Dearest people who read my emails,
It has gotten rather cold. not sooo bad, but cold enough to warrant buying the coolest coat I've ever owned. I will try to send a picture if I have time. It is warm and very ukrainian, with fur on the inside and I feel like a Russian fighter pilot. I just need a big ol shapka and a mug of beer now. unfortunately "they" haven't turned on our apartment heat, so it has been quite uncomfortable in the mornings, and very hard to get out of bed. luckily the shower is still warm, so that gives me several minutes of warmth. the real problem is that our "balcony" has a window that won't close, so the whole night cold air seeps in. the weather has been very fun this week actually. lots of rain, that keeps the streets/ "sidewalks"/ paths very muddy, so all of my pants are pretty muddy. and my shoes are just bad, I feel bad bringing in the dirt into people's houses. but it's all good, I'm not too cold. yet. soon enough, they say.
I have made a couple of friends in the ward, one is an older woman named lena, she is way cool. she has her papers in to serve a mission. and zhenia, she is like 24 and a single mother of two crazy boys, we are friends too. it is hard to call people friends when you cant really talk to them, let alone develop a relationship. but they are nice and fun to be around anyways. the branch is huge, one of the biggest in Ukraine, we get over 100 people to come sometimes. we tried really hard to get our investigator Loodmilla to church this week, but it didn't happen. it is incredible how controlled these people are by the weather. it starts raining and they just stop everything, don't expect us to come over, don't come to church. apparently winters are hard here. but yeah, great branch, they tell me not to take it for granted and to not die when i see my next branch.
oh! we got a transfer call on Friday, mueller is out. so this next Friday I get my new companion, we are both very excited. It was para to him. tomorrow he leaves for Bulgaria for his visa, and i am with the zone leaders (clarkstone and richardson) who are in my district. until Thursday sometime, so this should be a fun week. he is lucky, he has all this stuff planned to eat in Bulgaria. apparently they have a subway, Chinese food, dominos, lots of American food that we lack here.
which reminds me, for the Christmas package, some thoughts. some pumpkin stuff would be cool, they dont have pumpkin pie here. or pies in general actually. maybe some good motab cd? like a Christmas one, or there is one with that lotr song on it. ranch dressing? some good spices, some stuff to make good sauces, like spaghetti sauces and stuff. maybe some frosting. I wish you could send me some milk! I used to love to drink milk. maybe some peach jam or something? oh man there is so much stuff i want and now I cant remember! i will try to make a list this week and send it to you.
and THAT reminds me, I got your package today! it came when I was in the office, just today. so that was really quick. they say it takes longer during the Christmas season though, so i don't know when you want to send the next one. thanks so much for the package! I haven't opened it yet, but I like the "specific details" box wherin is written: candy. I'm excited. thanks again!
so I think last...I can't remember the day. it was a pretty normal day, but a couple things happened that i remember. we were at a lesson with lydmilla, and her son was there. he was fairly plastered drunk, he fell on me and was having trouble walking. he was also hitting on the babooshka member we brought, which was weird. I guess he is like forty or so. his mom, the other babooshka, and my companion laughed. then later we had a meeting with a member who brought a drunk old lady off the street, to I suppose help her find Christ. we talked a little bit to her, but she kept muttering weird stuff and talking to the cat. she also kind of plead with us to help her, please, I need help. then we would say anything and she would say we were young and don't know anything. then she left. i dunno, seeing old or older people that drunk isn't really funny anymore. It is pathetic and sad. they just don't have any control over themselves. its like... a theme here. helplessness, i guess.
lydmilla said she definitely wants to be baptized. so that was really cool, we still haven't taught her any of the commandments, which may or may not be a drawback. No, i think she knows the word of wisdom. I'm just afraid of tithing. not afraid, but i just can see that being really really hard here. ten percent is easy in America, it's hard here.
On a VERY good note, we, or may I say, I, cleaned the apartment for apartment checks. I swept for like 2 hours in that little place. it hasn't been seriously cleaned for several months, I could tell. I wouldn't say it looks "good" now, but looche. our apartment is just so bad. the light switch stopped working, so we can't turn on the light in our room really. the power keeps turning off randomly, and we can turn it back on by pushing a buttun, but it wont stay pressed, if that makes sense. I'm going to talk to our hazaika. somethings gotta give.
did you open the package I sent? I had some letters in there for people. i can't remember if you said you did or didn't. but mozhna otkrivat.
went on a good split with my district leader, elder clarkstone, on Saturday. we did a lot, some tracting, a couple of meetings with a member babooshka, and a family, the lavriks. we talked to the babooshka about talking to her friends about seeing the missionaries, and we have a goal for her to invite some people by saturday, which should be cool. the lavricks are the coolest family, lots of kids, all fun, happy, talkative. I felt like i was in Utah. just couldn't understand them. ladna. though I did learn from the split. I have a lot of bad habits I've developed that need to change next transfer. like using the area book. and... well a lot. I hope my next companion is ready for it. but ready or not, I'm going to work hard.
thanks for the email nicorn, nice and long and juicy. here are some answers: language is the same. I'm learning 40 new words in the next few days, they are awesome words too. I miss about home...oh man. America is so awesome. and Utah is even... it is just a friendly place. Ukraine is just a poorly made country. America did it right. i miss friendly people who i can understand. I can't say I really miss home though, Ukraine is way too awesome. and no, it isn't that weird not watching TV, listening to music, internet, books. oh books, I do miss books. my comp bought a huge book with lord of the rings, the hobbit, and the silmarillion or whatever, all in it, all in russian. he said he couldn't read it very well. it was the coolest thing I've ever seen. I really really miss books.
Ukrainian food is great. I really like sharmas, though we don't really know what they are made of. we always drink a nice big coke to kill anything that we eat, don't worry mom. ha! they say they are made of dog, but I think that is mostly a joke. they have a lot of vegetables. just all chopped up and mixed together, like a really thick salsa. often they just have that, mixed with some of this other not very tasty stuff. and it ends up OK. I'm getting used to it more. I really like the tea and coffee (I'm sure this is some sort of Ukrainian herbal coffee), we drink that all the time. mint tea is my favorite, ochen fkysnie.
sad to hear about grandma Brimley! keep me updated, obviously. I will keep you in my prayers, grandma! good luck!
well thanks for all the emails and letters, and prayers and fsyo. shastlivwie vam!
star E A shna brimley