Good Bye 2007
2007 was a tough year for the Lynn’s. A second move from KZ to Yekaterinburg and contemplation of another move back to Denver – not undertaken I am happy to say. Angst, chaos, unhappy relatives (Sophie’s) and realignments up the wazoo for our little clan of three
When I say realignments I mean making life changing CHANGES! Since we came out to this part of the world, we have seen a lot of change in our lives that has just caused us three to have “nerves”. Particularly Sophie and me. We want to make all this work and it is not easy. This is a different – some would say VERY different culture and circumstance, though our creature comforts are not wanting. We just need to find that fine level of equilibrium between us Americans and the Russian mentality.
Example of a simple conflict is my using computer at one of the Universities. They go behind my back and complain that I am hogging up the machines. But do I see anyone come over, tap me on the shoulder and say “excuse me, I need to print” or “excuse me I have some important work to do” – NO! They are simply incapable of confronting me with a simple question and go to the Dean and bitch.
Driving continues to be a barrel of monkeys. Cops were out on New Year’s Eve hassling people – not with a breathalyzer check but with stupid things like having dirty front license plates; this leads to the inevitable trip back to sit in the commander’s car where the driver and the cop-in-charge work out a “fee” so the poor driver can get the hell on with his life. I saw this happen twice in 15 minutes while out on a walk. This is where crooked cops collect their “Christmas Club” money…remembering Christmas is not until January 7 here.
For 2008 we are looking to having a smoother year. Although the decision to stay in Russia is fraught with uncertainty, we have a PLAN. A family plan to stay the course here for the foreseeable future and to try and be more relaxed in our life.
07 did bring some interesting things. I taught a semester of college level courses at two local universities. I loved working with the young people. They are eager to learn more about the USA, about our politics, our lives and I in turn fine the Russian mind to be a basket of conflicts to continue to study. America has its ups and downs but Russia has mostly been down for several hundred years and many young Russian are still filled with angst and foreboding for the future of their country. It looks like I will be teaching again at both Universities in their English language programs beginning in February and maybe part time at the Institute for International Relations.
One of my favorite lectures this past semester was my take on ethics in Russian business. Students are personally ethical but find any one in business to be suspect. I asked them how this can be; one day you are a worker striving to have your own company and the next you are a scoundrel of mega proportions just waiting to screw the other guy – most could not really give me a logical response, thought I suspect it is a combination of knowing what good ethics are and know what it means to be a Russian. They also have no general confidence that the system will really change that much in their life times, though many are willing to try and effect some change. I will be delivering this same topic to a group of Russians at the American Information Center on January 24.
Most important is to set the tone as a family. Sophie seems to be in the groove with her job and that make a huge difference over our constant level of tension we experienced in KZ and early in our stay here. Liking your work is important and it seems that she has finally gained contentment with her new assignment.
I hope everyone realizes a measure of contentment and personal success this year. Stay in touch all…………