Monday, January 12, 2015
So I am in Vladivostok now! Such a cool city, Elder Hasebi has flown back to Irkutsk with the Brintons and I am now companions with Elders Hinkson and Jaekal who are the Assistants to the President, so I have dubbed myself the Assistant to the Assistants to the President. It's been an exciting couple of days we have had so many lessons and so much to do. Elder Hinkson is who I went to Moscow with and we have had fun reminiscing. Elder Jaekel (I do not know how to spell his name in English) is super cool too. He is also very in tune with the spirit and really does a great job teaching people. It has been fun with the three of us ,we all get along well. There was a lot of mail waiting for me in Vlad, I got a package from Jamie which had tons of candy in it and the cheese powder from Kraft maccaroni and cheese. I got an invitation to Jay and Rachel's wedding, and I got a Christmas card from home. I also heard that there is another letter in the office for me right now, but I have no idea who it is from. Sorry this weeks email is so short it has been really hectic.
Monday, January 5, 2015
This week was New Years! New Years is the big holiday in Russia so there was a lot going on this week. Tuesday night we walked past the park, which we do all the time, and saw that there was a huge party going on, they had giant speakers set up and the huge (probably 4 stories tall) Christmas tree in the park was all lit up for the first time. Then New Years day we had to be inside at 6 so we did some cleaning, and planning, and made peach cobbler from the mix that Grandma and Grandpa Bushman sent, it was wonderful. Then Thursday there was no one on the streets, every business was closed and no one was doing anything. Friday and Saturday things started going a little more every day so we actually had a couple people to talk to on the streets. It seems like today most major things are open again, but according to one Russian guy the "holiday season" doesn't really end until January 12th. I have been keeping a little notebook with me all the time and writing down little interesting things that aren't big enough to make it into the journal at night, and this week I filled up the last couple pages! I know that isn't exciting for anyone else but it was kind of a big deal. In news for the Russia, Vladivostok mission there was a goal for 100 baptisms this year and it was really coming down to the wire if we were going to reach it or not. At the beginning of December I think there were 87, and at 5:07 December 31st the 100th baptism happened, whoo! We even had two baptisms here in Irkutsk in December so that was amazing. Even though the Chinese lady that got baptized moved back to China. I have been trying to take more pictures on P-day, we aren't allowed to take pictures on other days but I am doing my best to photograph my experience here. I would attach pictures in emails more, but we either email in a little Muslim place that has horribly slow email or a basement internet gaming place in which we can't get to a USB port. Hope everyone had a great New Years!
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
This week was quite eventful. After emailing Monday Elder Walker and I went on splits and we ended up going to a zoo! Kind of, it was super sketchy, definitely would be illegal in America. But I saw some cool animals and stuff. Made friends with one of the monkeys, I showed him pictures on my camera and then high fived him through the glass so we are pretty much bros now. Then we went to this really big mall that I didn't know about and ate at Cinnabon. And there is a KFC opening there soon. Then we went to a sushi plate and got a lot of sushi. We bought so much that we got free drinks as a gift for buying so much. It was really good, first time I have had real sushi and I love it. Then that night at Midnight I got on a plane to start my visa trip to Korea. It was a 4.5 hour flight to Khabarovsk were we met with some other elders, then another hour flight to Vladivostok were we picked up the rest of the group. Finally got to see everyone from my MTC district again so that was great. And I met Elder Mateer who is from London and has the best kind of British accent which I picked up really quickly. I talked in a British accent the whole trip and then got Elder Hasebi doing it to. We are trying to stop now though because it is making our Russian sound really silly. I was only in Korea for like 10 hours. We didn't even go into the temple just slept at the dorms there. But while we were outside we saw a Korean man drop a giant cake, so we ran over and helped him out and he invited us to come eat cake with him. So we had a little Christmas party with a bunch of Koreans. And Korean people are the best. They are so cute and happy and they love Americans. Which may or may not be the exact opposite of Russians. Got up early in the morning and flew back to Irkutsk. It took 6 flights and 18+ hours of flying for the whole trip. Got back at like midnight went to sleep and then it was Christmas! So I got to open my package from the Bushman's it had some hand warmers, a hood thing, some energy bars, cookie mix, muffin mix, and lots more. It was great! Then Christmas day was just a normal day except I made cookies at night instead of doing my usual work out. The rest of the week was normal except there was a baptism, the actual baptism was in Angarsk though because the lady getting baptized didn't want to get baptized in the hotel sauna place were we usually go. The branch had a little Christmas activity on Saturday and I met a girl from Finland who is just traveling through Russia and then going to go to China and India so that was neat.
