Monday, April 16, 2012

Chickens & More

We live across the street from a 3 block by 4/5 block section of small homes tucked in between all the high rise apartments and have been watching with interest as springs comes to these little homes.  First you have to realize that we have only seen a couple of “American” style homes, (these would be homes that would fit right in in any neighborhood back home).  Most homes here look like mountain cabins that have been around for a very long time.  Anyway, their lots are dirt plots that look like they mostly garden, no grass or “beautification” programs here.  The landscaping around the homes is pretty much “practical” in nature and not for looks.  One fun thing though is that the people across the street have CHICKENS.  You can only imagine how Sister Webb has reacted to that!  We have to keep a close eye on her so she doesn’t go over and adopt them.
Also, on the street right in front of our apt there is an interesting road construction alternative.  Seems there is a massive boulder that was in the way so rather than move it they paved around it!  It sticks out into the road about a foot and the curb runs right up to it – stops – and then continues on the other side.  Amazing.  We thought stuff like that was only cropped into emails and circulated on the internet, didn’t know it actually existed.  We should mention that right in the middle of this little area of homes they have started another big building.  So it will be interesting to see that development.  We have met the daughter of the folks who have the chickens (she came over and was taught a lesson about the church) and in visiting with her we found that our apartment building (16 stories) is only 5 years old and it dealt a huge blow to the folks in her neighborhood because it blocks out the summer sun until about 2 in the afternoon.  So if they build another on the other side we may see a mass exodus from the area.  I guess that is what some call progress.
Another opportunity to attend the Opera House came up this week.  This time we went to an opera, Madam Butterfly.  It was quite a performance, all sung in Italian of course and then above the stage on a big narrow screen they showed subtitles – in RUSSIAN.  Thank heavens for that or we wouldn’t have had any idea of what was going on (ha)!  Also, we spent an evening with President and Sister Gibbons at the Mission Home.  It was a very enjoyable evening with them with dinner and visiting; much discussion about the upcoming addition of Kazakhstan to our mission.  This will become official on July 1st but of course there is much to do to prepare and it is all very interesting.
We watched conference again this weekend.  Because of the time difference the churches here watch a rebroadcast of conference on the following weekend but because of Easter being last Sunday they put it off until this weekend.  We had watched conference at home but the missionaries of course hadn’t seen any of it nor had the branch members.  We had English set up in one room and Russian in the Chapel.  So we spent Saturday and Sunday watching the various sessions.  We had lunch in between the morning and afternoon sessions which of course the Senior couples furnished.  We told the missionaries to bring their own sack lunches for Sunday but again we came prepared just in case they forgot, which they did so it was a good thing we were ready for that inevitability.  Perhaps if we had not expected them to forget they would come more prepared.
Hope everyone has a great week.  We think of you often and hope you and your families are well and enjoying life.  It is amazing here and we have become so much more thankful for the blessings of life we are privileged to experience.  We love you all.  Das Va donya – until next time.
The Boulder

The Chicken Farm
(notice the shadow cast by our apt bldg)

Novosibirsk City
(Elders & Sisters & Senior Couples)
with Pres & Sister Gibbons

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