It doesn’t seem possible but here we are nearing the ½ way mark of our mission and our time in Russia. Looking back over these past months we can hardly believe all that we have learned and experienced. We still have to pinch ourselves periodically to make sure it isn’t all a dream. We are recognizing and understanding more of the language every day and are pretty much able to get around, ask where we are or how to get somewhere, make a purchase or even order a meal. We don’t always end up where we had hoped, or get what we thought we were ordering, but that is half the fun of trying – isn’t it?! Saturday for example we rode the metro to the end of the line, did a little exploring and then decided to hop on a bus for the ride back. Well, we got a little mixed up and took the bus the wrong direction, rode it till the end of its route (which was outside the city somewhere) got off walked across the street and got another bus back. All in all about a 3 hour experience and we might add not the first of such experiences we have had. We saw a lot of the city that we hadn’t seen yet and enjoyed the afternoon together. Our mistake we decided was going “up top” to see where we headed. We should have stayed with the metro system where we KNEW where we were going. Trying to “see” the surroundings we discovered isn’t always the best but we did find some places we would like to explore a little more – if we can just find our way back there.
The rest of our week has been pretty great as well. Sergei came over for another lesson one afternoon and Sophia came to church Yesterday (we have mentioned her before) and she has made the decision to be baptized. She is really excited about it and her Mom is okay with everything so Sophia is very happy. We are hopeful to meet her mother soon. Also, two young men whom we rode up the elevator with asked us several questions about who we were and what we were teaching. When we got to our floor they kept asking more questions so when the elevator started to close they hopped out and talked with us in the hall for quite a while. They were very nice young men, one of them spoke a little English (which is always good for us) so we were able to have a nice conversation with them about our church, our mission, why we are here and what we do each day. We gave him a Book of Mormon and as they left he said we would visit again. It was a great experience for us and it always is revitalizing to actually vocalize the answer to some of those questions of the soul like where did we come from why are we here on earth, where do we go when we die and what are WE doing in Siberia!!
This afternoon we rode a different bus to the end of its line which happens to be a huge park at the end of the city in the middle of quite a large forest area. The smell of the forest made us homesick for the Cascades. The area we were in reminded us of the Lake Wenatchee area minus the mountains of course. There were about 20-30 young adults (18-30 yr olds) who gathered there for an afternoon of Frisbee, throwing footballs, baseballs or whatever, ring toss and a good ol’ hot dog BBQ. It was just too much like home. We had a blast met a few more of the young people and had a great walk through the forest.
We continue to have a great time here. It is a real learning experience and we appreciate even more how much people are just people the world over with the same hopes, dreams and problems we all face every day. We love everyone we meet and have had several experiences that have endeared the Russian people to us. They seem very reserved and in their own space at first but are quick to come to the aid of a stranger in distress and we have been the recipient of the kindness of strangers on several occasions.
Have a great week – we love you all. Das Vadonya.
Sunset from our apt
|An interesting plant discovered in our many wanderings|
notice the big tuber things!
|Arriving at the Forest Park|
|Food is READY!!|
|A stroll down the walking/bike/rollerblading Path|
at the Park