Hello from your favorite now-twenty-year-old missionary. Obviously, самый главний thing that happened this week was my birthday. It was actually a super awesome birthday. I ate banana bread for breakfast. It rained all day, but I was fine with that because I pick rain a thousand times over obscenely hot. Germany beat the US in soccer, which was less-than-awesome, but it's fine. I threw myself a tiny birthday party where we ate brownies and played mafia for an hour. Also, everyone bought me presents, which was unexpected and awesome. There was lots of chocolate, which I was obviously thrilled about. Have we talked about how Ukrainian chocolate is awesome? It is. Also, one of my favorite members (remember Ira) bought me roses! She got 21, because you literally can't buy flowers in even numbers here because it's bad luck/for funerals. My favorite little family from Житомир called and sang Happy Birthday in English to me, and that was adorable. Basically, it was an awesome day and I felt super loved. Birthdays are good for that.
I also got my awesome birthday package from Judy this week, with lots of super great things. I may or may not have requested some self-tanning supplies. I just haven't been to Hawaii in a REALLY REALLY long time. Anyway, the stuff works beautifully. Now Sister Welling always complains that she looks pallid compared to me, but can you really blame her? I keep offering to share!
The rest of the week was good, too. We went to one of my favorite babushka's on Tuesday night. I wanted to share a verse in D&C with her, but had forgotten mine at home. She had one, but only in Ukrainian. So, I read in Ukrainian. It was good fun. I actually love Ukrainian. Apparently, I have a much better accent in Ukrainian than Russian (have we already talked about this? Forgive me if we have.) The accent is literally the hardest part of Russian for me. Grammar's coming along and vocab is too, but accent still sounds like I just stepped off the plane. People keep telling me I have a way good Ukrainian accent, so I'm considering starting to study Ukrainian more seriously. But, then again, maybe not. We'll see.
You know how there's the stereotype that people in Russia/Ukraine love to drink and are drunk all the time? Well, I have no comment on that, but we did have a drunk man show up to our English class this week! He's the elders investigator, sort of. Anyway, he showed up and was pretty much all over the place. He licked the black board and ping pong paddles. And tried to learn English. And tried to kiss Sister Welling. Rightfully so, the other people at English weren't too happy about it. So the Elders escorted him out. He came to church yesterday, though. Not sure if he was sober or not, but we're glad he hasn't stopped coming all together. #missionaryadventures
We met a cool new member of our ward this week. Her name is Galina and she's at least six feet tall. Also, she's a WAR PHOTOGRAPHER. She told us all about the wars she'd photographed for National Geographic. She's from L'viv and is a total patriot, but still speaks to us in Russian even though Ukrainian is her native language and speaking Russian is awkward/hard for her. Lots of patriots refuse to speak Russian to us, so I was really grateful she was willing to. She told us a lot about her adventures on Maidan. She basically went to Maidan for 3 months straight both as a photographer and a protester. She got beaten up a lot and even had to have surgery for it (she showed us the scar). Basically, the woman is incredible. This week she promised to show us her Maidan pictures.
My English major skills came in handy this week (sort of). A girl in my ward is applying for a study abroad thing in Australia and they needed help with documents. So, I applied for an Australian visa this week. It was cool. I also helped Ivanna with her BYU-I online English homework. It was SO HARD. I felt so dumb that figuring out multiple-choice English grammar questions was so hard for me. But, we got every question right, so I felt good about that.
So all in all, it was a really good little week. And now I'm twenty, so basically I'm sort of a grown-up maybe a little bit? Haha I joke.
All the love,