merry Christmas! and a happy new year! that was the greatest Christmas I've had since last year's.
whoa, the internet club i'm in just started playing losing my religion by r.e.m. that is surprising. ah, this is the good stuff.
TALKING TO YOU WAS THE BEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME. that was the greatest hour(ish) of my life. yeah the connection wasn't great, but i could hear you good enough. the delay was annoying though. i would tell hilarious jokes and you wouldn't laugh hysterically for a few seconds, it was disconcerting. so I'm thinking skype on mothers day. i hope y'all had a good and merry Christmas, mine was really good. thanks for the call.
...i thought that i heard you laughing...i thought that i heard you cry... (R.E.M. song)
it was a good week. it didn't really feel like Christmas, though. well, parts did. cuz it actually isn't Christmas here (they have a bigger celebration for New Years, and smaller for Christmas), though members kind of celebrate it on the 25 with America for some reason. but also, Christmas is happy, and Ukraine isn't.
so Monday night we had a cool Donetsk dinner party, it was cool, lots of good Ukrainian food. you are right Nicole, I'm going to have to get some recipes, there are some good stuff. i don't know if you will be able to make it well in America. they have this generic meat they put in everything, i think it would be hard to duplicate. Tuesday all day we had a missionary party, we went to a church building and did some service, which included chipping the ice around the building and making packages slash Christmas cards (nonreligious Christmas cards, if that makes sense) for orphans, with like sidewalk chalk and fun stuff in them. after we played some games, some contests, ate some more food (sandwiches!) plus a cake that actually was quite tasty. there is a tradition where all the districts make up little songs about our districts. they were all really funny, i recorded them so when i get back home I'll show them to you. it was a good day. we have a lot of really cool missionaries, fun, friendly, normal people.
Wednesday was a normal day, a bunch of home teaching, ahem, lessons with members. Thursday we had cleaning checks from the fry's (Mission President), which we NAILED. fry's were very happy with us. Friday is the day we have planning, district meeting, and a branch correlation meeting, so there is usually only time for like one lesson at night. we agreed on Thursday with the guy who is supposed to come to the correlation meeting that we would just go back with him to his house for a lesson after the meeting. he said great. well he didn't show to the meeting, so we call and he is like, 'no, of course I'm not coming! its Christmas eve! I'm hanging out with my family!' we were like, man, i wish i could ditch my calling and go hang out with family. so it was a downer, the four of us were sitting alone Christmas eve, and everyone we called told us no.
luckily, a bit later, some awesome members showed up at our apartment and caroled for us, and we joined them for the rest of the night, which was way fun. one of those tender mercies, i guess.
Saturday was just zamachatelno. magnificent. it was a well balanced day. we started out with like three hours straight of contacting on this street. I've learned to love contacting, it is so fun. there are so many different approaches, so many interesting people and conversations you have. i never feel more like a missionary than when I'm talking to people on the street. then we had a couple of babushka lessons, one with the lady who broke her arm, so like i said, a balanced day. except for no investigators, but i think I'm done with investigators anyways. i don't know why elders are so obsessed with them. who needs 'em? all they bring is pain and anguish. (on an unrelated note, yoolie didn't come to church again, after promising several times he would.)
the branch party was great: a little program about Christ's birth, little kids singing Christmas songs (i think little kids singing in Russian is the cutest thing I've ever seen), a lot of food, half good and half pretty bad. lots of people, which made it feel like home. the kids here are crazy, maybe a little too rowdy for a church, but that's cool, at least our branch has kids. I've been giving them the little gifts you sent me, and they go crazy over them. they all love me now. i found the secret. even this guy who is like a year older than me asked me for a bouncy ball and was playing with it during church. i guess it is all new for them. Sunday was good, the kids did a Christmas program, very cute.
have i told you about the mud here? it is just ridiculous. all the snow has melted, so it is just outrageously muddy. and there is no way around it, either. you just get muddy and deal with it. like you clean your shoes before you walk to church, and they are just as dirty once you get there.
so this week we are trying to speak Russian 100%, at least to each other. we have been doing OK, we will see how it actually works, but it is good. the more i speak, the easier it gets.
KATELYN (Cousin) congratulations!!!! you are in for a treat. South Carolina, right? that is so cool, you are going to rip it up. good luck.
grandma and grandpa thanks so much for the money! merry Christmas to you!
so this week i start into my 'black year', my year that is completely in the country of Ukraine. i feel like i have hit a milestone.
oh i watched the videos (from ward YM/YW), thanks for those.
I'm out of stuff to say, so this is goodbye until the sledooshee ponadelnik. da sveedanya.
love, elder brimley