So I don’t think we’ve mentioned this before and if we have it is worth mentioning again. They have a dog problem in Novosibirsk. It is kind of funny actually, to observe during the day. These dogs lie around mostly, sometimes wandering about, in groups of 10 to 20 or so. If approaching a human these dogs will not look at you and will go out of their way to avoid you. They are absolutely not aggressive. At night they are very active – talking to each other all night at the top of their lungs!!! Did you ever watch the Disney movie 101 Dalmations?? Remember the part where the dogs start a “barking tree” across town to try to find the little puppies?? Well, that was a hushed choir compared to this racket!! Apparently, this is such a unique phenomenon that Nat Geo did a story on “The Dogs of Novosibirsk” a while back (so we are told). Anyway, it is an interesting civic problem much less repulsive than a big city rat problem but you do, obviously, have to watch carefully where you walk!
Well, this week has been very busy – mostly with cooking. We have had a couple of different things to help prepare meals for as well as bake cookies for a couple of other events. Cooking is really quite an experience in and of itself. A lot of the things we are used to having are not exactly the same here and of course there is no way you can read the package to tell what it is you are about to open!! But Sister Webb being the world’s best in the kitchen is quite remarkable at making the necessary, on the spot substitutions, with stuff we are not even quite sure of what it is. One huge advantage here tho is we don’t have as many pots, pans and utensils so when she works in the kitchen there is a limited number of things for me to clean up – hooray!!
We finally got our first little bit of snow. Still not super cold yet but the light dusting of snow has made walking a little more treacherous. So when we went out for choir practice this evening out came the winter coat and the trax for the shoes.
“It's the little things.” This week has been one of thinking about and being thankful for the little things around us. I will just mention a few, like riding the bus with one of the young sister missionaries the other day. The bus was very crowded and asswe got on we got pushed in different directions. The lady who collects the bus fares came to me first so I just gave her all of my coins. I didn't know what I had or how much, but I thought it was surely enough. I couldn't understand what she was saying to me, so I tried to get my friends attention. Finally she worked her way back to me paid the extra amount I owed. And we laughed! I am used to traveling with my husband, and he pays the coins. I better learn fast! Then one day when I was with him we were going to ride the metro (subway), he has a metro card that you just swipe when you go through the gate. He usually swipes it for me and I go through, and then he swipes it for himself and he goes through. This time, though, he went through first, and then went to swipe it for me and it wouldn't work. So he handed me the card and I tried it again, then the guard came over, and said to go check and see if there was any money left on the card. He helped me check and of course I couldn't understand if there was or was not money on the card, so I tried it again, and this time the army guy came over too. Finally, Elder Webb gave me some money to go get a token. I was a little perturbed at him because he was sure there was money on the card. Then coming home one night this week in a downpour, with a strong wind blowing, our umbrella turned itself inside out, and by the time we got to our apartment we were so cold. But not wet thanks to the great raincoat I brought with me from home, although Elder Webb was quite wet. And then there was yesterday, when the elevator quit working. We had some missionaries and members at our apartment and when they went to leave the elevator was not working. We were going to go out again last night ourselves but changed our plans because we didn't want to walk back up the nine flights of stairs. This morning, however, the elevator was still not working, so we walked down the flights. After church we were so thankful to find out that the elevator was fixed and that we didn't have to walk up those flights. So many little things that make life in Siberia so interesting! Things I have been thankful for today:
1. A long, warm raincoat.
2. A big warm scarf.
4. Sis. Cropper tutoring us again.
5. Olga helping me with Russian.
6. Packaged noodle soup for dinner at ten pm.
7. A helpful husband.
8. Elevators at the end of the day, even if they smell bad.