Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Our New Shared Home (Doma)

I write sitting in the bright, tidy and modern kitchen in Natalia's Kvarteera (flat). The sounds of some traffic, children playing at the Kindergarten next door, and the occasional unfamiliar song of a bird or two float in through the open windows that line one side of the room. I feel excited, motivated and a bit concerned about my new role as roommate, visiting Professor, home school mom, and Fulbright scholar.  While I dont think I have any more roles than I do in my usual life, they are different, and I want them to go well.   I am a great one for worrying a lot ahead of time or at the beginning of something and then settling in, so this is par for the course and that realization provides some amount of comfort.

Natalia and our driver from the University met us at the Barnaul Airport (much upgraded since my last visit a few years ago) at 6:00 am.  She left her flat at 2:00 to get there!
A three hour drive south from Barnaul to Gorno at approximiately 120+K per hour, with much to-close-for comfort passing, included a lot of sleeping in the back seat and therefore was pretty uneventful.  those of you familiar with Russian driving will not be suprised by any report of craziness in this aspect of our journey (but later let me tell you about a short Gorno traffic ride that was the most frightening experience I have had in a car to date!!)

The rest of the day was full of jet lag for us.  I think Elsa slept (altogether including the night) about 18 hours!! Willa had a fairly regular schedule, which included playing X-box for the first time with Sergei (and beating him occasionally - worry # 1: how to manage the x-box time with Willa!!) and is right on track now with her sleep schedule.  I talked and walked with Natalia and so kept myself up and collapsed into bed about 11:00 last night.  This morning we are all mostly back to normal.  One more day and we will be like new!

Yesterday we did some walking, shopping and sitting at the table talking about my teaching and our research together.  Today I go into the office at the University at 2:00 and meet some Colleagues and see my office.  Next week my teaching begins and we begin to schedule our research trips into the villages.  WOW its still pretty surreal.  Natalia and I spoke of how strange and happy it was to be sitting together in her kitchen, our children sleeping, playing x-box and doing homework in the : adjacent rooms... We hatched this plan about 6 years ago, but never knew how it would happen.  It is happening.  The Big Lesson: Believe in your dreams, give them a try, and they may just manifest!!!

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