About this blog

Hi there! My name is Viktoria, and I'm a native Russian speaker, dividing her time between Saint-Petersburg, Omsk and Moscow. I love many things, and writing is amongst them. Not only I love writing in Russian, I want to learn how to write fiction literature in English. Also I plan to move to New Zealand on August 15 (2013) so English will soon become my main language of interaction. Therefore, this blog.

I'll try to write daily a little something about moving to New Zealand, and also about writing. Feel free to tell me when I make mistakes. I mean it! :-)

Friday, 14 August 2015

19 months later...

...I rediscovered this blog and decided to leave another blog post for posterity. :-)

So, the  things that happened in 19 months...

  • My best boyfriend ever turned into the best husband ever. We traveled to Russia together where I introduced him to my friends and my family.
  • I got so good in performance testing, that I got myself promoted to senior.
  • I went through half of the courses for Data Science specialisation on coursera.org.
  • I've got learner's drivers license and started to learn how to drive.
  • We've traveled to Hobbiton and other places of LoTR value on North island. We've also been in Wellington few times and visited South island (Dunedin, Oamaru and surrounding area). 
  • One of my articles have been published in the first issue of Testing Trapeza.
  • I've been a presenter on a bunch of local small-scale professional talks, and once - on a bigger once-a-year KWST testing conference.
  • We watched so many cool shows and movies together with my now husband!
  • I learned to cook new stuff, and also come to love farmers markets and some of the delicious stuff I've never tried before - for example indian mango chicken curry, my husband's pies and my own apple galette.
  • I started exercising with weights in fruitless hope to get arms like Michael Jordan. Heavenly, heavenly hands, man. *_*
...and what didn't happened.
  • I did not improve my English. I still don't understand many accents and have to ask people to say it again (and sometimes people have to ask me to repeat words). Don't think this is gonna change.
  • Haven't learned Japanese or piloting. Sad panda.
  • Haven't written any more of my book. Actually I gave up on it after all, since I didn't have much passion or time for it.

Tomorrow is exactly two years since I entered New Zealand for the very first time. It means that my resident visa needs to be changed to the permanent resident visa, otherwise I won't be let in New Zealand if I leave it. Next week I'll file documents to do just that. :-)

I can also say, two years later, that moving here was an excellent decision, it was worth every penny, every worry, every sad goodbye hug.
I still miss my bros, my friends and my family a lot. We keep in contact through google hangouts and letters, and we send each other parcels with goodies from time to time. But it's so not enough. Still, I don't regret anything. If I haven't moved here, I would've never met the love of my life.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

I'm so blewing this thing off :-D

And how well did it start, a post a day! All the new words! Well, nothing lasts long in my case.
Same with Tumblr - haven't been there for months.
I don't even read twitter last couple of months.
Am I becoming anti-social? Nooooo!

Anyways, jokes aside, all is well in good old Shire. Summer kinda sorta came, so we had a sunny week, and then OF COURSE the next week was unstoppable rain, and the next week promises to be even worse. I'm thinking about investing in a raincoat. Not umbrella though. Because umbrellas are evil in a bad way, unless you are Mary Poppins, and I'm no Mary.

I can't understand if my English is getting any better. I'm more or less comfortable with starting to speak now, but when people don't understand what I'm trying to say, it's still pretty discouraging. Huh. Nothing that bad if I think rationally, but when I'm in the moment, I don't really think rationally, I just feel, and I feel pretty stupid and frustrated. Like these words. That come out of my mouth. Sound like a complete jibberish.

On the other hand, I've been writing a lot for the past month. Found a new bro and *sappy mode initiated*the best boyfriend of all times.*sappy mode canceled* And we write a lot. Which is awesome, because I'm all about writing, and never before could anyone keep on par with me, except my best bro E-san. And Laers was close, but never this good. So I guess I've been practicing the language even though I didn't write a single sentense for my book. Now that I think of it, it is possible that I was discouraged to go there after certain events. When something good ends badly, I tend to close the door leaving everything good behind it just so I could move on. I moved on now, so I hope I'll get back to my story at some point. I did promise myself not to give up, after all.

There are so many things I'm looking forward to... they don't fit into my head - that's how many! It is terrifying as much as it is exciting. Excited to have the hope, terrified to lose it.

As for now, I don't do much. Even stopped making mumma Umbridge proud. =_= Buuuut, Christmas is coming! Found few awesome gifts that cost me some, but oh well it's so amazing to just have the opportunity to get to this stuff and give it to friends! Won't spoil the details in case some of them are secretly reading this. :-)
I wonder what my Christmas will be like this year...

