Monday, October 27, 2014

Week of October 27th

This week was my first normal week as a missionary! If you can call being a missionary in Russia normal at all. So first of all I need some ideas for food I can cook, eat, and clean up all in under 1 hour. I am open to any suggestions and I'll let you know if I can find a certain ingredient here.
Also talking to Elder Hasebi I got some ideas for stuff for you to put in packages. Things that he has really enjoyed getting are: cake mix, Reeses, photo album (pictures of sports, friends, graduation, etc), and notes/letters from friends/family. 
I have lots of little stories to share that happened this week but I am just writing them down and I will have lots to share when I get home. I did notice however that the little mole next to my mouth is pretty much gone... Like its barely visible. I am still curious as to how. Maybe it was the cold. The coldest temperature I have experienced so far is -20 Celsius. and that's without wind chill. It got super cold for a couple of days then warmed up again. I bought a giant coat that has a fur lining in the hood and down the sides of the coat. It is wonderful. And for when it is really cold I have a couple of scarves. I keep forgetting to mention this in my emails but we have an investigator that is getting baptized this Saturday. So that's neat. He is really good at ping pong and talks super fast. 
I found out that on average missionaries serving here have 3 baptisms over their whole mission. And that is actually the highest average in all of Russia.

I have heard that packages get here just fine and it doesnt take super long either only 2-4 months. Sending stuff home is a little more dangerous though. I have heard of packages taking 8 months to get home and some not making it at all
Hope everyone has a good week!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week of October 20th

So its cold now. Like really cold. It snowed for the first time a couple days ago and the temperature hasn't been over freezing since. This morning it was negative 18 degrees celsius which is about 0 degrees farenheit... and its October. It didn't really hit me that I am living in Siberia until now. I am going to buy a big winter coat, scarf, gloves, and whatever else today. I already took out 8000 rubles ($200) and I might need to take out more but I have a couple thousand left over from when I got my bag two weeks ago. The rest of the Moscow trip was great except we flew back at 1 in the morning and with the time zone changes it was a 13 hour flight. When we got to Irkutsk Elder Hinkson and I just fell asleep and woke up 6 hours later. So I am really badly jet lagged right now. It is really hard to find people to teach so we end up walking the streets trying to talk to people a lot. While Elder Hasebi was on the phone I was able to understand and talk to one guy enough that I taught him a quick restoration lesson including Joseph Smith's first vision, so I am pretty stoked about that. Russian people are so hard to understand. Especially old people. I cannot understand old people. I saw a BMW 760 Li yesterday and I am pretty sure that means it has a V12 engine. Which is ridiculous. There are a ton of BMW's out here actually its really surprising what cars I see when we are in the nicer part of the city. Like yesterday this sweet Lamborghini drove by, the guy in it was in a white tux. Have a good week everyone! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week of October 13th.

Elder Perry's P-day is on Monday which with the time change ends up being late Sunday night for us. I will post his letters on Mondays.

Hey, so you know how I told you I was in Irkutsk last week? Well I am in Moscow right now. Like the capitol of Russia. Elder Hinckson has some emergency dental work that needs to be done and it turns out that dentristry in Irkutsk pretty much doesn't exist. So last Tuesday I played ping pong against a professional Russian. I lost, then on Wednesday I flew out to Moscow. Elder Hinckson had his first appointment, during which I attempted to discuss rock climbing with a Russian dude. I do not yet have the vocabulary to succesfully talk about rock climbing. Then we took the metro to some other elders house to stay with them while we are here. The Moscow Metro is the coolest thing. It is super fancy like murals on the walls and carvings into the marble all over. There are escalators that are like 100 meters long. It was all built in the communist era so there are hammer and sickles everywhere and Lenin they love Lenin. We are going to see Red Square and the Kremlin later today so I might be able to send pictures next week. I would send pictures now but I left my camera cord in Irkutsk. We did service for a super old lady and I cooked her dinner it was much fun trying to understand her cooking directions. We watched general conference this last weekend I thought it was cool how many other languages were in it especially because it means there might be one in Russian sometime. Moscow is much more modern than Irkutsk, they have sliced bread here. Like how neat is that? and peanut butter and even microwave popcorn. So you know that expression "its the best invention since sliced bread" well I realize now that's because sliced bread literally changes your life. I will never again take it for granted. One of the elders we are staying with is Elder Marsing who I was in the MTC with for a while it is amazing how fast you can learn a language when you really have to. I have not bought any of my winter stuff yet I mean it is only right around freezing in Irkutsk during the day and that is jacket weather, and that is not a joke. I will try to tell you more next week but I need to go pretty soon.

