Saturday, October 08, 2011

First Day in Piter

My day started at 5am. No lie. I went to bed last night at midnight and set my alarm for 9. I was like "this is going to be perfect."

At five I found myself lying wide awake in the room at the church where I'm temporarily lodged. My sinuses were draining down my throat so I took some medicine and went back to sleep. Or, I tried. See the problem was that I was tired. I could tell that my body needed more sleep but it wasn't working out so well. I alternately tried to sleep and journaled. Finally, about 8:30 I found myself relaxing enough to get to sleep. The next thing I knew, I was awake looked at my clock and saw that it was noon.

Now, this wouldn't have ordinarily been a problem except that Joel and his family were coming to get me at noon to take me to meet a sister named Zhenya. You can imagine my distress upon waking. Thankfully, things don't run as fast here so my ride wasn't here yet. I promptly jumped in the shower and probably coined a new record for the fastest shower. Ever. I'm talking two minutes max. (Good thing I have short hair.) As I was drying off I heard the buzzer downstairs which meant that Joel & Co were here. I answered the buzzing telephone, explained I overslept and that I would be down as soon as I was dressed.

Fifteen minutes later I made it downstairs. I did have a moment of panic tearing through my suitcases looking for socks before I realized they'd been packed inside my boots. It also took me longer because Russians love locks and I had to lock up the church behind me. Which took a bit.

Once in the car I was informed that instead of being taken to Zhenya's house as previously thought, she would be meeting me at the nearby McDonalds. Which is like two blocks away. The Pettys drove me there. Inside, Zhenya eventually came along and we proceeded to gulyat'. This is a Russian word that means walk. But not really walking to get anywhere. Just walking and talking basically. Which is what we did. All day. We ate at the McDonalds and chatted for a while. Then we wandered down the street and found a place where I could buy a cellphone. I was really glad Zhenya was with me because the guy at the store talked really fast and was really trying hard to upsell. It was kind of intense.

We wandered past pretty much all of the major tourist sites: The Hermitage, St. Issaac's Cathedral, Spas' na Krovi and had just gotten to Mikhailovskii Sad when Zhenya got a call from another sister, also named Zhenya. When she hung up she informed me (If I wasn't too tired) that we were going visiting. I was fine with this since the other alternative was to sit alone in the church and off we went.

We spent several hours visiting with Zhenya and her son Mark. He's just a baby and so it was kind of fun to get to play with him a bit. The two Zhenya's were awesome at including me in conversation, but I felt bad because quite a bit of it went over my head as I was getting tired. I was excited though because when I started this morning, I was able to have all kinds of conversation with Zhenya. We talked about family, church, history, boys all kinds of things and I did pretty well actually. I mentioned when we started that I was nervous about talking because my Russian isn't always the best. Zhenya told me a story about how she used to be really judgmental when people spoke Russian badly. Not necessarily foreigners even, but Russians themselves. But then God reminded her that it's not how you say it, it's what you say. I think she has a good point.

I really enjoyed the fellowship today. I think this year is going to go by pretty fast. Please pray that I'm able to be of good use here.

Tomorrow is the "general assembly" which means the worship time (General as opposed to the small groups and other Bible studies that go on here throughout the week.) I'm looking forward to it. It's kind of intimidating because I'm probably going to be meeting a lot of people all at once, but at the same time I'm super excited!

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