Jordans in Siberia (and Michigan)

Keeping up with daily life of the Jordans


Four Events

by Eric

I have been wanting to make a post for quite a while, therefore I will make a post that covers four events, not one.

The first thing is a party we had just to pass the time. I’m sorry that the only picture I have about this is the string of twenty hot dogs that we turned into pigs in a blanket, which we delivered to a living room full of friends with whom we watched an old Disney movie.

The hot dogs

The second event is a trip to McBuryat’s. It is one of the two spoofs of McDonald’s (sometime I’m going to have to write about the other spoof, McBurger’s.)  The pictures tell the story.

One McBuryat’s set (hamburger/cheeseburger/hot dog, two Buryat dumplings and tea) and one Americano set (hamburger/cheeseburger/hot dog, fries and “Pepsi”)
The rather small kitchen where all the food was prepared.
After eating I still felt hungry, so I got a double hot dog.  One hot dog kept falling out of the bun.

The third event, almost the most recent and definitely most exasperating, was my mom and dad’s college English class having a Thanksgiving party which I was forced to attend as a native speaker of English.

Thanksgiving at the university English class.
There were way too many people for me. (Here they are playing a game–it got pretty noisy!)

The fourth (music), the most important (soldiers stand at attention), the most exciting event (drum roll), so recent that my dad got home from there half way through this blog post, is going to help put up the framework on the second story of our friends’ house (applause and fireworks).

This is the house that Jack built…no, that a lot of people have helped out on.
This is the floor or lack thereof on the second floor of the house that Jack built…
This a picture of the floor or lack thereof on the second floor of the house that Jack built. (This looks down into the basement.) The ice that covered the boards made us a little uneasy.
The easiest way across a large chasm in the floor.
The ground crew devotedly sawing boards to necessary lengths.
A view through the window of the house that Jack built.

PS  This was almost ready to publish when our Thanksgiving guests arrived on Saturday evening.  (Yes, they were a little late, but we planned the meal for Saturday, not Thursday!)  Since then we’ve been so busy that now it is Wednesday night and we are FINALLY getting this finished!


1 Comment

Of Archery and Sheep–Home Perspective

Sunday November 11 Alan went to an archery tournament.  That’s not his normal Sunday activity, but the day-long event with his Buryat friends was the right thing to do on that day.  Towards evening, Alan and I began to exchange text messages.  I will record our texted conversation here.

18:31 A: leaving for home. have to do something with some sheep en route.

18:32 J: Whose sheep? In car with you?

18:36 A: i sent this earlier, but now i see it did not go. *****we are arriving–two hours driving once we left.  roads clear.

18:38 J: That was confusing.

18:40 5 sheep in car, 3 different owners.  i am not in car.

18:41 J: So where are you? You can tell me later.

(After this the boys had a great time guessing if Daddy was riding home on the roof rack or in the trunk.  Darin hoped that Alan had won a sheep for his shooting and sent the following message.)

19:16 J: Can we have a pet sheep? Love, Darin

(no response)

22:28 J: In bed but not asleep yet.  See you soon?

22:30 A: we are in the city, hope to be home soon

He was home soon–and he didn’t bring any sheep into our apartment.   As for the rest of the mystery…hopefully he’ll have time to tell you soon!


Milk Run

Growing boys drink a lot of milk.
We buy milk here by the liter–if you aren’t used to the conversion, it is roughly 4 liters to the gallon (a little less, but Alan is the one who will give you the decimals).

The plus side of our liters of milk is that we buy boxes (tetra pak) and they can sit on the shelf in the kitchen until we open them.  We do keep milk in the fridge to drink–a very Western idea.  Russians do not like to drink cold things because everyone knows that cold drinks will give you a sore throat or a cold.

The down side of our liters of milk is that they are heavy.  How many liters do you want to carry home from the store?

About every three weeks the boys and I make a milk run.  We buy exclusively milk from a store up the hill–the best milk price in the city.  The trip is a little more than a half mile each way.  And that store often has other deals that catch my eye, so I sometimes lug home a very full and heavy pack.

Eric carries 6 liters, so do I.  Darin takes four.  Ryan three.  So we get 19 liters.  The last time we went, the snow had melted and we went by bicycle.  Eric took pictures to document the event.  I’ll post those here, but he forgot one thing–a picture of the milk!

To be fair, Alan also carries home milk, but usually he just picks it up when he walks by the store.  I think he manages about 10 or 12 liters all by himself!

Next time we will probably pull a sled to carry the milk home.  The temperature here is below zero Fahrenheit now and likely will not warm up again until spring.  Of course…we do have an exciting thought…maybe before we run out of milk after the sled run we will purchase a vehicle.  While the purpose of the car or van will be ministry, we will also use it occasionally for things like family picnics or buying milk!

