After all the gloom and rain of a Saint Petersburg spring, waking up in the quiet village of Cheboksary was precisely what our wandering souls needed. Taking a deep breath you could smell the trees and grass and dirt surrounding you in the hot yellow sunlight.. my heart felt closer to it's small town Georgia roots once again. The people out here are the heart and soul of this country; they say that this is the 'real' Russia, and our experiences out here are ones that I will never forget.
We landed in Kazan at about 1:30am before being picked up for the three hour drive to Cheboksary. One of the men picking us up was a Russian named Victor who spoke english with an outrageously good british accent. He just so happens to be a professor of english at the university and he found great pleasure in teaching us about five new english words that we didn't know before on the long drive to the village. He is also the only Russian translator I have ever had that has corrected my english to me, while I'm teaching, before translating it into russian. I've even started speaking with a bit of british accent myself. Oh the things you pick up while traveling the road..
Our driver was a very enthusiastic old man who did not speak any english but made up for it in speed. Every time we entered his car, we became an action scene from the Fast and Furious series and all certainty of your life being secured became a bit hazy. I do remember, however, every time he would open my door for me and the same familiar Russian music he would play over and over again from his favorite CD.
After we reached the house of our hosts at about 5am, greeted by the early morning sunrise and fresh dew covering the Russian countryside, we were informed that there was to be a two-day seminar starting at 3pm that afternoon.. oh, and we were the main speakers. So, now I can honestly say that the very first seminar I have ever attended was mine! God certainly has a sense of humor. The experience taught me a lot about myself, and the world I'm surrounded by, that I am still processing today. I think I'm starting to understand this concept of "finding your destiny" and "living with purpose." It is quite astonishing what begins to happen when you stop worrying about what you want to do with the rest of your life, and you actually begin to live it. But more on that later. For now, I have a bus to Chelny to catch...