We have been here in Moscow for 4 days now. Here are just a few things that are different:
1. It is still winter here. Weather has been in 20's and 30's and snowing. It doesn't seem to affect the Russian people who are well bundled. Babies are in covered prams and little ones in snowsuits. It is still light at 7:30 pm.
2. Mayonaise, ketchup, yogurt are sold in tubes.
3. The washing machine is 1/3 of the size of the ones back home. I can wash about 3 towels at a time.
4. Dryers are not commonly used. We have a drying rack in the second bedroom to dry the clothes.
5. In the second bedroom there is a HUGE watering can (like to water flowers only bigger). We learned that in the summer the hot water is turned off for two weeks and the watering can is used in the bathtub to shower with (using water heated on the stove). Now THAT should be interesting.
6. Russians are a sober people. If you meet them on the street they are likely to drop their heads and not look at you. Children are the same way.
7. In order to talk to our landlady Jana about a plumbing problem in our apartment, our Russian-speaking young missionaries (who are English) called her and translated our needs for us. If there is something that comes up in the mission office requiring Russian, the young Elders (missionaries) woill most likely handle it.
8. Our apartment is nice. We have lovely wooden floors, There is a combined living room/dining room nicely furnished with a large window overlooking the courtyard and an elementary school. There is an eat-in kitchen w/ lots of storage space and a nice wooden floor. The bedrooms are good sized. One is our room w/ a separate sitting area and the other bedroom has the ironing board and drying racks for our clothes. The apartment is furnished with two tvs. I may have the one on in the second bedroom while I am ironing and see if I can pick up some Russian.
9. The selection of food is good. There are productees everywhere. They are similar to a 7-11. About 1/3 is for sale of alcohol. Sadly, alcoholism is a big problem. We've all heard of Russian vodka, right? I can go right downstairs and out the door and be able to buy milk, cheese, bread, produce or chocolate. Liquor is also sold in the large grocery stores.
10. There are also little produce trucks in abundance and all they sell are fresh fruits and veggies. There is one right next to the productee outside our apartment. (All around the apartment complex, which is large there are more than one little productee).
11. Across the street is Neptune, a building shaped like a ship. In it is a large store upstairs selling all manner of clothes, toiletries, etc, like an Ocean State Job Lot. There is an opteka (pharmacy) on the bottom level. Many things we have that we need a perscription for you can get over the counter.
There are several open stores called a Renock on the bottom floor. There are women selling fresh fruits and veggies, fresh baked breads, fish (catfish still alive in a big tank), and even a good quality boot shop, pet supply store and a couple of others.
We had fun going there today to buy our fruits and veggies and used our Russian. One young girl was eager to talk to us in English and there was a general feeling that they appreciated our efforts to speak their language.
12. The mission office where we will be working is about a 20 minute walk (in snowy weather). We are still on a learning curve there, as there is much for us to do and learn. The people we work with are wonderful and the atmosphere the best!
Next week we will share our first week at the office and also what happened at church. We will have our first experince in our Russian speaking ward tomorrow.
Barb is suffering big time from jet lag and has been a bit cranky (poor Dave). Dave on the other hand seemed to have no problems at all and has adjusted to the time change remarkably fast.