Monday, September 21, 2015

I am becoming a weather expert

Ah, the unforeseen benefits of trying to talk to everyone. They call the period of warm weather in early fall бабы лето, or something that sounds vaguely like that- "women's summer", it means. Because back in the day the women would work all summer harvesting potatoes or whatever, and once fall started and their work was done, the weather would turn warm again for a week or two and the women would have their summer. 

It's super weird how all our plans fall through all the time but we still do tons.

This week was normal, no lasting health issues for anyone at all. 

Have I talked about Sveta? Actually, seeing how weird her name looks in English is telling me I definitely haven't. Sveta's cool. About a month ago, we were getting ready for splits, and we like to actually have appointments and things then. So I was flipping through our area book with the phone and decided to call this girl off a former investigator sheet. I did, and I had absolutely no clue what she's saying to me. This is why I hate phone calls, because understanding is about ten times worse. But instead of her getting frustrated and hanging up (reason №2 I don't like phone calls), I hear "It's okay, you can speak English". What? We set up a meeting, which was good, and she's been coming to church since then. She speaks English frighteningly well and has pretty much achieved older-sister status in my head. Also she has a new car, which I have ridden in and it is sweet. We haven't met a ton, though, because she's been way busy with her job, and because in the past she'd made it pretty clear that she didn't want to talk about our church.  But last week at church she said we should call her and meet this week, so on Saturday we met and went for a walk around the Kremlin, which somehow led to her telling us about how she's been seeing God's hand in her life since she started coming to church, and she finally feels like now is when she should be baptized. What? So that's cool, and we did absolutely nothing to make that happen. It's funny how that is. We're a little useless, but we're here, and we try to pop into peoples' lives at the appropriate times for us to help them out.

I went knocking for my first time! I thought it was going to be absolutely terrifying, but it was actually about the same as talking to people outside. 

It's also funny when it takes you way longer than you planned to go find the possible address of someone you're tracking down, because things keep coming up to prevent you from going straight there. And then you finally get there and the person you're looking for isn't there but shows up a minute or so later. It's like "oh, that's why this had to take so long".

This one woman we're teaching always has two kids in tow- her toddler and a disabled girl she looks after. It's super distracting for her on lessons, and it's hard for us to do our job, too. So for one lesson this week I was entrusted with distracting them. This is 380% harder because I'm not allowed to hold children. It might have made more sense to have the member who was at the lesson distract them, but she's starting her mission papers this week and is therefore really more interested in teaching. Well, I know, and many of you know how, disastrously bad I am at dealing with children. By some miracle though I managed to make those kids my minions. Still a mystery to me. I have no idea how the lesson went, though.

Sister Wilson's been trying to have me take the lead on lessons, which is kind of necessary. If I don't, I don't have the speed or the Russian ability to actually say anything at all. It doesn't always happen, though, as in the above paragraph. But we try.

Last week we spent the rest of our P-day with Alsu. That's another name that looks weird in English. Alsu is, in fact, the aunt of the Sveta I just talked about. Although Alsu was baptized last summer, we actually met her after we met Sveta because Alsu doesn't show up for church much. She's 70 years old, and a professor of English. She even corrects our pronunciation of English words. It's pretty funny. She's known a lot of missionaries, and she refers to us all by our first names. For example "I took Connor and Matthew out for lunch not long ago" and it takes us a second to realize she's talking about the elders. So to her, I'm Rosa (or Rosichka), and it's really odd to be addressed such. She showed us around a walking street in Kazan that's based on the architecture of St. Petersburg (fake bridges!), and took us into a tiny fake village that's nestled in between buildings in the middle of the city (real bridges). So that's what my picture is.

I love you all! I hope you are having great weeks and eating good food and making cool friends.

Sister Nielsen

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