‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Am Amelie

...well, at least I want to be her. If you haven't seen the movie, you won't understand. So go watch it, and then read this post.

One of my many favorite parts of the movie is when she leads the blind man about and helps him 'see' everything around him, and then leaves him just as suddenly, in a pool of wonder. I want to do that for you! So here is your little tour of this very moment in a small city in Siberia..

The room is filled with smoke, it hangs heavy like shawl over all the patrons. I'm one of them. A man about 50 years old is being seated next to us, his belly swollen from years of drinking, no doubt. He carries a folder newspaper under his arm, His eyebrows are black, but his hair is gray. he wears a gold chain about his neck. He has kind eyes. He  glances at his watch and leans into the menu.

Behind me two waitresses talk and laugh. They wear the required green polo shirts and black aprons. One is our waitress. She is sweet and soft-spoken. She has dark bangs and heart-shaped lips. She is sweating in the heat of the room. Outside a woman walks by with a baby carriage. The woman is tall and thin and blond. The baby is wrapped in pink things and has a smile on her face.

The trees outside are clinging to their last golden leaves, the sun casting a glow to them that seems otherworldly. The other trees beyond them are laden with dark berries that Nastia says are sharp and bitter in taste.

The techno music blasting on the sound system is loud enough that I can watch the ice in my glass move in a sympathetic pulse. The table, too, hums with the beat of the music.

Widening our vision, you can see the cafe is full to capacity. Dozens of conversations overlapping, waitresses delivering tea and blini, a young girl laughing, the dessert wheel spinning under a tower of glass, the sun streaming in....

Well, hope I took you somewhere for a moment! I'm off to pray the rosary at the Catholic Church that I FINALLY found --thank you Margie! Wonder if it will be in English or Russian....


  1. Keri,
    That was very descriptive! Thank you. I felt like I was there. It reminded me of a little cafe' we visited in Kharkiv.

    So, how is your Russian coming? I am surprised at how much Russian Nastia remembers.... I know she was older when she came home, but did you keep her in Russian classes or just work on it privately?
    We are using Rosetta Stone, but the girls are pretty much Russian Illiterate. My goal is for ALL of us to have some grasp on Russian before we go and Visit Ukraine together.... Maybe in a few years.

  2. So glad you finally found that Catholic Church! And I'm so glad that things have worked out for you to go to Helsinki for your visa and that the girls will have a safe place to stay while you're taking care of business in Helsinki.

    I'm also so amazed and awed at your ability to stay in the moment and savor your time there. I guess I'm such a worrier that it's hard for me to imagine doing that, but I can see now that my worries are misplaced. I'm so glad you're staying focused on living in the here and now and on relentlessly moving forward in faith.

    I hope Nastia had a good birthday, and I wish all of you the best.

    Love, Rosemary

  3. More! More!

    I loved it - and I love Amelie too.....just saw it this year for the first time.

    You got me with the techno music; I could suddenly smell the cafe in the hotel in Ivanovo. I'm so glad you are experiencing life so fully! Envious.

  4. Beautiful! You're a very powerful writer

  5. Hi, Keri-
    A little more than a year ago, a classmate from Gordon alerted me to your ongoing adventures. I lost track of your 'current' status, and wasn't successful with the few inquiries I made, & ....kind of gave up. You stayed in my thoughts, though.
    Just today, another Gordon alum posted this blog site on Facebook, and I was delighted...
    I've now read back posts in your blog, as far as July... (had the 'luxury' due to illness & cancelled commitments today).
    Thank you for your beautiful writing... It is a delight for me not only because of the content, but also in a superficial way because spelling issues were not a distraction... :-P chuckle...
    I just wanted you to know that we're thinking of you & your family, here in my family. Our daughters are similar in age; mine are 19, 17 & 14.
    I graduated '89. You & I didn't travel in the same circles, at Gordon, I guess, but we have friends in common. :-) I lived in Wilson, Wood, & Bromley.
    ...So glad about & impressed with what little I know of what you're doing! Praying for your strength today...
    (my newest prayer, borrowed from recent reading:) Teach me to treat all that comes to me with peace of soul (because You are trust worthy & perfectly good) and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. Amen
    I'm the one showing in the live traffic feed, New Brunswick, Canada :-)

  6. I agree with Annie--more, more! You should consider making this a weekly installment. : )

    And you are making me want to go pull Amelie off the shelf and watch it! That scene is so beautiful, and the one with the videotape of the horse running. : )

  7. Anonymous6:56 AM

    I stumbled upon your blog through Annie's and the last few days I've been reading your blog. I wondered: how's Dasha? Did you manage to contact the orphanage she's in? Are you going to visit her?


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