Saturday, 31 August 2013

I'm in Auckland!!!

Well. Actually I've been here for two weeks already. Kinda sorta didn't have time to write here? Okay, I've had enough time, just wasn't in a mood for it. ANYWAY! I'm here. :-) Found an apartment, found a job (technically I'm still waiting for official documents to come through since I haven't yet signed anything, but there's certainly a job). Most likely I'm starting the job on 9th September, So I've got a free week until then. The last week was free too, but I didn't do much, mostly just sat home and watched Torchwood (it's awesome!) and didn't write a single word for my book.

Well, as I say every month or so, it stops now! :-D No, really! No way I'm gonna sit around and watch life passing by without my active participation. I decided to make a list of all the things I wanted to do in New Zealand. Just make a list for now, to inspire myself and to remember of where I came from and why.

  • Get a pilot's license.
  • Visit all sights of "Lord of the rings" and "Hobbit" movies.
  • Walk streets barefoot.
  • Try out all exotic food there is.
  • Learn to drive.
  • Get fit in this healthy environment that inspires you to be healthy.
  • Relearn riding a bicycle.
  • Watch "Wicked" and any performance of Michael Hurst.
  • Go to movies and watch them in English!
  • Learn Japanese (there should be some cources here, right?).
And there are also things that don't necessarily have to be in New Zealand, but things that I want to do.
  • Cook more now that I have a nice kitchen and a wide variety of products.
  • Go to comedy club and watch standups!
  • Start few good habits since this is a new life.
  • Write few more articles about testing to some journals.
  • Write that book of mine!
  • Learn performance testing.
  • Learn more, and more, and more! Different sciences!
  • Be a classy and an utterly happy citizen with some money on my bank account, so that I can support my parents, or buy a house, or help my girl move here if she ever decides she wants to.
For now, until it gets warm and I fully adjust, I postpone most of these. Which leaves me with small things I'm gonna contiunue trying again and again. I'm gonna continue that "30 minutes of writing" thing (but I guess it has to be done in bed because it's fracking freezing here out of it! I can't type like this! I can't think like this! All I'm thinking about is how cold it is!). I also need to use my next week to prepare for job: learn basics about performance testing, start getting up early.

I also declare September a month free of take outs. Just for the sake of calculating how much money I spend on food when I cook. And it will be a nice way to save money for that second ticket to "Wicked" I couldn't resist buying. =)

I'm also doing my pushups and situps challenges. And maybe some coursera courses? IDK, I'll see how it goes this time.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Nailed the interview!

Interview for that test consultancy went really well. If I liked the company before, now I am pretty much in love with it. They know exploratory testing and they are spreading the word! And recruiter was extra nice to talk to. You have to love the company that has a recruiter this good.

Any way, we agreed on the second interview (peer interview with my potential team) after I arrive to Auckland. Of course there are no obligations from any side at the moment, but I think I might have the job and I might love it too.

Also, I've been told my English is pretty well and I should have no problems neither in communication nor in finding a decent job. Seems like my move to Auckland would be easier than my move to Saint Petersburg was. :-)

Monday, 5 August 2013

Chapter 7 almost finished

There was a plot development too. Plot is a rare guest in my writing, so that's an achievement. :-D
The draft is now over eleven thousand words, coming close to the biggest chunk of literature text I ever wrote. But of course the story is still in the very beginning. I wonder how far I will be able to go before I give up or before the story is finished...

Also, I just read my previous post and noticed mistakes there. I am "up for a challenge", not "ready" for it, and I "do my best under pressure", not "work my best".

Going back to the story. I introduced two new characters, and one of them will reappear and play a significant role in the story later on. Also, I am having problems writing the dialogs. I can hear waht every character says and thinks, but it is difficult to get that understanding on paper without overloading the text with descriptions. Ideally the intonation must be obvious from the selection of words and their order in character's speech, but I am not that good. Well, I keep telling myself I will deal with this on the editing stage, after the whole story is written down. It helps in not getting stucked over my currently crippled text. :-)

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Yay! Started chapter 7!

Basically, nothing happens there, it's just a description of the transitional period after the funeral. I don't even know what do I feel about it, but the important thing is: I started writing again!
I also rewrote chapter 6 in past tense. For some reason, I've written chapters 1-3 in past tense, and chapters 4-6 in present tense. Since past tense works better for this particular story, I would need to rewrite 4-5 chapters too, but that is saved for editing stage which is so far ahead it feels it will never come.

