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BIG News Blog!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hello Sparkers,

What a December it’s been! First of all happy holidays to you, I hope you enjoyed them immensely. I know I did (they went too fast) and due to a stressful a snafu and politics I was fortunate enough to still be here to celebrate.

Big news time: at the end of September I finalized a teaching contract that will take me to Russia---very shortly---in about a week if my visa *finally* comes back. Maybe I should have shared earlier and I wish I was more enthusiastic but after the insanity that was my rescinded teaching contract in Turkey (the one I lost because I walk differently!) this summer I have to be cautious with everything.

Those of you of you who have been to Russia or are thinking of going to Russia take this as a cautionary tale: the red tape is unreal!

Embassies that won’t answer their phones, invitation letters, mandatory medical tests and to top this all off as a seasoned traveler with a less than pristine passport (it’s kind of ugly) my entire passport nearly got rejected by the Russian embassy and State Department! This would have meant an expensive trip to obtain an emergency passport and a whole new invitation letter which my respective employer was not necessarily willing to do.

Two weeks ago as I was dealing with this utter bucket of stress borderline bullying my immune system totally gave out. I got a terrible cold-flu. Barely unable to stand without coughing and congested I had to give up working out. To keep me occupied and tearing my hair out was the pressure to already be in Russia and working. …But anyone with one stand of common sense knows that you cannot force a government---any government---to do anything faster than it wants to. Scared that I might lose my job altogether I tried once more to call my respective embassy and they answered their phone! I was told to just send my passport to the embassy and they would ‘make a special favour for me.’ Eschewing the usurious visa agency I had been using up until then I sent my passport away… as far as I know ‘Stampy’ is in Seattle and will be coming back to me shortly with a pretty new sticker!

I promise you I am excited about this but the stress of moving, leaving my family and the less than friendly response of my new employer to inevitable snafus has got me a little down.

Here’s the part of the blog where I talk about health and nutrition! Ha! I have been extremely fortunate that despite being sick, stressed and not eating the greatest (Christmas food) that I have only gone up four pounds. I do think the Christmas rush of spending hours walking in stores with my Mom getting ready for Christmas has to be thanked for this! Just today alone I spent about three hours walking and on my feet. I plan to resume running tomorrow and listen closely to my lungs to make sure I am not overdoing it.

Besides starting a new job a big part of my Russia anxiety is wondering how I am going to keep working out and eating right in such a different, culture, climate and schedule. In the back of my mind I am terrified that I am also going to be depressed and homesick for at least a month.

I will update on my status as my impending voyage develops.


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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    How exciting ! Bummer about the red tape, but I guess that goes with the territory. eh-hem... but still, how exciting to be teaching in Russia !

    I wouldn't worry too much about finding ways to exercise. I'm sure there are plenty of good gyms there for reasonable prices. Just think of it, kettle bell training with REAL RUSSIANS !! LOL !!! Why not ? take up kettle bell training. How about ballet classes ? Russia is famous for its dance academies. There are going to be plenty of things you can do for exercise, no need to worry about that.

    As far as eating, I know they have most of the American fast food places there. not that that's a consolation. But, at least you know what you can and can't eat at a place like McDonalds or KFC. Otherwise, do you like beets ? not they eat borscht every day, but figure on soups to be a good option for quick healthy meals.

    Since you are a highly seasoned traveler, I'm sure you'll adapt quickly.

    This really is exciting ! Guess I should look into the paperwork necessary to get a visa for India. ya never know.

    3346 days ago
    Congratulations on the new job! Good luck to you!
    3348 days ago
    How exciting/overwhelming/facinating...
    Best wishes on your new challenge!
    3348 days ago
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    Hi Samantha ! I am sure it will all work out ok !
    Congratulations on your new job in Russia!! .
    I am sure you will do well and enjoy the new way of life !!
    Hugs and Good Luck!! Susie emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3349 days ago
    That is big news. I'm glad you got the new job. It will be a big change, but you'll adjust. Give yourself time.
    3349 days ago
    I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Moscow during my senior year in high school (15 years ago, now). It was a wonderful experience. I hope you enjoy teaching in Russia. I can tell you when my less-fitter self was there, exercise wasn't a problem because we walked EVERYWHERE! I'm sure you don't need to be told this, but make sure you take time to sight-see.
    3349 days ago
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