Sunday, December 18, 2011

Everyday Life

I walked to the Gulf of Finland today. I know, right? Let me say it again. I walked to the Gulf of Finland today. Why? Just because I could. Well that and because I drank half a liter of Coke at McDonald's and wanted to walk off the caffeine. Speaking of McDonald's it's always crowded in Russia. I was sitting at a table enjoying just being by myself when three teenage boys asked if they could sit there too since there was no room. I am not exaggerating this either. Each boy had on his tray a Big Mac, A Big and Tasty, Six Chicken Nuggets, a Medium Fry and a medium drink. And those sandwiches are about the same as they are in the states. Yeah. It was ridiculous. I told them so too. Or rather I told them we didn't even eat like that in America (And Americans stereotypically eat a lot) The one young man's reply was that this was Russia. Can't argue with that.

I feel like my point in writing all this is that living here is a place of contrasts. I'm not just talking about the culture, but my point is that on the one hand it's everyday life. I brush my teeth, I buy groceries, I do laundry, I go to work. On the other hand, I'm doing it in Russia. Not just in Russia, but in St. Petersburg. So the contrast is you have things like "I went walking on Nevsky prospect today, I went to Kazan Cathedral, Oh yeah, that's the Palace Square where the Hermitage is. No biggie."

I don't always write about the big things that go on, because honestly for me it's more about the every day stuff. It's about working with Sergei, Galina Mikhailovna and Marina to prepare dinner for Poisk. It's about sitting with Sasha, baby Ilya and Marina just having a nice conversation. The little everyday things. And it may sound cool because it's happening in Russia but people are people and somethings never change.

For example, yesterday I was leading a discussion about American Christmas Traditions at the American Corner (Which is a place where people interested in learning and practicing English can go and attend different events such as movie showings, reading clubs, singing clubs etc. to help them practice) At the end of said discussion I had one gentleman inform me that his son was 26 and basically told me I should marry him. And I thought that sort of thing wouldn't happen once I left the states. Guess I was wrong. ha ha.

I think maybe that's the whole point of my sporadic blog posts. I feel like when I was on exchange, I tried my best to show not only the awesome cool parts of exchange, but the seamy underbelly as well. It's the same with this mission work. Yeah it's so cool to be like "Hey! I'm serving God overseas and look at all the cool stuff I get to do!" But a lot of times missionaries don't talk about how hard it can be. How lonely. As I told one of my friends from college the other day, I have never felt so close to God yet at the same time so far away from him. It's kind of a weird feeling.

Anyway, I don't want to end on a depressing note. Feeling down isn't something that happens everyday. And it's something that happens a lot less here than it did in Yakutsk. Not only that but I'm a lot better at handling it this time around. I just have nice long chats with God and try to find the good in being here. Honestly, this experience so far as been an amazing one and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

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