Saturday, January 03, 2009

Any Wise Counselors Out There

Before I get to the serious stuff, here is something fun to share...Guess who came to our house last night........
You guessed it, THE TOOTH FAIRY!! So congrats to my little Anna Banananan, you lost your first tooth, on New Years Eve, 2008. You were very brave, and even the little bit of blood didn't scare you! Mommie is soo proud!

Where there is no wise guidance, the nation falls, but in the multitude of counselors there is victory.

Proverbs 11:14

So, I guess what I am getting at is, I need wise counsel.

Many of you know that I have struggled with my job this year. There is something very off with the way I have approached my job. It feels strangely sad to go everyday, as if there is something broken that I cannot fix.

I have had tough years, but not like this.

The children lack an overall drive to learn and regardless of my "desire to inspire" it is not getting better. My sincere hope is that when I go back next week, I will see the light in their eyes and I can begin to do the job intended.

But, for those of you who don't know, I sent my resume to AAS a few months ago.( School in Moscow and St. Peterburg Russia)

I didn't get a response, but a blogger friend suggested I push a bit more. I sent my resume directly to the principal and got a lovely email. I answered the questions and added a few of my own. I keep saying this is a huge longshot since I would obviously be bringing two children along, and typically they like to hire singles and married couples. (Usually without a granny and two little ones)

Anyway, I have so many reasons to stay here in Virginia. So why do I keep getting pulled in the direction of Russia? I need help here. I need to know why I shouldn't go. Again, I don't have the job, but I need WISE COUNSEL on whether or not this is a crazy idea.

So if there are any WISE COUNSELORS out there, would you pack your family and move overseas or stay at your job where you are comfortable?


Jen Stevens said...

J, you know all the logical reasons say stay in VA, but the logical place isn't always the place God wants us.
Maybe the reason you feel such a pull is because as crazy as it is you are meant to be in Russia for this season of your life (and the girls).
So not what you wanted, but a different perspective.
I hope things get easier at school and that whatever the decision is you can clearly see God's plan.

Rebekah said...

Hi J - I saw your blog on FRUA - we've met a couple times at the Cradle of Hope Embassy event, we adopted our son from Tyumen in 2006. Your girls are so adorable!

Anyway, not sure I am wise but I think Russia would be a fantastic opportunity for you and your girls. They would learn about their heritage, learn Russian, and meet new friends. It is scary but if you do not like it - what is the worst that could happen? You can always come back home. If the opportunity arises and you get the job, perhaps that is the sign you are looking for.

Jojo, Julz, Jules said...

Hey to both of you!
Jen you must have your hands full. I am so sorry I haven't been there to encourage you more.
And Rebekah, did you pursue a 2nd adoption?
My mom is totally on board to go with me, and my dad would visit us at least 3 or 4 times a year...
I don't have the job. I just wonder if I am following God's plan for me, or trying to make my plan his plan...
I will keep praying. But thanks for both of your perspectives.

Annie said...

Wow - having your mom agree to go with you - that is really something.

But, down to realism.

I did also communicate with someone at one of those schools last summer, and they felt that I wouldn't be paid enough to support a family (well I have four older kids rather than two littles). But I also THINK they felt I would want an upscale American existence, when I have a pretty good idea how Russians live and that simplicity is what I want. I didn't bother writing back, as my husband was dead set against it - but as I recently realized - HE's in Korea now! So why not?

BUT, I do think - even before Kate's "serious talk" - I realized that I associate Russia with freedom from the worries of everyday life. More than that - with the exquisite, not-to-be-matched, joy of adoption. I associate Russia with being wildly and truly ALIVE - AWARE - awed with life. I am sure that would pale.

BUT - I'm thinking maybe a year - not forever.

Unfortunately if things had gone normally with my work life, I could have asked for a year's leave. I've been here 23 years and they value me. BUT, my parish is merging with another. So, all has to begin again. I can't exactly interview for a "new" job with a "new" parish and say - oh, by the way..... In some ways, I wish they WOULDN'T hire me for the new parish. I've now coached myself into looking for a new adventure.

Could you possibly be missing the excitement of anticipation? I know that is an issue with me.

Jojo, Julz, Jules said...

I hear what you are saying about associating Russia with all of the wonderfullness of adoption..And being on the most fanstastic vacation of a lifetime...TWICE!

But, I have a big desire to live "differently" than I am living. I want to learn the language. I want to expose my girls to the culture.

How much are thinking that they will pay???
I am in my 18 year of teaching.
I know that they would offer a spot for my daughter at the school, and my little one would stay with my mom... (She's has already said, "If those babies are going, Grannie is going."

I will do my best to hear. TO be quiet and listen. I have never been good at that. I never really hear.
Thanks for such good points to think about!

Annie said...

