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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Well, yesterday was Easter. They have a cool tradition on Easter in Russia where everyone who you talk to you can either say happy Easter (actually translates directly as "with a festival, you!" but that makes no Happy Easter is close enough), but more common and special to Easter is "Christ resurrected!" which you then answer with "In truth He resurrected." Kind of cool huh? I really liked that. Also Elder Papok and I boiled eggs last night (yes, they decorate them here too) so that it would feel a little more like Easter. It was also Fast and Testimony Meeting for Sacrament Meeting yesterday, it was a really neat meeting.

I learned this week just how proud I am to be an American. I know that sounds a little odd, but it took a ridiculous experience to teach me just how much I love my country...We were tracting the other day and I started explaining who we were and talking to a woman at her door but I didn't get very far before she cut me off and said "Stop speaking with that fake accent!" I tried to explain to her that I am American and still haven't been studying Russian very long, but she wouldn't believe me! She said that I would make a horrible American because I look Russian and my accent is just nonsense, not American at all. She said I was a liar and she couldn't believe anything I said unless I stopped talking so crazy. My companion took over (as soon as he could stop laughing) and she was interested to talk to him and said that she believed the things he was saying. At the end of talking with him (for probably 10 minutes) she was saying goodbye or something and threw in "and your friend who came here from America...on a green bicycle" (it rhymes in Russian so it makes a little more sense...I guess).

People say a lot of silly things to me, but for some reason that one actually got to me. I think it's because there was absolutely nothing I could do. I had to stand there and just be baffled. It was a really funny experience though, we will still be laughing about that for a long time. But it actually hurt a little for someone to not think that I am American. I'm very proud of my nationality, even more now that I'm living in another part of the world.

So I think I am feeling worse about my ability to speak Russian lately. I think it's because now that I speak Russian all of the time (except for English Club and with other American Missionaries) that I am realizing that there are a lot of things I'd like to talk about...that I simply don't know the words for. Explaining simple teachings of the Gospel is one thing, but trying to explain a crazy dream that you'd had the night before is really pretty different. Of course it's still improving and I can understand a little bit more each day, but it's tough spending every moment with someone who you can only communicate with a little bit. It's a good humbling experience though. Challenges are fun right?

Well I heard that there's snow at home again. Four inches in Rexburg this weekend huh? Good thing I came to Russia to get warm! Today I didn't even bring my jacket and it is still little warm in my suit. Ironic huh? Warmer in Russia...who'd o' thunk?

Have a great week!

Elder Fife

Here is an answer about foods he eats…………

The foods we eat are usually normal things that we would eat anywhere else. We make noodles with chicken and things like that. I eat oatmeal for breakfast most mornings and I eat a lot of bread. Not a ton of super exciting foods that I've been around. Borshch is really good, I think I'll have some for lunch today at a cafe that a member in our area works at near our apartment. Maybe I'll also have a shishkabob...they have a lot of those here. There really is a lot of influence from the middle east here in Vladivostok. Lots of people immigrate here from Usbekistan and Armenia and places like that. They are the nicest people, but they seem to get stuck doing all of the jobs that no else wants to do, like cleaning streets and working in the market and things like that, but they are still the most kind people here at all, never rude at all.

Oh! So I forgot to write about how I April Fooled my English Club group this week. I told them that our leaders had done a lot of thinking and decided that we weren't going to be able to do english club ever again in Vladivostok. It just isn't a good enough use of our time, and this was going to be the very last one. The looks on all their faces were absolutely priceless! I thought some of them were going to cry. Then a boy in the back of the room caught on and said "it's the 1st of April!" And I busted out an April Fools and was very happy. Good times!

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