Friday, October 2, 2009
October 2 post
We thought everyone might like to see a bit of our apartment and get caught up on what's been happening with us. You'll notice our front door has two doors. The inside is wooden, but all exterior doors to apartments have a heavy metal door with a magnetic lock. Our washing machine is very very tiny (but I'm grateful we have one!) I took a close up of the settings. I used our Russian dictionary and found that the word beginning with X is cotton. I had to write down all the other words and have a missionary translate because they were not in my dictionary. (We have a drying rack for our clothes because there is no dryer.)
We have a futon couch / bed. We are going to Ikea this weekend and look for a hide-a-bed or something different. For now it's pretty comfortable.
I also included a cute little Russian stacking doll I purchased with a total of 9 inside. Love it!
The last two photos are a recent baptism and an updated photo of Joe and I.
Five new missionaries just arrived this Tuesday. There is quite a bit of paperwork to get through and orientation. We had 4 elders and one sister. Two elders are from Utah, one from California and one from Russia. The sister is from Utah.
Every six weeks each mission area has transfers. Transfers are when some missionaries are moved to other districts and will serve with a new companion. Therefore, the office is full of missionaries and suitcases to meet with their new companion and move into a different apartment. It's great seeing missionaries during transfers that we don't get to see too often. They are so grateful to see us and greet us as such. We are grateful to see them and everyone is so cordial in wanting to make sure the other is doing well and if there is anything they can do for us - or us for them.
The weather has turned pretty cold. We are wearing our winter coat, gloves and hat already. I feel sorry for the missionaries that have to be out in the weather most of the day. But when we see them they are happy in the work they are doing.
This Wednesday Joe and I took the bus downtown to the U.S. Consulate to take care of passports for the missionaries that just arrived. When we got off the bus next to the seating area at the bus stop we saw a deceased homeless person. He looked like he had been in a fight. It was very sad. One of the missionaries told us that its pretty common during the winter months. He said that last winter when they took the underground metro there was a homeless person dead but covered on the cement. Two hours later when they returned the person was still there. They overheard a Russian native upset that their isn't a quicker response to take care of these people. The homeless people have no where warm to stay. We've noticed more sitting in the underground walk ways because its heated down there.
This past Wednesday evening we attended a Russian comedy/singing performance. We couldn't understand one word, but it was enjoyable to watch. Without knowing what they are saying you could tell who the woman was going to end up with - the man she kept arguing with. It was fun. The theater was absolutely beautiful inside. We weren't sure if you could take cameras inside so we didn't bring ours. However, we saw other people taking pictures inside the theater after the show. We want to go back to the same theater and watch the Russian classic ballet "Swan Lake." We'll bring the camera then.
Living here in St. Petersburg feels like your living back in time. The buildings are so old on the outside and most of the buildings inside are old also. Most of the apartments we've entered (as well as some shops) have chipped cement steps once inside the building you walk up to get to the shops. One would expect these steps outside a building and a nice floor once you've entered. The radiators are being turned on now. They use hot water to heat the radiators. The radiators in the buildings are very old - they remind me of the radiators in my old high school.
Although there are nearly 5 million people in this city, the people live their lives at a slower pace. They are very impatient drivers though. I'm glad we don't drive - they drive pretty fast, honk their horns alot, and cut in front of other drivers. You don't dare step in front of them because they will not stop. Many people jay walk taking their lives in their own hands.
Last Saturday Joe and I were leaving our apartment building and we took one of the elevators down to the bottom floor and when it stopped the door wouldn't open. (There are two elevators in our building). We pushed several buttons, nothing. I pushed the speaker to talk to someone. A woman spoke to us in Russian. Fortunately, we have been working on our Russian and I responded to her I do not understand Russian and asked her if she knew how to speak English? She responded with more Russian. After about 8 minutes the elevator jolted and the door opened. Thankfully! Neither one of us took our cellphones with us otherwise I would of called one of the elders next door at the office to come talk to the woman at the front desk. Although its doubtful they work in the elevators or so we have been told. The next day I came to the apartment alone to grab some homemade chicken w/rice soup Joe had made to take to a sick elder. When I was to return the elevator door opened that we got stuck in previously. I figured I wouldn't panic as I had soup, crackers and my cellphone with me. So if I got stuck I would have food and a way to contact someone! It has worked fine ever since.
We are just getting over head colds. I had come home last Thursday for a brief nap and take more decongestion medicine. Just as I was preparing to leave to go back to the office Joshua Skyped us! I was so excited to hear and see him. He was in port in Japan for only 45 minutes to stock up on supplies before they headed back out to sea for another 40 days. He's doing real well. Working long hours. He plans on being complete with this trip by the end of November. He is coming home to Blaine for a few weeks then heading back to the next phase of classes in Maryland in January. He was disappointed he didn't get to see his dad though.
Well, off to bed. God bless all of you.
Love Joe and Jeanie