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)