26 June 2008

Neither here nor there

When I left the USA for Canada in 1972, everything I owned fit into one large backpack. Now that our furniture and most of our books and papers are in storage, everything else we own fits into nine bags--dufflebags, suitcases, backpacks. Getting those things from Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine, was enough of a trial; what will it be like to get them all to Russia?

In any case, those bags are what we're living out of for the next two weeks as we spend time in Maine with friends and relatives, and get ready for the flight to Moscow on July 9. Aside from clothes and shoes, some of the things in those bags:
  • Russia: The Once and Future Empire from Pre-History to Putin, Philip Longworth
  • A History of Modern Russia from Nicholas II to Vladimir Putin, Robert Service
  • Two Bibles: Oxford Annotated with Apocrypha (NRSV) and The Message
  • Bride and Prejudice (DVD; the Indian musical remake of Pride and Prejudice)
  • The May-June issue of Quaker Life, with the appropriate theme of ministry outside the box
  • Sim City 4 (Judy is working on her new city right now; pop. 591)
  • An Anne Tyler novel
  • Rosetta Stone instructional CDs, Russian, levels one and two; a Russian/Norwegian dictionary; a Russian/English idiomatic dictionary; Russian Verbs of Motion
  • The Gift of the Stranger: Faith, Hospitality, and Foreign Language Learning, David I. Smith and Barbara Carvill
  • Another DVD: Crossroads 2007, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Susan Tedeschi, and other guitar heroes; a gift from Mike Slothower
  • A talking stuffed Tigger.

We just found out that Judy's visa has arrived. (I will be using the one I got last year.) So we really can expect to leave on July 9. Right now, living out of bags, we're in a strange zone--neither here nor there. We can't go back to Portland, Oregon; our house will shortly be occupied by someone else. And we're not yet in Elektrostal. The gift of this zone: time to write the reports, answer the e-mails, and make the logistical phone calls we didn't get to do in that last wild flurry of preparation, housecleaning, packing, and goodbye-saying back in Oregon. Time to pray with hope and anticipation. Time to enjoy Maine--for example, the wonderful strawberries Nat brought us today from the place near the Friends China Camp.

To post this entry, I will drive to the village and use the library's high speed wireless Internet connection from my parking place at the library's parking lot. Thank you, librarians!! And village police, don't worry, I won't be parked here much longer.

Righteous links:

When Israel goes to war ... when Israel negotiates

Jim Wallis comments on James Dobson and Tom Minnery, who charge Barack Obama with "dragging biblical understanding through the gutter" and having a "fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution" (based on Wallis's quotations of them). I know lots of Friends pay attention to Dobson and Co.; I hope they're fair-minded enough to look for some context.

"When Religions Talk" (The Economist) and Martin Marty's comments on the article.

My old hero, Albert King, and his version of "Stormy Monday Blues."

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