Monday, July 7, 2014

Spicy Asian Borscht

In food news... We made carrot cake with some of my favorite members this week. The cake went beautifully, but then we started making frosting and I realized I'd forgotten to bring powdered sugar. The members were like "hey, no problem, we'll make it ourselves!" And before I could say, что? they had pulled out a cutting board and a rolling pin and were making their own powdered sugar. It totally worked and was just so... innovative. Last Monday we decided that cooking every day is way overrated. So we made a GIANT pot o'borscht to feed an army and ate it pretty much all week. Judy sent me sriarcha for my birthday, so we may have occasionally added sriracha to our borscht. It was funky, but kinda awesome. Spicy Asian borscht for the win.

We met our new mission president, President Packer, this week. He has a darling family and is going to be a wonderful mission president. It's so funny though, because they are literally the exact opposite of the Klebingats. I can't even explain how different they are. But I think it's going to be good, because it's like complimentary strengths. We had our mission conference on the fourth of July, so obviously we couldn't just ignore that. For lunch we had a giant mission-wide barbecue. Unfortunately, the hamburgers weren't really cooked all the way, so if the Ukraine Kyiv mission comes down with mad cow disease, you know why. The best part of the BBQ was American mustard and watermelon. Amazing. 

We helped Ivanna write an essay for her BYU-I online thing. And it was so fun to write again. I sat down with her laptop on my lap to edit, and it was like teleporting back to some other world I used to know where I wrote papers all the time and loved it. I genuinely miss writing papers for college. Go figure. We also had a "debate" this week as part of our English class. We assigned a topic, split the group into two teams, and made them each give a 1-2 minute talk. It was another moment of intense trunkiness for debate. Basically, my brain got used a little bit for reasoning this week and it liked it. 

I bought flowers again this week. We brought them to one of my favorite less active members, Zina. We had an appointment with her, but she was running late, so we waited, obviously. Anyway, she showed up and was like "girls, I'm just getting home from work and I'm tired and I'm hungry. Can't we meet tomorrow?" Of course we said yes, but gave her the flowers before we left. The look on her face was priceless. She said, "oh girls, do you know how long it's been since anyone gave me flowers?" and gave us each a kiss on the cheek (which is something everyone does all the time in Ukraine and a habit I'm getting used to?) and headed in. It was kinda darling to see how much the little things like flowers I randomly and impulsively bought on the street can mean to people. 

We had a drunk man totally shame us on Thursday. We were walking along and her heard our accents and wanted to talk to us. He wasn't totally inebriated, but he was getting there. He was riding a bike with a mostly-empty beer bottle in his hand and rode awkwardly along trying to talk to us as we walked. We kinda said hi and ignored him, because that's typically what we do when approached by an intoxicated individual. Anyway, he was really persistent about wanting to talk and got off his bike to walk with us and figure out who the heck we were. He walked us all the way to our appointment and turned out to be a really nice guy. He went to Bible school and is an active Christian, but he doesn't have a church right now. He has a wife and 5 kids and gave us her number as well as his own. As were were saying goodbye though, he was like "Girls, I didn't like the way you treated me earlier. Yeah, I'm drinking beer, but I'm still a person. You're from a church and you know that everyone is a child of God and you should be more respectful, because it was really impolite how you treated me earlier when I just wanted to talk." And that was probably the most shameful moment of my mission. It's pretty bad when a stranger says that how you acted is inconsistent with your tag. 

We met an awesome lady on a bench this week. She was just sitting there and we sat down next to her and started talking. She had a stroke a while ago and the right side of her body doesn't work super well, but she's incredibly good. We talked and gave her a BoM and agreed to meet Saturday at the same bench. Saturday she came and had read and understood the first part of the BoM and was way interesting in knowing more. She had a ton of potential and I'm super excited about it. We find people everywhere. 

We also visited a babushka in a nursing home this week. Nursing homes in the US aren't the sun-shiniest places, but they're luxurious compared to Ukraine. Never get old and end up in a nursing home in Ukraine. It's not pleasant. Anyway, my favorite part was that this babushka had a ton of flowers and plants in her planter boxes. She can't water them herself, but every time someone visits here she had them water them for her, so the plants keep on living. I liked that. It took me a while to figure out that she wanted me to water her plants, since she pretty much only spoke Ukrainian, but in the end we got it and the plants live a day or so more. 

Remember my favorite recent convert Tiam, the 13-year-old from Iran? We had a really funny incident this week. Thursday was YW camp and Wednesday night at 9:45, Tiam called me - "I don't have a backpack to take my stuff to camp. Do you have one? Can I use it?" It was so funny because it was so typical 13-year-old refusing to plan and then last minute needing someone to save the day. I also just loved that she felt comfortable enough with us that we were the SOS call she made. We did have a backpack and got it to her and she had an awesome camp experience, so all was well. 

So anyway, it was a way good week. Hurrah!

All the love,

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