Friday, April 17, 2011
Sveta came over at 11am and we went to the market for a few grocery items. She was wearing some very high heeled boots and commented on how uncomfortable they are. When I asked her why she would wear them if they hurt her feet - she said it’s because she’s still single. Call me crazy, but I can’t see a man approaching a woman because she’s wearing uncomfortable high heeled boots. I’ll just stick with my flats, thank you very much.
We came back and started cooking. We made blini – a Russian crepe pancake – and a homemade apple pie filling. Then we made another batch of homemade macaroni and cheese and spaghetti with ground beef and tomato sauce. I actually did find some premade spaghetti sauce here and it was
expensive delicious. Sveta was very excited to learn how to cook. I have a feeling that she will be over a lot. J
The missionaries arrived at 1pm on the dot – how’s that for Mormon Standard Time (Mormons tend to be late to functions)? I guess that’s just in the US. Unfortunately, the food wasn’t ready to eat until closer to 2pm. Oh well. They didn’t seem to mind. Elder Beck has only been in Russia for 2 weeks! And Elder Bitner has been in Nizhny for 4 ½ months. They are both really good missionaries.
Sveta invited a friend of hers to join us for lunch. His name is Dmitri. She said that he has been depressed since his wife left him 2 years ago. So sad. L He seemed happy enough with all of us and is a very good story teller (in Russian).
After lunch, Dmitri had to go back to work – I guess some people still do that, it’s strange since we just sit around all day and play here – and the missionaries wanted to share a spiritual message with us about love and charity. It ended up becoming quite a missionary conversation with Sveta. We talked about all kinds of gospel topics including how we each came to know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true. We all shared how we came to know of its truthfulness and how it is a plan of happiness. Sveta said she can tell that we are happy. It was a wonderful conversation and I think we’ll have more in the future, as Sveta says she has many more questions.
This evening, Sarah, Sveta, & I went to see a Russian opera. The tickets were $7 a piece. So cheap for such lovely entertainment! The name of the opera is Eugene Onegin which was composed by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and based on a poem by Alexander Pushkin, both of whom are Russian. It just seemed fitting to see such an opera in Russia! In fact, the opera theater is dedicated to Pushkin. I was impressed with the main female lead – she had a lovely voice. I also enjoyed the young ballerinas who danced throughout the opera. It was Sveta and Sarah’s first opera, my fourth. Tyler and I have tickets to see Bizet’s Carmen next week. I am looking forward to that!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Today we went to see to a puppet show down the street. It was based on Bambi but with some alterations, such as it was based in Africa. It was all in Russian and geared towards children. Very fun and entertaining. Outside the puppet show theater, they had ponies and all three of the children took a ride on one. It was fun.
I came home and took a nap, and then I made some blini for dinner. We ate them with bananas, nutella, or just plain. I feel very Russian when making blini. I ate them in Ukraine, but never made them. Sveta taught me how to make them yesterday. I will be making them often, I’m sure.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
We met Elder & Sister Lovett today outside the McDonald’s. It was a 10 minute walk to the church. They rent out the area to meet in. Everyone was very friendly. Like in Mariupol, Ukraine, it’s an LDS branch, about 40 people who meet each week. There are two very strong families in the branch plus everyone else. In Sacrament meeting, the seminary kids gave talks and sang. There are 4 kids (2 girls and 2 boys) in the seminary and their teacher is the son of the branch president who’s attending the university – he looked like a kid, himself. J I had a hard time singing along with the hymns, as I have not learned all the symbols in the Cyrillic alphabet yet. I am now motivated to learn them this week so I can sing more confidently next Sunday. I listen to everyone else singing and try to match the sounds that they are making, but I am certain that anyone listening to me must be laughing, because it sounded like gibberish to me - what I am singing, not everyone else!
We met the sister missionaries – one is from Estonia (and speaks English fairly well) and the other is from Washington state. They both seemed shy. We invited them over for lunch on Tuesday, assuming we won’t be on adoption business that day. This Friday, there is a game night at the church. I plan to invite Sveta to come with us, should be fun.
There are only 2 children in the primary in the branch. Our children more than doubled it! They mostly colored pictures in the primary. At first, Keith was struggling in there and then it was Iryna. I spent half of Relief Society helping Iryna to calm down and make good choices. Hopefully next week will be better, as they will know what to expect.
We walked home and I made a pot of potato and corn soup with some croissants that we bought at the store. The soup was so good. I’m grateful that my mom taught me to make a homemade white sauce – it has saved me with regards to cooking in Russia. (Thanks, Mom!)
Tomorrow morning, Sveta is going to call the MOE around 10:30am to see if we are coming in to look at files. I wanted to be fasting for 24 hours prior to our visit, but we don’t know when that visit will be, yet. It may be Monday or Wednesday or the following Monday – I hope it’s sooner rather than later! They only do adoption-related items on Mondays and Wednesdays, if you can’t tell. I hope to have good news for you tomorrow!
Some observations here in Russia:
We have green toilet paper that smells like apples.
The milk and ice cream and ketchup are all in bags, as opposed to bottles or containers. The milk is especially tricky to pour.
If someone approaches you and speaks Russian and you act like you don’t understand, they speak louder. As if that will help.
As promised, the pictures! If you have trouble seeing each picture in the collage, you can click on it to enlarge the picture.
Sarah, Sveta, & I at the Opera!
Some pictures around Nizhny Novgorod.
Keith's pony ride. He loved it.
Anna was more reluctant to ride the pony. I was concerned that she might be too big for it, but the woman with the pony insisted she could ride. I think she just wanted the money, because I hadn't seen that pony move so fast to finish the ride as he did with the twins. My baby girl is growing up!
The puppet show!
Inside the puppet show theater. I wonder if they have puppet shows in the US? Anyone know? It was really quaint and entertaining.
Iryna on the pony! She LOVED it, too. Big smile the whole time. :)
Russians love statues. I like them, too.
Pictures around the apartment.
Tyler, Sarah, Sveta & I playing quirkle (I'm taking the picture). You can see Keith's new Y E L L O W water hose. He loves it, as you can imagine. We hang things up to dry here. I am just grateful that we have a washing machine - not interested in hand washing! Hang drying is much easier.
The missionaries who came over to eat with us. Some pictures of food that I bought, made, and the yummy pizza! The missionaries came up with a game to talk into Keith's water hose and he would listen on the other end. This game has become a fast favorite.
Some more pictures, including the top left is from our window. It's really a pretty area, I'm very pleased with our location in Russia. :) Until next time, Paka!