Where? Why? How?

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 done. 

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.   


  1. We cannot wait to follow you and your family on this amazing adventure! Prayers for safe travels and an amazing time God bless you all! Joe and Tina Dunham

  2. So fun Beth!! If there is a mom in the world that can do it, it's you! You are awesome!!!! -Daniella


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