in General

The trip has begun. We left Fort Wayne on Wednesday around 11:30 or so, thanks to help packing and distracting the kids from Alice. We went to Lake Village to deposit the kids with Aunt Christine. We came a day early to help the kids settle in. Plus Anne and I are already exhausted from cramming out the last couple days of classes, papers, and exams. The kids like the adopted newborn bunnies and will enjoy their time there.

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This first evening we visited the baptist home church across the street. It met my expectations which weren’t especially high. I missed Christ-crucified theology and read some more of Köberle “the Quest for Holiness” and the penultimate “Lost” episode before going to bed. We’re going to miss all the season finales! (Go-go TiVO!)

On Thursday morning Anne, I, Christine, and Peyton drove up to Chicago. We met Aunt Julie for lunch and then she drove us the airport. It will be our last taste of authentic American dining. It was a pleasant comfort-food experience before the stress and challenges of traveling.

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Security at O’Hare was uneventful. Baggage check was simple. We waited at the gate and met three students and one wife coming from Fort Wayne. We were all sitting within rows of each other on the plane. Our flight departed without a hitch.
Fly Lufthansa (or perhaps many of these european airlines.)They have wine and they give you hot wipes throughout the flight. We had real food and snacks throughout. My chicken even had a bone in it. :)

We arrived in Frankfurt, Germany at 6:19 local time on Friday morning. We met up with our instructor Prof. Pless, as well Prof. Quill and another student who had earlier flights. Now we have our full entourage of five students, two wives, and two professors. Our flight left at 8:40 am for St. Petersburg.

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The St. Petersburg airport was the first wake-up call that we were in a different country. It was small and not modern. There were women in heels and military green. The line for security was horrendous. We skipped it and made our own line through the resident customs.

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St. Petersburg is an odd mix of modern, ancient, and communist. There are colorful billboards plastered over every 50-80’s era building and even over some of the more ancient ones. Then there are the older buildings which aren’t really restored but modified, altered, and renovated to accomplish the modern needs. We’re staying in a bed/breakfast that is on the upper floor of a six-floor building. By all measures, one would have no idea it was a bed/breakfast from the outside. The owners are Russians from England (and consequently Anglicans.) It makes for an odd mix.

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The shower was luke-warm but welcome this morning. The twelve hours in the plane makes for grunginess. The airline helps with their hot towlettes. The water is extremely hard and yellow. No big surprise here! It’s a little odd being paranoid about the water but I suppose I’ll get used to it. I look forward to breakfast, whatever it might be. We’re going to go on a walking tour today to see “Spilled Blood” cathedral and whatever else our guide has lined up for us. The weather is very temperate with jeans and polo almost too warm. I understand that being so close to water mediates this. No wonder all the Czars liked living here and are buried here.

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We went walking around dinner time and ended up at an Italian restaraunt. It was good and affordable.

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We leave for Novosibirsk at around 5 pm, arriving there sometime around 1 or 2 AM Sunday time. its currently 7 AM Saturday but 11 PM Friday your time. It’s 10 AM Saturday in Novosibirsk.

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