Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Holding Back Tears

It's almost over.  I can’t believe it's almost over.  

I admit at the end of last week I was ecstatic at the thought that I was almost done.  But, this week and especially today, it's really hitting me.  

I don't think I can do this... I'm never going to see my kids again.  I can't imagine saying goodbye to my Basic Reading students tomorrow, I had to say bye to one of them on Monday.  That was when it hit me, that was when I recognized the reality of it- that I am finishing the job I cam here to do.  

I’ve been holding back tears all day long!  Today we were doing a lot of cleaning up and writing student evaluations for the incoming teachers.  Writing about my kids and being reminded of tender memories with them touched my heart and I can’t stand the thought that I will most likely never see my students again.

I sat and pondered what I have been doing here as an English teacher for the last four months… the impact I have made on these children’s lives… the progress they have made… the impact they have made upon my life.  Being a teacher is the most satisfying job I have ever taken on, next to being a Nanny which when you think about it, I was a teacher there too.

Children have so much to offer us.  To see how much potential they have and watch it be reached for is an honor.  We as teachers get to help them recognize it, help them bring it out, help them feed it, help them learn….  It sounds like I was doing a lot as a teacher, but really they did so much more.  They are the ones succeeding in their improvement.  They are grasping onto their potential and flourishing in it.  I am a sole witness of their achievement and a beneficiary of what I have observed from their growth.  We can learn so much from children as they are trying so hard to become something better and soaking in so much information every day that furthers their knowledge.

I am so proud of my students.  I don’t want to leave them, I want to keep observing their struggles to learn and their successes well earned.  I want to watch them grow up and see who they will become.  There is so much personality in those small little bodies; I wonder what they will become?

I wish these kids the best of luck in their future.  I pray they will never forget what they have learned and most importantly that they will never forget who they are and what they have the potential to become; what they are working toward right now.  Success.  I know they will succeed if they will remember these things and keep working hard.

We all can.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Uh, Excuse me Miss

Let me begin by helping you understand something about waiting in lines:  Russians have no concept of them.  No concept of the line part and no concept of the waiting part.  But, that is OK; when I get home and people ask how I got so good at boxing out in basketball my reply will be, “Four months of keepin my place in line at McDonalds.”
Although my favorite “line” experience to date took place at the Post Office this week and is not likely to ever be topped :)

After finally getting the mail system here figured out it was time for Grandma and Grandpa to get their letter from Russia.  Now, the fastest way to get these letters to the U.S.A. is by airmail, 14 days.  I am sad to admit that I have not miraculously become a fluent Russian speaker over the last four months.  So, I had my coordinator, Natasha, write out a little note that said I needed an airmail envelope with enough stamps to get to the U.S.  I would show this to the Lady at the Post Office and everything would be hassle free right?  Wrong.
I walked through the door only to find a mass of people everywhere in the room- No sign of any line formation anywhere!  This was gonna be interesting…  So, I started motioning to people asking with my hands and facial expressions “Are you in line?”  Some pointed to places which didn’t make any sense and others said, “Huh?”  Which is always discouraging when you know they’ll be even more confused if I really try to say anything at all.  But, most of them said, “Niet” (No).  I was rather perplexed and confused.  How did this work?  Where do I go?  What do I do?  How do they all understand what is going on?  This makes no sense.  It felt like my first few days in Russia all over again.
Then, a purple haired angel came to my rescue.  You can always count on Babushkas to help you out!  She put her hand on my back and started spouting off in Russian to me.  Since, I always seem to conveniently forget the full phrase for, "I don’t understand Russian" when it is needed all I said was, “Niet Parooski… Pongliski”.  (No Russia…English)  Haha oh man, that sounds so desperate.  She looked at me confused and said something else.  I repeated my broken reply then she chuckled and started talking to the guy next to her. 
The next thing I know he’s talking to the guy next to him and they both laugh a bit and guy #2 says, “Niet”.  He starts walking around the whole room while pointing at me and saying somethin to each person where I could only make out the words, “Nipo daymyo Paruski… Pongliki.” And “Niet”.  Well, that right there is my favorite, having a bunch of Russians talking about me.  The room got pretty loud after that got started; everyone was talking to each other and looking at me.  I figured the guy was going around trying to find someone who spoke English.  No success.  If I had any chance at blending in during this visit, that chance had flown out the window- Now everyone knew there was an American in the room.

