Thursday, May 26, 2016

On not moving anywhere

Things have been changing this spring.

In January and February I was a bad wife, always complaining to D about moving to Ukraine/Bulgaria/Georgia/any other nearby countries that end in a vowel. To be honest, I'd been doing this ever since we left Ukraine; complaining, but not really putting the effort in to make things change. By March he was threatening to ship me off solo to one of those countries ;) I even applied to teach in Russia with EF, though they instead wanted teachers to come to China.

At that point the plan was for me to go somewhere and get something started, after which D would come along with Кит. (But spoiler alert: there is no exciting airline-tickets-required move coming up.)

We spent hours, days, weeks talking in circles. I thought about what it would really be like, as much as it's possible to imagine the unknown. Sometimes I feel old now, and a worrier of fears I didn't have when I was younger. Maybe that's what stopped this plan, or maybe I remembered going to Russia alone in 2006 and missing him so much. Right as we were in the middle of these conversations, a whole bunch of other (not bad) stuff happened.

First, D's family decided to move to Hawaii. Then we discovered a few short-term options for language schools abroad. After that, I had to go in for some medical tests. And finally, exactly one year to the day from leaving my old citizenship job, I started a new job. Everything happened so fast that it was more a time of reacting than anything else. By the end of the month, the days of тоска were almost gone. Living in Portland still feels like the wrong answer to an important question, but it's easier now to focus on other things.

D has been really busy helping his family with the move. Hawaii is probably not such a bad place to have relatives in, I guess :p It's hard to imagine a Russian-speaking community on one of those islands, but apparently it does exist (as verified by Facebook, of course).

His family used this bag when they originally moved to the US. It had been living an unexciting life in our closet... but now it's living in Hawaii!

The medical stuff worked out, more or less. Now a year down this road, I can't be totally ungrateful for the endo. It's funny how diseases are often the only thing that will get us to stop and pay attention to our health.

The language school thing we're still working on, so I want to take it Ukrainian-style and not jinx things by talking about them. The new job, though, is great! It happened totally out of the blue. I'd been teaching English online for seven months when I heard about a content writing job for English language learners. It's mostly remote work, which is really fun to try on for size. I put the online English teaching on pause for the summer, and now write words for money!

And there have been all the little fun things these past couple months. We got to dogsit this cute guy for a few days-

The flowers smell soooo good right now. This out-of-control bush is the best-

Lots of good mail rolling in recently. Thank you, penpals-

In March I went to a tutoring conference in another part of town. The walk to and from the conference was gorgeous! (More on the conference to come.)

Spring also means a) outdoor drinking and b) spring cleaning. We kicked off the drinking with a trip on Brewcycle (giant bicycle that you pedal from bar to bar) for my mom's birthday. She did awesome on this outing with a bunch of drunk 22-year-old girls and tipsy Polish tourists :) On St. Patrick's Day, D and I walked all over downtown looking for green beer and finally settled for cider-

And a few of the spring cleaning items-

More sheet music from Ukraine here.

I still miss Ukraine a lot, but the ache is not as sharp. When news comes from Ukraine now, it seems like a different country, like the place we spent those years in is gone. And it is. Ukraine is becoming something new, and birth is always a long, messy process. Like everyone watching from abroad, I hope the pain changes to openness and opportunity. For a long time I felt guilty about not being there and not being able to help. More and more, though, I just feel like a outsider when it comes to Ukraine.

Part of me is disappointed in not moving off to [insert random Cyrillic-y country here]. We probably could have made it happen? Maybe? It's not totally out of the picture yet, but I feel like the longer we wait, the more unlikely it is. January and February I built it up into such a huge, now-or-never thing. I don't know what happens with more waiting. What if we get the student loans paid off at last, and then have a child? Can we still follow that path with a cat and a baby? Does baby = car = house = more loans? the million other accompanying questions that everyone has to figure out for themselves. My two goals for this year were a) Cyrillic-y country and b) baby. Totally the worst goal combo ever, I know :p

For the moment, our holding pattern continues. As far as holding patterns go, it's a pretty good one. And it feels like we've gotten a little closer to a landing, even if it's not in the place we thought it would be.


  1. I find that the changing of the seasons always brings about many deep thoughts. The desire to move and explore is the sure sign of an adventurous spirit and I have definitely had times in my life when I've wanted nothing more than to move away and start a new life in a new place. The middle of this month, however, marked 2 years in Munich for me and I'm valuing more and more these days putting down roots. I think that the career, home, family stage of life is also so incredibly exciting and precious...and one can still explore the world through travel! :) Best of luck as you continue on in this stage of life, making every day an adventure no matter where in the world you may be!

    1. Danke, Chelsea! I hope I'm working up courage for the career, home, family stage of life... takes a lot more than I thought.

      Speaking of an adventurous spirit, your summer travel plans sound AMAZING. Please blog every single moment from Kyiv and Kharkiv and the -stans!

  2. You totally sound like me. I'd be begging and begging to move somewhere too. I do that kind of thing all the time.

    Also, don't feel like you are getting too old. There are expats living here and they moved here with their son when he was young and they had twins while they were living in Russia. If it's meant to be it'll happen. I have the same worry. I'd love to stay here indefinitely, but my American bank account is running low and I need to pay back student loans. :(

    1. Thank you for the vote of confidence, Jasilyn :) Having twins in Russia, wow- that's really something! If that happened to us, I'd name them "Dasha" and "Masha" or something cheesy like that, haha.

      That student loan thing is a drag. It's part of what pulled us back here. Hope you get to enjoy your time in Ufa as long as possible!