Tuesday, February 14, 2017


This is really happening. Ted and I have officially been invited to Russia! We have RSVP'd "YES" to Kalmyk State University, applied for our visas, and the adventure begins.

After several weeks of delays to our visa invitations, during which our frustration and despair mounted daily, we can finally progress to the next stage of our journey: preparing for departure. I have been obsessively stocking up on toiletries, laying out clothing options, and tying up loose ends in Arkansas.

A little background information first: Ted has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to complete four months of research in Kalmykia, Russia. He will be interviewing native Kalmyks about their religion (Buddhism) and the role it played in their lives before/during/after the time of the USSR. I'll let Ted explain more later, but that's the gist of it... I think.

Kalmykia highlighted in red

I will be tagging along for two reasons: (1) Four months is a long time to be away from your dear husband. We've spent time apart in the past during various education, research, and work-related trips, but never in the combination of THIS far apart + THIS long, and (2) This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really experience a little-known region of the world that I would otherwise never travel to.

I'm not sure what our internet connection will be like over there or what exactly I'll do to stay busy, but I'll try to post weekly updates of our experiences. Hopefully it will be interesting for those of you following along!

We are headed to Washington, D.C. in a week, then we fly to Moscow on February 24th, if all goes according to plan. From there we'll fly to Elista, in the Republic of Kalmykia. Look for blog updates sometime after February 25th!


  1. Wow, this will be epic! What an amazing opportunity - I really look forward to reading your posts!

  2. Bon Voyage you two. Can't wait to read the blog and live vicariously in Russia for a while. Wish I could have taken care of your kitty babies....as I miss mine terribly. But flying them to Florida would have been a bit much :). Good Luck and God Speed....
    Lynne Pilot

  3. Safe, fun, beautiful trip Ted and Mackenzie !!!!

    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." Mark Twain