the last few weeks have been a rollercoaster of obnoxious emotions, indecision, etc. art's been looking for work since we got here, with no real success. he had one interview we thought might be good, but a week later the guy came back with an offer of a boring job paying less than half what art asked for. after that we started seriously thinking about coming back. nothing was working. we felt sort of purposeless here, and sugarplum visions of america were dancing in our heads. art could start a business. i could paint. the kids could play outside without the fear of stepping on broken beer bottles or rusty shrapnel. excitement bubbled and plans formed. art bought us plane tickets. things were going in a westerly direction.
then the next day the airline called to say our card didn't go through. there's a limit on how much you can spend over the internet apparently. as he was talking to the airline, someone else called. he didn't answer. later the guy called back--it was a guy from a company wanting an interview with art right then. sort of puzzled, art left and i sat and pondered. perhaps this was God intervening?
he came back and said the job is fairly interesting, the pay is okay--not the best but likely doable--and that the guy would let him know in around a week.
at this point i believe my pet ulcer began to stir within his acidic den.
we waited. i wondered. we prayed. i tried to go about business as usual. friday a bunch of kids came over and i did an english class with them. saturday we went to the kids shelter, where we were promptly kicked out for being a "sect" and using hypnosis to make the kids like us. sunday night i played at music club. then monday came.
the guy called art and said there was another candidate applying, and they would come to a decision about who to pick the next day. also, art would need a tax ID number before he could work, which would involve travelling back to st. petersburg and standing in line forever to get the paper. seemed so uncertain, and like a lot of hoops to jump through. it would be really easy to take the path of least resistance and just throw in the towel. "we tried," etc. that night we went to dinner at lyosha and anya's, and talked about how were going to leave, and what a bummer it was.
well. there's a new development. the guy called art back and offered him the job, paying the original amount (which isn't much) for a probationary period of 90 days, then they will up his pay to the amount art asked for. so he decided to go ahead and try it. all day yesterday he was trying to figure out how to get to st. pete and back with the paper before the first of march, then suddenly he comes bursting into the room flinging stuff everywhere and says he has to go RIGHT NOW cause the only train he can take leaves in an hour. i was so shocked i didn't really know what to do, or ask, or say, so i ran into the kitchen and loaded up a plastic bag with cheese, ham, bread, tea, and a bottle of water. the train to st. pete is two days long, and the restaurant car is gross and expensive. he stuffed some clothes in his backpack, shoved the food in, and ran.
if we were in america, this wouldn't be such a big deal. but he left me for an unspecified amount of time alone with the kids with no food in the house and about 15 bucks. i haven't been alone here before, in fact i haven't gone anywhere with the kids by myself besides the playground. so today i had the joyous experience of getting us all dressed in multiple layers, trying to hold hands down slippery stairs (also carrying four bags of garbage), then making our slippery way down the icy hill to the bus stop. then to the store, where i realized that no amount of frugality is going to make fifteen bucks last five days or more. so i had to drag the kids to the bank. i was a little worried because i wasn't sure i'd know what buttons to push on a russian ATM, but thankfully they had an "english" option. after i withdrew the money i dragged the kids over to the market, got some meat and bananas, and then it started to hail. of course i don't have an umbrella, so there's nothing for it but to trudge along home, being pelted with tiny stinging balls of ice while the kids yell that someone is shooting them in the face. the next conclusion that ilya came to, since we've told him that God makes it rain, is that God is shooting at him. the amusement derived from that was at least enough to help me ignore the icy rivultes of melting hail that were running down the back of my neck.
nearly to the bus stop, sashka starts to scream and go limp, trying to tear his hand out of mine while we're crossing the street. i drag him to the other side, then bribe him with a handy lollipop i saved for just that occasion. getting sticky is apparently a good distraction for a miserable toddler. the fun of chupa chups was enough to carry him home, but for me no amount of candy could distract me from the ten kilos of food on my back, walking uphill on ice while trying to keep two kids from slipping. although there is a sick part of me that was kind of enjoying it in a masochistic sort of way. right in front of our building art texted me that i need to withdraw money from the bank for our rent. there was no way i was going back down that hill again with the kids--the lollipops were history and i could see the crankiness simmering just beneath the surface again. so i decided to get inside, unload my pack-mule self, feed the kids, and ponder my dilemma.
i did that. i also cleaned the kitchen cabinets out, reorganized everything, mopped, and made a walnut torte. still no solution, and i miss art. it's gross and dreary outside and the last thing i want to do is put my wet jeans back on and dress the kids and do it all over again. i just want to read a book and enjoy the baking smells. oh well.