When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The heart of the difference is not ability or even talent, but desire

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Friday, January 06, 2012

Looking where?

Gosh, folks are all over the e-sphere posting about looking back (a.k.a. dissection of 2011), looking forward (a.k.a. plans for 2012)...I am having a hard time looking straight in front of my eyes and not have them shut down! After AR trip, I slept a couple of hours, loaded myself onto 3-flights sequence and spent next 20+ hours between air and airports. Then close to 5 days of 3 hrs dozing off in any given night later - another 28 hrs or so doing same thing on the way back. My poor body still has no clue which sun schedule should it follow, so it follows none. At least last night I had my first 5 hrs uninterrupted sleep. Sigh...

The trip was good. Quiet good. Kind of like Christmas - quiet. May be it's a sign of getting along with age. No, not getting "older" with a complain and a petty in a voice, just getting along (and counting more wrinkles and seeing more grey hair than I care to share). Cherishing good things, not focusing (not too long, anyway) on not so good. Realizing that each of us has a right to a different opinion. And that it is more important to figure out how to agree to disagree than who is right. At the end of the day, we all end up in the same place...

I spent all days in Moscow just being. Staying at my sisters, having parents to come over every single day, eating prolonged complex lunches slowly transforming into early dinners and then into desert tables for about 3 hrs, with a glass of wine and lots of talking. Strangely, even my family somehow had been much less "loud" about being opinionated with advice and simply tried to enjoy my presence. Talking about nothing half the time - that's something new for a busy deeply worked up Russian soul. We are known to not have a "small talk". But we smiled, and hugged quite some, and kept voices down, and were able to stop arguments moments before they were about to heat up. May be everybody knows we have so little left...so little precious time to live, so few moments to see each other. I made a couple trips to my parents place, and we met new year there, where, while not been able to open a bottle of Champagne (a staple in our celebration, what is it, a sign?) we realized that this is the very first time in our lives we are here, at the table, meeting New Year's entrance into our lives, as an "original" family...no friends from either side, not split into various companies in various places, and not with extended families of spouses, kids and partners. Just the four of us: mom, dad and 2 daughters. This was bitter sweet...and very cute, and quiet. Then later my sister and I set on her couch and watched some concert of songs and artists from mid-80's (time when I was already into new music, and she still was, as we are 10 years apart and there is not much we share due to periodization), half-naked, in our underwear and tank-tops. Something we had never done as kids either - due to the same age difference...and this was sweet as well. How we ended up having same mind on so many things, thinking alike, while being from different era, never living together back when children (since I turned 6) and after that simply living across the Big Pond is a mystery (neither one of us has parents' thought process either). I haven't called anyone, and haven't gone to any visits outside immediate family, nor invited anybody - the time WAS precious. I spent 3 hrs one evening walking center streets and touristy places by myself just because I wanted to see it alone, and then my sister next morning showed me a completely different parts of Old Moscow with "guided" trip of her own, when I looked at those places with new eyes as well. She is awesome when it comes to guiding and history. That was sweet too.

I couldn't sleep well last night in Russia (not that I slept much the previous ones). I was already not there, almost home, yet my heart was aching from having to leave them behind...and when next morning I waved "Goodbye" at the airport without much time been spent standing and saying not very needed words...tears finally streamed down. They still do when I think back to that moment...so lonely, so mine, so rarely seen...a family torn apart, by continents, time and differences in societies.
But home was home, here, in Austin, TX. With Larry waiting and missing me, Stephen flying back from visiting dad, Harrison, and Alex and his life from afar. And after next 3 hrs of something called "sleep" I was at work, trying to fix what I screwed up before leaving on vacation:)

Today it was about to begin feeling like I am approaching "normal" state. Although the wake up call  for tomorrow is set for 3 am - and 3 hrs drive will bring me to Bandera to volunteer for Joe's extremely extended race. I'll be his "kick", not an aid station person, but one of those few he keeps handy to fill the voids, pick up slacks and plug sudden holes. May be next week...

May be next week, I'll think about goals, resolutions and plans. For now I'll leave you with words that made me smile, by my lovely husband high on endorphins from his first more or less continuous run (he, too, as I, is battling an injury, so we are quite a pair, doctors, limping, pain and all): "I am going to get ripped, you'll see". Yeah, what he said. Slowly. Not for anybody (we both turned down the invite to re-join Wasatch Goat Team that decided to get resurfaced, or something like that). Just for ourselves. Because it's the only right way - and the only one that ever lasts.


  1. Anonymous6/1/12 15:16

    Olenka, umnichka, vsegda s interesom chitau tvoi blog

  2. Awwww this was heartwarming and bittersweet to read. It's nice that you can visit family and enjoy some moments of togetherness quietly and happily.

  3. Nice to hear, both our families have mellowed so it isn't war when we get together. Getting older has some advantages.

  4. It's good to go home. Glad you enjoyed some special times together.

  5. Olga, nice post....your voice and enthusiasm will be missed on the Goat email list. Get well to both of you...

  6. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to have family so far away. I'm glad you were able to visit and catch up. Enjoy being home, getting caught up and just being you :)