Sunday, December 4, 2011

Another week!

Sorry that I didn’t blog last week! However I am still alive (since I know you were so worried… haha) and I am still happy :)!

So the last week on Saturday me, Sami, Ryan, and Mikaela visited this famous cat statue in Voronezh. During the Soviet Union there was this cartoon and on one of the episodes it is located in Voronezh and this kitten then gets sent to Voronezh and is looking for a street in Voronezh. The clip is really cute ( You don’t need to know Russian to get the just of it, because I still don’t understand it) I’ll try and post it!
So we found it (by “we” I mean Mikaela found it! She is SOOOOO good with directions! I am the worst so I am so so grateful for her- I have picked up some sweet tricks from her, so that is a blessing!) So then we also walked around a bit and found this Russian Orthodox temple. It was really beautiful with the snow. (ps-Can’t wait till there is an LDS temple in Russia!!!)
Here is the cartoon- if you have time!

Around the temple there were beggars around it. There was a mother just sitting and her kids (one was like 5 and he was a boy and the girl was about 8) were begging for money. When they do this it really bugs me because first I want to be generous because I have been so blessed with so many amazing things and opportunities and I don’t want to ignore the poor, but I also don’t want to be stupid with my money so I don’t ever give money- but I hope that isn’t a selfish thing.

Anywho this little girl (She is a gypsy. They have olive skin and you can just tell) just kept on following us asking for money. We told her we didn’t speak Russian, but she was very persistent. Well we walk a ways off but Mikaela still wants pictures so she goes back and once again the girl comes right back to her. Here is how the convo went (I hope she doesn’t mind me putting this up- it is so funny and cute to me!) 

Mikaela- Oh you want money. Dengi? (dengi is money in Russian)
GG (Gypsy girl)- Da Dengi (Yes money)
Mikalea- Oh well in English it is called Money
GG- Ya Ne Ponimaiu  (I don’t understand)
Mikaela- Po Engliskee “money” Ckazhee “Money” (in English it is called “money” say “money”
GG- Munnee
Haha and Mikaela gave her three rubles (like 11 cents) haha So the girl had to work for the money!
Sorry if it doesn’t make sense, it is something you have to hear in person maybe..
Well we then ate at McDonalds (it tastes so good here!) and went to an open-air market and then left to go back.
 Me with the kitten from Voronezh on Lizyukov Street!

 Beautiful Orthodox temple!
 Beggar girl with Mikaela
English typos are prevalent here on clothing!

Me and Mikalea went to the branch talent show (our church) because there was no way we were missing that! We saw dancing and Yvgenny played his guitar! Also this lady played the acccordian. I want to learn one song on the accordion before I am 100! I would say it is on my bucket list, but I would rather just say “Before I am 100” because it sounds happier!
(FYI along on this list just to get a glimpse
1.       Ride a camel
2.       Hold a Koala Bear
3.       Go to the Kyiv LDS temple
4.       Go to Washington DC
5.       See Mount Rushmore
6.       Witness a solar eclipse
7.       Go whale watching
And it goes on and on!)

Well it was really exciting and I just love the branch!
This is us with Natasha! She is so adorable! She is 19 and a member. I really love being around her!

Then on Sunday our coordinators (I will try and get a pic of them before I go) invited us over for Thanksgiving (we taught on Thanksgiving so we had to do it later- but I hope your turkey was yummy!)
It was so sweet of them! We each brought food and it was really fun! I watched A Muppet Christmas Carol and we ate Turkey, stuffing, rolls (made by me and Alix), oriental salad, Oliver Salad (it is a Russian Salad that I am seriously liking! I never thought I would like Russian Salads!!!, cranberry sauce, potatoes and gravy, and jello! Then for dessert Daniel (Coordinator) made pumpkin and apple pie and we also had brownies and ice cream!
It was a FEAST! We all felt like we treated Thanksgiving like it was meant to be treated!
We got home later than normal and I was not feeling the blogging spirit- sorry!
This past week was pretty uneventful! The river has frozen over, and people are walking on it- however the ice is very thin so I want to wait until it gets colder to step on it! Haha I checked the weather and of course it is going to be colder in Rexburg this week than in Voronezh! Our low this week is 26 degrees F, Rexburg’s low is -4 Degrees F! Haha!
Us waiting at the bus stop!
 At our Coordinators sweet house! (So Daniel is an American and his wife (Natahsa) is from Voronezh.) They have lived in Voronezh for 8 years. Natasha's father wants them to stay here so they bought them a wonderful house with a yard (most of the people here live in apartments), and also a car!
 Timosha and Nastia! These are their kids- I teach them and I love them so much!

