Friday, October 19, 2007

It's All a Matter of Perspective...

I was about to write a few days ago about events that "make the glass look half empty." Let's start with the apartment:
  • Our refrigerator keeps over icing up and then thawing, leaving the bins filled with water. This has ruined veggies/cheese on many occasions, usually when I've just done difficult and expensive grocery shopping, and often when I'm just about to cook for guests. Most of the compartments on the door also broke off long ago. It also has a really annoying "ding dong" that goes off when the door isn't properly closed; since the seal is breaking off the door, it goes off every time you shut the door until you come back and bang down on the top of the fridge. We'll obviously be buying a new refrigerator soon!!!
  • The floor tiles in our entry and bathroom are very cracked, sometimes snagging socks (or pricking your toes...). They look horrible (and I guess are dangerous if you don't know to look out...), but I guess we've gotten used to them.
  • The bathtub is coming apart from the wall, leading to mold and leakage problems.
  • The oven cooks unevenly and unpredictably, often burning baked goods. This is MOST frustrating when I'm doing a complicated dessert... And very upsetting when Katya and I spent a few hours molding food out of Sculpey clay for her Native American doll, Kaya. We researched food that the Nez Perce would have eaten the late 1700's and made replicas for the doll (dried salmon, camas cakes, huckleberries and blueberries). Replicas the oven burned. TWICE. (Yes, we actually recreated all the food a second time, only to have that batch ruined, too--even though I'd set the oven at half of the original temperature).

We can't just complain to the landlady because we don't dare annoy her. She could easily rent our place for much more than we're paying and we realize how incredibly lucky we are to be in this apartment--even with all the things that are broken in it. Location, location, location... It would be impossible to find anything else in this area (walking distance to Katya's school, very clean air) for less than twice what we're paying now. So we grin and bear it. It's hard to believe that $2,500 is a bargain, but for Moscow, it is...

Then there are these other complications:
  • Renewing our visas has turned out to be very tricky and time-consuming this year, and we can't drive the car without valid visas (because that means the car isn't registered and we have no insurance). I've been without the car since October 4th, which makes life very hard.
  • One of us needs to go to the USA to bring back medications, but we can't go until we get our passports and visas back. We can't even purchase the ticket for said trip until we know when we can leave. (Invariably, the cost will go up the longer we wait...)
I was ready to gripe and gripe about it. Well, not really... At least not here... There's no point in that...

But then something happened yesterday to make me truly appreciate that "the glass is half FULL!" En route to an appointment with Katya, in a taxi, she suddenly threw up all over herself, me and the car. A car that I don't need to extensively clean to remove the smell of vomit, as if you really could... And I was able to help her immediately. Had I been driving, it would have been 25 minutes before I could have exited the traffic on the highway to stop the car and assist her. (And, as I wrote in my last post, at least now we have a clothes dryer. Dealing with stomach flus the few years I was without one was NOT pleasant).

It's all a matter of perspective!

1 comment:

Tami said...

Sometimes it's the little things that can make us thankful! :)
I have appliances that work, a smooth linoleum floor (even if it is ugly) and no worries about driving my car two blocks to the post office, let alone half-way across the city to buy groceries.
Thanks for putting it into perspective for me.
Here I am complaining about not having internet access at home, when you have all of that going on! I can't imagine how difficult it had to be to make the initial transition into Russian life. But I am impressed with your ability to do so.