New Years Eve and New Years Day in Russia are the biggest holidays, even bigger than Christmas. Missionaries were to be off the street by 6 pm and were able to spend the night with their fellow missionaries, some of them in missionary couples home. Our apartment is too small to allow for that, so it was REALLY quiet for us, at least in some ways.
We watched a Christmas movie on you-tube and listened and watched the fireworks right outside our window. They went on and on and on and on.....and on. Whole families were out there, little ones were sledding at 12:15 am, dogs were barking, men were singing very loudly and off key, I might add, at all hours. Sleep was hard to come by. There were explosions throughout the night. (and the next night and we are wondering how long it will go on.)
Russians go on vacation from December 31st to January 8. It is Russian law. So, our Russian employees at the mission office, Tatiana and Diana, will not be back until January 9, The Service Center is closed and therefore no services for computer ailments (which are ongoing as new computers have been set up over the past couple of weeks, but all the glitches have not been dealth with yet). The banks are closed, but ATM's are open, and of course grocery stores are open as is the metro and buses.
Traffic is much lighter and foot traffic is lighter also. We see more children though as they are off for these days as well.
I LOVE the new year with its promises of fresh beginnings. There are a few things I definitely need to work on! I look forward to the new year with joy and anticipation and I hope that at the end of the year I will be able to look back and see the ways in which I have grown and improved.
It's been a good year. I certainly have been WAY out of my comfort zone, experienced things I never dreamed of, done things I never would have thought I could do (and in some cases maybe didn't even want to do).
Thoughts and prayers are constantly with family and friends. Our love for all of you has grown as we have been away from you. We have made new friends, Russian friends, that are dear to us. We have grown to love our ward family and have a good relationship there, even though language is still a barrier, it doesn't hold us back.
In our own small way, we are making a difference here in Moscow, Russia, as we serve our missionaries. We are loving what we do in serving those who are serving the Lord.
May God bless all of you this coming year. Dos Vidonya.