I certainly know what you mean. When I visited my friends in Moscow I have to say I was awed by the simplicity of their life. Small, spare apartment. Simple kitchen; simple food - healthier. A few clothes; not so many anyone was overwhelmed to tears with laundry. Walking. Public transportation. Generally people SEEMED less materialistic...though perhaps that is mainly the people I spent time with.

In Ivanovo, where I've spent more time than Moscow, I was really impressed by more of a sense of community than I've seen in the states. I think, frankly, this comes from the lack of cars, in part. People walked, talked, sat in public places and enjoyed one another. Shopped at the little markets or bought from stalls on the street.

And, my major in college was Russian. I know it would come back to me if I were there long enough. Plus, I do want my children to be bi-lingual...and keeping up their Russian is the challenge.

You know, I can't remember what they said the salary would be. In fact, I am not sure I asked that specifically - "Would it be 'doable'?" was the thrust of my question. You wouldn't need childcare if your mom was there. And, as I say, I didn't delve because my husband was dead set against it. But he is going to be in Korea for another year at he won't care where I am, so long as we have our daily e-mails.

But - if you go I can live vicariously! But I might look into it, too.

What I had thought might be more "reasonable" is volunteering summers as an English teacher - for room a board for me and my kids, at the boarding school where my oldest son was. It is a school run by the International Red Cross in Ivanovo for gifted children.

But you and I certainly share the desire for something DIFFERENT and something that we saw or sensed in Russia.

And - have you run across a lot of people who really didn't LIKE Russia? Who thought the people were awful? I have. After a realization that they simply have a different set of rules for what is appropriate in social settings, I just fell in love! I don't mind a little "crabby"; beats a lot of insincerity, as far as I'm concerned!

Jojo, Julz, Jules said...

YES many people I have run across didn't like it. But most who adopted from Khabarovsk did like it. Khabarovsk is in the Far East and could not be more different than Moscow. The city took their parks very seriously. I was there for a month in September into October and there were many people walking holding hands, not couples, just groups of young girls or women, or mixed groups. There were tons of folks having picnics. The town is gorgeous, and while I was there adopting I met about 8 families adopting.
It was magical.
Novosibirsk is where the baby is from and my whole court trip was only 11 days so I didn't get to know it much.

I live in a condo right now. It is about 1000 sq. feet and my girls share a room now. So we live simply. (Sort of)
If I find that I don't get the job, or I don't take it if I were to somehow get it, I definately want to do that type of volunteering.
"I will work for Russian lessons."

Thanks for all of the wonderful ideas!!

Rebekah said...

We started our 2nd adoption, finished our home study, and then Cradle ran into its accreditation issues. So, right now we are in a holding pattern - I was hoping that Cradle would resolve things but it looks like we need to find a new agency and I am not sure where to begin. Any suggestions? Plus it looks like adoption in Russia has gotten much more difficult so we are a bit worried. I just feel so lucky to have our little guy home - he is doing fabulous!

kate said...

I came to Russia thinking
1. it would be easier to adopt while living here
2. it would be BETTER for my child/ren to have me know about their culture first-hand
3. I would learn Russian
4. Hooray! I had wanted to visit St. Petersburg specifically and Russia in general since I was eleven. I was so jealous of Samantha Smith!

Well, we know it's been much harder. And, I have been surprised at how much, despite my efforts to the contrary, my life is lived not "in Russia" per se as in a little ex-pat bubble.

Teaching in an international school is not going to give you a simpler life. Right now that's exactly what I'M longing for--a small town somewhere with no cars...maybe a horse...

You will be able to find someone to teach you Russian. Probably. It's amazing to me how many Russian speakers won't because they don't have training in teaching Russian. This is the land of specialists, remember! My Russian teacher has kind of flaked on me...and after school activities took over. My survival Russian is good. But, I can't carry on an in-depth conversation.

The culture we get to experience is from a unique perspective. We are not tourists, but we are not Russians. The ballet, museums, excursions are all easily available. But, it's not the way everyone here lives.

Do I enjoy living here? YES! Most of the time. It's not easy. It's not perfect. But, usually, it's interesting. It's not simple. It's life in a big city. And, I find it's not THAT different from living in London.

Your mom's flexibility is something to consider. How will she deal with life overseas?

Lots to think about!

Annie said...

Just read your response again:



People in Ivanovo certainly LIVED in their parks....there is a beautiful river, with paths on either side of it, and benches, etc. However, the shocking thing for me was the garbage everywhere! Sounds very different than Khabarovsk! People would be sitting on benches chatting, or gathered around them singing and standing ankle-deep in bottles, wrappers, just trash. Just one of those strange Russian paradoxes, I guess! But, I actually got used to it! I remember finding myself on one of my last days there, happily sitting on a bench, watching Ilya play on the river bank and I realized I was kicking around some old medicine bottles. I came to myself with a start! Oh! I'm supposed to be disgusted with this! Nah. Just happy.