Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Week 6:

Hey guys,
Another week in the MTC, really running out of things to talk about, I know you guys want me to tell you stuff but it's really not going to be super exciting till I get to Russia. This week was a really good week though, had a lot of fun.  It turns out our syl constitution was not quite as resolute and strong as the one created by our founding fathers.  Nobody listens to the rules, some people at least try to speak Russian all day, but nobody actually goes for the punishments, my comp ate one rabbit food breakfast, he almost threw up.  Anyway, I have unlocked the rage of the sisters a couple of times this week.  Some of them have got some spunk, like I have been afraid for my life on a couple occasions.  They will come in speaking English and I'll be like, hey, you are speaking English, and then they tag team yell at me for a while and I get scared and go to my happy place. So then we had one on one meetings with one of our favorite teachers who got reassigned to spend some time with another district of which we were pretty upset about.  So he was talking to me and after we got done just talking about life, he was like, is there anything I can do to help teach better.  I told him that it would help a lot if he came in and told our district that the other district is smoking us on the language, truth be told we kind of resent the other district for taking him from us and we get pretty competitive with them.  So if he tells us they are winning it's gonna light a fire under our butts, he says he'll do it the next chance he gets.  We've had it too good for too long, time for someone to take us down a notch.  Yesterday was glorious.  They opened up the field and it was sunny and beautiful and I played soccer and it was the best 50 minutes of my life.  Ok that is a little bit excessive but it was super nice, I missed the sun.  When we go outside from all day being in class and the sun is out, I feel like one of those donkeys that got brought out of a coal mine and I need like ten days for my eyes to adjust. Thanks for the letters errybody, Mom, Rachael, GMA, and Will.  You guys are great.  Will, don't go changing, and I'm glad to hear that you and everyone else weren't hurt by the bombs. Couldn't believe it when I heard what happened, these things just don't stop. It's always good to hear from you guys though, and it probably won't be as easy to send me letters while I'm in Russia, so if you want to say something in a cheap and easy fashion speak in the next 2 weeks or forever hold your peace, you can email or dearelder.  dearelder is probly better, and its free while I'm in Putah.  You guys can still send letters and emails while I'm in Russia, postage is ridiculous though, I wouldn't pay a dollar fifty to talk to me.  Still your call.  Anyway things are winding down in the MTC, the end is in sight, only about two and a half more weeks and I'll be in the MotherLand.  While we are here it doesn't feel like we are going to actually be leaving, it's just some abstract concept that we can't wrap our minds around.  But it is going to get very real very fast when the time comes.  We got haircuts today, haircuts at the MTC are free, you get what you pay for.  Mine turned out respectable at least but Elder Doxey looks like the White Fresh Prince of Belair.  He has like a flat top and shaved sides it's awesome.  Anyway things are good, keep sending letters, will be in Russia soon, later. 
Russian words of the week:  
ух ты: (ooh (you have to say the h) tee (the ee is kinda like an oy almost))- Means like wow look at you
единорог: (edeenorog)- unicorn

a customized pencil box I created for my chair out of a used kleenex box and masking tape, nothing short of genius
my attempt at escape while at the temple

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Week 5:

