from the emails it sounds like everyone likes my emails, which is good. i was thinking i was being a little "too honest". but i guess I'll keep that up. i would never want to be that guy.
Nicole: i forgot to answer a couple questions from your last email. no, i don't think many people know my first name. and yeah! get Garrett to come to Ukraine, it is great here. but no, don't expect what you saw in that special. Kiev looked really really nice (though we didn't see an hour long thing on Ukraine, just the "news around the world" thing). on second thought, you probably shouldn't come. 5 years would be a long time here. and sorry, i can't remember anything about Metaphors: Russian has taken over the whole of my brain. and pictures take a long time to send on this slow computer, and i don't have time to waste. no, i don't really miss school, i still feel like I'm in it. i study 3 hours a day, 1 hour being Russian, then study whenever else i can Russian as well. sorry, no Halloween here. in fact, no youth activities. i don't know if we are allowed to go to branch activities, but so far we've had none.
that's one of the special rules of the mission. president has really cracked down on stupid stuff that used to happen here, and has banned a lot of things, like youth nights, sports nights. no card playing, no cultural events (unless approved by the Fry's). service activities also must be approved by the ap's. people complain a lot about the rules, but whatever. it sounded like something had to be done, and i fully support my leaders here. oh, we are supposed to be home by 9, 9:30, but it gets pretty dark by 6, and getting worse.
so the week was pretty interesting. actually i consider it easily the best week so far of my mission. Monday i dropped off Mueller at the office, for Bulgaria, and met my zl's. (side note: Bulgaria sounded like the greatest thing ever. they ate at subway 3 times, pizza hut, Chinese food, lots of junk food, burger king, that's all they did is eat the whole time. one more year...) but my split with clarkstone and Richardson was awesome. the days went really fast. we taught a lot, they let (made?) me talk a lot. we got to be pretty good friends. like, we made some American brownies and gave them to people (everyone was amazed and asked for the recipe). it was just fun, i felt like a missionary, making people happy. we met with this babooshka member and in the middle of the lesson, Richardson says something like "as we all know, sooner or later, the earth will transmorph into a urim and thummim and become the celestial kingdom." it was funny, we had been talking before about stuff you don't say during lessons, stuff that is too deep. right after he said it he freaked out laughing, we all did, we were so surprised. the babooshka was like, da, da kaneshna. i think it flew over her head. just really fun guys, really good lessons, we have become pretty good friends, which is nice. it was an awesome week.
then Friday was crazy. we went and picked up Mueller, came home and packed, then transfer meeting. it was a big one. oh i saw elder Hansen, he is in gorlovka now. elder Mueller is now in loogansk. which is meaningless to both you and i.
my new companion is elder prince. we get along fine, i can get along with anyone. he is...I'd say an improvement. it's interesting, his last companion was elder Mendoza (Derek's MTC companion), it is nice hearing stories about him.
its cool, since i know the area and people a little bit, I'm kind of in charge. so we've done a lot of stuff "my way", we had a real planning session, made some real goals, used the area book for the first time, figured out the kind of companionship it is going to be. i think i have become a more controlling person since I've been here. there are just too many people unwilling to make a decision and do something. and it isn't that hard to get stuff done, it just takes doing it. so I'm going to get stuff done, work hard, tagdally.
he keeps telling me i have really good Russian (for my second transfer) and good study habits in general. though this is after he was companions with Mendoza. but I'm proud, i use my time wisely, no matter the companion. he is the type of person who will study if his comp is studying, and with Mendoza he didn't. so it should be good. and I'm proud of my Russian slash study skills.
some general stuff: the weather actually warmed up a bit this week. though from what everyone says, this is supposed to be "the coldest winter in 100 years." so that is exciting. luckily the heat in our apartment is turned on finally. mom asked when and where i shop. there is a store called objhora (=glutton) right next to my dome, we go there once a week or so, or when we want fresh bread. there is a store here called AMCTOP, which is awesome, almost as good as our walmart. we got some better milk, though it is still pretty bad. but i finally had some chocolate pillows (its a cereal, mmm delicious.)
my weekly language update- its still hard, obviously. understanding is easier than speaking, though when they speak fast it is still impossible. sometimes. i can read the ensign and have a good idea of what is going on. but when they speak, i can't remember words fast enough to produce a meaningful idea in my head. i study hard every day, try to understand really hard, and say what i can. I'm eventually going to dominate this language. but that day is not this day.
i love personal study still. you'd think I'd get bored. I'm half way through Jesus the Christ, and I'm in the acts in the new testament. the books are incredible. after 4 months (oh yeah, 1/6th done) i still learn every day.
I've made friends! lena is really awesome. have i talked about her? she is kind of a babooshka, technically, but she looks... not like a babooshka. she is serving a mission soon, and is very fun to talk to (or try to talk to). i forgot to mention i gave my first blessing to her a few weeks ago. well i read the russian on the paper, to give the first part of the blessing. it was a cool experience. my other friend is jhenya, though she is younger so talks super fast. it is good to have friends, i can't wait until i can communicate with them!
mcdonalds is weird, their whole menu is secretly in english, just with russian (well ukrainian) lettering. so ordering things, i usually just say stuff in english, because i feel retarded using some weird accent, but then they don't understand. its pretty funny. and of course, delicious.
sad again to hear about grandma brimley, i have definitely kept her in my prayers this week. i don't know if she reads these, so i'll send an email to her this week. and i was sad to hear about sister wicks! that was shocking, i had no idea.
oh by the way mom, don't worry, the coffee and tea are mojhna. we drink them all the time here, i'm actually a really big fan. there is this one mint tea that is mmmm soo good. and the coffee has grown on me.
about the christmas package... a lot of the things i really would like are unsendable, like lettuce. one thing i thought of was more pictures of the fam. maybe baby pictures of everyone? i think that would be fun to show people. especially the sumo anna picture! prince has a cd player and some cd's, so we are good on that front. i think some of those christmas cookies, the ones you get out of a like cylinder thing, they are really good, you know the ones. that could be cool. i like the idea of getting stuff to give the kids here, but i can't think of anything. mueller had some jelly bellies that kids loved, but i don't want jelly bellies. so yeah, i don't know what i want for christmas as usual. the stuff i wrote last time i still would like. i dunno.
ok i'm done, thanks for everything, thanks for that last package, the emails and stuff, church is true, ukraine is awesome, i've got to write my email to my president, so goodbye!
c yprojhneniem? sic? elder brimley