When I can't sleep at night, which is often, I lie in bed and think about Russian grammar. I don't know why, but it swirls around in my head as soon as I get rid of other thoughts. This week we we went over instrumental case, which was good because we didn't cover it very well in my Russ 102 class. We don't really identify instrumental in English like we do in Russian, we just say "with", but they have a special ending for nouns and adjectives that are with or that enable the subject. Like, I eat by the means of a fork. So there're three ways you use instrumental: with certain prepositions (usually if you do something with someone), when the verb happens by the means of something, and with certain verbs. I don't know why, but some verbs just invoke certain cases. So for instrumental there aren't very many, but they're things like "to be" (in the future) "to share" "to become" "to sacrifice", etc. Think "I will share by the means of this video" instead of "I will share this video". Have I suitably bored you by now? Good. Anyway, I was thinking about this while I was trying to sleep, and I think I want to become by the means of a good missionary. It's cool, I think, that those verbs use instrumental, at least for me now. I'm not out here on a mission to do my own thing, I'm out here to enable other people to get closer to Christ. So I guess you could say I'm trying to be an instrument in God's hands. Yay for grammatika!
Other fun Russian things:
the word "to pray" is the reflexive version of the word "to plead". Cool, da?
language mistake of the week: I was trying to say you can pray in your mind as well as out loud, but I can't actually say that, so I just said you can pray on your head. I'm sure you can, but that sounds excessively uncomfortable. I'll just say you can pray in your heart from now on.
I acquired some hymnbooks that are near to death, they said they'd throw them away but I could rescue some. So I'm now the proud owner of hymnbooks in English, Spanish, and Portuguese that have "Provo MTC" stamped into them. There were some other cool languages, but I have limited space.
Speaking of hymns, there's a couple hymns in the Russian hymnbook that we don't have in English. Which is neat. The best one is "Slava slava" (Glory, glory to God in the highest). Not only is it really really absurdly catchy (either I have that in my head or I have the Russian alphabet song) but it also has the best dynamics of any hymn in our hymnbook. Well, actually, it's the only hymn in there with dynamics marked, but it's still awesome. If you want a slice of my life you should go look it up.
We practice teaching a lot throughout the day and try real hard to not be distracted. The other day my companion and I ended up teaching a lesson in Spanish. That was pretty intense. No, I don't speak any Spanish except for the Young Women theme, but my comprehension's good enough, and my companion studied it for seven years. We were pretty giddy afterwards, probably because we had 10 minutes left of lunch so we ran down and up four flights of stairs to gulp bowls of cereal.
On Friday mornings we help hang up sixteen international flags in front of the MTC. It might be the best thing in the world.
I haven't taken a picture since last week, but nothing much has changed. Life is good.
I love you all!