Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Picture Post!

Izmalovsky Park
Above: Lauren and Derek Rose (not a very good pic, sorry!)
Below: Jared
David, Stephanie, and Tatiana
Ice Cream at Red Square
Stained Glass Map of Northern Hemisphere in Ceiling
Russian Orthodox Priests
Everyone looking down from the 3rd floor of GUM
View from 3rd Floor looking down
GUM (Pronounced GOOM) Department Store

Russian History Museum (I think?)
St. Basil's Cathedral

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Let the Adventures Begin


We are in Moscow. It still seems weird. We left Denver at 6am, we almost didn't make our flight (we were the second to last couple to get on the plane, YIKES!) but from there it was all smooth sailing, I mean flying. The plane ride from JFK to Kiev was super long, just under 10 hours. I have this great ability to sleep almost anywhere, oh the things I've learned in college, so i had no problem sleeping on the plane, but Matt has not yet gained this wondrous ability, so he didn't get nearly as much sleep as I did.

Sunday was our first full day here and we decided that we really wanted to go to church.
So our host family's son took us to the Metro and helped us get our passes. Then we were off on our own trying to find our way to the building where they have church. The metro part was easy. We're pretty confident in our ability to get around via metro (by we I mean Matt...I'm still working on being able to read signs). But after
getting off at the metro stop closest to the church, we still had to walk for about 45 minutes to find the church. I think that now that we know where we are going it will probably be more like 30 minutes, but that's still a long time on top of the 15-20 minute metro ride. I was so happy to walk into the building and open the door and see a picture of Christ hanging on the wall because 1. it meant we were in the right place, not lost, and 2. because I knew that I would find people who were like me there, they just spoke another language. lucky for us there was a senior missionary couple who are on a humanitarian mission for the church, who were assigned to that same branch! They don't speak Russian, so they have someone in the branch translate for them, and be benefited from that too! I actually got to understand Relief Society!
After church they took us up to Red Square to see the tulips that had been planted for Victory Day (WWII Victory in Europe day).This is when we got our first glimpse of St. Basil's Cathedral,
and also when it finally hit us that we are really in Russia!
We also got to see the changing of the guards at the tomb of the unknown
solider. What a special place. I've never been to the one at
Arlington, but I imagine that this has a similar feeling to it. It was quite amazing to see that flame and the flowers and know that there is always someone watching guard over this sacred
spot. And I don't hesitate to call it sacred, because it is a memorial to the hundreds of thousands of Russians who lost their lives in WWII. Not many people realize that it was not just soldiers who fought for Russia, but also the civilians.

A funny thing that happened while we were there, Matt heard the guy on the far right speaking Spanish and started talking to him. Turns out he and his family were from Buenos Aires Argentina! Relatively speaking, that's not too far from where Austin is. Who would have thought that we would find someone from his neck of the woods way over here!

We love our host family! They are from Armenia, and everyone has told us what great people the Armenians are. We would have to agree with them! Our family is great. They are even teaching Matt how to say some things in Armenian. Plus Armenian food is fantastic. Matt's in heaven with all the fun new foods. I'm a little more wary of new things, but thus far, only one of the things they have given us was bad. It was kinda like drinkable ranch dressing...not exactly my favorite. The other day Suzanna, the mom, made a crab salad, and I'm going to have to get the recipe because Matt's in love with it.

Classes are going well. I can now read all, well almost all, the letters and write them in cursive. Hopefully by the end of this week I will have them all down. Matt is doing fabulously in his class. His teacher is really nice and all the students love her. She sounds kinda like Professor McGonagall from the Harry Potter movies.