So, my new purple haired Grandma started gabbing at me again.  Noticing the note in my hand she took it, read it and… well, that was our first bit of success as she now at least knew why I was there.  She snatched my hand and started pulling me across the room and through all the people, heading straight for the counter where there were probably six people standing.  Oh, I guess I found the beginning of the line- the blob off shoving elbows. 
….Haha I still can’t believe what she did, she started talking really loudly at all of them and a few stepped to the side, she stuck her hand with my note in front of the Lady sitting behind the counter!  Can anyone say, “BUTTER!”  I guess Babushkas have access to 24/7 fast passes :)  And, this one was still holding my hand… kinda weird.

Haha the Lady put her hand up and kept busily to her work.  Guess butting is allowed but interrupting isn’t.  So, we waited.
One other Lady started talking to me.  I caught bits and pieced together that she was asking if I was from America, I said “Dah”. (Yes)  Then, I thought I heard her say something about… Colorado.  Was she asking if I am from Colorado?  What the random?  How would she know Colorado?  California I understand, but Colorado?  I said, “Niet, Colorado.  Utah”.  Now, it was her turn to put on the “What are you talking about?”  face.  Okay, maybe I didn’t know what she was saying. 
Then Purple Hair took my letter out of my hand and started looking at it.  She smiled when she saw the heart I had drawn on the back with my salutation.  I pointed at the recipient and said, “Babooshka y Dyadooshka”.  I figured she would be amused that the letter was to my Grandma and Grandpa in America.   She was :).
Well, Miss. Postal Lady finished and I was up next.  Gma Purple Hair did all the work for me:  she gave her my note and took my money to give her as well.  Lightly aggressive, yes.  But, I thought it was funny!  Next thing I knew what I went there to do was completed.  And, I’m pretty sure I jumped in front of a good 20 people to do it!
Thanks Grandma Purple Hair.  I appreciated you sharing your line jummpin skills with the Confused American Girl.  :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day Momma

Today I am thousands of miles from my dear mom on this Mother’s Day, so, I pray to do what I can to wish her the best day and to cancel out those miles between us.  Physical distance means nothing when two hearts are so tenderly sewn together.  Mom, this is for you.

Let me begin my simply saying, “Thank you and I love you”.  You are the most incredible Mother I could have ever had.  I thank the Lord for putting me in your tender, loving care.  I pray to be even half as great a Mom as you have been to me.  You are the strongest woman I know, and I have been so blessed to be your daughter. 

To grow while watching your example was a joy, it was simple and clear.  I would see you do something good and I could see in your radiance the honest happiness you received from your good deed.  This taught me, “Do Good- Be Happy”.

By striving to follow your footsteps I realize that God is in your life, that God is your life.  I know the only way I could one day become a woman or a mother like you is to have God in my life, leading me in Everything that I do.  I’ve seen you pray, I’ve seen you study.  I’ve heard your testimony so many times, I’ve seen your testimony innumerable times.  So many people say actions speak louder than words.  I believe this is very true, you’ve taught me many things from your actions.  But, one thing I love about you is you still don’t forget the words.  I’m not sure how many mothers literally bear their testimony to their children; how many sit in front of them and in actual words say, “I love my Father in Heaven…  I know he lives…   I believe that everything in life happens for a reason… I know that the Book of Mormon is a book written by God to man…  I am humbled to have been given the opportunity to raise such choice children of God…  My life is in His hands…  To worry is to doubt God… I am grateful for my trials….”  These are only a few of the words that I know you have spoken to me in true testimony.  A testimony that when you slow down and I feel the spirit bear witness of the truth of your testimony to me I feel you should say, “In the Name of Jesus Christ Amen”.  But, it usually ends in a hug and a few tears instead :).  I want to tell you thank you for never being afraid to bear your testimony to your children whenever you feel the instinct to so.  Your example is supported by your words, and your testimony is supported by your actions.

