Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 14, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day in Our Neighborhood!

SO. I am sure you are wondering why this email is coming a day late. Well, MyLDS mail wasn't working yesterday...I think only 5ish people in the entire mission got to email, so we all get to email today. Which is inconvenient because today just happens to be one of the busiest days we have, but oh well. 

I think it's funny that you mentioned the weather in Idaho, because the weather here is one of the first things I wanted to mention! It is really similiar weather-wise to ID in a lot of ways. It is not quite as up and down. But the first week I was here it was rather warm and sunny, for the most part. This past week I think it has at least sprinkled every day. It has been very wet. One day it was slushing from the sky. Most the snow is gone though and when it snows again it doesn't stick around very long. I can't wait for things to start to get green, as well as for maybe a few days where I don't have to shine my shoes 5 times a day. It's been really wet and cold, but our landlord told us that after this week it will hopefully start to warm up again. Time-wise the days go by pretty slowly, but the weeks are fast. I feel like I've been in Russia for months, but at the same time I can't believe I've been here for two weeks. And yes, you're always tired. Today I'm especially tired because I got only 2 hours of good sleep last night because I wasnt' feeling too well and couldn't sleep, but don't worry--today I'm fine, just really exhausted.

Dad is in the Stake YM Presidency? Wow. That'll be fun. He'll like that. And I'm glad Elizabeth enjoyed prom. Of course spring soccer is cold. That is funny Leah wouldn't put her sweater on at first. I was just telling an Elder in my district about how funny she is today. And I know exactly what you mean about Hannah's voice and smile. And on Sunday I was thinking about how it was Becca's birthday! So Happy Birthday Becca! And I remember having finals on Saturday. It's lame. But oh well. I can't believe it's time for finals already. I feel so separate from anything over there. Sometimes I'll try to think about what everyone back home is doing. Like right now it's 1 a.m. there and everyone's probably sleeping, except BYU students madly studying in the library. Haha. It's just weird, because I've been awake for over 5 hours.

Anyway. I LOVED conference. I swear it gets better and better every year. Conference here is really interesting. We stuff all the American missionaries (plus a few other English-speakers) in the top room of the Central Building and watch the broadcast. Although there were a few times the broadcast didn't work so we watched it off the internet. But same thing, right? It's just awesome to be watching it with a bunch of missionaries in a church building in Russia and to be hearing the same messages that you had already heard. Um. My favorites were Elders Cook Oaks, Uchtdorf, Johnson, Bednar, Scott, Christofferson and Holland. And President Monson. I had so many questions and prayers answered through Conference. It was so great.

Okay. So address. Make sure this part gets posted on my blog, so that people can send me things if they want, although for letters, really DearElder will be so much easier and cheaper and reliable. The letters need to be folded in thirds and taped with one piece of tape at the top if you want to send them through the pouch mail system in SLC. Or you can send me letters and packages to:

Sister Rachel Ashby
Glavpochtamt a/ya 257

Yeah, kind of looks kind of backwards, but that's how Russia is. Oooo if you're putting a package together, you should send some mapeline so that I can make some syrup and chocolate chips. And some facewash and moisturizer, because I'm almost out. I don't know if Helen is back from her trip yet, but she'll know what exactly I need from what I got last time. Also, I know I have a ton of clothes already, but I seem to go through them so fast...cute cardigans and knit shirts are easiest. And maybe if you wanted to throw in another knit dress or something, that would be great. Lots of fun colors. I don't know. I feel needy and like I already have plenty of clothes, but at the same time...yes. Oh! And good nylons/tights. They're really expensive here, and mine are starting to wear out. It make take me a while to get, but hopefully I'll get it. We usually get mail on Tuesday, but this week it's tomorrow due to a visa trip of the Office Elders. Hopefully I've got some letters, since I've been here a while now!

Anyway. On to my week. Finally. Sorry. Um. Yes. 

I'm teaching Sister X some songs on the piano from some sheet music she has. She doesn't read music so it's me playing and she copying and memorizing. It's lots of fun and makes me feel better about my limited Russian abilities. I keep having to remind her not to get frustrated because I've been playing piano for 13 years. 

Some people we've taught this past week: Sabina, who usually the Elders teach but we got to this week. She's ready to be baptized, but her parents won't let her be. Her family's Muslim, but her Dad was actually secretly baptized years ago and she's the only one who knows. We taught Olya another follow-up lesson. She teaches us half the time. We have lots of fun together. We taught her Saturday after conference, and then we were super hungry, so we went and ate at the cafe (food court) in the mall that's right by the central building. We were getting lots of weird looks because we were speaking half in English and half in Russian and at one point Olya shouted "I LOVE AMERICANS!" This was after I remembered the meaning of a Russian word. Haha. She's so great. And then there was the Man on the Metro. We didn't actually teach him, but we were on the metro and this man was just staring at our tags. I really wanted to talk to him--he looked like he had had a really rough life and he was just staring for like 5 minutes, but the metro was loud and C. X was almost asleep on my shoulder and he was far away and problem number 1: I don't really speak Russian. Yeah. Um. Yeah. So I was frustrated but then he asked if we had anything to give him. And C. X woke up and we had a prig (invitation, shortened) to church and a Joseph Smith pamphlet. He read them the entire rest of the metro ride. We had to get off to go to an appointment, but we talked to him right before we left, and neither of us have been able to stop thinking about him. 

In Rachel-Speaking-Russian news...I'm so sick of not understanding anything and not being able to say anything in response when I do understand. Whenever people speak Russian to me, I can't process anything. I don't even know what to say in English, let alone how to say that unknown thing in Russian. It's frustrating. But a lady did ask me the time on the metro the other day. And we have a Russian Smack-down whenever the natives are in their English club. C. Carlson and Bullough and I sutdy Russian, and Sister Jones (who goes home in a month and speaks like perfect Russian) helps us out. We'll get it eventually. I just want it to come sooner than it will. But conference was great and reminded me that this struggle is good for me and I just need to be patient. Oh, and after our Russian Smack-down this week we had an awesome birthday party for Ct. Nickolaichev. He is awesome, although yesterday he hurt his ankle falling down some stairs. 

Um. I think I've mentioned that Russians love photos. And so many people get really excited when they see how big my family is. It's great. 

For P-day yesterday we went over to Ct. Nickolaichev and White's apartment with a ton of other missionaries and ate food and played Mafia and some other games. It was a ton of fun. P-Days are great because you get to nap and hang out with other missionaires and then go to English club. I didn't get any letters written though. Oops. Sorry folks. I'm having fun preaching the gospel in Russia. 

I think that's about it! It seems so much more condensed when I try to email. But oh well. I love you all! 

P.S. The skirt that got paint on it is my green one. Attached are some pics. Me pointing to my and Matt's missions at the MTC map. Me and Paul at the MTC map. Red Square. The park by our house. Me and C. X. and something else that I can't remember.

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