Sunday, April 6, 2014

Navigating the Winds of Russia

This week was a crazy week with many teaching opportunities, early mornings, lots of exercise and late nights. We ended March with 8 baptisms and more of the existing members are coming to church. Kathy and I had the opportunity to go out teaching almost every night this week in the snow, wind and rain. We also had the opportunity to meet a wonderful young couple that the mission president had invited over to his house for dinner.  We continue to be impressed with the people of Russia and enjoy the opportunity to meet and hear about their lives.
On Saturday we decided to walk from our house to the Peter and Paul fortress. We walked all the way there along the Neva River (about 6 miles one way).  The wind was about 20 – 30 mph, so it was a fun and difficult journey.  I have attached a google maps image so you can see where we live and where we walked. This will give you an appreciation of the beauty of St. Petersburg.  As you can see from the pictures we took at the fortress, it is very amazing and would have been a strong hold for this area during the 1700 – 1900’s. It protected against any ships coming up the river that weren’t desired and it also housed the prison for people waiting trial. I will also put a link to information about the fortress for any who are interested.
Kathy caught me looking at the hot Russian women and had me locked in the stockade, while she made her way along the fortress. Once I convinced her that I was just looking at the object behind the young lady, she let me out so we could enjoy the day. :-) As we walked along the river and reflected on our journey to Russia we were amazed at how many great friends we have in this world and how each of you have touched our lives.
We also thought about the things we missed and didn’t miss about the United States and also some funny things about Russia.  While we were thinking about this we stopped to use the bathroom. (However, there aren’t any bathrooms along your walks so you need to have a strong bladder.)  One
funny thing about Russia is the bathrooms are COED.  Yes, I was standing there in the bathroom and a woman walked in and sat down in another stall.  I thought I had accidentally walked into the woman’s bathroom and said excuse me. She just smiled and washed her hands. 

As I left I looked at the door and it had a mans sign on the door. Then we started looking around and noticed that many restrooms had a man and woman on the door, however they don’t seem to care.  Lesson learned, make sure you go into a stall and close the door when you go to the bathroom or someone may join you. Ha Ha.
Kathy decided to list some other things she missed or didn’t miss
Things Kathy missed –

Driving,        Guacamole, cake and gravy mix,          Disposals,     Cute skirts,            CafĂ© Rio,              smoke-free restaurants,        
Sweet Potato Fries,    My granddaughters, kids, dog  and friends  A dryer  (Think crusty towels), Running errands,
Hobby Lobby,   Putting up holiday decorations
People that will say hello, when you do                                         Drinks with ice   Fry sauce (and good fries!)
Knowing what’s in the cans in the grocery store.                             
Mountains (non-existent here)                                            Maverick gas stations and Road Trips

Things Kathy doesn’t miss –

Only two kinds of mayo (They have hundreds of flavors here)       Yard and Housework (apartment takes 20 min. to clean :-)
Scooping dog poop, The inversion. Squeegeing (?) my shower. 
Hundreds of names to remember.  (There are only about five different names for boys and five for girls here.  So if you forget someone’s name, you have a 20% chance of getting it right if you pick one of the five.)
Worrying if I took stupid all bundled up in the cold.
Taking forever to decide what to wear. (It doesn’t take long when you only have ten outfits.) 
Taking days and days to put up holiday decorations.
Bob being out of my sight for more than ten minutes. J

Funny things –
The grocery carts here have wheels that rotate in 360 degrees.  That means you can move your cart sideways or any way you want.  It’s weird and it’s hard.  Ha ha. But if you grocery shop with a guy, they have to push the cart. J

We finished out an amazing week by listening to the Prophet, apostles and general authorities during our semi-annual conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There were some amazing talks and true inspiration and motivation provided by our leaders. For those of you who missed it or would like to watch it again, you can watch the video and read the talks at . If you look on the right side of the page it lists the General Conference. You can select the language and watch it in Russian. ha ha. 

We close with a picture looking down the never-ending escalator in the Metro on our return home.  We send our love and best wishes to each of you and hope you have some fun plans as we move into the summer months. It is still in the 20’s and 30’s this week, but the snow doesn’t stay on the ground very long. Love Bob and Kathy

1 comment:

  1. I hope you (as in Kathy) continue to not miss not taking days and days to put up the holiday decorations while Krista and I slave away at putting up the formal dining room tree. The gold sticky-out things are going! Bwahahahaha! (Just kidding, we'll do all of it!) Thanks for the post, what a great way to keep up with you two!