Hey there,
Week 5 is now at an end.  Had a good week, went super fast.  Still doing all the same stuff, Russian, sleep, teach lessons, eat.  The newest development of this week is our signing of a new constitution, our rules for гся (speak your language).  So we have set apart days of the week that are full Russian all day except for when a teacher is in the classroom with us.  Violation of this rule on a syl day, that is one word of English, results in мука (torture).  If the elders speak english they must eat what sister Anderson eats for three consecutive meals.  Sister Anderson doesn't eat gluten, dairy products, or anything that tastes good.  Like some times I look at her food and I'm like wow, that looks exactly like what a person would feed a hamster or other small rodent.  What happens to the sisters though is way funnier, if they speak English they have to put their hair in pigtails the next day, and I'm not talking like the nice braided kind that are subtle.  They will form an obtuse angle out of the back of their heads.  They got through the first one ok, but they have to slip sometime, and then they are going to look ridiculous.  Anyway, гся is super fun, and if it's not an syl day and we speak a full sentence in english with no Russian at all and get caught 5 times, we get мука.  They are beginning to refer to me as the Russian police, and yeah, I am.  Pretty much we still can't say anything, so we have to mime and write things down.  During the devotional a sister started talking to me in english and I had to communicate through writing things on my notepad for her.  Awk.  Thanks for the letters Gma, Mom, and Becca.  Becca, you now have a very important job to do, and you know what it is.  Our little boy needs some pushing.  It's probably good I'm not there to ruin it.  This week also got me really excited for Russia, can't wait to get there.  We had a sub who brought in all his journals from his mission and asked us to pick any days between '10 and '12 and he would read what he wrote that day.  We had him read the second to last day of his mission and it sounded like the darkest time of his life.  He did not want to go home, he loved the people and the work so much it killed him to leave.  He had a hard time reading it, I hope I can love my mission as much as he did.  It's really pretty sweet what we get to do over there, our job every day is just to help people in the best ways we know how, and I get to do that for 2 years.  I realized the other day that I will not be getting one break for 2 years, no vacations, no slack off time, just half a day a week to do my laundry, go to the store, and write some letters; and I'm not even mad.  Super pumped on life right now.  Oh, Elder Scott spoke in devotional last night, pretty sweet.  Yeah, hope all you people are doing good, fill me in on your lives, love to hear about how you are all doing via mail.  Love you all, I'll catch you later.  много любвы 
-старейшина Holland
Russian word of the week : батончик (batoncheek)- Sounds French, it means candybar but it is what you would call a little fat kid. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Week 4:

Hey errybody,
One month has gone by, crazy stuff.  Time crawls in here but in retrospect it seems pretty quick.  Yeah, nothing really new happening around here, I learn all day every day still.  Oh, yeah, general conference, that was pretty good.  For those of you who don't know gen conference is when the leaders of the church come on tv and talk twice a year and they have 5 2-hour sessions, I usually only catch like three of them and it's  really nice because you get to stay at home for church on Sunday.  In the MTC we watch all of them, 10 hours of Church in 2 days, YPA! (oora, how you say hooray in russian).  It was really good though, had some nice talks, especially liked Elder Holland's.  Everyone here asks me if I am related to him and now I just tell them he is my grandpa, they get all impressed.  Yeah so that was good.   There is a plague sweeping the MTC, we are all getting sick.  I caught it around the beginning of the week and it was brutal.  I wasn't that sick or anything, but it kept me from sleeping and sleep is precious to me, especially here.  Had a couple rough days, but I think I'm mostly over it, and some people got it way worse, a couple Elders had to go to the doctor and get their chests xrayed because they thought they had pneumonia.  No bueno.  We started calling the bathroom the Spanish room, because while our building was getting worked on we had to be in the building with all the Spanish speakers and they were not very kind to us.  So whenever we have to go to the bathroom we are just like hey, I've gotta go learn some Spanish.  Sorry Rachael / old roommates / all other Spanish speaking people, it's nothing personal, I think Spanish is pretty cool.  We found out they sell suspenders in the bookstore here for like 6 bucks, naturally we have created suspender friday, I'll send pictures.  Thanks for the shirt and letters gma and everyone else for all the letters.  Mom, I got my pie and my cinnamon rolls, thanks so much they were delicious.  There is no need for Rachael to go to the bakery and bust heads anymore.  I got my Katzner too, I have never been so happy about a dictionary in my life, thank you so much.  Good to hear that Holly's dance thing went well and that Connor's swag also works on old ladies.  Yeah so things are still going good, doing work, trying to get more organized and stuff, turns out I'm pretty bad at that.  I'm gonna tell a story that my teacher told us from his mission that I thought was super funny.  So he and his comp were on a tram bus thing at night on their way to teach some lady at her house, and it was just them on the bus when this drunk huge Russian dude gets on, I imagine him like the bad guy from Rocky 4.  Anyway, he gets on and says, hey who are you, and they say Oh we are missionaries.  Then the guy goes, we are Orthodox here we don't need you, and they say that they don't want any trouble and they are there just sharing their message.  Then the guy goes, Do you like to occupy your time with boxing? (thats how you would say "do you like to box" in Russian, they are weird).  So they are like, no not really, and then he says, Do you want to get off at the next bus stop and box with me?  Then they are trying not to laugh so they just say no, sorry we can't get off and box with you, we have an appointment to get to.  And then he says, No! You want to get off at the next stop and box with me!  Then it was just quiet until the next stop and when the doors opened he says, Are you coming?  And they were like no, sorry we really can't box with you right now.  Then he gets all mad and says, No you are coming to box with me, and then he grabs my teacher's comp by the front pocket, which is where we keep our name tag and other stuff, so my teacher pushes him away but the Russian guy ends up catching the name tag in his hand.  The ripped drunk Russian guy just looks at the name tag that he now has in his hand, crushes it with his bare hand, and throws it on the ground.  Then they just pushed him off the bus. Most of you don't know, but the name tags we wear are pretty thick plastic, I wouldn't want to box that guy either.  Anyway, It's probably not as funny via email but I thought it was flipping hillarious.  I've been surprised to find out from most of my teachers that they never got beat up, they say it's pretty easy to stay out of trouble if you are smart about it, but one guy in one of my teachers mission got beat up by the same guy 5 times in the span of like 6 weeks.  I probably would have learned my lesson at least by the second time.  Lets hope none of them Russians try to jump me and have to deal with my one hour of training in the art of Krav Maga, poor suckers wouldn't stand a chance.  I've also been practicing my roundhouse kicks, they are like a mixture of Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris kicks, the other missionaries are pretty impressed.  Anyways things are good, don't really know what else to talk about, in about a week we will be the oldest Russian misssionaries here, so pretty much we are in charge. It also means that we need to pretend that we know how to speak Russian, we actually do know more than we give oursleves credit, but the government estimates it takes about 1500 hours to become conversational in Easter Euro languages, we only get 168 hours at the MTC, first couple of months in the motherland are going to be rough, but awesome. Later my people. 1 down 23 to go. 
Russian word of the week: знахар (znahar): witch doctor / medicine man