Having someone who enjoys reading the story really helps.

Also, I've got my first interview for Auckland. The company, that wanted a test consultant for Christchurch, is keen to interview me, and they agreed to consider me for Auckland team. I am still not sure if I'm ready for the challenge (according to a friendly recruter, the challenge is big for a new kiwi), but I can do an interview, and I still basically like the company. Also, if my past is any indicator, I work my best under the pressure.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Look, look, a new update!


1) Rachel, the recruter from Christchurch, seduced me to try one more position. She sent my CV, and we are now waiting for a feedback from the company representative. The company itself seems very promising, I can already see a challenge to grow as professional and to give it my best! So, fingers crossed. Maybe they'll like me for the job. Though I must say, the position implies perfect verbal English skills, and I am not so sure in mine. I mean, my English seems decent, but I have never tested it in real life with lots of accents, fast natural speed and few people talking at the same time. I'll probably need few weeks just to get used to English around me. And it's not even the biggest problem! I forget words and mix times when I speak. I write much better, and as you can see, my writing is also far from perfect. Huh... but maybe it's okay and they are used to this kind of problem. After all, New Zealand is a country of immigrants.

2) We arranged a meeting for tomorrow with the recruter from Auckland to talk about next steps in finding a job for me in Auckland. Auckland stays the city of choice for me, though I am not opposed to starting in some other New Zealand city as long as the job is interesting.


1) This morning I spent some time and moved all the words (vocabulary project) from here to my WorkFlowy account. They are now listed in few nice categories that hopefully will help me to find a word I want to use more quickly.

2) My article on testing is finally ready and approved for publication. Three parts will be published on the Ministry of Testing site on August 18, 19 and 20. Thanks to Simon (the editor) and his enormous patience and friendliness text actually looks not that bad. I made so many mistakes though, that I was ashamed to read edited text today. Really! I'm not proud. Is this how I write when I don't have anyone to edit my writing for me? Frustrating... but motivating too! When I see my writing published, I might want to write something else! Especially if I get any feedback from the readers. That would be awesome. :-)

3) And there is also one thing I noticed that isn't about writing in English, but is about writing in general. Last few weeks (maybe more) I don't feel the urge to have long discussions with people on my blog. I am happy just writing something and leaving it there. If somebody disagrees, I'm okay with that. If somebody adds an interesting angle to the topic, I am glad to read it, and think about it, and say "thank you". But I want to run from actually writing a long thought-through answer. That is not very good of me. Maybe it's just one of those times, when I don't really need any people around me.

I suppose in few months I would regret not using this few weeks in Omsk in fullest, for meeting everyone here I know.

Monday, 29 July 2013

The only thing related to immigration and writing in English I did today was discussing the English language itself with my friend and then with my mom.

Many people I know from my job (both Gehtsoft and Yandex) moved either to USA or to England. Many of them live near NY and NJ (but not on Braiton Beach, nope).

I'll be the first one in New Zealand amongst my friends, but not the first one amongst people I know independently of immigration process. So many people are running from Russia... I can only hope everyone who wants to get away will be able to do it. It's getting more and more ridicilous every day.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Hali:Procrastination - 0:1

After the last post I did a whole month more of procrastination. Well, not a complete and non-stop one, but... I better start from the beginning.

Last ten days in Saint Petersburg (I left July 9) were spent on saying good byes and organizing my stuff. Sadly I had to get rid of about one third of my prescious books... several people most of whom I have never seen before came and exchanged them for chocolate. Actually, I had so much chocolate at the end, that I gave it to anyone I could, and I ate it for days, and I still brought three chocolate bars with me to Omsk. Aside from books I tried to give away almost everything I owned, but with little success. I was able to find new homes for most of the electronics, and a lot of things I had to simply throw away on my last day in town. That was good stuff. I feel deeply uncomfortable about good stuff going to rubbish, so I hope someone took it from there.

My friends were awesome those last days. Two of them actually came from Moscow just to say good bye to me! And we had few gatherings, and chatted a lot, and they were all very supportive, and glad for me, and sad of having to say good bye... I am blessed with those people, and I am grateful for them. I'll miss them (and someone I miss already).

