Wednesday, 25 June 2014

My Russian journey (part 1)

These diary entries were originally posted on my livejournal 'RussianHope', during 2006/7. During this time I travelled to Yaroslavl, Russia to volunteer with Cross Cultural Solutions. Sadly they no longer offer Russia as one of their destinations, but I have wonderful memories of my time there.

I have reposted my writing here without most of the pictures (but with original spelling/grammatical errors!). I made that decision as some of the children I met will now be in their late teens/early twenties, and may not appreciate having their photos published on the internet.

These entries were made before I got to Russia, and so cover fund-raising, learning the language and the never ending paperwork...

5th August 2006

Welcome to my journal...which will hopefully be a record of how I (eventually!) get to Russia.

As some of you know working as a volunteer abroad has been something I've wanted to do for a long time...I was finding it harder and harder to sit back and wait...I wanted to do something now. So I started re-searching and I've found a way that I can...

Next summer I am hoping to work as a volunteer for a group called Cross-Cultural Solutions. I will be going on a one-week volunteer programme to Yaroslavl in Russia. I would love to go for longer, but for this time at least one week is all I can do.

I need to raise as close to £927 as possible to pay for my trip (which includes lodging, meals, travel medical insurance, ground transportation, in-country Perspectives Programming, language assistance, professional locally-based staff, informational documents, local phone calls, incoming international phone service). On top of that I'll need to pay for my flight. Any donations are welcome. If anyone reading this would like to help me by making a donation I would be extremely grateful.

So for the next few months I will be learning Russian and fund-raiser. I will let you know how I'm doing through this blog.

7th August 2006

Sponsored Walk!

In October the whole family are planning to cycle and/or walk along the canal from *** to *** in order to raise money for my trip to Russia. The walk is roughly 9.5miles.

The children are very excited about my trip and are being very helpful in raising money and coming up with fundraising ideas. My oldest is hoping to be a volunteer when she is older.

If you would like to sponsor us please write, email or phone!

Many thanks for your support!

28th August 2006

I have reached my first target of £150 - and have now enrolled with cross-cultural solutions! All things being well I will be heading to Russia at the end of March.

Thank you to everybody who has sponsored me so far. Also for all your encouraging words...the positive feedback has been amazing!

I'm also enrolled for my russian language course which starts on Oct 4th.

I still have a long way to go to raise the £927 needed so please think about sponsoring our walk in October (details in the post below) if you haven't already.

Thank you!

26th September 2006

Money raised is now up to £365 - thanks to everyone who has donated/sponsored us so far! :)

My shiny new passport arrived today complete with horrendous photo...

I have pages of paperwork to fill in before they'll let me anywhere near Russia which is exhausting...

9th October 2006

I started my Russian language course on Weds...good news is we're all as terrible as each other. There's about 12 in the group - though I think a few may drop out. As it's only a 10 week course it's pretty fast and furious. The teacher, Tatiana, is lovely though and very positive that we'll all master the basics (gulp)...

Also my totally amount has risen to nearly £600! So a huge thank you to everyone who has recently sent me a donation or sponsor.

22nd October 2006

Last Sunday we did our sponsored walk!

We walked along the canal from our home to the next town and back...just under 10 miles...we left home at 10.45am and returned at 5.45pm...we stopped for about an hour for a play in the park and lunch!

We had a lovely is a pretty walk with lots of wildlife and pretty cottages and houseboats to nose at! C was a star and loved every minute of it! E did about 5 miles and rode in the pushchair the rest of the time!

I have now raised £710 in sponsor money!

Thank you!

2nd December 2006

Thank you to everybody who has sponsored me - I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of friends and family...and also from those who I do not know. Several 'strangers' have sponsored me and the amount of money donated by one of these people was truly amazing!

My russian is also improving and I have decided to take the next course starting in January, complete with exam and (hopefully) qualification at the end.

До свидания!

10th March 2007

I haven't been great at keeping this updated, but as some of you know I haven't had internet access for a few this may not make the most sense! I'm very tired, but hopefully you'll muddle through it!

Two weeks to go and I'm still fighting my way through the paperwork. It is incredibly frustrating and time consuming having to explain to people (read receptionists at doctor's surgeries who you have to bribe to even let you see a doctor) over and over again where I'm going and why and what I need them to do...and then they do the whole thing wrong and we have to start from scratch. So after pointless tests and vaccinations which I don't agree with I'm still waiting on medical forms...

There's also the small matter of getting a russian visa as well...hopefully by this time Monday I will have one though!

With all the red tape to get through it's very easy to forget why I'm going...I've had several panic attacks during the past weeks about it all - the flight, how the children will cope, getting the forms all done in time...until I'm on the plane I don't think it will really sink in that I did it and I'm actually going.

I raided the early learning centre last week for lots of art and craft bits and pieces before remembering that I do have to fit some clothes into my luggage...whoops. Easy to get carried away there...

Still taking the russian lessons - very hard going. I can hardly understand english grammar so I really have no hope here, it's good fun though...mostly.

I was still receiving donations up to a few weeks ago and have made enough to cover my fees and plane fare. Thank you all so much. I also plan to offset my plane journey ( as this is one thing I feel very guilty about...if possible I wouldn't even fly (as some of you know!), but it can't be helped this time and offsetting is better than doing nothing...

I also have another volunteer job, nothing to do with russia but thought I'd mention it as it has been keeping me very busy. I was looking for something to do after I returned from Russia as I had the feeling that after it had all happened and I was home it would be easy to get down so I decided to apply for something completely different (no paperwork!)...

And that's about it for now - hopefully I'll be updating a few more times before I go and once in Russia I should be able to update as well!

спасибо за чтение!

Edit: A big thank you to Denise for her lovely hand knitted hats, mittens and gloves which I shall be taking to Russia for the children. :)

16th March 2007

Medical form has been signed by doctor! :)

Russian Visa has been given! :) Honestly I'm amazed anyone ever goes to Russia. After reading the various horror stories on the internet about the queues at the Russian consulate I got up at 6ish tuesday to make my way there asap. On arriving (about 45 mins before they opened) there was about 18 people in front of me. By the time they opened there was about 18 people behind me! I got in after 30 mins or so, not bad considering I'd heard that people had had to wait up to 3 hours. Once inside more queuing...however lots of ppl didn't have the right documents or cash (they'll only accept cash)...luckily I did. Then we're told to come back 6 hours later to collect our visas. It was a nice day so I spent most of it on a park bench reading with the odd visit to a cafe and/or toilets. Back to the consulate an hour early (I didn't want to queue for hours) and I was the second there. Talked to various ppl with various levels of sanity for an hour until they let us in. The lady spoke at me in very fast russian for a few minutes before realising I didn't understand anything (the only word I did pick up was please!), so she changed to english. I nodded in the right places and finally got my visa! Quite an experience.

So, hopefully that is the end of all the paperwork!

22nd/23rd March 2007

Quote I found on the internet.

"The first pitfall is the visa. Going to Russia is not as simple as going to England or Spain. In fact it’s only slightly less complicated than getting security clearance to visit a CIA weapons lab".

Sums it up! :)

The past few days have been very busy with packing and preparing!  Just a quick note to say goodbye and thank you :) ...I will hopefully be able to post from Russia to let you know what I'm up to! 

No comments:

Post a Comment