Other stuff that happened:
I lost my pen going through airport security it was so very close to running out of ink and I was so excited for it to happen.
We ate at Papa John's after we skyped and ate a 40cm pizza all at once.
I brought Elder Hasebi back a Big Mac from Korea
I lost my name tag
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Hey so I finally have a favorite scripture for you Alma 26:12 that one should be good for a plaque. Last week was good Elder Hasebi and I bought protein powder and have being working out hard, the protein powder has a bunch of pictures of Arnold Swarzenagger (no clue how to spell that) on it in case anyone was wondering. I got some mail this week, a letter from Elder Hasebi's mom that had cute little Christmas light things with pictures on them. Also a letter from Jamie that actually has like 7 letters in it and a note to only read one every 2 days so they last a while. And a package from Grandma and Grandpa Bushman that I haven't opened yet because its for Christmas! So tonight at midnight I will get on a plane and fly to South Korea to renew my visa. So I will actually be spending Christmas day in Korea, how neat is that. I would write more but I am out of time sorry! Happy Christmas everyone :)
Monday, December 15, 2014
So last Monday I bought some camel socks, and some Yak socks. They are really comfortable and warm socks, I want more. I also got a Russian fur hat, it is great, I want more. And then just walking out of the market I saw this super weird looking crazy jacket so I asked how much it was and it was only $20 so I talked to price down to $12 and bought it. We did service for a less active member this week. Painting his kitchen/bathroom. It is straight up whitewash that we painted it with and the fumes from it are probably still affecting my judgment. But then he came to Church on Sunday so all is well. Then the next day we did service for a little old grandma stacking wood for her. It took over 2 hours and was freezing cold, but then she invited us inside and she had made us Borsh, which is a traditional Russian soup, and Plov which is a rice dish from Armenia, it was all really good and we ate a ton. Then as we were leaving she pulled out some candies and told us to fill our pockets. As we were leaving right after stuffing ourselves full of food. Elder Hasebi pulls the candies out of his pocket says, "well... these aren't making it home." and ate them all. It was pretty funny. It was transfer week this week and Elders Basset and Walker stayed with us one night, that was pretty fun in general and there were lots of stories shared. We visited Peter again this week and as we started talking to him he started struggling with his pockets trying to put them back inside his pants like pockets are supposed to be, after a couple minutes he realized his pants were inside out told us to wait a second and just whipped 'em off and put them on right. And also he had shaved only the right side of his face, he was clean shaven halfway and then had a scruffy beard the other half. He is 63 years old. Totally forgot to get a scripture for the plaque again. I will try to do better. I spoke in Sacrament meeting this week and it went pretty well, I wrote out what I wanted to say but kinda just got distracted and ended up saying different stuff.
Russia does have skittles but they are different flavors
Babies is giant snow suits are super cute, they have been dubbed starfish babies because they cannot move their limbs.
