A KATRINA MOMENT

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Mutiny

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Mutiny

The organization of this tour has had its deficiencies, to say the least. I continually hear the message that the itinerary had a disclaimer “subject to change”. But the “subject to change” seems to be the norm not the anomaly. The night spent in the abandoned town was a case in point. The day was spent rummaging through the town looking for 10 year old artifacts. Cathryn and I spent some time looking through the school. We round many areas in the buildings where people had stayed after the power and water had been turned off. Piles of human excrement covered the floors which attested to that fact.

I would have thought the primary interest of the organizers would have been to search out a suitable dwelling and have it made presentable for the members of the tour. Needless to say, as the day wore on, there was no suggestion that a suitable place had been identified. The majority of the group decided to go to a nearby dormitory. Even this was a haphazard attempt at organization. The dormitory only allowed males and the women had to be satisfied with an apartment at an exorbitant personal price. This was not thought of too highly by some female members of the group and I don’t blame them.

Of course, you all know me. I am never one to accept defeat. So I decided to stay. Despite the cold, I did actually sleep but with an enormous hangover. I am definitely not used to Russian vodka.

 

Russian Alphabet

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Russian Alphabet

After the first couple of weeks, I was actually getting quite good at recognizing the Russian alphabet. Prior to coming to Russia, I had tried to study but I had very little chance to use it. So many words are actually pronounced very similar to the English just using different symbols for the sounds.

 

Signs Everywhere

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Signs Everywhere

I originally thought of just writing about Australian signs, but I realized there are signs everywhere or names that catch my attention. I don’t think this topic will be complete until I arrive home, if then. One of the signs on the hillside around The Apostles states if you cross the barrier, “You will die.” Of course everyone is familiar with Kangaroo Crossing, although unfortunately I never took a picture of one of those. When we had lunch at a fish and chip shop, the sign stated if you feed the pigeons, they will poop in your food. Of course there was no sign on a one-lane bridge where you had to know if a car was coming from the opposite direction.

Another advertisement I took a picture of was in Japan. The ad showed a girl advertising Pocari Sweat, a brand of water. Not sure if that would go down in the US.

 

Lidia in post-war Poland

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Of course, I never lived in Poland under Communism. I did visit my grandfather after I graduated from college. The only thing I REALLY REMEMBER WAS HOW EVERYONE WANTED INFORMATION ON WHAT It was like in the West. Everyone spoke in hushed whispers. But it was very different for those who remained in Poland. They went from being an independent country to one that is occupied. I don’t even understand how Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill even thought that giving Poland to Russia was an appropriate compromise at Yalta.

Lidia and Bogdan eventually left Poland just before the Solidarity movement started. The Russians were still very much in charge. Lidia’s brother was already in Australia and she was supposed to be keeping an eye on his apartment. An experience with NKVD agents probably accelerated her decision to emigrate to Australia. These people attacked her when she went to check on her brother’s apartment. This was not her first experience with the Soviet system. Her father had lost his government position when she struck up a friendship with an Austrian boy as a teenager.

 

The Art of War

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

The Art of WAR

I had an interesting conversation with Christiane and Peter on the Art of War. I have come across the book and sayings from the book many times in the past but I have never actually sat down and read it. It apparently has some very good business advice on negotiations. I wonder whether it might help with the boards I serve on. I will put in on my to-do list for when I return.

 

Off to Magadan

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Off to Magadan

The bus to the airport was delayed 45 minutes as we looked for the last member of the group. In the airport I got a chance to meet some of the other members. Each has very different and interesting backgrounds and reasons for embarking on this journey.

Marion lives in a condo on a cruise ship. I thought that this type of trip was a far cry from the luxuries of a cruise ship. Maybe one Has to reach out of their comfort zone once in a while to experience the opposite side of life.

Ellie has been taking care of a husband with alzheimers for the past 25 years. I can imagine how difficult that must be. My father sometimes appeared that way when he was drugged and I know how much the loss of memory affected him. I guess this tour was very different from her usual vacations.

Four of the others were fathers and sons. I assume on a father and son adventure to somewhere they had never been. I can see how this type of trip can help one bond. Am I not doing the same with my daughter and granddaughter in munich.

Christiane is from Switzerland. Maybe she came to experience a different vacation. As I write this I find I did not ask the right questions. Maybe I am too involved in myself. I think I must watch that more in myself.

Catherine is a teacher of English in Tashkent. This is her summer holidays. She had previously gone on the tour to north korea. She informed me I no longer need a visa for kazahkstan. I am so glad I left extra days in Barnaul. Now maybe I can find the labor camp my grandparents were sent to. Antti and Mihkiel are from Finland. Mikhiele is a doctor. Peter and roland are friends from Brisbane, Australia. I think they came for the adventure. And Tom also is from the us. Again, probably for the adventure. Of course, I came for my father.

 

Ted's Sons

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (0)

 

Ted’s sons

For my entire life I only knew of my uncle ted’s son peter. Afew years ago I received a call from gary saying I had written about his father in no place to call home. He was speaking of my uncle ted. Ted had had an affair with a married English woman during the war. Gary was th result. His birth mother had given him up for adoption before her husband returned. Ted never found out he had another son. It is only in the past few years that ted and gary met for the first time.

I think we all want life to follow a set pattern and that all the rules are followed. The beauty of life is that there is no set of rules or pattern. Each so called mistake helps create its own new pattern. I think the term is fraxels. The pattern of life does not appear until we are so far removed from it that it is a part of our memory.

 

 

 

Lidia's Father

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Lidia’s father

Lidia’s father was born Kazimierz waluk on march 3, 1918 in Poland. It appeared he was working in a Russian labor camp, possibly in Siberia in 1939-41. He had been in charge of the workers. At one point, he decided to send younger workers rather than older workers on a specific detail. The end resukt was that the younger workers denounced him to the soviet authorities. He was deported to Kolyma in November/December of 1941. He was placed in camp 326 or 336 until December 1942. When he was released anders army had left and he joined the soviet forces. After the war he worked for the soviet government in Moscow. If anyone knows of this camp in Kolyma, please let me know.

 

Stefan

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Stefan

About this time I received some disturbing news from Anna in Sydney. Stefan had apparently suffered a stroke and was in the hospital. I believe it had affected his left side. From what I have seen of him, I doubt this will keep him down. He reminds me a lot of eva’s husband chris. He also suffered a stroke years ago and is back doing everything he did before.

His story makes me realize we each must follow our dreams as soon as it is conceivably possible. Time does not wait.

 

Loss of Contact

Posted by alexandraeverist on July 18, 2014 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

 

Loss of contact

Not being able to get in touch with anyone was also a problem at the airport. Both my email accounts had been blocked because of suspicious activity (I,.e. I was sending emails from countries other than the US). In addition skype wouldn’t work because my outlook email account wouldn’t work. Also my phone wouldn’t work. I spent I don’t know how much money on pay phones.

If nothing else, the experience taught me the value of patience. Not something that comes easy for me. My father was very similar to me in that respect. But I think while he was enduring his difficulties, he also had to learn to be patient in order to survive. Of course I have not had to endure anything as difficult as he. But problems do each patience.

 

 

 


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