Monday, February 20, 2012

Ice Chippers & Rose Petals

This past week seems to have just flown by – so much happening in our world – and we are sure it is the same for everyone else too.  This past week we had a very pleasant surprise when our dear friend’s -the Bennions – called.  I was working on the computer when a skype call came in from the island of Guadaloupe  in the West Indies – and there on the other end was Richard Bennion.  The Bennions are serving a mission in the West Indies.  We are still not sure how that all worked out for them to be there and us to be here, although knowing these people in Russia we wouldn’t want it any other way.  It was great to catch up and visit for awhile with him.
We have been fascinated all week with the “ice chippers”.  These are guys (city workers – we think) with straight hoes chopping away the ice off all the sidewalks, in some places over a foot thick.  They have been working in our neighborhood all week and now we have clean,dry, sidewalks all the way from our apt (kvartira) to the office where we work.  We are very thankful for the ice chippers.  We can stretch out our legs and lengthen our stride when we walk to the office each morning and home each evening.  The days are getting longer, daylight around 8:15am and sunset around 6:45 and warmer – hovering around -10 to +5 so we have even gone out for a walk after work a couple of times lately.
Valentines Day in Siberia is a BIG DEAL pretty much like home.  But we must first tell you about our elevator.  It is small, will hold 4 people if you squeeze in like sardines in a can, and it smells, like sardines in a can.  So you can imagine our surprise when we walked out of our apt, opened the elevator door and found the floor of the elevator covered with Rose Petals.  I tried momentarily to take credit for the thought but Sister Webb wasn’t buying it for a moment.  We rode the elevator down to the second floor (as far as our elevator goes) and when we walked out there were rose petals covering the two flights of stairs to the outside door.  Someone was VERY thoughtful!!! And clever!!!  Everyone at the office brought little valentine chocolates to share with everyone else except of course.  We will be better prepared next year.  That evening we went to dinner with the other senior couple in the city, our Mission President and his wife and the couple from Novokueznetsk who happened to be in town at the local Mexican Restaurant (Russian style).  Pretty good Mexican food but nothing even close to what we can get at home.
Other things this week – our grandson Harrison turned three this week and the little boy we have mentioned before Deema also turned three this week.  He was at church today so the Primary kids all celebrated his birthday with treats; but nothing cold – remember – they had chai tea and birthday cake.  One of our outstanding missionaries – Tyler Harris – from Alpine, UT injured his knee a couple of months ago (tore his ACL) and has been “playing through the pain” as they say trying to do his work but he has been getting worse so is going home in the morning for surgery on his knee this Thursday.  We are all hoping he will be back in a couple of months so he can finish his mission.  He has only been out about 9 months.  He was really sad and cried a little today as we said goodbye to him. 
This afternoon I went with the AP’s – these are two young missionaries who serve as assistants to the Mission President, AP’s for short – to visit Ryan Millar who is in town this weekend.  Ryan is a 6’ 8” Olympic gold medal volleyballer (2008) playing on a Russian team.  They have a volleyball game Tuesday night in Novosibirsk which we are going to try to get too.  He will be playing with the US Olympic team again this year in London and if the team makes it through the qualifying rounds to the Olympics he will become only the 2nd American to have played the sport in 4 successive Olympics.   He played collegiate ball for BYU.  It was fun to visit with him for a little bit this afternoon.  We all are hoping to see Ryan and the US team win another Gold at this year’s Olympic Games in London.
Well that is a sampling of our week.  It has been, fun and interesting as usual.  We love Russia, Siberia, the Russian people, their culture, history, and language.  We love and miss you all – May the Lord bless and keep you all. 

Stairway to the Mall

After the Chippers

A little better shot of the Chipping

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