Stuff continues to happen. This is a very far cry from quiet leisurely days back on the rivah. New Years Eve, for instance, sounded like we were in the middle of a battlefield. On every side rockets were flying up, firecrackers were booming (not the insipid things that pass for fireworks now, but the stuff you used to be able to shoot off back in the fifties), and the whole affair went on for maybe 30 minutes.
Now it’s back to work.
The past three mornings I have been fulfilling some of my obligation to be somewhat useful to the staff here at LCC by handing out textbooks to students. As I mentioned before, the university buys all the books and then the students sign them out for the semester and return them at the end. I had a bit of trouble always hearing the right titles with all the various accents, but in the end all the students got their correct books and now I’m free until next Friday when I will be preparing coffee and goodies for a get together for local teachers. I will be babysitting with Noah a couple of mornings a week also.
Chuck is also free on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons so yesterday, given that it was a beautiful day (which means it was not raining and was not terribly cold or windy), we decided we’d check out the Baltic Sea. After all, we have been here 3 weeks, live less than 2 miles from the sea, and have never seen it. We took a bus toward the beach as far as we could go and then walked a bit and there it was, looking much like other seas. We were surprised to see so many people out enjoying a stroll along the water too–I guess days without rain here have to be taken advantage of (it is pouring down again today.) We were hoping to find some amber among the stones and sea shells left by the tide but no such luck. I did bring home an impressive collection of beach glass and am trying to think of something creative to do with it. Any suggestions?
I spent an hour or so yesterday browsing in the library and found many books I want to read–it is nice to have all this available so nearby and available time as well. I’m starting out with Nicolai Gogol and Henry James–trying to fill in some blanks in my “have read” list. In the meantime we have just finished a book we’d both like to recommend. It is the story, in novel form, of a family of Lithuanians deported to Siberia by the Soviets during the Second World War, written by a descendant of that family who was born in the USA. It is actually written for young readers but we found it quite a good read. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Let us know if you read it.
Given there are no Episcopal or Anglican churches here, I think church will be one of the things we miss the most. We actually attended 3 church services last weekend–an interesting assortment of styles. On Saturday morning we were invited to go with a young woman who works at the university to an Orthodox Christmas service in a large Russian Orthodox church. I did not think it appropriate to take a camera but will need to go back and get some photos of this picturesque church. The service was total mayhem with people milling about and bumping into us (no pews, SRO)–therefore, it was not so inspirational as it could have been. The young woman, Julianna, explained that it was because, like us, they have a lot of people there for Christmas service who are not regular attendees and didn’t know what they were doing. On Sunday evening, we went downtown to the Salvation Army and attended a service which is made up of Americans teaching at LCC. This was a standard, Evangelical-type service–several songs and then a sermon. Then an hour later, we participated in a home service of a cult. Chuck had met a young woman at the lecture series which is now going on at LCC and invited her to our apartment to discuss faith issues. She is a missionary from Portland, Oregon, living with another young woman from Washington and BC (simultaneously) who have been sent here by a church which has no name, no building, nothing written but a hymnal of songs by members and no plan as to what they intend to do here. They merely wait for people to approach them and then they invite them to their home church if they seem interested. We were number 2 and 3 as the first woman they had invited could no longer come. The service consisted of 2 songs and then each person talked about what a certain, pre-selected, scripture caused them to think . No comments on what anyone said were allowed. As there were just the 4 of us, that didn’t take long even with Chuck being one of the 4. 🙂 If you wish to know more about this cult, Google “Sects–The Truth”. We’d never heard of it before.
I am also including pictures of the Soviet area apartments that are everywhere here–miles and miles of them– all exactly the same. Such dreary architecture. At least in the Old Town section of the city, there are some lovely buildings. These pictures were taken near LCC.
It is time to get dinner prepared so we can go off to another lecture in the January series from Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan – LCC is Europe’s only remote site)–about how the New Generation of Christians is restoring the Faith–should be interesting . Chuck intends to post again after he’s had a week or so under his belt. He’s got his hands full!