I love being back in Moscow. It is the best. I really cannot describe it. Besides the buildings in Missionary Alley being torn down (I miss the music!) and me not being a missionary, nothing has really changed. And I love it that way. And even not being a missionary isn’t that bad. In fact, it’s kind of fun. I mean, I miss my mission, but this way I can help out with the work and still have the freedom of a normal person. And also not deal with a lot of the crazy things. But honestly, it really is like coming home. I feel like I was just here yesterday and almost all the pain that I felt about leaving and all the worries that I had about it being different in a bad way are gone. I’m home.
Ways Moscow is different so far not being a missionary:
- · People are nicer. For example, I had misremembered from what I read online and couldn’t see the price sign when I was buying my metro pass, plus some of the ticket options have changed, and the lady was so NICE AND PATIENT with me. I know from personal experience that if I had been wearing my tablichka that it would have been different.
- · People also don’t stare at you. Even today when I was in a dress all day, people don’t stare at you funny. Now, obviously, it’s good when people notice your nametag, but even so, it’s nice to be able to be on the metro and not have a million eyes just starting you down.
- · I am by myself—actually, I’ve been with people for a lot of the time, but still there have been long periods of time when I’ve been on the metro alone. Oddly, it’s not that weird.
- · Some people call me Rachel . . . and I introduce myself as Rachel. That one is still weird. Especially when I’m meeting new(er) missionaries. Because they have tags and so I think I have one and I just introduce myself as Sister Ashby.
Ways Moscow is the EXACT SAME:
- · I can walk around in the Central Building or ZGrad with my eyes closed (well, you know, figuratively).
- · I still know the metro as well as I did when I left—I even remember where you need to be to exit or transfer or most of the stations I used often. It’s kind of like muscle memory.
- · People still call me Sister Ashby. Honestly, I am not complaining. Missionaries I knew and served with who are wierded out calling me anything else, new missionaries whose comps know me or who I accidentally introduced myself to as Sister Ashby, members . . . it’s so great. The one time Ksusha called me Rachel it was super odd, and one of my favorite moments here so far is when an Elder who I knew called across the Central Building “Hey Sister Ashby, wanna help us on a lesson?” (Unfortunately I already had plans with Ksusha, but I told him that I’d be happy to help another day once I got a phone.)
I wrote this on Sunday and there are others now, but I don’t have time and figured I’d give all of you who were bugging me before I left to post on my blog something to read. More later!