We've set up the Christmas tree in the mission office and I'm playing music as much as possible at my desk to keep in the spirit of the season that is not really celebrated here. Packages are coming in for the missionaries that we have begun to place under the tree that they will open in zone conferences in December. We've captured a picture of Elders Shevchenko, Pitcher and Andersen by the tree.
On Thanksgiving Day Joe and I are hosting a dinner in our apartment for the missionaries in our district. There will be about 10 of us. Two elders have items shipped to them from America that will bring our dinner pretty close to the real thing. We will be having whole chickens because Turkey is too hard to find and expensive. The mission office will be closed so we'll enjoy a fun day with the missionaries.
This is our first holiday away from our kids and grandkids. It's a bit sad but we are focusing on making it as much fun for everyone because they miss home and family also.
We have discovered two very important members in our mission! The massage sister (Natasha) and chiropractor brother (Victor). They even come to our apartment!
Joe had twisted his back this past Saturday getting off the bus hauling our cart full of groceries. He's been icing it and I've been massaging it but he just kept walking more crooked and couldn't sleep.
I've had a kink in my neck since arriving here in Russia in August. Joe was twisted back into shape and no longer walking crooked and I received a one hour massage to help my sore muscles. We are feeling much better now. The sister who gave my massage said that the part of my muscles in my left shoulder blade and neck are related to my gall bladder. She suggested I drink water before a meal and wait to drink anything 1/2 hour after eating. Apparently it's common to have changes in our body when going to a foreign country. (DUH!) There as been a lot of changes I just didn't think it would be my gall bladder. We'll see what happens after making a few more changes.
We had exciting news that Joshua made it home after his 120 days on a Navy ship at sea. We were able to talk to him using Skype. He will be home for the holidays and then back to school and back out to sea. He's working hard to make a career for himself as a Merchant Marine.
We are also happy to report the rest of the kids and their families are doing fine (at least from what they tell us). They like to keep things from mom and dad so we won't worry. We love our children. They are so supportive and loving.