So there's a missionary in Житомир who's from Kazakhstan. He went to college in Idaho before his mission and speaks great English, so whenever we have missionary meetings it's all in English. We were planning something this week and I said something and all of a sudden he just looked up and said "Does Sister Pugh have an accent? Like when she speaks in English. Because I understand everyone else perfectly, but with Sister Pugh I only get like 95% of what she says." We all know that I tend to talk really fast and my words all run together and often the end of my words just gets thrown out. Anyway, the poor kid can never understand me so I'm working on speaking like I grew up on the East Coast and learned how to say all my words individually.
We had the funniest lesson this week. We were at this lady's house and she sits down and says "I hope my son is going to come on the lesson. Clark, he really likes you. He wants you for a wife. You're his ideal." She went off on it for like 5 minutes, which doesn't seem that long, but was actually really long. I was dying I was trying so hard to keep a straight face. Sister Clark was just dying. Finally we start the lesson, and the son comes in a few minutes later and sits next to Sister Clark. Then proceeds to stare at her for the entire lesson. Which was funny enough, but then at the end of the lesson his mom was like "it's my turn to pray; let's all hold hands." So Sister Clark holds this guys hand through what must have been the longest prayer we've ever had. I've been telling everyone about it because I'm pretty sure it's the funniest thing I've seen happen on my mission. I guess that's what you get for being a redhead in Ukraine.
Another awesome moment was church yesterday. I think I'm just going to preface this by saying this will only make sense to Mormon readers (sorry everyone else, love you too!). Anyway, church went as normal until the sacrament was over, at which point our branch presidency member (who was conducting, but also the only leader there), stands up and announces the closing prayer and hymn and sits down. We were all like "what?" So our Kazakh missionary goes up to talk to him about it (native speakers are the best). And this guys just like "well, we don't have any speakers scheduled, so we should end." And our missionary was like "actually, it's testimony meeting, so that should happen." So he got up and apologized and (somewhat reluctantly) started testimony meeting. Sometimes awkward things happen when your church leader has only been a member for 8 months.
But New Years was great. On New Years Eve we wrapped up copies of The Book of Mormon and gave them out to people we talked to on the street. It was way fun because everyone loves getting presents. Then we went to bed at 10:30, as usual. But don't worry, I celebrated at 9 AM with Utah! We spent the whole day at various members' houses. They all fed us enormous amounts and we ate more food that was even remotely possible. Have we talked about how Ukrainians favorite thing to eat/cook with is mayonnaise? Because it is. Pretty sure I ate all the mayonnaise I need for the entire year on January 1. But one of the best parts was that one of the houses we went to was a little farm thing in the village. There was a goat and many chickens. I loved it. It confirmed to me again that if this whole college thing doesn't work out, I'm going to be a cowboy when I grow up.
So it was just a great week here in Ukraine. Tomorrow is Christmas round 2, then a week from tomorrow is "Old New Year" (Orthodox New Year which was celebrated until communists were like "um guys, the year starts on January 1st," but which people still celebrate as a fun cultural holiday). And then after that the holidays are officially over. Phew. Since today is January 6th, I have exactly a year left to go. How crazy is that? Right now, it doesn't feel like nearly enough.
All the love,