Our very first Sunday in Russia. It took us about an hour to get to church but it's not that bad.
It was cold and wet, but we entertained ourselves.
Our church building. In our ward we have 3 sets of missionaries. 1 are a pair of girls and the other 2 sets are guys. Everything is in Russian so one of the male missionaries translates for us through a headset that we get at the door. Unfortunately we're all to awkward to tell him that we don't understand him either, so we just listen to the Russian.
That Sunday night was really stressful. We got to Russia and a lot of the books that we're supposed to teach with are missing or lost and we didn't get the week and a half that most ILP teachers do to prepare lessons.
We had 4 days.
All of us had a long night trying to plan and trying to organize, but once we actually started teaching the next day, things got a lot better.
I teach three classes.
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays I teach Primary/Kinder at a Private school to 3-6 year olds. The kids there are absolutely adorable, but it's difficult because most of them know zero English.
On Mondays and Wednesdays I teach Level 2 and another Kindergarten, but these kids are around 9 years old.
Alina, Liza, Gleb, and Yagor during their break time.
Usually I have 6 of them and they're a handful but they're all a lot smarter than they think they are.
The girls love to play games but the boys will turn around in their seats and refuse to play.
Our goal is to get them at an English level of an American student a grade behind them.
Hannah learned why Russian's don't wear long skirts.
Found this under an archway that I walk through to get to the Metro.
95% sure it's a Sherlock reference.
There are lots of little palaces in St. Pete. Lot's of big one's too. On Sunday, Arsini is performing in a concert at the Winter Palace and Tanya asked me if I'd like to go.
Heck yes I would.
Accidental picture I took that looks kind of artistic so I'm going with it.
Every Tuesday we have Russian class. The school arranged for us to have Igor (who's certified in teaching Russian as a foreign language) teach us Russian for 3 hours.
It's actually really interesting because instead of just assigning symbols to letters, they assign them to sounds.
I'm actually getting really good at reading Cyrillic now. I can walk down the street and translate a good amount of the signs and advertisements. Of course, once you translate them into American letters, the actual word is usually in Russian and I don't know much Russian yet.
Occasionally, there will be words like
And we get unnaturally excited because it translates to English words.
More Russian class.
"It's so warm outside!"
But really. The days where it snows are the warmest and we celebrate.
Me and Lexi.
We got to the Kindergarten a little early this morning and found they had a fort.
Miranda laughed at me.
Miranda teaching some of our Primary students: Maxime and Lisa.
I decided that I was going to make cookies today. Thank you mother for sending me the recipe so promptly. Miranda and I went to the store to buy the ingredients.
Turns out, they don't have vanilla here, so we bought some vanilla flavored sugar instead and did a fourth cup of that in replace of some white sugar.
Also, Russians don't have normal sized American cubes of butter, so "Three cubes" was hard to put into butter terms, especially since they measure theirs in grams. Thank heavens for google.
The sugar grains are a lot bigger here, so it's slightly crunchy.
And I forgot about the elevation so I'm pretty sure I put in too much flour.
By the way, Mother.
All of the this was about 14 bucks.
And I have a ton left over for more cookies.
In other words:
They were so good.
I don't understand what happened but these cookies turned out really good.
I think it had to do with the fact that Russian butter is phenomenal and the vanilla sugar is super good, too. Even the crunchy-ish sugar in the cookies were fantastic.
I brought a lot home to my host family for the kids to have and left them on the table.
I didn't realize that they had never had chocolate chip cookies before (Which is a a foreign concept to me) and they came running into my room to say how amazing they were, and asking what they were.
Tanya (my host mom) asked me if I could write down the recipe so they could make them some day.
Maybe it's just the fact that in food made in Russia is good. Seriously. Almost all food is fantastic. The Kindergarten serves us food everyday and I would choose their cafeteria food over MANY restaurants in America.
Yesterday Miranda, Kim and I went to a street vendor that was selling pastries outside the Metro and bought some cinnamon cones.
Saying that they were "so good" doesn't really seem like a good enough description.
I don't even have words to accurately describe Russian food.
I'm going to be so spoiled by the time I have to come back.
Super excited for the weekend. No lessons, just touring the city. On Saturday Svieta is taking us to the Ermitage Museum.
Before we came, we kept getting told that we were all going to break down one day from homesickness and culture shock, but we're all doing really good. Our head teacher (Kim) is really surprised at how well we've handled living in a new country and thought that we'd for sure start crying in the bathroom on the first day.
We're all loving life so far.
But we joke about who we think is going to be first in the bathroom.