Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Week 2:
Hey everybody, I'm back for pday round 2.  Things are cool here. I went to class a lot and learned stuff.  My district is cool, we have 6 elders and 4 sisters.  Our Czar is from Texas, he's pretty cool, the rest of the elders are from Utah, they are all nice too.  One of our sisters is from Australia, and the highlight of my week was when she did a crocodile hunter impression, it was uncanny.  Anyway I'm still learning stuff, but I feel like not as fast as I was before, Russian is crazy.  I swear it is a language invented by people for the sole purpose of confusing english speakers.  I really am not missing tv or facebook or any of that stuff at all, turns out I can survive without it.  I'm sorry mom but I didn't have time our brain capacity to solve your riddle, I'm usually pretty pooped at the end of the day and my brain hurts, and also I never got a package from the provo bakery, if you sent one you should ask for a refund.  Also it seems like Rachael got my letter to her but you guys didn't get my letter that I sent.  I am starting to lose my faith in the United States Postal Service.  Oh yeah I had my birthday this week.  It was awesome, like 3 people told me happy birthday in the morning and then the rest of the day was just totally normal and I didn't have to worry about it.  Just a totally normal day, I don't like to make a huge deal out of it so that was good for me.  Thanks so much for the photo album and the ties, I liked the photo album especially.  If you are going to send more pictures though make them more of you guys, a lot of the album was pictures of just me, and I already know what I look like.  I have seen trav and Kyle a couple times, Kyle (soulmate) is already in Mexico now, he just left.  Travis is still here, he leaves in like a week, we were supposed to meet for a picture last night but he stood me up.  Turns out I need a card reader to upload pictures so I'll pick one of those up later today and send you the one picture that I have.  Thanks Grandma, Rachael, Mom, Holly, Dad, Emily, Maraika, and Mrs. Barnett for all the letters, they were really nice.  I really liked the Grandma mail, it brightened my day.  Not to mention there were a couple of days where I blew that sister Missionary out of the water, way to go team.  Sorry I didn't write enough last time Dad, but I don't really know what to talk about, I just work a lot.  Oh, we have a new teacher, Sister Pitchforth, I feel like she might be working at the MTC to relive the glory days a little bit.  She does a lot of role playing where she teaches one of us about the Gospel, I can tell she misses it.  All my teachers are way cool, one named Phil Crawford is at BYU, we really like him, and also Brat Eckersley, he was the guy who was pretending to be some Russian that we were teaching last week.  We are teaching Pitchforth now as Roofina, she doesn't do a lot of talking during the lessons like Eckersley does, so it is pretty tough. She answers with one word a lot, and then at the end I asked her if she wanted to go to Church with us and she was like, sure, when is it.  And I was like o crap, we don't know how to say days of the week or time.  So after we struggled through that she got that it was Sunday at 10 and then she asked where it was.  I just stared at her for like 30 seconds in silence and then said, We'll just go with you.  It's funny how much gospel Russian I know and just 0 everyday life Russian.  On the plane to Russia the stewardess is going to ask me if I want a drink and I'm not going to understand so I'll just be like, Hey, Jesus loves you.  Then she will get confused and leave me alone.  Well thats about all thats going on here, I love to hear what is happening in the outside world, so let me know if there is anything new.  Stay sweet.
-Elder Holland (Alex)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Week 1: 
Hey, so I've been here a week.  It is currently 5:52 on my p-day and I'm doing laundry, waking up early is cake.  The Russians do laundry at 5:30 because we are awesome, and then we have the rest of the day to just hang out.  The culture here is kind of funny, the Russians kind of run the show here because we have the most people staying for 2 months.  The language is pretty rough, they had us teaching lessons to people on our third day, that did not go smoothly.  A lot of silence and hand gestures, but they told us the guy was actually a teacher we just hadn't met yet so that kind of took the pressure off.  It was cool to see sort of what I'll be doing when I actually get to Russia though. We just sent off a group of kids to the Mother Russia and Ukraine, so on Saturday to send them off all the Russians do something called knockout, where during lunch we eat all of the cereal in the big dispenser things.  In preparation we ate light and drank about 5 glasses of water at every meal for 2 days.  I had 6 bowls of cereal and my comp had 7, and we were still feeling good.  We ended up eating 10 giant things of cereal as a group.  So yeah, MTC is good, my companion is a cool guy, my district is pretty good.  Yup.  We call our district leader Czar Callens, he doesn't like it very much, but that is just the price one pays for greatness.  The language isn't easy but I'm doing ok with respect to my class, me and my companion make sure everyone isn't working themselves into an early grave.  He is crazy, reminds me of Travis a little bit, so we kind of keep the mood light.  Some people really hate it here, I think it's pretty sweet,  the days are long though.  And whoever said that the days are long but the weeks are short, thats a bunch of malarky, I feel like I got here a decade ago.  I think I have gotten more done in one week here than I have in the pas 6 months.  16 hour days are pretty tough, and when we get back to the dorms for that precious hour of free time we are all pooped.  Thanks mom for all of the food, I have enough to last me forever, and thanks Mariella and Holly for the letters they were very nice.  Getting letters is like the best thing that happens to us here, plus when the Czar is handing them out we are gauging who is loved the most.  And there is this one sister missionary who screams every time she sees one of the 1000 people she knows in the mtc and she gets like 100 dearelders a day and one of these days I just want to get more letters than her.  Shes really nice, but shes been winning for too long, someone needs to dethrone her, so send some letters, also I just like to get letters.  Dearelder is free at the mtc, so its pretty easy.  So yeah, that is all that I can think to talk about.  I'm really happy I get to be here and am starting to realize how important this whole deal is.  I know this is where I'm supposed to be and it is what I'm supposed to be doing.  I'll catch you guys in a couple years.  One week down, only 103 to go, give or take a couple of days.  Peace out.
-Alex (Elder Holland)