Monday, April 28, 2014

Babuski, Holladyetz, Culture Night

okay this week was crazy!!!! first of all, monday night we had a member lesson with two hilarious babushki margarita and larisa. they are super old and live together and best friends and argue constantly. i hope that i can live with my best friends when i am super old and just argue all the time. it's hilarious! anyways, we had this whole lesson planned about the plan of salvation but of course as all member lessons go all you have to do is announce the topic and they take it from there. we said that we wanted to talk about the plan of salvation, so margarita had us all go around and say what the plan of salvation means to us personally. then she finished it off with a nice 10 minute spiritual thought about who knows what, and then literally said "and that was my lesson in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." hahahaha then they fed us which is always an adventure. the mashed potatoes were fine, the fish patties smothered in mayonaisse were edible, but the holladyetz is what got me. i have been dreading the day that i have had to eat this my entire mission. they tell you about it in the mtc just to scare you. it is literally (100% true) PIG JELLO. jello made out of a pig. it is cold and slimy and somehow gray and see-through at the same time. there are chunks of meat and bone and random tendons and things in the middle and basically it is just the worst. i gagged multiple times, but i finished my plate out of sheer will power and also probably pride because i still want to be able to say that i have eaten everything put in front of me on my mission. turns out pride is a bad thing because i spent the entire next day laying in bed moaning wishing i would die. but now i'm fine so no worries.

the other biggest thing that happened this week was our culture night! it went so well!!! we were all so worried because as it usually goes with these types of things everything seemed to be falling apart an hour before it was supposed to start and then miraculously everything came together again just in time. sister nash and the sisters we live with represented asia because sister dryden's family currently live in korea (she is also my future companion by the way, i'll give her an official bio next week) so we pretended to know things about asia. sister nash and i learned how to make paper cranes from another sister in kiev and so we taught freaking origami in Russian! for this first time on my mission i was like, wow i speak russian. it was kinda cool. there was also a south america table, and they had a pinata so of course they were the favorites. america just had brownies and american flag stickers haha and italy had pizza dough that you could practice throwing and spinning. the members loved it!!! there were so many people there i was almost overwhelmed! i'm used to tiny branches where 20 people is a big turnout, not 100! anyways, it was awesome. the less active who we visited and crashed her birthday party came so that was the best part for sure.

okay so transfer news is that sister nash and i are staying in center kiev, in the same apartment, but we're just switching companions, so i'm with sister dryden, she's awesome and only 2 transfers younger than me and sister nash is with sister nikogosyan who is from russia and so legit! her english is so good that we make fun of her and tell her that she's from america haha. 

okay so i have compiled a list of observations about kiev so far, i'm sure i'll come up with more in the future but here are things that are different from donetsk in kiev (*disclaimer, i'm not saying that either donetsk or kiev is better, they are just different):
-everything is so fancy here. i can't even handle it. unfortunately i am towards the end of my mission, so by this point every article of clothing i own has either a rip or stain on it and most likely both, so i definitely do not fit in here as well as i did in donestk.
-along with that is fashion. in donestk it was about 10% of the people were super high fashion way classy and intimidating and the other 90% of people owned one outfit that without question either had a cat or sequins on it, but most likely both. here there numbers are about reversed. the vast majority of people are SUPER classy and there is a small population of hobos and missionaries who do not dress fancily haha.
-people here speak english. it is SO weird. not everyone obviously, but walking down the street you hear people speaking in english and it throws me off so bad! it's so weird!
-people hear also speak ukrainian. like instead of speaking russian. i feel like i'm in my first transfer again! everyone is like, you're fine, russian and ukrainian are super similar! well, yeah sure, but there still different languages!!! the good news is that by this point i know how people inflect their sentences, so i can at least differentiate between when people are saying nice things, mean things, or asking questions.
-there is american food. like beside mcdonald's. there's kfc, baskin robins, tgi friday, and bagels!!!! literally 3 weeks ago i told sister nash that i would cut off one of my fingers to eat a bagel....that may have been a rash statement now that i think about it haha.
-the parks here are crazy huge and beautiful and there are tons of people in them!!! it's awesome.

okay to be fair, when we left donestk it was kind of winter still and now it is definitely spring in kiev, so it feels more different than it is. also we are living in the very richest part of kiev, so that explains why it feels so different.

somethings are the same though:
-the gospel. it never changes.
-people still stare at me.
-people still laugh at my name.
-full grown adults still walk around eating ice cream cones here. it's actually strange if you see an adult walking down the street who is not eating ice cream. dad would love it here.
-missionary work is still missionary work.

