Monday, January 6, 2014

St. Nicholas, Рождество, and Epiphany

Blogpost 6 Dec 2013

Saint Nicholas/Свт. Николай

I am titling this post St. Nicholas b/c today (as I’m writing, not necessarily as I’m posting), December 6th, is the Feast Day for St. Nicholas. I am a huge fan of St. Nick, both the Bishop of Myra in the 4th century, and the mythical man better known as Santa Claus, and for you Russians, Father Frost. I have a collection of Santas, and I wear a pendant of St. Nicholas around my neck.

It finally actually started to feel like winter (somewhat) yesterday morn (you all know the word morning, sometimes we shorten it. Still утро), Thursday, December 5th. We had a temperature at 8am of -3C and some I found ice in a bucket outside. Of course the day warmed up, but it was still cool in the morning.

As for other events that have happened, my work at the church is going well, but I’m still not succeeding at finding other work to add to it. I learned on Wednesday that I was not going to be hired for a second job I applied for. I was sad because I thought that I would be good for it. I would grade the grammar for an educational programming company before they sent their program out to be used (I would be an editor basically making sure the English was grade level appropriate). I am, however, becoming better at using the computer programs we use at work (they were new to me and I was not very good when I started).

Daria and I are becoming more sad about how far we live from things and how much time it takes to go anywhere interesting.

As some of you probably know, we had Thanksgiving a little over a week ago (last Thursday of November). It was a crazy family event with lots of anxiety and tension. The food was pretty good, but the preparation was very stressful. We also played a game called “Ticket to Ride” (a board game from Germany that is about trains). Also quite stressful, and not relaxing. I enjoyed my time with my brother and the individual time I had with my parents, but everyone together was just stressful and anxiety producing.

Added on January 5th – Reflecting more on Thanksgiving, I guess even though it was stressful, we did have a good time and everyone seems to have gotten over the issues that we had.

More concerning December, while I was excited about St. Nicholas’ day, Advent (the time before Christmas) was very crazy. There was lots of stuff to do at work as the Church prepared for all the holidays. I also had to try and prepare lots of work for the days that I would be gone visiting my parents. This meant that I did not do my own Advent rituals that I like to do such as lighting candles and doing specific prayers.

Some fun things that have happened: On Friday, November 22 we had a fellowship dinner at the church that had various activities. One of them was brewing beer and we made a delicious beer that we bottled on Dec. 15th and I enjoyed a little with my parents on Christmas day. I don’t know how many people make their own beer in Russia, but if I can get the materials and ingredients I would certainly like to try when we return.

Speaking of returning, there is the possibility that we will return this coming August. Daria might have a job at SPBGU (the university there). This would be exciting and I hope that we can do it.

Other things: On December 24th Daria and I drove up to my parents’ house in Minden, Nevada to spend the holidays with them. We met with my sister and my two nieces in Lodi, California on the way, which was fantastic because I haven’t seen them in a long time (I was finally able to give my sister the vodka I brought from Russia for her). It was also great to see my nieces, one of whom is graduating college in May, the other who finished high school last year. While at my parents we relaxed, watched TV, played card games, drank scotch, went hiking, went skiing, went snowshoeing, went up to Tahoe to walk around, met up with my best friend from childhood, ate at a delicious brewpub (bar that brews/makes their own beer), and celebrated the new year in Tahoe. Oh, and we watched lots of American College football (mostly my dad and I – Daria and my mom weren’t as happy about watching so much football). When driving back down to SoCal, Daria and I with many others helped a man who had driven off the road. Mostly it was make sure he stayed warm and then went to get authorities and medical help. We did not do any first aid/medical help. I have not written about other things, but look through the photo blogs for some other events of life here.

Lastly, to wrap this up (phrasal verb – same as finish), tomorrow is January 6th, which is the Nativity for you (Christmas), and Epiphany for us, after the 12 days of Christmas has passed. I hope that you all are having a wonderful time off for the holidays.

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