I’ve had some hard times in life, we’ve had some hard times in life together, I smile knowing that your hand is always close by and desiring to grasp hold of mine.  I know you will always be with me supporting me and helping me because you always have.  You are my Best Friend.  It’s amazing the comfort that comes from the loving hand of a mother.  Thank you for always reaching for my hand and for guiding me.

Pinkie squeezes.  I love that we have Pinkie Squeezes.  My favorite is when you reach to me behind everyone’s backs in sacrament meeting to squeeze my pinkie finger three loving times.

I LOVE your laugh.  I LOVE your smile.  It is contagious, simple as that.  Anyone who knows you thrives off your happiness.  Why do you think I can’t stop smiling when I talk to you on Skype? :)  You are a happy person.  Thank you for always being so joyful, for teaching me to be optimistic.   Life is good.  Thank you for teaching me that.

Hard work.  That’s my Momma.  Right on that list of things you taught me best is Hard Work.  I’m not afraid of breakin a sweat, I’m not afraid of getting some dirt under my nails, I know that when I do a job I better do it well, and I know to always finish what I start.  Hard work never hurt anyone, thanks for teaching me to stick to a job no matter how hard it may be.

Your dedication to Dad is incredible.  I love watching the two of you.  The way you respect him, the way you love him; another example you’ve set for me to follow is how to treat my future husband.  And when you tell me how much you love Daddy…. Thank you for telling me.  I know you do, but it’s fun to hear it and cute to see you get gitty about Him too :).

By listening to your words, and being the recipient of your prayers was the best way for any child to be raised.  The way you mother fathoms me more and more as I grow older.  You have done such a good job!
Thank you for all you do for me Mom.  Thank you for all that you are.

You’ll be getting a huge hug when I get home on June 5th.  Be ready for it!! :)


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Letters From Loved Ones

Over the past four years I have learned and experienced a pure truth in the words, “Good things are worth waiting for.”  Today was one of those special days when the worthwhile treasure for the waiting was received. 

And, what a beautiful day for it to arrive on.  I woke up to the sun pouring into my window and the sound of my Russian home waking with me; cars hurrying about, birds chirping, and people walking in the street below.  It was going to be a good day right from the start.  I read my scriptures, said my prayers, and headed straight for the computer; an email from a loved one was waiting for me, just as it does every Tuesday morning.  The message is always worth the wonderful week long wait to hear from my best friend, and it never ceases to begin my day with a smile on my face.

I continued my morning with breakfast, getting ready, and reading a book before heading down to school for another day of teaching my wonderful sponge like students.  A wonderful day still.  Then for a run across the river!  Probably only two miles but the opportunity to run and get that high I do from using my incredible body God gave to me always puts me in a good mood.  What a beautiful run it was, jogging near the water and through all of the people in the park: other fellow joggers, parents pushing baby carriages, couples walking hand in hand, teenagers having a good time, kids on bikes and scooters, and slow and steady babushka’s out on their nightly stroll.  I was happy to join all of them in relishing the warm spring evening.  When I began walking the rest of the way home down Leninski Prospekt it began to sprinkle, a perfect way to cool down at the end of my run.  Then, it began to pour!  A sudden extra burst of adrenaline started pulsing through my body with the rain and I resumed my run; Thunder and lightning accompanied me only adding to the strength I was feeling.  I kept going, hardly able to see through the beads of water forming on my eyelashes.  I ran hard, harder than before, running through puddles that splashed walls of water around me as I raced passed the long lines of the soldiers in green uniforms and flat hats marching against me.

Finally, I walked through the large metal door to my apartment building and glanced at the mail box as I always do- a habit formed from waiting; patiently waiting for letters sent over two months ago.  Noticing something white showing through the three holes, I assumed another unreadable ad had been dropped in only with the fate of being recycled.  With a bead of water dripping from the tip of my nose I unlocked the mailbox.  I found not an ad to be recycled but a white cardstock Ready Post envelope with a red cross stamped in the center and my name on the recipient line; I found my treasure worth waiting for. 