Teaching has been kinda hard, but I only have 2 more weeks of teaching so I am pumped! I can do anything! I really am going to miss the kids though! They are adorable! They make me laugh and I hope they all turn out to be good people! That is my wish for them!!! I can’t believe that I will never ever see them again- it is really hard to believe. A lot of the kids are used to new teachers coming and going but since we have so many new kids, I don’t know if they really know that we really are leaving! :(
We made a chain. Each chain represents a lesson we have to teach. We teach 6 lessons a day and so we get to rip off 6 chains a day! We have the kids so it and we love it!
We did this on Monday, and we already have ripped off 30 chains!

Here are Russian Lessons! Me and Sami have been teaching some of our group Russian!
 This is Fedya and Paulina! They are family friends, but they also love each other! It is so so cute! On all their papers they will write each other's names in a heart! They are 6 and 7 and so they are 2 of the older kids here in kindergarten and are very smart!
 This is Yaroslav- he is one of our favorites! He always tells me, Sami, and Luke that we are "Super super super super super super super super super super super super good teachers" What's not to like?? haha And he calls everything a "Crazy pig grandma"
 This is Slava! He is very spacy but cute! He is always in his own little world! He does things like act like a chipmunk, stroke your arm, and dance randomly! We never know what he is thinking!
Also he believes we know Russian so he will blabber on and on in Russian to us... haha we are serious when we say we only know English! And although he is a bit strange- he is super cute and  the funnest to watch!


 This is the Tornado Slavic- but this was his birthday and he is actually smiling!
Kindergarten power!

I can’t believe that my time is almost up here- I am not sure how I am feeling about the whole situation!
This Saturday we walked around a bit and then made cookies and watched Scrooge (if you have not seen it, it is one of my favorite Christmas movies- we watched it on youtube!)

I am also going to really miss my host family. Although I haven’t become that close to them because of the language barrier- there is no way you can’t be close to someone you live with for 4 months. Zhanna is so sweet and such a good person and really takes care of me as if I were her own daughter. Daniel is a punk at times (haha remember he is 10!) but really he is sweet and always makes me laugh. I don’t see that much of Ilena because she is either at school, at her grandmas, or walking with her boyfriend. However, when I do see her, she is very kind!

Then this Sunday we went to church. It was fast and testimony meeting. Although I haven’t been practicing my Russian I did really want to share with the Voronezh members my testimony of the gospel. So I wrote down how I would say my testimony on Thursday and then I sent it on Facebook to my Russian friend (he was the Russian tutor at BYU-Idaho.) He corrected all my grammar and all my weird words that I picked and then I memorized in Saturday and Sunday morning. I was so scared- but I just had to have faith that I would remember.

Well I got up there shaking and so nervous!!! I did it though! People just told me my grammar was perfect (Bahaha I told them I had definitely had help!!!) Some branch members were coming up and talking to me in Russian (I know I might have convinced you, but I really don’t understand you!) But I am glad that I did it even if now people think I am a Russian expert and I am not!

Then we went over to the Frost’s for our last big Hurrah with them! She made lasagna, salad, and corn! With peach cobbler for dessert! Yes please! :) The Frost’s and such wonderful people! They take care of all the missionaries, all of us, and the branch! We love being with them!
We played games and Ryan shaved his goatee!!! We were so happy!!!! It was his birthday and he let Elder Frost cut it off, and then Ryan shaved the rest of it off! Go RYAN!!
Cute Mikaela and Sami!
Ryan before he cut his goatee!

Ryan shaving the goatee
 Clean shaven Ryan!
We were so happy he shaved it off!

I really am going to miss all my fellow ILPs too! They are all such wonderful people who have made my experience here amazing! Life with them is so much fun and is exciting and we are always laughing about something! I really have become such great friends with my group- I have lucked out in everything to have such an amazing experience!

The days are going by fast! I’ll be home before you know it! I am not sure how I feel about it. I am very excited to be home in America and see my family. I am excited to see my friends and neighbors! I am excited to eat American food and talk to people in English and smile! (Russians don’t smile, so we really stand out if we do, or it can be taken as trying to lead someone on, so I don’t smile on the street).
But I will miss all of this! This crazy adventure that I had to fly to Russia and live there for 4 months! I am so grateful for this experience and I hope it has changed me for the better!
I still have two weeks and I am going to conquer them!!
A few shops here have lights up but not too many. More and more decorations are popping up in stores. They don’t celebrate Christmas until the 7th of January and so it is not quite time for them to get all decked out.
What are some of your suggestions to help me keep the Christmas spirit while I am here!?!

Thanks for your love and concern! I hope you are doing well!!
-kelsee :)

Ps- I am not sure if you remember the brownie story of the lady that took two of them- well this is her! I see her almost every day and we say like 6 words to each other and smile! 
This is us! (now just imagine her with many missing teeth!) 

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