Here’s the view from our kitchen in Podgorica, Montenegro:
A mission team from Athens, GA arrives today. Tomorrow and Friday we’ll meet with university students and early next week we’ll run a youth camp.
I was in Tallinn today for a few reasons. I had a very good visit with my friend Heikki, I picked up my new Russian visa (!), and I met Beth Shanklin at the airport. Beth is a neuro-developmentalist who will be helping us establish Sunbeam; she’ll have a series of meetings with the leadership over the next few days, before we head to Russia on Sunday afternoon.
Oh, the picture is a view the Gothic town hall (c. 1403).
Here is the view looking over the Adriatic as we drove down the coast from the airport in Dubrovnik, Croatia to Zeta, Montenegro. What a wonderful world.
Olga’s brother-in-law Zhelyan and his mother, Slavitsa, met me at the airport and got me safely home. Alla (Olga’s sister) and her son Andrei were here to welcome me. It’s great to be with family.
But I’ve been awake for about 30 hours, so it’s time to hit the hay.
I drove from Estonia into Russia this morning, crossing the border at 7am. It’s cold here now — about -20C (-4F) — and that makes everything beautifully frosty.
On the road from Narva to St. Petersburg:
This is a pretty standard view of our city streets these days —
One of my joys in being part of an international family is introducing Olga (and now Valerie) to my home culture; today (sleepy) Valerie had her first bacon and egg breakfast. This is probably the first time she’s eaten bacon, and she really took to it.
Sergei Tovstpyat and I went to Charlie Chastain’s garage to start his van and put on winter tires (the Chastains return from the US next week and need to have their van at the ready).
It’s common here to rent a garage in an area where there are many garages. This is what it looked like today.
Each little building is a one-car garage. The garage owners rent their plot from a company that owns the land. As you can see, some people have a pile of snow up to the roof because their neighbors shoveled the snow from in front of their garage. Like so many things here, it’s not convenient. It took us a long time just to drive to the garage and then clear the snow from in front of the door.
So, for those of you in the US who wonder why it it can take so long to get things done here in Russia, this is one example of how a simple project can eat up more than half a day.
Tallinn’s Town Hall on the main square in the old city. Town Hall (Tallinna raekoda) is over 600 years old (c.1402) and retains its original form. It is the only gothic style town hall in Northern Europe.
Tavrichesky Palace and Gardens, St. Petersburg Russia. Catherine the Great and her lover/general Grigory Potemkin walked these very paths. The palace was built in the 1780s; it later was the seat the first Russian Parliament (c. 1906), and this is where the Bolsheviks took power.
This park is across the street from our flat; I took the picture walking home from the metro today.