Ah!  I was so excited; I hurried upstairs, kicked off my drenched tennis shoes, and headed straight for my window seat to read my letters.  Ripping open the envelope and dumping the folded letters on my lap I almost started to cry- they were here.  I looked out my window and saw the beautiful sunset and smiled, They were finally here!  I read each one slowly; carefully.  I smiled, I laughed, I cried, and I smiled some more.  Each letter spilled with love from my family members, jokes, encouragement, words of longing, concern, and support; each one made me so happy.  Oh, how I love my family.  I’m not sure I can express my love for them in words.  I hope they understand how strong this feeling is inside of me.  They are amazing; my family brings me some of my greatest joys, my greatest support, and my greatest learning.  I will ever be grateful to the Lord for placing me in such a special family unit.  They all are so incredible, so special and different and strong in their own ways.  They all make me stronger.  I love you.  Daddy, Momma, Aaron, Sam, Ashley, and Alisha-Kate, I love you all so much.  Thank you for your inspiring, and loving letters. 

I will ever treasure these precious Letters from my Loved Ones.  They were certainly worth waiting for :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Coherent Ramblings

Day 4 of living on my own.
To those of you who don't know-  My amazing roommate, Renae, went home on Tuesday due to health conditions.  Man, I gotta say I miss having her here!  She was such a wonderful friend to have around, such great company in my home away from home.  She was a blessing to me here... still is :).  I learned so much from living with her these last two months, she is such an amazing person.  I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know her and to establish a friendship that will no doubt last for a very long time!  The Lord gives us countless blessings in our lives.  Some of My most cherished are the people he lays in my path to find throughout my journey here on Earth.  I'm happy I can now add another dear friend to that list of cherished blessings.  I love you Renae.  Thanks for everything.
So, I never really thought I would have the opportunity to live on my own... let alone while living in another country.  But, here I be.  Me, my books, and my imagination living alone in a decent little flat on the seventh floor with a considerable amount of quiet!  Except for the sound of my Amazingly loud fridge (Sometimes I wonder if there is some kind of factory inside of this thing!  There must be 'cause it produces a ridiculous amount of noise!)  And, our washer, which when it gets to a specific cycle makes me start shouting "3...2...1... lift off!"  Pretty sure someday I'll come in my kitchen and find that he decided it was finally time to go to the moon.  Seeing as he's still here I think Mr. Washer is a bit nervous).  And, the sound of random waterfalls in our bathroom (Every time someone flushes their toilet on a floor above us you can here the water racing down the exposed black pipe).  And, the sound of all the cars outside splashing through the plethora of lakes out in the roads (No they are not puddles, they are lakes).  Okay, I guess that was a lot of exceptions after I said it was ridiculously quiet here, but all of that is white noise soooo it doesn't count.
I was nervous that living on my own would cause me to be a lazy bum and not get anything done!  You know, no one here to keep tabs on me and make me feel like I should get off my tush and do somethin.  Why contraire! :)  I have been a productive little beast buzzing around my apartment.  Cleaned the Whole place up! It's all sparkly clean now!  And those disgusting carpets, yepp, I sure did break a sweat cleanin those suckers!  I did a bunch of laundry, cleaned sheets-blankets n' all, did some cooking, bunches of reading and journal writing!  Skypeing and lesson planning.  It's been a productive couple of nights!  :)  Now that everything is all spik'n'span and finished the weekend can come and get me!  And, guess what's happenin this weekend here in Rrrrrrussia?! (I hope you rolled that R, 'cause that was the intent ;) ).
Conference Weekend!! :D Yayah!
We had to wait for them to send the DVD's with conference here to our branch translated into Russian, they also sent some English ones.  So, on Saturday we'll be watching the first 2 sessions at my apartment on and on Sunday we're watching them at the Senior Missionaries Apartment!  I am SO excited :)  I love General Conference.  Love. Love. Love.
Oh, yeah uno más item on the agenda.  Remember Mr. Homesickness?  Update: Got him nipped in the butt.  Been having a wonderful time using the tactic of gettin real busy and workin harder to win that one fair and square.  Fo example... :)  Yesterday mornin I grabbed my umbrella ella, ella, eh, eh and boots, splashed around a little on my way to the bus stop, waited for a while and hopped on a 90.  Read a chapter of "Enders Shadow" by Orson Scott Card during my 45 minute ride out of the city.  Played myself some good games of Ping Pong against Mr. Andrew and Miss. Kelsey and then we decided to embark on a journey into some beautiful forest/swamp/meadow. :)  By the time that fun little trek was over, the morning rain had drenched us all.  Looked like I had just gotten out of the shower but man was it worth it! 
I'm having fun out here.  I love it  and I'm soakin it all in.
Well, it's time to go, "You have been a fabulous audience! Tell you what, you're the best audience in the whole world. Take care of yourselves! Good night, Alice! Good night, Agrabah! Adios, amigos!"  Name that movie ;)
*Special Thanks to Lacie for the Title of this Post ;)*

Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Dust Tastes Sweet

Before coming to Russia the article that most occupied my thoughts of my upcoming adventure was the teaching.  I knew I would be doing some traveling and sightseeing, and that it was going to be preposterously cold!  I knew I would be meeting new people and trying new food.  I knew I would be living in a new culture and having some different experiences of living away from home much further than little old Ephraim.  All of this came with my Russian adventure, but on the top of that list was always the teaching.  I could say it was at the top because it was what I was most excited for, or because that is why I’m here- to be a volunteer English teacher.  But, to say that would be to taste a lie.  Teaching was the thing I was most scared about.
I was so nervous having no idea really what to expect.  I had no clue what classes I would be teaching or even if I would be good at it.  Could I keep control of my kids?  Would they dislike me and think I was no fun?  Would I be too strict or too lenient?  Could I remember the BMC’s?  Was my mind capable of the creativity needed to prepare ten different activities a week?  Could I even make lesson plans?  Would I be able to understand my students or would they even understand me?  Could I really teach?  I was terrified of the job approaching me.
Now, I find myself two months into being an English teacher in a foreign country and the thing I most feared has become the easiest matter to handle and adjust to.  It was definitely difficult in the beginning, which only heightened my already anticipated stress.  But, I quickly adjusted and learned the methods of teaching, I caught onto the art of lesson planning and found I had more than a seed of creativity stowed away in my brain.  I succeeded in establishing a class who respects me as their teacher, and also knows that I want to have fun.  And we do!  :)  I love teaching.  Amazing how the thing I most feared is the thing that has really been the easiest!  I dare say the most rewarding.
All the rest of my Russian experience has come to be the hard part.  In the beginning everything was so fun, so exciting and new, so different.  The food was different and good, the new means of transportation by bus was fun, and the cold wasn’t that bad (Don’t get me wrong on that, I didn’t say it wasn’t cold I just said it wasn’t bad :)  That attitude I believe came with the excitement of the extreme I was living in!)  Now, those things are just part of the experience and I feel the new excited feeling has worn off to familiarity.  Right now I just really miss the comforts of home. 
Homesickness has really been settling in the last little while.  So, just for the record when I said, “I won’t be homesick” to some of you family and friends, yepp, I’m eatin those words now and they taste funny.  It’s a weird thing to be homesick; it’s weird to find yourself in a place so different from the usual and know that the usual is very, very far away- unattainable actually.
It’s not that bad though really.  I mean this experience is so neat!  There are so many things that have happened to me since being here that overwhelmingly outrun that thing called homesickness.  I am so grateful to be here, I am so grateful for what I have gained from this experience so far.  And, to think I’m just barely half way through it.  There is more ahead!  Much more awesomeness in store.  :)
The opponent to homesickness is in the lead by far.  Look at that!  Her testimony has grown, and her skills at interacting with different personalities and different people have been exercised and strengthened.  She has learned some Russian!  She has gained experience in teaching, and grown in her skills of interaction with children!  She’s enhanced gratitude for her blessings at home of friends, family, an incredible country, and an education.  She has experienced what it's like to have to travel more than a  five minute walk to get to church and had the opportunity to be in a branch.  She has been able to share her testimony through action and through word.  She has fed from the knowledge and testimonies of others around her.  She has learned to be friends with people whom she probably would not have chosen to be friends with if given the option.  And in that has gained some new lifelong friends!  She has visited St. Basil’s Cathedral, had Borsch, sweat like a pig in a Russian Sauna, and she’s tasted of the joy of European Chocolate after every meal!  (Yes, I said every meal :)) …….  Look at her go.  She is winning this race by a long run; Mr. H doesn’t even have chance.  