List of things in America that I didn't appreciate like I should have.
Good: Bread, light switches, toilets, having a dryer, not having to use public transportation, people not hating me because of I am American, clean water, let me reiterate that point, water that isn't brown when it comes out of the faucet, elevators, warmth, the sun, mexican food, food in general, people having straight teeth, not everybody smokes, and most importantly being able to understand people on the street (because not only is it Russian but everyone mumbles and talks super quietly)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

In Russia!

Russia is great. To start off I will talk a little bit about my apartment. It is on the fifth floor and there is no elevator, our key is bent so it takes five minutes to lock the door. The bathroom is wonderful, the sink doesn't work it is the size of a small closet and there is a tiny tiny little washer in it. The inside of the washer in honestly 5 inches deep its so cute. We don't have a dryer, but we do have a handy drying rack for our clothes. We have a pretty much full kitchen except we only have two bowls two plates, two cups, etc. So that is kinda fun, I have come to realize already that just about every meal I eat is going to consist of rice/pasta a sauce and a meat. So hopefully I can figure out how to make some good sauces. We sleep on a super squeaky bunk bead and there is a neon sign that shines into the window from the next building, so its nice it is so light I can read without even turning the light on. We have to filter water for it to be potable but our filter is under the sink so we just fill up old juice containers from under there and put them in the fridge. Other than that its great.
My companion is Elder Hasebi, he is from Utah has been in Russia for just over a year, he is very hardworking and makes sure to follow all the rules. He hates mayonnaise and cheese and yesterday he just grabbed a tomato out of the fridge and ate it whole. Which was pretty funny. He laughes a lot and is a pretty cool guy over all, I think we will get along very well. 
Irkutsk is a normal city, well a normal Russian city which means its a super ghetto city. It is hard to explain but it is almost more of a feeling that a physical thing. Everything either looks like it is under construction or abandoned. Russian people are exactly what the stereotype is. They are angry/crazy looking they usually are angry/crazy and I love talking to them. I have been swore at in english (and probably Russian) been told to go back to America, and just laughed at. But other people are great to talk to they just aren't as common. 
So the flight over here was awful even though we took Korean Air which I think has been voted the nicest airline in the world and we were on an A380 on the way over here which I think is the largest commercial jet in the world. They gave us little slippers and a tiny toothbrush. I had some korean food in the airport in Seoul. It was dumplings and soup and it was pretty good. We got to Vladivostok at like 3 PM went to the mission office and did a ton of paperwork and got fake passports (you know to give to the cops when they ask for it, duh) because U.S. passports are a big ticket item on the black market. Then we went to the mission home did some training stuff. Didn't get to go to sleep until 10:30 and President Brinton woke us up right at 6:30. We did a little more training stuff then found out we could only take one suitcase with us and it could only weigh 44 pounds. So I went from 100 pounds of stuff to 44. Still not sure why they don't tell you that sooner. So my other suitcase is in storage and will be for the rest of my mission. Then I met my companion elder Hasebi who I already told you about. We went and stayed the night in Artyom because it is closer to the airport and we were flying out early the next morning. When we got their Elder Hasebi wanted to go street contacting. It was raining but we still talked to a solid amount of people I was even able to say the first vision twice. One lady we were talking to said  that I look like a vampire (I didn't know that Hasebi told me) so that was neat. Next day flew to Irkutsk and started doing regular missionary work its mostly been street contacting. Our landlord said that I look like a Russian so I shouldnt tell people I am from the U.S. Another elder in the city was having a lot of mouth pain and wanted to go to a dentist in the U.S. but they sent him to one here in Irkutsk. They kept trying to pull out the tooth that hurt but he didn't want them too so they just prescribed him some pills. The prescription cost 10 Rubles. Which is about three cents... Lots of stuff has happened already and I can already understand people a little better. The russian I learned in the MTC is Moscow Russian. and it is very different here in Siberia. I would compare it to a british person trying to understand someone from Mississippi. and also the British person barely speaks English, Its tough. 
I am having a great time here though it is pretty fun in general. 
Oh and at church on sunday a crazy exmilitary Russian dude gave me an old spetsnaz war medal. It is super sick. Has the batman symbol on it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Arrived Safely October 1st 2014

Flight took forever, we have been traveling for two and a half days straight. my first area will we Irkutsk by Lake Baikal. I heard that it was negative 10 Fahrenheit there today. It will take another five hour plane ride to get there. and I can only take one suitcase. So I won't have half of my stuff for probably 80% of my mission. I am doing alright though, Russia is super cool looking in an abandoned sketchy city kind of way.