Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Week 4 at the MTC

I love the DearElder notes! My companion is the District Leader so I always go with him to get the mail:) He never misses a day! Here, letters are kinda like a sign of status or whatever you wanna call it.  Some people get letters all the time and everyone else gets super jealous! Keep em coming! Maybe one day you could send me 10 little 1 sentence letters just so it looks like I am really popular;) and I don't know how DearElder works but if you wanted you could put it up on the blog so other people could send me stuff!  ( MOM NOTE:  If you send him a letter via, he'll get it that same day.  You just need his unit number, which is #158 and his ship-out date is Oct 1).

His companion fell asleep on his spiral bound notebook.
That restructuring of our Bishopric sounds really cool! I love Bro Case and Brugman. I know they are gonna kill it (in the best possible sense of the word). 
Got their "real" Russian name tags this week

Meeting Evan Johnson's Russian grandma at church sounds super amazing! I would love to meet her:) I was actually just wondering about Evan! Do you know how he is doing? I haven't heard from anybody what is going on:( 

I can't type Russian very well because we don't have a Cyrillic keyboard.  I am glad you got to meet her! She sounds so wonderful:) I am excited to continue the good work in Russia! I hope I can use some of my musical abilities to further the work.

Speaking of musical abilities, I am supposed to prepare a special musical number for Sacrament meeting in 2 weeks. I have no clue what I am gonna do! I am a little nervous but I will figure something out. I should have practiced the piano more like Sister Bowen told me to... :p
 I also have to play an opening hymn for our Priesthood meetings next Sunday! I have probably 5 Hymns that I could play, but that is in English... The Russian Hymn book has some hymns that aren't in the English version. They have some extra notes in some places to accommodate the longer and more complicated Russian translations. I also don't know which hymns are which. I have to just pick a hymn, start playing it, and hope that I recognize it. It is a blast haha but it is rough.
Just a couple quick little thoughts I had this week:

I sang "I am a Child of God" with Cameron in Sacrament meeting before I left, when I get back I wanna sing it with Megan... In Russian.

I successfully solved a Rubik's Cube in 1 minute and 44 seconds. The record is 1 minute 40 seconds! haha so close!
What else are you going to do with a giant can of 100 colored pencils?

At first I didn't really like this super short hair cut, but now I love it! it never gets messed up and I get to use so much less shampoo!

We met our Branch President this last week. His name is President Peer. He speaks 11 different languages fluently.  His criteria for being fluent are as follows:

-Study it in a formal setting (such as a school or class, with a teacher to monitor progress)

-Give a presentation in that language (such as a lecture or speech)

-Completely and accurately translate a piece of literature in that language.

He is so smart and he is funny, super nice, and everybody here wishes to grow up and be like him. He was in England for our first couple of weeks. He was being honored by Oxford and got the opportunity to present some of his texts to the big smart people over there:p Crazy!!
Ryan thought this chair was smiling, so he added the rest of the face with chalk.

We had a speaker during our Sunday night devotional, his name was Stephen B. Allen. He used to be the Tempe, Arizona mission president! Super cool:)

I was asked to give the blessing on the sacrament this week! Super scary... I had to do it in Russian and my heart beat was like a million beats per minute. 

I sang in the choir this week and I love choir, I really do. It was my second favorite class in high school (ceramics was by far my number one). Even though I love singing, this choir was bad:( I sang the bass part with my companion and we sang "Jesus Once of Humble Birth". There was this really pretty part of the song, it got super intense and was the climax of the song. The bass section has this conflict/resolution where we were supposed to hold the conflicting note for a whole measure and the resolution would've been really beautiful... but the entire bass section skipped it and resolved early. So frustrating! haha I probably sound nerdy but it really bugged me:) I miss singing with DeValk in Jazz Mad, he was so much fun:)
They have not given us very much information about the culture of Russia. We ask our teachers, who are all return missionaries from Russia, about the culture but they don't say much. They told us it is veryyyyy impolite to cross your legs or put a foot up on your knee when you sit. The shoe is the dirtiest part of a person because you're always walking around in the dirt. To show someone your shoe is super bad! They take off their shoes and put on socks or booties when they enter someone's home. I had no clue! That's about it for now but I will let you know the more I find out!
Some people in my district have seen the Saratov Approach. They said it was really good but kinda scary too:)
I loved the care package you sent me! It was so cool! I am currently eating a PopTart:))  I love it all!  The chocolate didn't melt and I am happy to be chowing down all the time. Thanks to that mini basketball, my skills have improved immensely! Thanks!  
I am glad to hear Cameron and Carson fixed the potato gun but they now have to make a giant potato gun that shoots soccer balls or something! That would be SWEET!
 That's about all I have for this week:) We keep studying and learning, it isn't getting much easier but we can now converse pretty well with our teachers. Thursdays are our days to only speak Russian! No English at all on Thursdays:) Wish me luck! I miss you all! Can't wait to see you soon!

The Church is true, and I Love You
Старейшина Гарднер
Elder Gardner

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