Monday, January 16, 2012

West to Omck

This was another interesting week for us, as they have all been so far.  After a very busy day Tuesday, which by the way is generally our most hectic day of any week.  We usually have a full schedule at the office with various meetings and the comings and goings of the Mission President, missionaries and many other people delivering or picking up. And then we barely get a breather at home when our language tutor skypes in on Tuesday evening for our Russian lesson.  Each of us has 1 hour and then it is off to bed.  Tuesday eventually ends and the rest of the week we spend our “free” time baking treats, making meals, attending evening meetings and feeding missionaries.  This week however, mixed in with everything else we prepared and packed for the weekend in Omck.  We boarded the train, the Trans-Siberian Railway, at 10pm for a 9 hour train ride west to the city of Omck.  It is the western most city in our mission with an established congregation.  Actually, there are 3 branches of the Church there.
Omck is a much older city than Novosibirsk, founded in the 1300’s, and therefore has a much richer history.  There are several old churches in Omck  which were quite spectacular.  Since Novosibirsk was essentially built by the communists there are very few old cathedral buildings around the city.  We truly enjoyed our time in Omck.  The people we met were friendly and warm and made us feel very welcome.  The train ride was interesting and spending the weekend with President Gibbons (our Mission President) and his wife was a real treat for us.   We have included a picture of our coupe’ on the train; Sister Webb sitting on her side and if you look in the window you will see the reflection of Elder Webb taking the picture.  This is a DELUX coupe (2 people only) – most of the coupe’s have bunks on each side and are designed for 4 people.  Can you imagine sharing such close quarters with 2 or 3 strangers for a 9 hour overnight train ride??
We spent Saturday and Sunday in Omck and then rode overnight back to Novosibirsk on Sunday evening arriving at 7am this morning.  Ready to start the week over again??
We spent most of Saturday with the Senior couple serving in Omck , the Maughans from Mattawa.  He served for a time as the Branch President up in Twisp back home and said to tell everyone hello for him.  We talked a lot about days gone by, common friends and some of the family and friends back in Montana.  He grew up in the same area as my Mom and Dad and knew many of the same people including the Hudsons (Tara – he knew your mom and her family).  Anyway, it was particularly fun for me to visit with an old friend and spend some time reminiscing.  We also attended a ballet at the Omck opera house, The Overcoat, a short story by a Russian author, Gogol.  It was pretty amazing for a town in the middle of nowhere to have this kind of cultural activity.  We continue to be amazed at the depth of the talent and the abundance of various cultural genres in Siberia.  In two weeks we will take a similar train trip to Krasnoyarsk, a city about 9 hours west on the same railway.
The weather is turning cold.  It is supposed to be -27f tomorrow.  Stay warm everyone!  Have a great week.  We will check in again next week.  Right now we have to study our Russian a little and get ready for tomorrows lesson.  We love it.

Enjoying the ride

The moon in the morning!
Siberian Style

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