On the occasion I thought I’d look up the journal entry I wrote on my first day here. It feels like it was written by another person. There are lots of prayers and Bible verses, it seems so idealistic looking back now, but some of my very first impressions were really pretty insightful.
I remember arriving exhausted and scared, trying to put on a brave face. I felt loud and clumsy meeting my clean, quiet, introverted new roommates. Late at night after dragging two enormous suitcases into my new apartment we sat down in the tiny kitchen for tea and someone took out a package of foil-wrapped homemade brownies they’d been carrying around in their purse all day. Two days later (probably up before the sun with jet lag) I wrote this:
“Wow. I just love this apartment so much. I feel so sophisticated living in Moscow. This is only day two, so I guess that I shouldn’t jump to conclusions, but there is really no place I’d rather be than right here. I really like my roommate. And I just met with some of my bosses from Globus too. They seem very nice and very approachable…
…So far here I’ve had conversations about money, God and Moscow – what people think about Moscow and what their first impressions are. I’m tired…
You know, here’s something about Moscow: friendliness is so powerful here! My roommate said the reason she liked the U.S. was because she felt like a human being there. People don’t feel like people in Moscow! It’s a hard life. People are pushy and rude and self-centered. You have to wear a mask when you walk out of the house. So when you do treat people the way God meant for them to be treated, I think that it’s really powerful. I like Moscow, it’s crazy though.” – September 8, 2007
Then, just one day later:
“It was cloudy, cold and kind of rainy today. No one was on skype. I felt sad today…God, teach me how to live in Moscow. Can you live here without fear?! I am so afraid to even walk down the street – everything is so unfamiliar.” -September 9, 2007
Moving to Moscow four years ago was definitely a roller coaster ride, and it was really hard. I love that it’s been a part of my life, though. I love looking back and seeing that I moved here with only two suitcases and two friends, and God just gave me a life here – a family, friends, faith, health, a career. I had next to nothing – a stranger in a strange land (as they say), and He has created an entire world for me over here!
“If I rise on the wings of the day, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, and Your right hand will hold me fast.” -Psalm 139:9-10