Well, after lasts weeks adventure cross country this week has seemed a little bland. It seemed fairly busy though and passed by quite quickly with everything going on. First of course we all experienced Friday the 13th. How was yours? Our Friday passed pretty uneventful the highlight was attending a baptism at noon. Very moving and uplifting. A young man approximately 24 or 25. He is very remarkable. It was really striking to see him next to the two missionaries who taught him. He is about 6’4” and they both are no taller than 5’6”. It was a great baptism tho and today he was confirmed a member of the church in our Sacrament meeting.
We are getting from place to place a little better. Everywhere we go we either walk to the Metro, ride the Metro, then get off the Metro and walk some more – or else we just walk period. We are seeing a lot of the city, finding a few good restaurants, and exploring lots of city parks. It is sure beautiful here now, mid to high 60’s (68 today), sunny and very nice, absolutely perfect fall weather.
This week on Saturday morning we had to discuss how a temple marriage has blessed our lives. This in and of itself doesn‘t seem like it should be too hard for an old married couple of 44 years but try doing it in Russian to a group of over 30 singles and things change just a little. Thank goodness for missionaries who can translate (pretty well) and can help get our message across. We each did some on our own in Russian tho’ (pretty rough) but we did it. Everyone, of course, said we did great but I think they would have said that no matter what come out. We had fun trying though.
Every day the Russian gets a little better. We are recognizing more words in conversations that we hear, picking up a word or two each day in our vocabulary, studying and reading a little every day and just this week have picked back up with our tutoring from the MTC (Missionary Training Center) two mornings a week for an hour each. One morning is with our Russian tutor (different from the tutor we had in the beginning – boo hoo) and the other hour is with a language learning specialist, whose job it is to keep us motivated and on track with our study program. You know if we had the time we would like to have to do all this we could get to where we might actually be able to carry on a semi intelligent conversation.
I ventured out on my own one night this past week to get a haircut at a little shop just around the corner. She spoke no English and I spoke “chu chu” Russian but some way we managed to get my hair cut in reasonable fashion so I guess we are getting a little more comfortable. One phrase which we seem to use quite often is of course “Я хочу купить” - pronounced “Ya hochu kupeet” and means “I want to buy”. When we are together then it becomes “We want to buy” and is “мы хотим купить” – pronounced “Mwe Hoteam Kupeet”. Well there you have it – your first Russian lesson. We should mention that we also had to speak in Sacrament Meeting today as well, mostely just to introduce ourselves but nevertheless it was another chance to butcher their language which I think it actually quite a beautiful language. Sister Webb also has been asked to direct the choir. Today was her first day and it was pretty interesting. We just worked on a couple of familiar hymns and all I had to do was sing in the choir and try to pronounce the words. She, however, had to try to communicate what she wanted us to do -- in Russian. She was remarkable at getting her thoughts communicated - as you might all well imagine. Music really is a universal language. This week we have included a picture of the outside of our apartment house. We are on the top floor pretty much in the middle. Our days stay pretty busy working at the mission office and helping the young missionaries with teaching and other things that come up each day. The time seems to go by quickly. Thanks so much to all of you who have sent your thoughts along in various e-mails. We just love to get those emails and read them together. It really is great to get up in the morning and find that someone has written us a note. We love and miss you all.