much... so we give a lot away. When Sitora is done with toys or clothes, I pass them on. We don't take more than we need, because we just can't fit it in! We've sold most of our possessions in America and have stored a few precious items in our parents' attic. It's actually very freeing to feel that nothing is holding us back. If Father called us to anything, we could just go and do it.

9. We spend a zillion more hours together as a family here. Like I mentioned in point 7, we just don't have as many options for recreation here, so we rely on our family for fun. We are constantly playing with Sitora, reading her books, snuggling, dancing, cleaning the house, going for walks, things like this. Of course I would love to have a house with a bigger yard and a dog to play with, but in the meantime, I'm trying to "make do" with what little we do have.

10. We are so dependent on Father here. Not having family and old friends around leaves a big deep hole in our hearts. We are desperate for Him to fill us and give us our daily bread. He blesses us in wonderful and different ways here.

Well, that's about it for now. I could probably write a book about all this, but I've got a bazillion other things to do. In the meantime, I'll just leave you with these 10 points :)


  1. I've been in that elevator....very accurate description. I'm pretty sure I took the stairs down :) I'm really looking forward to "getting used to" all the things mentioned in numvers
    7-9. We have already sold so much and just last night were talking aloud about what we would bring, what we still need to sell and what will go to my parents for safe keeping. If you have any suggestions about things we might need that we can't get there please let me know! I think we got a good idea during our visit, but never know

  2. Casey (and Danny), just read your Aug. 19 entry. Amazing that SO many things that you wrote I understand 100%!!! Is it former USSR stuff? Don't know, but I experienced so much like you are. It's amazing. The elevator, the bus/vans - we called them "marshrootkas". They were insane. The supermarkets, the parks, the questions... so similar, Casey. How long have y'all been there? How long will you stay? Do you see everyone that we knew from BCOM on a regular basis? Please say hi to folks we know. Could you write me sometime at ??

  3. Casey, I can also picture a lot of what you are talking about, reminds me a lot of our time in Ukraine. It's funny - I miss living on the field as a family, but I love being in america so much too...trusting we are all in the right place (for now). but living in another place gives you so much perspective, right?

    anyway, lovin' your blog!