And then I was in Omsk, which is my home city. I'm staying with my parents (well, with my mom, and step dad, and the youngest of my brothers, who is 11) at their place. Couldn't bring myself to visit my old appartment where currently my other brother is living. My beloved cat died this winter when I was away, and I don't think I can manage going to that place, and expect him there, and not having him there for the first time in 12 years...

Anyway. I spend my days here, and there is constantly someone near me. I forgot how much I love being alone, how much do I need it. Now, this very moment, is the first time in weeks when no one except me is home. This is quite liberating. Maybe because I don't feel fully comfortable most of the time, I couldn't bring myself to continue wtiting.

Well, I edited that article for Testing planet (which is now united with Ministry of testing website) twice. Found out that I am really bad in writing articles, especially when it comes to summaries and introductions. I need some practice with that before I can move forward. As for now, I am currently waiting for the next portion of feedback from the editor. I wonder if my article will be published there after all. If not, I'll just take it to the "Testing" community on LinkedIn, I guess.

Great news about New Zealand are that I got my passport back from London yesterday. It now has a page with the New Zealand residence visa. I am a resident, how cool is that? :-) I already bought tickets to Auckland and booked a hotel stay for the first two weeks. I'm leaving Omsk on July 12, then I spend a day and a half in Moscow with my friends, and then I'm flying through Hong Kong. July 15, 10 a.m., Auckland - here I come! :-)

A whole new life starts in few weeks. I wonder how will it go.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Hello, diary

This Friday I resigned from work. Which means that starting tomorrow I'm officially between jobs for the longest period in my life since I was 17. Well, actually there were few periods when I didn't go to work for more than a month, but those were not official, I was paid by the hour back then, and I was deeply depressed, so I couldn't really enjoy not having to work for more than two weeks straight.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate work in general, and I definitely don't hate my job. It's just that I'm easily bored, and I often want to do stuff that I can't do while I'm on a day job. And though I have to do lots of organization right now to prepare to leave to Omsk, and then to Auckland, that still gives me more or less free schedule. And what do I do with it? Well, I procrastinate, of course! I hope this is just a temporary reaction to being jobless and not having to go anywhere. I gave myself today to do absolutely nothing, and I'm already a little bit sick of it. So, next week hopefully would be much more productive.

Aside from preparing to leave Saint Petersburg, these are my plans: I want to bring a little bit of organization into my everyday life. I want to start doing my 30 minutes of everyday writing at last. And some thoughtful reading too (already doing it). I have to significantly re-edit my article about testing to have it published on "Testing Planet". And I need to freshen my skills and knowledge in testing, and to dig into automation. I need my skills to be up to date in order to have better chances of finding a great job in Auckland. Because I want a great job, an interesting job where I wouldn't be easily bored, which would be a challenge, which would let me feel I'm making a difference.

I also want to try one more time to actually finish something on coursera. Problem with coursera is you better have a stability in your life when you go there. In my case there is no stability whatsoever, mainly because I'm bad in having it, but partly because of all the immigration story. I feel that now is my chance to establish some kind of stability. Not a self-made strict schedule, but something like a set of habits/rithuals to create a comfortable place in my life and in my mind. Some ways to be happy and proud of myself.

Of course it never works out the way I want it, but it gets better every time, and that's enough for the moment being.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

It's been a while, I know... There's lots of news I can share.

First of all, I got New Zealand residence visa! It's not in my passport yet, but I got it in principal, which is awesome. Two days ago I returned from my one week vacation in Prague, and now I'm in a business trip in Moscow for another week... and after I finally return to Saint Petersburg, I'll have two more weeks of work in Yandex, one week to pack and free my appartment, about a month in my home city Omsk, and then - Auckland, Auckland, here I come!

Still, I need to send my passport to London and to get it back before leaving Saint Petersburg, and I'll need to buy tickets after that. All in all this is a very busy time.

Prague was awesome. I think it was my best vacation yet - with my dear friend, great food, beautiful towns, cozy bookshops, misteries and challenges, art and fun. I wish we had spent more time there. A month at least! Week is too small, you just start to get knowing the city, and you must leave the next day. So sad.
Also, Karlovy Vary is a perfect place to have a writer's vacation - i.e. a vacation to write a book. It's beautiful, slow and dull. D.U.L.L. Dull. You would write if only because there is nothing else to do. No distractions. Especially if internet is out of question, and honestly, internet must be out of question for the most time, or nothing would be ever done. Smart black hole is smart.

