My dear family!
It was so great to talk to you all earlier today! I really enjoyed hearing your voices and your laughs. :) I miss that probably the most, just sitting around the table or in the living room laughing at something funny we said. After we finished talking, Elder Waltman and I went to the other missionaries’ old apartment to get some stuff, and it turned out there was a lot there we needed to get, so we made several trips from the fourth floor of one building, down the street, and then to the fourth floor of our building. Not fun. We still have a washer to move. Just goes to show that moving is not fun no matter where in the world you are. So then, we went to do a little grocery shopping and this is probably going to sound kind of stupid but the carts in Russia are so cool! The back wheels turn just like the front ones! So it's super easy to push the cart. You can even push it sideways. Makes it really easy when you want to get out of someone's way. Just push the cart to the side! Haha, just an interesting thing I noticed. Oh and another thing, I don't think there exists anywhere in Russia a set of stairs with even spacing between each step. They're all different so it's tricky when you're climbing up and down them. You really have to watch where you're going.
After grocery shopping, on our way back, some guy came out of a store and started yelling at us, telling us how great the store was and asking us why we didn't go there (I think). And then he continued yelling at us, calling us brothers and saying something about Jesus Christ. I didn't really understand him. He kept circling around us as we were walking down the street. I thought he was either crazy or drunk or both. I couldn't really tell. But afterward, Elder Waltman just started laughing. Russians are definitely a different people. But they're still people. They're still my brothers and sisters. They still have the same Heavenly Father. Some of them may yell at us and think we're crazy for being here in Russia because they already have their church and they don't need stupid Americans here. But they're still my brothers and sisters and I want them to have the joy I have. So I'm here to stay.
One day when we were in the center of the city, we were street contacting and I stopped this guy, said hello and asked how he was doing. He took off his sunglasses, looked at my nametag, started yelling at me and made a motion like he was gonna break my nametag. Clearly didn't like me very much. Another guy stopped us and commenced to yell at us because we were an evil church and we should leave. In broken English he said, Go HOME!! Go back to Salt Lake City Utah! Two other guys stopped us that day and just wanted to argue with us or make fun of our Russian or whatever. I feel bad that I can't really understand all of what they're saying so I don't know what I should even say. So it usually turns to Elder Waltman to do all the talking, especially when we're being yelled at. Hopefully, I'll start understanding more and more so I can help. Anyway, despite all that, despite people not liking us, I love being here. It's so hard talking to random people, especially when I don't understand their responses. But I know what I know and what I feel to be true, and it is so important. So their responses don't affect me. It doesn't change anything. They're just not interested, so I move on. I'm trying to be as happy as I can be here because pretty much no one smiles here. So I smile to everyone and say hello all the time. No one smiles back. Occasionally, they say hi in return. And oddly enough, I love it here. I love being so happy all the time and standing out like an American in a crowd of Russians. It's not easy. But it makes the day so much better when I'm cheerful and don't let people get me down.
Well basically, this week has certainly been an adventure. I'll try to write more in my little journal as I'm out during the day so I'll have even better things to tell you next week. I love you all so much and I pray for you all the time. Thank you so so so much for your prayers. Mom, happy mother’s day again. You are the best mom I could ever ask for. I love you so much! Tell the grandmas happy mother’s day for me as well, and Mrs. Frappier too. Let everyone know I'm doing well and while the culture shock has been kind of hard this last week, I'm starting to settle in a little more here. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!