Monday, December 8, 2014
Today is going to be a great day. Elder Hasebi and I are going to go to the big outdoor market to pick up some шапкы which are the big fuzzy fur hats that are so stereotypically Russian. Also we are going to look for some protein powder because we go hard every morning working out. I already weigh less than I did when I went into the MTC. Last Monday I bought a pull up bar and that has been really useful for working out, I also got some Russian nesting dolls and they are so cool. I want more. It blew Elder Stephesons mind when I opened them all up. I was with Elder Stepheson because we did splits last week. It was a good change up and Elder Stepheson is cool so it was fun. Especially when we were talking to people. We are both fairly new in Russia and definitely not anywhere close to being fluent so there was a time or two were I didn't understand what the Russian person said so I just looked at him and he was looking right back at me. We understand enough to get through a conversation but it is hard to know exactly what people are saying. On Sunday Peter saw somebody run out of the coat room with a bag in his hand stealing it. So Peter (a short and fairly large man) starts chasing him, Elder Hasebi and I go to and we just run down the street following Peter until he gave up. This whole time we are outside in the freezing cold in just our suit jackets. They ended up finding the bag about an hour later and only the phone was missing out of it so nothing too bad. This computer desk is at an awkward height and my right arm is going numb. I have more stories but I feel like I really can't do them justice in text, so they will have to wait for a while. New Years is the big holiday here but they still have Christmas trees and lots of lights and everything, I need to get some pictures of the city at night it is pretty cool. We have started making our own version of sloppy joes. We just take a full (huge) loaf of bread cut it in half then cut it again to make it like a bun, scoop out a bunch of the bread, and fill it with a meaty ketchup kinda meat sauce kinda meat thing. Just in case you were wondering. Totally forgot to think of a different scripture for the plaque this week, my bad. But I did complete the first level of memorizations! Which is just things like the missionary purpose, Doctrine and Covenants Section 4, two baptismal invitations, the ten how to begin teaching points, etc. It really is just a little victory for me because I am reminded every day when trying to talk to people on the street just how much I don't know.
Monday, December 1, 2014
So this week was fun of course. We met with a guy in a movie theatre lobby, just because that is where he wanted to meet. Elder Hasebi and I ended up being socially obligated to get some drinks (juice) and that wiped out the last of our money for the month. Like we didn't have enough to even ride a bus. But we ended up just using some of next months rent to get by, and now we have money for December and replaced the rent money. Tuesday and Wednesday were normal and then Thursday was Thanksgiving! It was really great, the missionaries from Angarsk joined us at the Nelson's apartment so we had like 14 people there. The Nelson's are amazing cooks there was so much good food. I think my favorite was the sweet potato pie, it was topped with pecans and marshmallow cream and I ate way too much. Elder Hasebi and I weighed ourselves before and after eating and he won the contest. He gained 3.4 pounds and I only gained 2.8
The rest of the week was pretty normal except all of our investigators cancelled on us, so that was a bummer.
It got cold this week. You learn a lot when it gets really cold though, mostly that being cold is awful. Elder Hasebi and I ran into a member and we asked him to check what temperature it was on his phone. It said that it was -22 C but that with the wind chill the "RealFeel" was -43. When the wind gusts it just sucks the heat out of you. When we got home that night Elder Hasebi's eyelashes had frozen and my breath had frozen in layers on my coat so much that I couldn't unzip it, and it has stayed at about -20 for the past three days. So today we are going to go looking for some of the camel hair socks that old ladies sell on the streets, as well as other whatsits to keep us warm. Interesting little thing that happened this week, so Elder Hasebi and I cook German pancakes a lot for lunch, and our stove is super sketchy and theres no handle on the gas flow valve thingy. So this resulted in Elder Hasebi accidently turning the stuff down to very low flame instead of turning it off. When we got back into our apartment for dinner hours later as soon as I opened the door we both started to step inside and stopped, sniffed a bit, smelled gas, looked at each other, took a deep breath, and ran inside. I turned the oven off and he opened up the door to the balcony and we opened up all the windows and got it taken care of. But I felt like a firefighter or something it was neat.
Now other little things that happened this week; I accidently started talking to a police chief on the street (super sketchy because the police here are super sketchy)
We saw a highway patrol car, it even said "call 911" "highway patrol" and other things on it in English
and we were on a tram when it stopped suddenly and Elder Hasebi fell onto an old lady and mule kicked me in the leg.