Friday, July 17, 2015

I no longer know

"Homesick. Because I no longer know where home is." - [Kings of Convenience]

It still strikes me as wild and unbelievable that I am in a foreign country, attending college, so far away from family. I haven't been home since I came to California. I think a lot about a day when I will get a chance to go 'home'. I wonder how would it feel. Of course I will be very happy to finally see family. But the thought of them still living the same routine as before I left, and me being [radically] changed, brings some uncomfortable awareness of possible disappointments. I wonder, if I to go back to my hometown after college, how would that be? Will I feel as fish in the sea, or as a bird in a cage? After two years away from [my old life in] Moscow, it feels like all the bridges have been burned. Friends I used to know, jobs I used to have, church I used to attend... Will I be able to jump right back onto that wave, or will it take me a long time to catch it, if ever I will be able to?

I am living in between. I no longer belong to my motherland, and I am not yet fully adjusted and accepted by the new land. I do not know how many of you have ever experienced this, if you have ever lived in a different country and culture for long enough. This is quite a weird and at times terrifying feeling - not knowing where home is, not knowing where you belong. 

I still have two more years of college. I hope to figure this out by the end of these two years - where exactly do I belong? At least partially... I got to justify this time of reviewing my identity, I got to get this degree that I came all the way for. 
I am seeking help as I continue to raise support for my college expenses. I recently got a tuition bill for the Fall 2015 of $10,800. Please consider donating and sharing this need. Proceed to the link below for the information on how to donate:

Monday, July 6, 2015

Halfway there

Need to be living more on a prayer.

Two years of college flew by too fast. Half of summer id already gone, too. A lot has happened. It has been stressful, and the white hair on my had will be the witness, but many blessings got me through this far. By the grace of God I got enough money donations on time to pay off my tuition last February and continue my education without being deported out of the US. It was very nice to have it all covered and not worry about other installments throughout the semester.

A big shoutout to Mark the dentist for his generosity and help. If not for him, I would have probably had to quit school and fly out home.
I got a chance to work on couple more projects with great people. For one of them we went up to Redwoods near Santa Cruz for couple of days. A small crew, the beauty of the nature - it made it a great getaway and bonding experience.
I got to go to Minnesota to see my best friend from Russia right after semester ended. She has just graduated college there, and I had the honors to witness her marriage. Not too long ago I got to go to another wedding in Spokane, WA. Me and two of my housemates drove all the way from LA and back in 4 days, spending a day in Portland, OR. Another getaway. Much needed mental rest.

My grades are not as great as they were my first semester of school. I am trying to balance classes, work, and life. I am getting burned out, and losing my interest in everything. It feels like a mad race that I still can't navigate through good enough. Tuition, rent, food, work, classes, homework, filmmaking. A house full of people you can't really ignore. I couldn't afford to go home yet; I want to simply spend a little bit of time with family, touch them, hug them. Every holiday makes me miss them more. Every restriction I face due to my non-resident status reminds me that I do not belong here, that I do not share the same rights with the people around me. The word 'home' or a phrase 'to go home' shifted it's meaning to something vague. Friends and coworkers became my family.

I did not take a full time job this summer, despite the fact that I had to pay double rent for two months because our old house lease overlapped with our new house lease. I do need to pay rent, buy groceries, save for tuition and for a ticket home, but I also desperately need some rest. Days, when I can be alone. Time to sleep in. Time to work on something around the house. I wasn't needed at work the whole of last week, and I doubt I will go in this week. I got a chance to help out with a commercial shoot though. I was quite glad to help out a friend and just have fun doing what I like.

The Fall semester payment is due in a month and a half. Until then, let's see what else the rest of summer will bring my way.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Got a text today from a family in Texas. Mark is the dentist who helped me out. So grateful. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Gift

After having a panic attack in the dentist office in La Mirada, when the doctor named a price of $900 for one item, and a whole needed treatment plan of $5,400, I did not know what to do. I have just paid off my tuition for the current semester, the rent payment was coming up, and I just have no money for anything else, period. Even though the doctor was willing to work on one of my teeth for $200, he made it clear that he won't do all the work for that money. His treatment plan included a porcelain crown after he would fix the root canal, and that times three...

I was trying to brainstorm and come with options... I was almost ready to go in for $200 and get by with a temporary filling until I could afford the rest or find other dentist. I knew that in couple more days the pain would be unbearable. 

Later in the afternoon I got a comment on my FB post about my frustrations from a friend of mine who has been helpings out with a little bit of finances every month, Scott, saying it was too bad I was not in Texas - a friend of his could have helped me out for free. I did not take that comment too serious at first, but I ends up giving Scott a call, and in an hour he signed me up for an appointment at 10:30 in the morning the next Dallas, TX. 

La Mirada, CA. Tuesday, 3pm. I looked up the tickets to Dallas. $490.20 round trip. 6:55pm flight from LAX. I only have $250 on my account... After addressing couple of people on this matter, I bought the ticket myself going into credit. About 10 minutes after I got a $100 donation. 
4pm. I am making phone calls to my friends in hopes of finding a ride to the airport in the next hour. All this time I was on school campus, so I rushed home to pack some things. 

6pm. Made it to LAX, got on the plane, landed in Dallas. Scott and Tammy picked me up and welcomede into their home. Wednesday morning I went to the dentist and the doctors fixed two of my teeth. 

I came in again today to get my 3rd tooth fixed. I had to skip some classes and couple work shifts to come here, and I will have to miss on a film production this weekend where I was supposed to be a 2nd Assistant Camera, but I have no more toothache. All free of charge. 

I praise The Lord today for a gift. A gift of people like this dentist to the world. He selflessly agreed to take me in without an insurance and perform thousands of dollars worth of work. I am beyond blessed today and I hope that one day I will be able to abundantly bless others. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What's next

Just came out of a dentist appointment. Did an X-ray and an oral evaluation. The verdict for my pain is a root canal infection, cavity affecting a nerve, and just a half broken tooth. Three root canals has to be taken care of and three crowns put over my teeth. Because I do not have a dental insurance, the prices are shocking. The doctor is willing to treat one of the canals for all I have to offer, which is $200, but I don't know where to go form there. Here is an estimate treatment plan, but I really hope to work something out, because this is just insane. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Here comes the pain

One of the worst things ever - toothache. Whoever experienced it once won't ever wish to go through this again. Well, apparently I am one of those lucky kiddos who have to go through this hell more than once. I haven't been home since I came to college in August 2013, so obviously I haven't done any dentist check ups ever since. One of my teeth fell apart in January, and about couple weeks ago a tooth on the other side became very sensitive. And here I am now, being bothered by the toothache that seems to be growing. Unless I find a free dentist or someone will miraculously help me out, I think I would just die shrieking in pain. Not good. Can't afford a dentist :(

Friday, March 13, 2015

Greater than me

A lot of things in this world are beyond my understanding. Maybe because they originate outside of the universe. After my last night's post about my need I got it all covered and even more. God blessed me with some home made food, a little bit extra to my college account, and a nice day in general. I absorbed some very needed reminders at the closing session of the #GreaterMMXV conference, got to work for couple hours with my awesome team of guys from Event Services. Love that team to death. 

Here's a little before/after of what we do