Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring Time Guitars

So remember how I am the most impulsive thing on the planet? I bought a guitar last week. I went to buy a new ukulele and I was in the store and looked at the guitars and was like "I think I want one of those." And three minutes later bought a guitar. I saw sister Clark yesterday and told her and she was like "but you don't play the guitar." Don't play the guitar, yet. In short, being on a mission does weird things to you and now I'm learning to play the guitar. (That makes me Bri's favorite niece, right?)

I went shopping this afternoon and found all kinds of American treasures. There's a giant grocery store by us and we found curry paste and hummus there! WHAT?! Also, I found baklava, which I promptly ate, but it was awesome. Baklava always makes me think of my 16th birthday in Vienna when I sat in the park and ate baklava and pretended to speak German. I also found new pink nail polish! It's American brand so it's good (Ukranian nail polish just sort of fails at life). So, maybe I'm a little bit overexcited by a few little treasures, but whatevs.

I have a new favorite human in Ukraine. Her name is Valentina and I want to be just like here when I grow up. She's the most with-it, loving person I think I've ever met. We were at her house this week and her son's friend, Vika, was there, so Valentina invited her to come meet us. We got talking about religion and God (as tends to happen when you're a missionary) and it kinda amazing to watch. As we taught, Valentina was just stunning. I've never seen someone teach and explain with such love and genuine care. "If you want, I'll bring your 6-year-old to church with me when you have to work on Sundays." "Come over here to read the Book of Mormon on our couch because it's quiet here." "Vika is special because she really understands things spiritually and really wants to know truth." I can't explain this the way I want to, but it was like the small barrier of formality that seems to exist in teaching settings, be they school or Sunday School or Home Teaching, was completely gone and it was the safest, most loving lesson I've ever been on. I learned (and will probably continue to learn) way more from Valentina than I could possibly teach her, but isn't that just the blessing of missions?

We had Stake Conference yesterday. It was kinda awesome. They don't really have a big enough place to hold it, so they rented out a theater and held it there. It was the most beautiful stake conference setting ever. It's right in center Kyiv so it's all beautiful and classic European decorations - velvet seats, big crystal chandelier, crown molding, a beautiful staircase - in short, Kyiv stake classed it up. It was a great conference, the highlight of which was that the ENTIRE ЖИТОМИР BRANCH CAME. So I got to see ALL of them. I literally almost died I was so happy. It was amazing. I have no words for it. My 7-year-old best friend Masha sat next to me for the conference and even though she was bored and kinda a terror, it just made me so happy to spend a few hours with her. Basically, yesterday was the best.

We went on exchanges this week in Chernigov, which is a darling little city about an hour away from Cherynobyl. It was so wonderful. I don't think I'd realized just how ugly/loud Kyiv is. Like, I love living here (for a while), but I also really really loved a day and a half away. Walking the streets quietly and talking to people who were sitting on park benches made me feel like I was back in Житомир and I liked that. Ukraine is beautiful right now. The trees are all beautiful and there's lilac blooming everywhere and it's sunny but not too warm to wear a sweater. Basically, it's spring and I love spring.

News wise, transfers are this week and I've a new companion coming to me. Which is too bad because I love Sister Welling and we have so much fun and I'll miss her terribly, but things are going to be good. My new companion is way darling and I think we'll do well together. Her name is Sister Kopta and she's from Texas and it will be good. 

All the love,
Hannah

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