This weekend we had the opportunity to relax and explore our home here in Novgorod. On Saturday, we went to a Russian village museum where we got to see how Russians lived centuries ago. Our favorite part was a huge wooden slide that we raced down, go figure. Also, there was a craftsman who made authentic birch items: like hats, shoes, bookmarks, baskets and so much more. As we talked to him we found out his story; he is one of the last people to know the way the ancient Novgorodians would work with birch. Getting to know the Russian people and their stories is a blessing.
From there we went onto our second historical stop which was a local monastery. We explored the beautiful grounds; it was mind blowing to think that we were walking on the same ground that has such a deep connection with the history of Novgorod. The rest of the day we spent swimming in the river that runs through the city, which we enjoyed immensely due to the heat. It was a great way to spend our Saturday.
On Sunday we worked with the kids at the church and later in the day we had the opportunity to go souvenir shopping at the Kremlin (get ready for some great gifts). The weekend was nice but we were all really eager to get back to the kids at the center. Today was the first day of the last week here in Novgorod. We all agree that we are not ready to say good-bye to the kids and we are making sure to take advantage of every moment, not taking any second for granted. Our team meeting tonight was filled with mixed emotions, all of us struggling with the realization of the limited amount of time we have left and what their lives will be like when we leave. But we know that they will forever be in our hearts and in our prayers. We look forward to all of the fun things we have planned for the rest of this week (cinema on Wednesday!). As always please keep us and the kids in your prayers as we continue in our final week.
Love from the Novgorod team, Sam and Adrienne