Saying Goodbye to Krasnodar

February 2007  -  Ann

 

As we leave ?K-Town?, as Robert calls it, we are so grateful for the 18 months we have had here.  Months to adjust to living in a foreign country, learning to get around in public transportation, shop the local markets, learn to negotiate with people and get a basic foundation of the Russian language.  Oh, we still have a

l-o-n-g way to go before we will be able to effectively communicate our hearts but New View Culture/Language Center has given us a great start.

 

Robert does pretty well at communicating the basic ideas and, if people go slow enough he can pretty much decifer what they are saying.  I, am still tongue-tied for the most part, trying to figure out how to form a sentence.  And so often I recognize words and phrases that I know are familiar but just can?t quite nail it.

 

But I am having some success stories of actually being able to get my point across in Russian.  But the exciting hurdle is that I am over the fear of wanting to try.  Dwight Gradin, with Missionary Training Institute and former Wycliff translator to Vietnam, would tell us over and over again in our pre-field training, that we needed to make at least a million mistakes in order to begin to learn a new language.

 

Well, I am chalking those mistakes up and I?m learning more.  I used to be so afraid of making mistakes that I stayed in my head and the books, trying to ?get it right, before I spoke.  So I am applying what everybody has been telling me, including Robert ? I am getting out there and butchering the language!

 

But saying good-be to this chapter on our lives is bittersweet because we are separating from relationships that we have come to love and cherish.  So many of the people in our lives in Krasnodar I don?t have pictures of but they will forever be in our hearts and hopefully we will see them again, if not here, then on the other side . . . for all eternity!

 

These are the kids of many of our classmates from language school and we were sort of like surrogate grandparents to them.  It was great!

 

 

We participated in a marriage book study with three young couples last year.  I think by the time it was over they knew we weren?t ?experts? and took us off the pedestal, but we sure did have a lot of fun.

Last fall we hosted a ?Tex-Mex? dinner at our flat for the class we worked with at the public school in Krasnodar.  First time for most of them to have tacos, quacamole, and chocolate chip cookies.  (Okay chocolate chip cookies aren?t exactly Tex-Mex, but it was the closest thing I could get that represented a taste of our homeland.)

 

While in Krasnodar we had the best landlord situation.  Not only did we rent their lovely flat at a reasonable price (that remarkably never went up), but we were invited to their home on occasion as guests for dinner and always enjoyed true Russian hospitality.  Here Robert and Alexander are enjoying their newest family addition, Maxim.  They also have two beautiful teenage daughters, Julia and Lena.

 

Larissa was one of my language helpers that patiently worked with me.  Her husband, Stas and Robert instantly connected and were fast friends, despite language differences.

This is my other language helper, Sasha and the daughter of our pastor.  For such a young lady she has the maturity and faith of a much older person.  I will never forget her holding me and comforting me as I sobbed in her arms because I was so frustrated with a grammar point.  What a gift from God!

 

We are already missing our friends from Krasnodar, but it has become so obvious that God has us right where we were meant to be, in Voronezh.