About This Blog

This is my travel journal chronicling my 2011 tour of Siberia, visiting with our Russian Lutheran brethren in the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church. Hopefully and God willing, there will be future adventures for me there.

The title is based on a remarkable book (that I actually read after returning home from Russia) called Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier. I found much of his writings to mirror my experiences as an American in Siberia - though Mr. Frazier has made many more trips and experienced many more things than I did - not to mention that he is a better writer. At least for now. Practice makes perfect! Frazier's book (here is a review) is also an interesting look at Russian history and gives an overview of the past writings of American travelers to Siberia. I'm humbled to be yet one more.

I hope that readers of TILS vicariously travel with me and enjoy what I have posted. I hope that it provides a small window into the life and work of the pastors and laity of Siberian Lutheranism (and their extraordinary history) and Russian culture in general.

It is also my hope that readers will: 1) Pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Russia, 2) Support the outstanding missionary work of the Siberian Lutheran Mission Society, and consider sponsoring a Siberian congregation, 3) Consider visiting Russia for themselves, 4) Support the work of the faithful LCMS pastor Rev. Prof. Alan Ludwig, who has taught at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Novosibirsk for many years and has much of interest to say from his perspective, and 5) Read Ian Frazier's wonderful book
Travels in Siberia (which by the way is available on Nook and Kindle for $9.99)!

Of course, a disclaimer is in order: Ian Frazier has never endorsed this blog, nor have I ever met him or communicated with him. I thoroughly enjoyed his book, however, and am playing with his title for the title of my blog. However, Mr. Frazier, if you're out there - I would love to hear from you some time! I grew up in Cuyahoga Falls - and for some reason, Siberia seems to attract people born in Ohio who feel compelled to write about it. I really did enjoy your book, and I hope you are pleased by my reference to it.

One other disclaimer: other than being a supporter of the Siberian Lutheran Mission Society, I'm not affiliated with SLMS. The material on this blog is mine, and I take sole responsibility for it.

Note: Since I arranged this blog chronologically - which is backward from the way blogs usually work - the buttons at the end that say "Newer Post" and "Older Post" are reversed - just as the "hot" and "cold" water taps are often reversed from the way we're used to them in the states. In other words, if you want to read the next day's installment, click "Older Post" instead of "Newer Post." Just consider this another delightful quirkiness of an American writing about Siberia.

Большое спасибо! Thank you very much!

2011 Journal - Day 16 - July 12

Elena and Alexey Streltsov

  • Novosibirsk

Dan and I both sleep in.  It is rainy out, and we scrounge around the bishop's fridge for breakfast.  Dan listens to music and I transfer pictures.  It's a lazy day.

Father Pavel drops by, and we go
for a stroll to the shopping center and drop in at East-West for lunch.  They have a very good "business lunch" consisting of харчо, a spicy Georgian soup along the lines of vegetable-beef.  There is also a main dish that resembles a Salisbury steak.  Very good!  I wash it down with a kind of berry juice that tastes like fruit punch.

We make our way back to the seminary/church in time for Vespers.

Afterwards, Father Alexey brings us to his home for a cozy dinner.  We arrive at the Stretsovs' flat and remove our shoes at the door according to Russian custom.  Fathers Dan, Alexey, and I go out into a sort-of enclosed patio for some drinks, snacks, and extremely delightful and stimulating conversation that went very well with the sausages and cheese that served as our appetizers.  We discussed relationships between the SELC and the LCMS, as well as various issues faced by our respective church bodies.

We make our way to the kitchen/dining room where Alexey and Elena have souvenir coffee mugs and refrigerator magnets from their travels - including a mug from Cafe du Monde - which is a New Orleans institution.  I'm struck by a sudden rush of excitement to see a bit of home sitting on the shelf, followed by a twinge of homesickness.  I also ponder how small the world has become, and both mug and I have traveled halfway around the planet, as have Alexey and Elena.  It is a strange feeling of distance and proximity at the same time.

Dinner consists of a small green salad with tomatoes.  I don't think there was any dressing served with it - and Russians do not bathe their salads in sauce as Americans often do.  There are small garnishes of tomatoes, cheese, and some pieces of spicy eggplant.  There are two main dishes: fish and rabbit.

I take some of everything and it was very good.

Elena seemed pleased and remarked that I was their first American visitor who tried everything.  The rabbit was very tender and tasty - as was the fish.

We finish off with ice cream.  We also enjoyed a Madeira wine that looked and tasted like Tokay.

We had a relaxed and pleasant evening, and afterwards, Father Andrei showed up to bring us back to the seminary.  We picked up Alexey's 13-year old son Tikhon and drove him back to the Streltsov home.  I spoke a little (very little!) German with Tikhon, who is undertaking a difficult German class in school.  He is a lot like his father in bearing, polite, brilliant, and attentive.

Back at the seminary, Dan and I stayed up quite late trying to copy files from a computer that only speaks Russian.

Amazingly, this is my only picture from Day 16, but it is a lovely portrait, isn't it?

No comments:

Post a Comment