Monday, August 31, 2015

My hours are dying

I have really bad luck with watches and clocks. The watches I brought with me have all met untimely (heh heh) deaths and I accidentally murdered a clock in the branch building with a mop handle the other day. So I don't often know what time it is, either. It's bad.

Behold, the one photo I've taken since coming to Russia. Actually, I didn't even take it. Although we're going to the Kazan Kremlin today so there might be more next week.

I think these letters are going to get progressively shorter the more used I get to Russia. I can't even think right now of what to say. Also this last week went SO fast. Will they all be like that?

It suddenly turned cold in the last week or so, so that means there were about two days that actually were cold, and a lot of days that everyone seemed to think were cold but really weren't. You don't need a coat if it's 65 degrees out and sunny. But when it was actually cold it was enough to make me, the prepared soul who came to Russia without a jacket, need to go to a mall. Malls are the weirdest things as a missionary. Half of you wants to go touch all the clothes and buy things you won't be wearing for 18 months, and the other half of you knows how much time you can waste in there and wants out. Also while we were there we had to go to a store that was basically Russian walmart. Which was cool. But all in all just weird. I just tried not to be distracted by all the scarves and sneakers, for those are my true weakness. We also ended up enlisting the help of two of the young women in our branch, Yana and Luba, who are way cool and, as normal teenage girls, were a valuable resource in knowing where to buy a cheap but still useful jacket. They're 18 and 17 and trying to decide if they should serve missions, and we have good conversations.

Another result of the weather is that we ask pretty much everyone about it. Most people want to tell us about how it's a cold August this year even if they don't want to come to church or read the Book of Mormon, so it works out.

I want to eat everything all the time. I can't tell if that's normal for me or a result of being a missionary. We finally got a "Samara Mission Official Cookbook" for our apartment, I gather that a senior couple a few years ago put it together. I love cookbooks! On a related note, one morning for exercise we made borscht... whoops. It was raining, okay? My inevitable weight gain might as well happen now, right?

Unexpected things happen. We were waiting for a bus, and asked this random girl how often the 44th bus came by that stop. She looks something up in her phone and then tells us she's going to drive us to another bus stop. Okay. So we get in her car. Then she's all "hey, I don't really have anything to do right now" and just drove us straight to our appointment, which took probably 25 or 30 minutes to get to by car. Uh. Thanks! Also it turns out the place we were trying to go was pretty remote (there were actual houses there. Not apartments. What) and I don't think we ever would have found it on our own. Or one day we were trying to get somewhere when an older woman calls out to us. We turn back in slight confusion and she orders us to open her bags and starts shoving apples inside them. I think she'd just gotten back from her dacha. So our bags were pretty heavy that night. It was almost a Snow White moment. Or there's this one girl we ran into four days in a row in random places all over Kazan. What are the odds of that? Actually, maybe probability has nothing to do with it. After the third time I felt about 98% sure we would run into her again, and of course we did.

That is an interesting part of missionary work, and it's been interesting to see what that has to do with unity in our companionship. Like when sister Wilson and I don't know what to do, so we stop and pray, and then we both independently of each other know we're supposed to go left or teach about something specific. It's cool.

But yeah, we talk to a lot of people, and try to teach a lot of people, and actually have people who actually want to talk to or be taught by us, so that's cool. There is so extremely much to learn and simultaneously a lot of time and no time. God knows everything and the best way to do things is through the guidance of the Spirit. There's so much more to that than just saying it, of course. You all are way cool! Do good things!

tons of love,
Sister Nielsen

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