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Week 3:

P day again, yeah baby.  This week was good, pretty much in the swing of things here now.  I just learn Russian and teach lessons all day erry day, and my broken Russian is getting better.  I like teaching because that's the only thing I know how to talk about in Russian, so that is when I get to speak the most.  Our district is doing good, and our teachers are still pretty nice, I like them a lot.  We sent of a batch of Russians to the motherland two days ago, a small piece of me died that day.  My comp and I got to be pretty good friends with 2 Elders, Krieger and Garfield.  They were crazy funny and shared all their secrets about this place with us.  When they left they gave us a lot of their stuff.  I got a grandma-knitted beanie, a saint Patrick's day tie, some pop tarts, and a sweet nerf kinda gun that shoots a little suction cup thing.  When we play volleyball in gym we scream Krieger when we spike, not really sure why, probably to keep his memory alive and fight the pain of their abandonment.  But they were super excited to get out of here and get to work, and I'm starting to really look forward to that too.  One of our teachers keeps telling us about this village in Ukraine he got to be in for a while and every time he does I just want to go there.  They mostly just did service for people there, they hardly ever wore the whole tie shirt slacks thing, they wore basketball shorts and helped people farm.  They showered under a bucket and stuff, lived in a shack.  I want an area like that so bad, I probably won't get one in Moscow though.  Eastern Europeans seem really interesting, they just live totally different lives than us, and they look at hardship in a totally different way than we do.  Another one of our teachers the other day realized that 5 years ago exactly he had left the MTC, and then he said that day began the weirdest week of his life.  The days are starting to blend together, sometimes at night I start talking about something that I thought happened two days ago but it turns out it happened that morning.  Thanks for the mail everybody, and for the packages mom and grandma.  My friends really liked the baked goods, but just so you know  I am good on food for the rest of my stay here, honestly most of my closet is devoted to food storage.  I've come to appreciate suits because their abundance of pockets allows me to bring snacks to class and devotional.  I'm always packin on Tuesdays and Sundays.  I really liked your letter Will, especially the last part, неловка (awkward, probably spelled it wrong).   I am having a really good time here though, I do nothing but work all day and eat, with the exception of my 50 precious minutes of gym, but at the end of the day I go to bed happy, can't ask for much more.  I don't miss tv, facebook, the internet, or anything like that, lifes just way easier without it.  I like it here, but at the same time I need to get out of here, pumped to go to Russia and do work.  I think about all you guys all the time, hope everything is going well, keep me in the loop.  покой