Posted on Leave a comment

Sit before You Go: A Russian Travel Tradition

Confused cat on couch: Why do you have to sit before you go?

The first time my wife and I traveled on a long trip together, our bags were packed by the door, we were ready to go, and I reached for the door handle. She grabbed my arm and led me to the couch. “Let’s sit.”

Continue reading Sit before You Go: A Russian Travel Tradition
Posted on 2 Comments

Returning to the U.S.? What to Do?

Man with passport and bag

Davy Crockett once said, “First, be sure your right and go ahead.” It’s a motto I’ve tried to live by. Make a (good or right) decision and move toward it as quickly as possible. Don’t let anything stand in the way. It’s gotten me into some dangerous situations, but everything worked out – and I have some great stories to tell. However, barging ahead doesn’t work when you have other people to consider. Now the question I face is “Do we move to the U.S., or do we stay in Russia?”

Continue reading Returning to the U.S.? What to Do?
Posted on Leave a comment

Coronavirus Delays Our Journey to the U.S.

Plane outside the TWA Hotel

In Sep. 2018, we applied for my wife’s green card to live in the U.S. We thought we would go about it the right way, so we sent in our money and waited. Then we waited some more. Then we waited some more. In between all the waiting, we spent time in the U.S. with her tourist visa. By Sep. 2019, we still hadn’t heard anything, and we decided to book a trip to New Zealand. It would be easier to get to than if we flew from the U.S.

Continue reading Coronavirus Delays Our Journey to the U.S.
Posted on Leave a comment

New Zealand: Christchurch Vs. Campbell, CA, a First Impression

Chrisctchurch from the top of the Gondola

With its single-family homes on small plots of land intermixed with office buildings, Christchurch reminds me of Campbell, CA, without the air pollution, cars, and litter. It’s a flat, walkable town with more green areas and bird song than Campbell. Christchurch Botanic Garden is huge and offers a unique dining experience among the birds of the garden. I highly recommend stopping for a bite to eat at the ilex café and sitting outside if the weather permits.

Christchurch earthquake damaged cathedral
Christchurch earthquake damaged cathedral

The town itself sprawls, as do all New Zealand cities. Devastated in the 2011 earthquake, Christchurch is still recovering. The city got rid of the organically built container mall that sprouted up after the quake in an effort on business’ parts to keep the economy rolling. While a tentative agreement has been reached to rebuild the Anglican Cathedral, it doesn’t look like much movement has been made in the construction.

Black billed gulls and chicks
Black billed gulls and chicks

Mother Nature has claimed some parts of the city as her own. One lot contains Black-billed gulls roosting in the ruins of a missing building. There are plenty of things to do in Christchurch, but perhaps the best is just walking through the city renewal projects and enjoying the gardens and what nature has to offer.

Posted on Leave a comment

New Zealand: Is It Possible to Eat Cheaply in New Zealand?

Patch Penguin with Fish and Chips in New Zealand

If you change your definition , you might be able to eat cheaply in New Zealand. Unfortunately, it will require some sacrifice on your part and a change in expectations, most likely. While you may be able to eat cheaply, the other question you have to ask yourself is if you really want to.

Continue reading New Zealand: Is It Possible to Eat Cheaply in New Zealand?
Posted on Leave a comment

Did You Catch the Creativity Secrets in the Countdown?

Hatched penguins with egg
To view this content, you must be a member of Shad and Jenya Engkilterra's Patreon
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.