Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Flowers and Berries

The flowers in the country are so very pretty. You wouldn't imagine how big the Queen Anne's lace is. You know, the white puffy stuff that looks like cauliflower on top of a green stalk? In the country, Queen Anne's lace is so tall, it's the size of me and taller. And the big flower part is about a foot across, and the stalks were almost an inch across. The short wildflowers are so pretty, they are a girls favorite colors: red, purple, and pink. They are beautiful - like little cups. I would love it if you could smell them. If you were there, it would take five minutes to finish your "ooos" and "aaaahs."

There are also wild berries that taste really good. Some friends of mine showed them to me. They are GREAT. I wish I could send some to all of you. If you pick them fresh here, they taste better than any in America. They have red currants which are mouth-watering.

The reason I know all this is from visiting new friends in the country. They have a cute house that is still being built. To get to the second floor, for example, you have to climb a ladder. Take a load of this: the girls have wallpaper with writing in English. And we're in Russia! My dad says it is kind of hip to write in English here.

Soon after arriving, we went outside -- just us girls. The eldest is Rada, a very pretty name. She is 11. The second eldest is 8 - Anita, a very pretty name I think, too. The youngest is three. They took me to their backyard; it is so big. At the very back, they showed us a little trail through some raspberry bushes. Then we ate the raspberries. They are juicy, delicious, anything you can imagine. Then they took me back into the woods, and they showed me a big clump of blueberries, which I also really enjoyed. When lunchtime came, I was so hungry I thought I heard someone calling us to lunch. It was just the wind; we had run all the way back to the house for nothing. I loved to the time there and was sad when we had to leave.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My first few days

It's really hard here, because I miss my friends so much. I feel like running away and just going home in secret. I really want to see my friends again. I'm glad we have phones and blogs. When I got to Russia and I looked out through the airplane window, my heart felt as if it would sink down to my toes. I couldn't beleive I was actually in the world's biggest country. I couldn't beleive I was staying here. It was so hard to beleive that everything was Russian. As I got into the airport, it felt so hard to understand that we weren't going back. It felt as if my heart would break.

Sure, with my Russian, I was a little clumsy, and I smiled some. But I am learning to understand that Russia is not like America. The way I'm getting used to it is in our apartment. For when you walk in the building, you walk into this smelly and very dirty door. I was sure our place would be so dirty, you would not be able to sit down in comfort. So as you walk up the stairs, the stairs are very very dirty. You can't even sit down and not have a body full of dirt. The railing is chipped; the windows are filthy. The only nice thing about it is the window at our floor. It's all flowery - pictures of flowers at the top. It makes it seem a little like home. Otherwise, there is nothing about the stairway that seems like home.

As you walk into our apartment, you have to use keys. The keys are much different from America's keys. They way you walk in is different. You walk in to this very big door, and you use a key to get through it. They you see two more doors in front of you. One is our neighbors; the other is ours. It is surpising when you walk into our apartment - surprisingly furnished and very clean. It isn't like the stairs, which I am very glad for. The first thing you do when you walk into a Russian apartment is come into a tiny little mud room where you have to take off your shoes. Then you walk into (in ours) the study part. Then, if you keep going, you come to a fork. Two doors are in front of you again: my room and the boys' room. I am very glad I have a room by myself. It makes me feel like we are at home again.

My room has a broken bulb. My doorway has a chinup bar - very nice sometimes. Then you walk into my room and right beside you is a little desk, connected to a bookshelf. To your right, there is a green and white checked sofa. Then is a bunk bed. I sleep on the bottom. It is cold sometimes to fall asleep, because there are no sheets. Sometimes it is hard to wake us, because I still have jetlag. In front of the bunk bed is a TV on a sort of book shelf with tons of movies. I like my room, because it is a nice quiet area with a window; it's a good place to run away to. I spend a lot of time making it my own. My thoughts are that I will always enjoy having a room of my own for this period while we are here. I will tell you about the rest of the house later. God be with you, and I hope He is with me too.