Conference Report

Posted by Amanda on April 20th, 2008

Success (pronounced Sook-chess which is the Romanian pronunciation)! I would say that today was a success, in that I didn’t get angry or lose my sanity. Since it was Stake Conference, it was held in an auditorium that we’d only been to once. We got lost on the way and were pretty frustrated but we had left an hour and a half early, so we did make it there a little early. One additional issue is that the conference is in Russian or Ukrainian (depending on the speaker), and we wear a headset to hear the translation. To be honest, I actually only heard about 10 minutes of the speakers. That’s mainly because I was out with Amelia for about an hour in a room just outside, but you can’t hear anything and the English translation headset only worked inside the auditorium. I was able to go to the Saturday night adult session while Darryl stayed home with the girls, so that was wonderful.

Thank you to everyone who gave suggestions for ideas to do with kids during church. Marz, I didn’t have a chance to do the picture book thing, but I do want to try it. During the week I tried to get ready. I made some tacky looking lacing cards with cardboard, scrapbook paper, and a shoelace. I also sewed some large buttons on a cut up shirt (that we were going to give away) for Kathryn to practice buttoning. And I made some “workbook pages”, drawing shapes and a few letters for Kathryn to trace. I had no idea if she would like or be able to do any of these things, but I figured it was worth a shot. Plus, I felt good that I was putting forth some kind of effort. I got her a special treat of gummy bears besides her regular snack, too.

Here is how Kathryn looked before we left for church. She LOVES going to church, and it helps me be in a

better mood that she is so excited. She is usually trying to open the door while I’m still getting my coat on. We got this coat and hat for her from a family in our branch. I think it is the cutest thing ever.

The workbook pages and the tracing cards were a hit! While I was out with Amelia, Darryl said Kathryn loved tracing the shapes and letters and was very good at it. She did all the pages twice that I had made (just 4 or 5 little pages). Amelia conveniently fell asleep in Darryl’s arms (which hasn’t happened in ages) so I got to take care of Kathryn the second hour. We did the lacing cards a few times and took a couple trips to the potty. I think she just wanted to go up and down the 2 flights of stairs on the way to the potty. At that point I couldn’t blame her, because it was already longer than a regular Sacrament Meeting.

Of course in July, we’ll be having 5 consecutive stake conferences on the plane ride home. :)

Women’s Day Part II

Posted by Amanda on March 11th, 2008

A senior missionary couple lives near us, and attends the local branch.  We saw them last week, and Sister Lackey invited me to come to the branch’s Women’s Day celebration on Saturday.  I avidly agreed.

I met them at the metro stop one away from our stop, and we walked 5 minutes to the building.  That was the first thing that made me want to attend this branch – it is so close!  We walked into the kitchen and I saw little slices of bread with mayonaise (or some kind of spread) and large, orange caviar eggs.  Later, the plate that was served to each woman also included a slice of bread with raw fish on it.  I never planned to eat it (and didn’t have to because I left early to entertain some dinner guests we were having), but I was actually delighted that it was served to me – what culture!

As we waited for things to get started, Sister Lackey showed me around the building and we met the members coming.  So many women – at least 20!  It was so fun to see all the Ukrainian members.  A couple of them spoke very good English, and many others could say a few words.  I tried to talk to some of them, and it was so much fun.  That is the kind of thing I need to really be able to learn Russian. 

Then the program started.  All the men filed in (there were 5 Ukrainians, 4 young missionaries, and one senior missionary).  The branch president talked about how wonderful women are (at least that’s what I was told), and then they sang some songs.  They gave each sister a flower.  Three of the men sang a song that to me seemed to be with different words they had written, appropriate for the occasion.  The women really got into this one – clapping to the beat, laughing, etc.  I couldn’t hardly understand a thing, but it was a lot of fun to watch everything. 

Then the children came out – 4 girls.  Each said a little poem or something, then they all sang a song together.  One girl (about 10 years old) did a belly dance!  I’m not really into that sort of thing, but I could tell she was very good.  Someone had painted pictures of 6 women (members of the branch), and we had to guess who they were.  They had a great time guessing, and again, it was so much fun to see everyone enjoying themselves so much.

 I was sad to have to leave before the activity was over.  I realized the experience I have had so far in Ukraine has not been exactly what I envisioned culturally.  Now that I’ve had a little taste, I want more!

Women’s Day Part I

Posted by Amanda on March 9th, 2008

March 8th is Women’s Day in many countries, including Ukraine.  I didn’t realize what a big holiday it is until Katya told me she had school off both Friday and Monday, and we found out Darryl has work off Monday! 

One might think this holiday is kind of like Mother’s Day, or Valentine’s Day.  But Darryl’s coworker pointed out that it is actually much more.  This coworker said besides his mother and wife, he needs to recognize sisters, aunts, female cousins, coworkers, basically any woman that you know on this holiday. 

I went outside shopping on Friday and there was such a festive mood at the market.  I had a great time just walking around.  Usually there are people selling flowers right at the metro entrance.  Well, this day (and for the rest of the weekend) there many times more people selling flowers.  They lined the walkway the whole way from the metro to the end of the market.  Men were lined up buying flowers!  And everyone was buying cakes.  It was just so fun to watch.

It seems to me that holidays are such a big deal here.  Not that they aren’t back home, but it is different.  There isn’t as much buildup (at least that I can see – so I think that means less commercialization).  But there is such a feeling of celebration on the holiday, and it is really a big deal. 

Murmuring

Posted by Amanda on March 6th, 2008

Since we are studying the Book of Mormon in Sunday school this year, murmuring has been mentioned a few times already, refering of course to Laman and Lemuel.

I realized that I murmur/complain just about every Sunday morning when we are leaving for church.  First getting everybody in their tights (except Darryl) and coats and hats, and getting Amelia in the baby bjorn with her snow suit over it.  And carrying the diaper bag, Kathryn’s bag, my church bag, and my shoes if I needed to wear boots to church.  Then walking in the cold carrying everything to and from the metro.  Of course all the packing and leaving comes after making sure I brought enough food for the girls, milk for Amelia, toys, books, etc.  Darryl always calls me a sherpa on the way to church.  I have longed for my 2 door Accord, and to just have to load things from the car to the church.  Of course back home I always wished for a 4 door car…

In the midst of all this murmuring, we found out the stake was moving us to a different building for church.  Last Sunday was our first week there.  It is technically a shorter distance from our apartment, but for pretty much everyone else in the branch, it is much further, so that kind of riles me up because it doesn’t seem to make sense.  We take a bus instead of the metro, and I believe it takes the same amount of time.  I’m not sure, because we got a little lost on Sunday.  Also, the new building has no foyer area to sit with/feed a baby, no microwave to warm their milk, no fridge (I never used the fridge in the other building, but I thought I’d throw that in), and no carpet.  Only a very slippery floor on which Amelia couldn’t even walk.

Sometimes it just really gets me riled up.  There are so many things to do or to remember that I feel like I don’t have a chance to actually think about where we are going and why.  So when we had Sunday School lessons on murmuring, I realized I was doing it.  So now I am trying (trying is the key wordand will try harder) to not murmur.  It is so easy to see the broader perspective of why Laman and Lemuel shouldn’t murmur.  It is much harder to see that perspective for myself.  I also realize that there are plenty of people all over the world that travel this way, and this distance (or much further) to go to church.