‘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

Monday, May 02, 2016

Preparing For Russia

In two days we leave for 5 weeks abroad - almost a month in Siberia and a week in London so Matilda can spend time with her bio sisters. I wanted to post more about the trip, but Lyme really has wreaked havoc on my cognitive abilities and reading and writing are very slow, laborious tasks now. So bear with me! I also feel a strange shame that my posts are not nearly as well written and interesting as they used to be. Guess that's my Dad  (the writer) in me. I don't want to disappoint my readers!

Since my mind can't really focus as well, my posts may be all over the place - but maybe the act of writing will help organize my thoughts?

I have equal amounts of joy and terror about this trip. Explosive joy due to the fact that I get to spend an extended time with Anya AND meet my granddaughter for the first time! I can't even sleep I am so excited about that. Catching up with all the kids who aged out of the orphanage is another joy I can't describe. There are at least a dozen of them anxiously awaiting my visit and I will do everything I can to see every one of them while I'm there. Finally, seeing my former Shakespeare students will be another great gift - many of them still live in the Kemerovo area, so I cant wait to get coffee with them and catch up on their amazing lives! Most are still in university now.

The terror comes from several sources. First, Lyme and Bartonella can cause panic disorder and increased anxiety - both of which I experience now. Travelling used to be effortless and easy - now it provokes huge anxiety - the flight, the distance from home, the unknowns. if you've known me for more than a few years, you know I am a pretty fearless person. That's not necessarily the case anymore, which makes me sad - but what can I do? Also, most of our pets are very old - as in "I cant believe that cat/that dog is still alive, Keri!" - something I hear often. I wake up in the middle of the night certain my cat Puck (age 20) won't make it till I return. No amount of self talk seems to help. I've just turned into a worrier - and I blame the Lyme.

But regardless, we leave soon and our trip involves seven flights all told. I will just pace myself and sleep whenever my body says I must. There will be no overextending myself anymore - because I can't recover from that. It means weeks in bed if I do. So this is a slow and steady trip. Think turtles and snails. Think icebergs and continents drifting.Think the slow arc of justice. 

Matilda has started a blog for the trip, and you are welcome to follow along. Hers will likely be far more entertaining than mine anyway. You can reach her blog here.

Lastly - yes, you are welcome to help if you feel called to. Several of you have emailed or FB messaged me to ask if you could send a small donation to treat the kids to something.I can't do what I used to do in terms of helping the orphanage kids, bringing them clothes, meds, toys, shoes, funding feasts and field trips - but I can help in small ways - buying essentials for the kids aged 16-19 who aged out and are living on their own. I can likely bring donations to one of the baby orphanages, but that's about it. I no longer even have the account set up for the orphanage since it closed last year, but I am happy to help the aged out kids ( Nastya k, Ksusha N, Natasha C, Ivan L, Daniel S, Sveta, and all the others you might remember.) If you want to treat them to anything, just send your donation via paypal and specify what it is for - or even who it is for in some cases. My paypal is linked to my email: kericahill34(@)gmail (dot)com. This is only for those who have asked for a way to help. I am not in need of any funds - but I am happy to reach out to any of the kids on your behalf.

I will try my best to post daily starting on May 8th. I hope you enjoy our travels as much as we hope to!

The beautiful Tom River in Kemerovo - can't wait to see it in person again!


  1. I am so so happy for you, that you get to go there and see all the people that are dear to you and spend time with them. I look forward to reading about it too and share your joy!
    Take care!

  2. So excited for you! Part of me wishes we were going too...every May takes me back to 11 years ago in Russia. I look forward to reading your posts from Russia...I still her the same voice in your posts as always. And I can't wait to read Matilda's blog tomorrow! Enjoy...travel safely and hugs to all!

  3. Be safe and we'll on your trip!

  4. I am so excited for you! I hope you have a wonderful time with your granddaughter! How fun that will be! And I know some of the problems you are experiencing...not because I have had Lyme, but because I have two grandkids with P.A.N.D.A.S. and one also has Bartonella. Both are doing much better, but the mental fog and fatigue and the weird symptoms are horrendous. And both have rages and shutdowns and behaviors and anxieties etc. I pray you are on the road to recovery and that your trip goes well. I will be checking daily for your updates! Safe travels!

  5. Hi have followed your blog. So keen to hear what happened next. Hope you are well. Xx


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