Well, we're already back to another big transfer Monday madness and it finally happened...the band's breakin’ up. Elder Taylor is headed off to Izhevsk for his final transfer and walkin’ out the door on me. I'm just kidding, that's just the biggest news from the week, it's like my mission is walking out the door. After 10 and a half months, it kinda jerks on your heart strings to lose a buddy like him. I'm super grateful I got to serve with him for so long and learned a ton- we are probably the most prepared people for marriage on the planet. Anyways, we'll miss him. I hope you have a chance to meet his parents somehow and of course get to his farewell sometime in October. I'll be stayin’ it around here a little longer with my other past companion, good ol Elder Whittemore. I'm super excited to be with him again, and it's going to be a fun upcoming few months with him. Good bros...if you can say that.
The storm definitely hasn't cooled down around here, I think I have had more action the last two weeks than I have had my whole...life. Anyways, we had Monday evening of kinda getting things settled down around the mission home for president and then took off early Tuesday evening to Izhevsk to have a greeting fireside with president, then to Kazan on Wednesday and Thursday to Ul'yanovsk...don't know if any of those cities ring a bell. It was super fun to be back in Kazan and see some familiar faces...it's been about a year and a half already and they were all so fun to be around and catch up on things. They were all super funny to have remembered me as not knowing a word of Russian and then they all were pumped to have me translate for president. Kinda fun, anyways, we got back super late on Thursday night to Samara. We rolled from all this mission tour stuff right into transfers and have had some pretty intense past couple of days- we typically didn't go to drop off leaving missionaries, but president asked us to come for his first time and so we got up at about 12:30 this morning and took them out to the airport and got back to our place at about 4:00 with missionaries rolling in on trains and needing taxis for the next couple hours...basically we are running on fumes here. We buzzed over to the train station and helped an incoming group and now it's about 11:00 and we're here in the office. Just wanted to give you a taste, Elder Taylor takes off tonight on a bus...we might take a couple minutes to go take some pictures or something and then get right back into the swing of things. I think I have owned more Russians’ faces at the train station getting people in and outta trains and things than I ever imagined. Good memories. They don't respect lines too much.
Anyways, we had a good last lesson with Svyetlana with Elder Taylor and she's doing great- she talked about how she realized how this is what she felt like she had been missing her whole life. We'll keep working with her with her post-baptism lessons, but it was super good to hear that. Elder Taylor and I were just talking about how I kinda didn't expect to have a story like that. It is a huge blessing to observe that in somebody's life.
Ok, it sounds like you liked some random stuff, so I thought of a couple other things to share:
1- They love dill here. They eat it with anything- any time that there is any kind of a main dish, there is a bowl of dill on the side- especially with borscht. Some of the Russians just eat it plain off the bushel.
2- Saturdays are hoppin’ days...it's the day that everybody get's married. We are in a quieter place of town, but there are these little agencies where people get their marriage license and then they all caravan down the street just laying on their horns and waving out the windows with decorated car hoods. Pretty funny.
3- Like I said, they haven't quite mastered courtesy with lines and things- if you aren't standing right behind somebody, a babushka will snake her way right in front of you at the grocery check out, or if you need something you just yell at the person at the counter even if they look busy, and they get it for you. Or I have thrown a couple elbows (not really) getting out of buses and marshrytkas because they will be climbing on the bus before the door even opens and you are trying to get out. Just another funny little idiom.
Anyways, have a good week.. We'll have a good one here.
PS here's a picture...I had to check to see if I had sent it. On one of our trips to Tolyatti our driver, Roman, stopped and showed us this big look out over the river. Anyways, give you a taste of the mighty Volga! and a birds eye of Samara...