Moving on... I didn't have a month in Karlovy Vary, but I did have two evenings of writing my story. It's now 8668 words long, and my friend read it and liked it. She's the only person on Earth besides me who read a plan of the book and unfinished draft of the actual story. Of course there is an enormous amount of work left, but I move forward step by step... and she liked it. She said it is an interesting story. Of course, she is my friend, but this is exactly why I can trust her to tell me the truth.

Oh, and I also got tumblr. I'll fill it by random instagram reposts, quotes I like and posts from this blog. Let's see if that format would be comfortable.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Still no luck with my visa application

It's been two weeks, but both my officer keeps silence and my status on the Immigration New Zealand site is "Pending". It's killing me, I want to have an answer already, to be able to adjust my plans and move on! I need to know when I'll have visa in my passport to book airplane tickets, sell my appartment here in Russia and search for a room and a job, and I need to know whether I'm getting visa at all. Argh. Please don't be so slow, immigration officers and give me a Residence. I'll be good for your country, I promise!

For now I'm in a state of hanging between earth and sky, not able to do or think anything serious and efforts-consuming. I hate having to hang there, not knowing what's next and not having any power to make things go faster. =_= And why the waiting? So far even my employment history wasn't considered worth verifying. Does this delay mean that they don't want to approve my visa and will give me a Job Search one?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Skype Interview with a recruitement company went well

This morning I had an interview with Rachel, a representative of a recruitement company who currently works to build a Christchurch team for Orion Health. I think that it went extremely well. Rachel is a very friendly person and she asked questions that assured me she really does know what QA and testing is. We understood each other a lot better, than in case of immigration interview earlier. Connection was clearer, and she talked louder. I wonder if that's a skill recruitement specialists are trained in: to speak and understand overseas candidates.

Any way, I'll probably have next interview with Orion Health HR next week, and if that also goes well, I'll have a technical interview next. There is a real chance that they like me and make me a job offer. That would be a little miracle, of course: to get a nice job even before I actually arrive to New Zealand. But even if that wouldn't work out, at least I'll get some experience in interviewing for somewhat local IT market.

Orion Health sounds like an interesting place to work, and I really like the thought of challenge (new domain of knowledge, probably new tools and technologies to learn) as well as the thought of making a real impact on people's lives.

What did I learn from the interview? At least I can sell myself to HR. It has been a long time since I've attended technical interviews, so those might be harder to pass. Though I do know my area and this should be a plus even if I forget some terminology or other matter-of-fact things.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Immigration interview - check!

On May, 3 I've taken an immigration interview, which means that I am now in the final stage of Skilled Migrant program. I should have results in two weeks, it can either be "Declined", or "Residence visa granted", or "Work Search visa granted". Of course, I hope for Residence, but I can totally live with Work Search one. I don't see reasons to be declined, but that's up to immigration officers...

Anyway, if this works out, I shall quit job in the end of June, then I'll have a month to be in Omsk with my family, and in first days of August I want to be in Aukland. Fast, right? Like in that "Fast car" song: "lights so fast I thought I was drunk". Huh. I've already started to search for a job - I needed some replies from potential employees for my interview to demonstrate that I am actively preparing to start a new life in New Zealand. But I don't count on finding a job before arriving. Getting invited to few interviews is a goal though.

I think I'll get some Brainbench certificates in testing to enrich my CV, and I'll probably repeat terminology in English to be prepared. Maybe I'll even learn some new tools for automation or smth.

As for now, I'm in the middle of best two months in my life so far! My dearest lovely friend visited me for three days, and next week she and I are going to Kiev together. Weekend after that I'll visit her and my other dear friend in Moscow for our birthdays and Star Trek movie. And two weeks later the two of us will go to Praga for a week! I dreamed of visiting Praga since I was in school! And I can't believe that I get to share the experience with a person I love dearely and whos company makes me happy every single time... I'm blessed with this time. I'm blessed with many things, with many people in my life. A lot to be thankfull for. I can have a Thanksgiving every day, and never fail to find a reason to say "Thank you, Lord, life and everyone".

Wish me luck with the visa!
Also. Pigfits, Pigfits, here I come. Pigfits, Pigfits, yum yum yum!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Almost finished the first meeting

Draft is currently 6021 words according to google docs. Richard and James went from awkward politeness to a real freindly conversation which is an achievement for both of them considering the circumstances. And though they are yet to find a single common interest, I think, they already like each other. Also, I learned something new about James today. It's an interesting process: to get to know your characters better while you are writing, trying different angles and choosing what to leave.