Walking out to our garage to get the bikes out.
There are two huge keys to open the door. It takes a group effort to get the keys to turn.
Inside the garage. For a rental, it is pretty nice–most of the clutter is ours instead of our landlord’s!
This is the basement or “pit” of the garage. Here everything belongs to the landlord. If we start parking a car in the garage, our bikes will probably spend the winter down here, too.
Ryan pedaling home with a load of milk. This is the lane to the garages–the main road is paved.
A picturesque view of the sidewalk in front of our big yellow store. You can see the road alongside it and the street car track running down the middle of the road.
Another stretch of sidewalk–down the hill back our our neighborhood. Going fast down hill is fun, but there is a path that merges blindly into the sidewalk when you get to the tree covered part at the bottom.
A view of the garages from our third floor apartment.




You can’t get there on Saturday

Last summer our whole family enjoyed a week in the village of Shabur, about 2 hours drive from Ulan-Ude.  Actually, we were only in the village about half of the time–the rest of the time we were out in nature with the kids.
Our boys have fond memories of hiking along the dusty road and across meadows to places where we pitched tents and cooked over open fires.  But all that seems long ago now that snow is on the ground.

“Aunt Tamara” our Moldavian friend leads the kids off on a picnic in July.

Archery in nature–a great summer afternoon.

One Saturday in October Alan had plans to go back to Shabur and begin a monthly time of archery for youth.  But you can’t get to Shabur on Saturday.  You can’t even leave Shabur on Saturday.  At least not by public transportation.

Faced with the option of either being gone from Friday afternoon till Sunday evening (the local bus schedule) or borrowing a car, Alan asked a friend if he’d like to drive to Shabur and see how the archery program works there.  With this arrangement made, Alan was able to fill Friday and Sunday with other activities.

About 7:15 Saturday morning the phone rang.  Our friend was not going to be able to go to Shabur, but his car was still available.  Alan hung up and turned to me.  “Do you and the boys want to go?”
Half an hour later, Darin, Ryan and I were finished with breakfast and ready to leave for the day.  At first the boys were sad to have Eric stay home, but when they saw how much space there was, they knew he wouldn’t have fit.  Eric, for his part, was happy to stay home and visit his best Russian friend Valya.
The car we rode in is a very small type of Russian car known as a “Zhig-oohlee“.  Sometimes the boys call it a “jig-ul-ee.”  We did feel jiggled and we were really packed in with archery equipment filling the trunk and down the middle of the seats as well as bags on our laps and under our feet.  Still, it was a memory-making family time and fun to get out of the city.

When we arrived in Shabur, we were just five or ten minutes ahead of the time that the youth were supposed to be showing up at the “sports hall.”  Still, the pastor’s wife quickly poured us steaming cups of tea and it was  hard for Alan to get away without being fed.

By noon the “sports hall” was set up and ready.  Many of the youth had shot before with Alan and remembered the routine.  The dusty, untreated boards of the floor creaked under our feet and our breath was freezing in the air, but everyone was having fun.

Set up included drilling holes in the walls for anchors to hang the “arrow net” that protects the back wall from arrows. Alan had to put pieces of wood in the holes so that the screws had something to grip.

After two hours the young people wanted to keep shooting, but I was glad for the brief lunch break.  We returned to the warmth of the small kitchen at Pastor Oleg’s home (OK, it is spelled with an O, but it should more like “Ah-leg”).  Luda, his wife, served us steaming bowls of borscht, a traditional vegetable soup with cabbage, beets, potatoes and whatever else is on hand.  Luda and Oleg laughed that if we wanted really good borscht we needed to come back tomorrow because it is always better after it has sat for a day.

The afternoon passed quickly with lots of fun shooting.  Luda joined us and found out that archery is very much to her liking.  As the afternoon warmed, the gym felt warmer, too.  It is heated by a small pipe with hot water that runs the circumference of the room.  I think I will wear a few more layers next time we go!

Oleg was excited to help Luda learn how to shoot.

Ryan likes thinking of Dasha as his “little” sister.

Galya and Dasha enjoy being together.

After all the equipment was put away, we had tea once more with Luda and Oleg.  Their daughters–Galya and Dasha–are age mates for Darin and Ryan and had a lot of fun together.  When it was time to head home Darin went out and said good bye to the goats, chickens and pigs, but not to the unfriendly guard dog.

The ride home was filled with happy talk of a fun day and how we would all like to go again.  Once we have our own vehicle this will be more possible–and ours will not be a car too small to fit our whole family.  For now we just wait and see how the next trip to Shabur will work.  And we know that plans may always change at the last minute!