Yes. It's actually happening. I'm moving to Russia in 7 weeks, 2 days and 16 hours. I worked that out myself, so potentially the hours are wrong, but even so, this is SOON.
It's not like I didn't know it was going to happen (I did sign up to do a course where I would have to spend a year in Russia!) but now it has come so soon I'm not sure I am altogether ready for it.
If you're reading this then I'm guessing that you know how I ended up studying Russian and letting Russia take over my life, but for the few of you who have missed out on the story here's a quick version:
When I was 17 I got involved with the charity in Russia. I spent a week working in an orphanage in a place called Kostino and the experience pretty much changed my whole life. For a start I became a Christian, after seeing the amazing way people in the charity shared the love of God with the children in Russia and how God was really working through them all my questions about God were answered - but this is another story (contact me if you want to know the full version!). I also felt that I wanted to do something else for the children in Russia. I couldn't spend a week there and then forget about them, I needed to do more. So after much thought I decided to apply to do Russian at university. Not an altogether wise decision at the time, mainly because not only had I never studied Russian, I also didn't study a foreign language at A-level, so in the words of my form tutor 'you have pretty much no chance of getting on any of these courses'. Excellent. But she was wrong. I got accepted onto all the courses I applied for (I'm pretty sure God had a big hand in this!). I chose Birmingham and have been studying Russian for two years, still visiting orphanages in Russia every summer with the charity. But now is a bigger challenge, I'm going for a whole year…
I'm going to be living in Moscow and studying at Moscow Language Link, a kind of university for foreign students. My main project for the year will be writing a dissertation style project in Russian on orphanages. I'm excited to be doing this as it will give me an opportunity to visit projects that I haven't been able to see before.
I'd love to say that I'm relaxed, chilled out and excited about the challenge ahead. But this is a lie. I'm certainly excited but I am also TERRIFIED! Most nights instead of sleeping I have started playing a game called ‘Let’s think of all the bad things that could happen in Russia’ I do not choose to play this game. My brain seems to force it upon me no matter how many times I try to count sheep. Some of my favorites from the game are: What if I can't get to my flat from the airport and I'm left stranded? What if I don't understand the woman I live with? What if I can't get the internet to work? (Facebook as ever will be essential to have as soon as I land. I can never feel fully right as a student unless I spend at least an hour a day wasting time/stalking people.)
However I feel the main worry is: What if I've forgotten all my Russian? To try and combat this I'm reading Bridget Jones in Russian. Not the most effective way to learn Russian (according to my teachers), but I don't think my brain could handle grammar exercises over the summer.
I feel like my Russian adventure has already begun to some extent. After many tearful goodbyes I've left my life in Birmingham for a whole year… It took me 2 years to settle in and now I'm gone! Sigh, all this moving around is really going to take its toll on my emotions.
At the moment I feel like I'm stuck in the departure lounge at the airport, waiting to go... except the departure lounge is Huddersfield and I've got another 7 weeks of waiting to do. That’s another 7 weeks of thinking of everything that can possibly go wrong. Oh dear.
In the meantime I'm going to Russia on 1st August for a week. I'll be working in an orphanage in a place called Yerlatma. It will be good to have an opportunity to practice some Russian before I go! This will be my 4th visit to Russia and for the first time I'm not feeling nervous about it. I trust that God is preparing this trip and although it will be stressful and emotionally tiring, it's also going to be a great week where so many children’s lives are going to be impacted for the better.
Anyway, enough ramblings for now.