Eat my Dust Homesickness. Eat it! :)

These kids make me so Happy!  I mean just look at them! Goofy, Shy, Adorable, and Fun.  And SO ready to learn. What more could I ask for?  Oh and they bring me flowers, chocolate, pancakes :), and draw me cute notes on the board and draw me pictures.  I love these kids to no end!

"I Love you" -From Alisa
"Liza Love Miss Angela <3" -From Liza
"Miss Angela is lovely" -From Stefania

Wearing our Peter Pan Hats!  Dima, Dasha, and Sveta. "I'll Never Grow up. No, sir, not I!"
Life is just too much fun!! :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wait, what? I'm In Russia? Yes, yes you are.

Guess it's time for another update; it's only been like... oh, three weeks.  Wow, sorry about that I didn't realize it had been so long.  But, here it comes so grab onto your britches it's gonna be a bumpy ride. ;)

So, I went on a four day trip to Moscow with the teachers about two weeks ago and that was A-maz-ing!  I can't believe I'm actually in Russia, it keeps hitting me.  What kinda moments make that fact stand out in my mind?  Let's see... 
~When I found myself at five o'clock in the morning in a cold, gray, cigarette and sweat stenched train station full of men holding flowers of every color waitin for their special woman to arrive on Woman's Day. That was pretty neat. ~When I found myself paying 20 rubles to squat over a hole in the ground in time of dire need to relieve myself of the 3 bottles of water I drank during an 8 hour, overnight bus ride. (I can't get over the fact that I had to pay to squat over a hole!)
~When I was walking through the underground metro station with marble floors, and statues of past presidents and rulers, surrounded by walls painted in the 1700's, illuminated by gold and crystal chandeliers. 
~I noticed I was in Russia when the servers at McD's went around telling people to leave so new customers could have a seat. (Crowded would be more than an understatement, and the fact that they have cheese sauce with their fries instead of ketchup... gross.)
~When I found myself buying a 30 cent candle to light and offer with the hundreds of other flickering prayers.
~I knew I was in Russia when I realized that I had seen over one hundred cathedrals in 3 days.  Needless to say, cathedrals are more prevalent than fire hydrants in the U.S..

Three Cathedrals and me :)

How many Cathedrals do you see in this one?  I spot 4.

~I realized I was in Russia when we got breakfast at Cinnabon and they started playing thriller, of all songs :) over the speakers because they knew we were American.
~When a man in a street market started throwing fur Ushonka after Ushonka on my head telling me they were real fur, offering me a price, telling me I look beautiful, tearing it off and putting on another one that makes me look "even more beautiful", offering a cheaper price, and lowering it again, and again after every attempt at me saying, "I don't want it, I don't want it."  (Sometimes you have to bargain reeeeal hard with these people, and sometimes they'll do all the bargaining for you!)  P.S. Ushonka's are the traditional Russian fur hats that have flaps to cover your ears.
~I knew I was in Russia when I lost interest in looking at Russian Nesting Dolls haha (Which when I was a kid were extremely fascinating).

The group of teachers from Moscow we toured Vladimir, and Suzdal with!

Blini For Breakfast! With Sour Cream and Home Made Plum Jam :)

~I knew I was in Russia when I found myself running up hills of snow to slide down them on my behind in attempt to warm up from a full day of walking, only to find that that makes your bum a lot more cold. Definitely still worth it though :)
~I realized I was in Russia when I had pancakes for dinner with sour cream on them :) which actually tastes really good!
~When I was walking through Christ the Savior Cathedral looking at immaculate baroque carvings, paintings and statues of gold.  When I found myself surrounded by religious people grasping the cross that hung from their neck, crying and kissing pictures of Jesus.

All of us Teachers Jumpin for joy :)  in front of Christ the Savior Cathedral.

Awesome/random ice sculpture we found.
We had SO MUCH fun at this park!! :)  Got hot enough playing that I took my coat off.  You have NO idea how nice it was to take that thing off while I was outside.  I pretty much live in it.

