We thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures of our apartment. You would think we live in Fort Knox. To get into the building we use a code and go through a heavy door, a second door that leads to the elevator that takes us up to the tenth floor. Then we have two doors to go through (both locked) before getting to our apartment w/ two more keys. HUGE keys.
We live in an older building, but it is quite lovely and we feel very much at home here. Currently I am doing laundry in the kitchen sink as the washing machine died and the repairman has not responded to our landlady Jana's request to call back to set up an appt. to have it fixed it. In order to do this, we are going through our office elders, Elder Brown and Elder Everett, who speak fluent Russian.
Here is a picture of them taken in our apartment today after coming to share a meal with us. They are wonderful young men!
Here is a picture of me in the kitchen doing laundry. I have it down to a science now! The blue hood on the right side of the picture is over the electric stove. The oven works very well, (once I figured out how to change from centrigrade to farenheit.)
We have an eat-in kitchen w/ a nice big table.
We also have a combined living room/dining room. Behind the living room couch is a beautiful large window and we have a great view overlooking a school and the big apartment yard w/ a playground and a path leading to a lake which we will explore once the weather is nicer. We have seen horses over there and children playing and dogs being walked. In the morning the skyline is beautiful.
Our bedroom is nice w/ a lovely little sitting area w/ a chair and a lamp to read. The bed is larg and very comfortable. There is a lot of storage throughout the apartment.
The second bedroom is used for our laundry. That is where the drying rack is to dry our clothes and the ironing board. I have a nice view of the front street as I iron and watch the people bustling at all hours. We have a television in the second bedroom and in the living room. We have had it on briefly as before-mentioned and saw the Smurfs and Simpsons in Russian. We didn't watch them but found it amusing that they were on.
The bathrooms in Russia are interesting. There are two rooms. One room has the sink and shower. The other tiny room has only the toilet.
What else can we share that you might find interesting?
1. The supermarkets have security guards. I'm guessing noone is going to be foolish enough to try to shoplift. They don't look very friendly and we avoid eye contact with them and we don't do anything that would draw attention to us.
2. In the grocery stores we see a few American products such as Dannon, M @ M's, Nestle products and Colgate. The Russians love juice and have rows of wonderful juice. Buckwheat and oats are also easy to find. Alcohol and wine are also available in large quantities in both the grocery stores and the little prodooktees.
3. McDonalds, Hyundai and Toyota dealerships, Dominoes Pizza and Subway Sandwich shops are readily available.
4. Because of bad water, you will not see water fountains anywhere. Water filters are used a lot (the Church has them in all of their buildings and apartments.) In the restaurants, bottled water is readily available in two "flavors". Gas or still. Gas means carbonated. Still is just plain.
5. Most Russians do not wear shoes in their apartments. Shoes are taken off at the door. It has been quite delightful at our office to change from shoes into slippers or just plain old socks.
6. We are visitors in Russia. We are expected to have our identification on our person at all times. Missionaries are strongly encouraged to use kanga pouches. We wear them inside our clothes. It holds our passport and related registration documents.
7. Russia is a cash only society. It is important to draw out enough cash to pay rent, buy groceries or other needed items. There are no bank accounts, no checking accounts, no savings account. Think about it. How much less debt there would be in our country if it was only cash on the barrelhead. Howver, it does have it's own set of problems. It is obviously not a good idea to carry large sums of money on you. Debit cards are used to withdraw needed cash at the numerous ATM's.
8. There are a lot of stray dogs EVERYWHERE. :0(
9. Russians love flowers and there are little flower shops everywhere.
10. Spring is late in coming to Moscow and we anxiously await green grass and beautiful flowers ad warmer temperatures.
We sen our love to our family and friends until next week. Dos Vidonya.