Quite a Week

This involves a bus, a plane, a van and a ferry. It started on Sunday —

I’ve been looking to purchase a used mini-van for use as our ministry in Europe expands. Our little red car is getting a little long in the tooth, and I felt that the time may have come to find a good traveling car since I’m on the road so much these days.

I have been looking for cars in Germany. Prices are lower there, and Germans take good care of their cars. A month ago I sent an email to a private seller (not a dealer) in Germany but never heard back from him. I looked at a lot of other cars after that . . . .

Sunday: After driving from Russia to Estonia, I check my spam folder and notice a reply from the seller; it’s three weeks old. I write asking if the van is still for sale, and it is. We exchange several emails as I get more information. After talking with Olga and coming to agreement, I book a flight to Hamburg (using frequent flyer miles).

Monday: After taking care of some business in Jõhvi, I take a bus to Tallinn and spend the night with friends.

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Snapshots from Russia

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.