It's getting close! Two weeks from yesterday, on the, I'll be on my way to Novosibirsk, Russia. There is a lot of studying to be done until then though! Here at the MTC, my district is pretty ready to get out and into the field. We've bumped up our SYL (speak your language) days from 2 a week to 4. So now we are speaking Russian every day but , and . The goal of an SYL day is to Speak 100% Russian for the day. We usually make it to lunch or a little after before it starts to fall apart. Then by the evening we're probably down to about 40% Russian. In two weeks it'll be 100% Russian 100% of the time! The last group that went to Novosibirsk 4 weeks ago got their travel plans two Fridays before they left, and then had a direct flight from Salt Lake City to Moscow followed by a flight to Novosibirsk. That's a long flight to have no music... or movies...or stuff like that. I'm just hoping to sleep as long as possible! Up until a few years ago though, they used to fly us to Moscow, and then from Moscow to Novosibirsk they would take the Trans-Siberian Railroad... for about 36 hours to get to Novosibirsk. So we're grateful that we get to fly.
The closer we get to leaving for Russia, the more our teachers (other returned missionaries who both went to Ukraine on their missions) seem to get more off topic and more into stories about the people over there and different stories from their missions. We also have scheduled times when we talk about the culture of the countries. Culture mostly meaning... what kind of awesome stuff can you buy? OR What kind of awesome stuff can you have the Babushkas make you. Babushka literally translates to "little old woman" The word for Grandma used to be Baba and babuska was the slang form. Now, and over the years those words have changed roles. So if you go to Russia, it is respectful to call them Babushkas and disrespectful to call them Baba. It's kinda like in German (and pretty much any language but modern English) where they have the formal and the informal ways of speaking to people. In Russia it's pretty important not to mix those up. Because it's so important not to mix it up, they make is super easy to mess up by making it hard to remember which conjugation to use. Every verb, noun and adjective can reflect which formality you are using. There are so many details to the Russian language that it makes my brain hurt to think about it. It makes me wonder why my German isn't better than it is. SO...people are right when they put Russian into a top 10 hardest languages list. :)
We have TALL just about every day. TALL is technology assisted language learning where we use the program comparable to Rosetta Stone but loads better. Anyways, in the past, I would go on there, find a topic and write down a bunch of vocabulary words that I thought I might use in future lessons. So I'd get a lot of words but I would never really remember them all. So now what I'm doing is every time I go into Tall, I find a phrase to learn. So now I've got a few phrases that I can just spit out in perfect Russian! Now when you read these in English it'll be like...what's so hard about those, but if you could see the Russian words with the Cyrillic alphabet, you might feel something for me. :P
Phrase #1: What time does the bus leave? (I can replace bus with anything that goes by motor)
Phrase #2: May we meet at another time to talk more in depth about the Book of Mormon? (I can replace Book of Mormon with pretty much anything too)
So that's pretty neat. Another thing that's fun in Russian is telling time.... It's confusing and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. While trying to learn all the numbers more concretely. So lets say it is 12:00. We'd say 12 hour...simple enough. Now let's say it's 12:05. In Russian we have to say "it is 5 minutes of the 1st hour". If it's 12:30 we'd say it's half 1. If it's 12:45 we'd have to say "without 15, of 1". So go put all that into Russian and try to explain it to someone.
In the MTC we're grateful to have all the language books that we do. One of them, "Modern Russian: An Advanced Russian Course," explains everything we need to know! If you want to buy it it's 50 bucks. With all of our language materials that we received, I'd say it's a little over 200 dollars worth of materials.
So now that you've all stopped reading this email, I can tell you about all the exciting stuff that happened.
The temple has been closed since about a month ago, so our P-Days have been really open. There's still never enough time to do what we want to do though.
So I'm just kidding...nothing exciting happened this last week. :P
So until next week!
I miss you all, love you all, and hope you're all doing well!