okay that's it for this week! i love you and miss you tons! oh also they decided to send home the lochheads and senior couples this week, so that is super sad. i don't think we're going back to donestk :( i am just grateful to be in ukraine still. pray for ukraine! the elections are coming up and whatever happens there will decide if we get to stay in ukraine or not. alright i gotta go, i love you and miss you all!!! be good and have a great week!!!
Babushki Lesson

Botanical Garden

Asian Sister Shrek

Culture Night

Kiev Street Scene

MTC district reunited

PiƱata Fun

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter, Cinnabon, Crashing Birthday Parties

okay so a spelling lesson first (don't worry i just figured this out myself): it is Kiev if you are spelling it the russian way or Kyiv if you are spelling it the ukrainian way. for the record, i prefer russian, so i will call it kiev. yes, i am SO happy that i am with sister nash still, although transfers are in a week and a half and we are pretty positive that they will split us up because they are trying to integrate us into the mission. yeah we haven't gotten any new missionaries for awhile, and none of the missions in ukraine are getting any new ones, so i bet the kid from colorado will get reassigned to russia or the baltics. yes 10 elders from our mission (5 of whom i have served around) are going home a transfer early and 7 i think from the kiev mission. now there are only 2 groups older than me left in the mission, so if they keep sending people home who knows what will happen. we still don't know what will happen with the lochheads and the senior couples. the sisters would totally share their investigators with us if they could, but they only have one to begin with so sister nash and i are doing our own finding. we actually already found one investigator and she is awesome!!!! she was a former investigator awhile ago and she is about our age. her name is oksana and we were worried that she was just interested in english, but when we had our lesson with her she told us that she wanted to meet with us because when she was meeting with the sisters awhile ago she was much happier and she is looking to find that happiness again. she is so great. she is one of those people when you meet them you can just tell that they are a good person. she already knows how to pray and has received answers to prayer before, so basically she is SO prepared. she almost agreed to be baptized, but she is going to l'viv for the weekend (that's where she's from) and she wants to meet with us again when she gets back later this week. pray for her to get her answer that the book of mormon is true! it has helped me so much to know that there are people here i am meant to help. even though i miss donetsk like crazy, i know i'm supposed to be here right now. 

this week i got to be with sister rohrbaugh and willerth for a day!!!!!!! it was literally the best. so the sisters from kiev that we live were going on exchanges with the sisters that sister willerth and rohrbaugh live with and there wasn't enough room for all of them in one apartment, so sister rohrbaugh and willerth came to us!!! it was so much fun. we took them to KFC and Cinnabon and their lives were complete. oh yeah ps we literally live in the center of kiev AKA our area is the richest area in all of kiev which i'm pretty sure it means is the richest area in all of ukraine. yep. we were in culture shock for the first few days. the malls here are fancier than the ones in america! so weird. anyways, the bishop called us and asked us to visit a less-active because it was her birthday, so we just showed up at her house with flowers and of course she invited us in and we accidentally crashed her birthday party! for the first time in kiev i felt like i was back in donetsk because the apartment was tiny and dirty and smelled bad and it felt like home. of course there was a crazy guy there (there's always one) he was wearing a super fancy suit and he had this paper that he showed us and said that whenever he meets someone from another world he has them sign his paper hahahaha. then he was showing sister rohrbaugh pictures of rocket ships and saying all sorts of crazy stuff. gotta love ukrainian crazies. anyways, we got 3 referrals from the birthday party and a new investigator, so i'd say it was worth the NASTY cake. let's just say it was 95% whipped cream, there was all sorts of random fruit on top and around the edges were i kid you not CORN FLAKES. yummo. 

ok so easter in ukraine: i didn't hear a ton about the traditions, but this is what i gathered. people walk around with baskets pretty much like in america, just plain brown wicker baskets, and they have specific easter cakes (i'll send you a picture) which actually look a lot better than they taste, and they all go visit the graves of their family members to clean up the graves, so it's actually more of like a memorial day type holiday. for sacrament meeting they had all the new missionaries from donetsk (8 of us, 4 sisters, 4 elders) bear our testimonies which i was kind of skeptical because it was easter i thought shouldn't they have like real talks or something, but the members loved it.

other than that this week has mostly been inviting all of the members (active and not) to our ward activity on friday. we're having a culture night that the missionaries here have been planning for so long. i feel bad we kinda just showed up in time for the party and didn't really do anything to prepare for it, but it should be way fun. i'll let you know how it goes next week. 

okay that's all i have time for this week. i want you to know that i am happy and safe in kiev but praying for donetsk every day because it is still home to me. i am just grateful to still be a missionary and still be in ukraine. i love you and miss you all!!!!!
Easter Cakes

Working on the Rapunzel braid

Donetsk District


Pillow Pet

Spotted Cinnabon!

With the Lochheads