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 LDS.org 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 ;)*