 ~ I also realized I was in Russia when I visited the WWII Museum and found a Long hall of Chains hanging from the ceiling leading to a huge room with more hanging chains.  Each one represents ten Russian Lives lost during the war.  I can't explain the feelings that overwhelmed me when I saw this.
Deaths: 130,000,000 Soviet Union.  420,000 American.

~And I knew I was in Russia when I was walking through St. Basil's Cathedral (The one that looks like a bunch of colorful upside down onions) and the ethereal sound of a choir of men filled the towers and spun around me.  I found myself scurrying around through hallways only to realize that the source of the perfectly beautiful harmony was Only three men-exemplifying the marvelous acoustics of the towers.

... And SO many other things.  I could go on, and on, and on..... and on!

You would think that with all of these constant reminders my head would know I was in Russia by now but still everyday it hits me just like the first.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Home Sweet Home/ Food Glorious Food

Let the picture looking begin.
Me in front of my apartment. Mine is the furthest right building, seventh floor! :)

Welcome to my humble home.  On the left you will find the bedroom. :) Don't be fooled. The bed may look comfortable but there are about 7-10 holes poking through each mattress from the springs. (Yes, it is two small twins laid side by side.)  How might we avoid being jabbed by said springs during the night?  Simple, layers of folded towels under the sheets. :)  The second two pictures are of our bathroom, inconveniently separated into two rooms.  Random fact- all Russian bathrooms have light switches on the outside of the room-no, not the inside.  If you ask me this is a recipe for disaster.  People walk by, notice the RR is occupied and decide to switch the light off on you.  Think yur pretty funny don'cha? I like how we have to move the faucet over from the sink to the bathtub to take a "shower".  If that's what you would call it.

Hello to Angela's first ever plate of sushi.  Sushi-not too bad actually!  The pink stuff in the middle of the plate.  Retched!!  It's fish flakes. Needless to say I didn't eat that. I liked the mint towel they gave us to wash our hands with. Classy touch.  My new found guilty pleasure- Banana shakes!!! :D  And for the bottom picture.  Look closely, very closely, closer. Okay.  Those orange balls, yup that's caviar. Also, disgusting!

Okay, so, now for some home cookin.  Do you see all of those bags of onions and potatoes?  Yes?  Well, enough to feed my whole family of seven right?  Well, it's all for me.  Sorry, but one person can't eat that much.  But gotta make somethin out of it anyway!  Make sure the food doesn't go bad.  So, I put together some onions (A LOT of onions), some potatoes, and some Massive carrots (pretty sure Bugs Bunny would be happy with those suckers), and boiled it all together with a lack of spices. 

Result- a big pot of bland onions, potatoes, and carrots that I have been eating for the past week for dinner.
But.  Just wait. Oh, how I love spices and leftover stew gravy from lunch at school.  I added that and some other spices to my boring concoction and Walla! A delicious Stew :) Four Tupperwares of it.  I promise I'm sharing with my wonderful roomie Renae! :)  And anyone else who may want some.  Really, you're welcome to have it, there is plenty to go around!  Then, my wonderful roommate Renae... did I already say that she's wonderful?... Yeah?  Oh, okay. Well, anyway :)  My wonderful roommate Renae, made dessert last night. Banana Cream Pudding!!! :D  I was a happy woman.  Happy, happy woman! Thanks Roomie.

Okay, so this is my breakfast every morning.  A glass of orange or apple juice, a yogurt (their yogurt is WAY better than American yogurt, so you should be jealous FYI), a fruit, whether it be a grapefruit, apple, orange, or banana, also a boiled egg, and a roll.  Well balanced meal? I think so!  Anyway, moral of this prolonged food story- Momma, I'm eating just fine out here! Don't worry :)
Okay. Two random pictures. Picture #1 is of me and my cute lady bag of flour that I got hassled into getting for "free" when I didn't even want it.  Long story, funny story, but long.  I might just add that the man who gave it to me at the store spoke some English and understood when I said I was from Utah because he knew the Jazz. Really.   Picture #2 makes me smile.  Look closely starting on the right.  No drinking on the bus, understandable.  No smoking on the bus, also understandable and very much appreciated.  Hahaha and No ice cream on the bus?? lol *tear*. The end. :)