When Steve got a call asking if he would be interested in a semester
in Belarus, I had no idea where it was, but we pretty quickly agreed that OF COURSE we would go! (He explains a bit more about the Fulbright award here: https://www.iue.edu/blogs/hss/2017/08/09/fulbright-in-belarus/)
WHERE? Belarus is in Eastern Europe, between Poland and Russia. There is a Belarusian language, but their official
language is Russian. We have been working on our Russian a bit this summer,
but I have to admit that I have not made much progress! We will be living in the capital city, Minsk,
with a population similar to Philadelphia.
There are castles and thousand year old villages to visit, and plenty of
nature to explore.
See that big rhombicuboctahedron? That's the library. If you know our family at all, you probably know that any place with a library like that excites us!
WHY? A Fulbright Award is extremely prestigious, and quite simply, Steve
would have been crazy to turn it down! Additionally, I loved the idea of our
whole family getting the chance to travel to another country where we could
experience a new culture, meet new people, learn (or try!) a new language, see
historical sites, and get out of our own little bubble for a few months.
HOW? In the last three months, we have pursued a whirlwind schedule of
passports and Visas and plane tickets and schooling options and packing and
details, details, details. Oh, and
regular life with four kids. And Steve
is acting in Richmond Civic Theater’s production of Fiddler on the Roof
(fitting, huh?). I currently have dirty
dishes and lists all over my counter, and I’m pretty sure that’s how it will be
until we leave in 9 days. Yikes! But the lists. There are so
many lists. Packing lists, lists for
Steve to do, lists for me to do, lists of people to call and arrangements to
make, lists of things to buy, lists of what needs done each day for the next
week. Little by little, things are
getting crossed off and I’m beginning to think I might actually get everything
We will leave Richmond on Friday the 18th, right after
school, and drive to Maryland where we will spend a day with our families
there. On Sunday morning, we will head
to Washington, D.C., for our flight to Frankfurt. We have a long layover before our flight from
Frankfurt to Minsk, Belarus.Since the Fulbright Program is hosted by the United States Department of State, someone from the embassy will meet us at the
airport and take us to a hotel. They
have connected us with a realtor who will then help us find an apartment. So all we know about our accommodations for
the next four months is that it will most likely be small!We will be homeschooling the older children during our time there,
which is at once thrilling and terrifying.
I’ve loved picking out books and brainstorming how to make the most of
all the incredible opportunities that will be around us there.
I’m not totally sure exactly how everything will work out…We won’t
have a car, so how will I carry our groceries?
There probably won’t be a dryer, so how will I manage the laundry for 6
people? How will we navigate around the
city when all the signs are in Cyrillic letters? What kinds of food will be available there?
How will I survive if I can’t get peanut butter?!?!?!?!Even though I don’t know the answers to some questions (OK, a lot of
questions), I’m beyond excited to have this opportunity and proud of Steve for
earning this recognition. I know it will
be an incredible experience for both us and our children.