August 26th: Multipurpose Towels and Borscht

I still get water all over the floor when I take a shower here. I am doing a bit better, and I actually kind of like being able to hold the shower head in my hand while I wash my hair. Keeping it from splattering the walls and onto the floor, well, that’s something I haven’t yet mastered. Every morning, after finishing my warm shower (which takes several minutes to heat up, but eventually comes!), I reach to the metal hook on the wall that is covered in a fresh coat of shower water that missed my head, and I grab a pink or brown or blue towel that hardly covers my body. I use it first, to wipe off my face, since I need to see. And every morning I am greeted with the sensation of sandpaper rubbing against my cheeks. It’s like when Joshua tries to kiss me when he has a few days’ stubble—only worse. At first it bothered me. My cheeks don’t need this daily scratching! But this morning, as I dried my feet, even while the scrapping sensation continued, a thought occurred to me. These towels are multipurpose! Not only do they dry one’s skin, but they exfoliate! No longer do I need Neutorgena’s expensive “daily cleanser with exfoliant”! Instead I can use bar soap and get the same effect when I dry off! Cheers to Russia!

Tonight at dinner we met up with the Bible teachers for the Boaz Project. These great women go in weekly during the school year and tell the children Bible stories. There were two women who spoke English, and one who didn’t (between them they cover 6 orphanages). For the woman who didn’t, we had Nickoli (Kolya), to interpret. As well, David had invited two of his friends from when he lived here: Artom (sort of pronounced Arteyom), and Katya. They are married now, they must have gotten married just after David left. And they are the most precious couple. Artom is the typical Russian, tall and gangly with a narrow face—but an uncharacteristically cheerful smile. Katya is sweet, with a trim little figure and a darling face framed in a cute bobbed haircut. She actually reminds me of Amanda. And she has this wonderfully sweet demeanor, but is a bit more jumpy and outgoing when she gets excited about something, which also reminds me of Amanda. (Kitchen Woman? Josh? Remember this?)

The meeting was fine. Mostly to check in, see how things were going. We had dinner at this place that was mmmm…. Okay, on food. We ate there the other night, and honestly, I don’t want to be picky, but nothing sounded good tonight. Until we found borscht on the menu. So I ordered a Caesar salad (unfortunate), and borscht. Artom looked at me from the other end of the table and said with his friendly grin, “borscht, Sada? You are going to have a real Russian meal?” I shrugged, giggled embarrassed as everyone’s attention turned to me, and said “I’m going to try it.”

Oh. My. Word.

It was delicious! I mean, I was freaked out at first when it showed up. I knew it had beets in it, but did it have to be so red? I was thinking: cabbage and beets: probably more cabbage than beets: probably greenish with red slivers floating. Nope. Red. But it was good. I’m getting it tomorrow night.

After dinner some of us went for a walk. Artom and Katya had asked David for a walk (it’s what you do to spend time with each other here, like coffee in the states). Artom invited me “Sada, I think we are going for a—mm—walk. You like to come with?” I could have jumped on him and hugged him. A Russian! Wanting to spend time with me? Well, I hope David doesn’t mind my intruding on your time together, because here I come, dangit! And then David asked me himself if I’d like to come, and then Kolya was invited. So I grabbed a sweater (which they thought was funny, but it is quite chilly here after so hot in Denver!) and we set off.

I saw the town, again. I saw the Assumption Cathedral, again. I saw the lookout, again. I saw the Golden Gate, again. But this time I heard all the stories about these places. Katya was very excited to tell me about them when she discovered I like history. Kolya was only too happy to translate. (Which was encouraging, because we had a very awkward moment when we first met.) It was great fun to be included. It was so good to have an actual conversation with people, and to have people want to talk with me. I mean, it was wonderful! I had been feeling lonely, and really displaced. All I could see of a future life in Russia was dull and dreary grey skies, with no one to talk to; a bitter, lonely existence. But nooooo, not after tonight! If I lived here, I might have friends! Who would have imagined? And they were so excited to talk to me, it seemed. So who knows? This was very encouraging. And I’m not saying that I’m going to move here, I’m still not positive if God is calling me to Boaz. Please pray about  that. But tonight made it seem so much more feasible, so much more… possible.

Artom seemed very excited when he invited me for the walk and I accepted. When I told him I was cold, he smiled and said, “you know, David told us a secret. He said you want to come live here, for a whole year. So you must be prepared. This is not cold.”

Well, Artom, you made it seem much more possible for me to come. You and your wife were very encouraging. I think I could handle the cold. Now let’s just pray and see if this is really from God, or if it was simply something in the evening air. (or in the borscht? Teehee)

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