Another week has flown by! Where does the time go? We have decided that doing ordinary things like grocery shopping are much more time consuming so I guess that is where the time has gone.
We experimented with some recipes this week. We tried lasagna which turned out great. Then we tried Taco Salad Dip which was not quite so successful. If you did not know what it was supposed to taste like it was OK. We are not quite sure what needs to be done to improve it. We may have to order taco seasoning from home. White chocolate popcorn came out very tasty but the corn did not pop well. One out of four packages popped completely. The other three only about half popped. So we had some successes and some not so much!
This week we hosted an activity for the 12-18 year old girls. They wanted to learn how to make brownies. I printed out a recipe for each of them with the measurements in metric. There were probably a few of the ingredients that I should have translated as well. They have no idea what baking powder is. Here it is called “cepamais pulveris.” They also made ‘milk cocktails’ AKA milkshakes or smoothies. I must say this is the first time I have ever had a warm milkshake! Cold drinks are not a priority in Europe. In fact, they prefer things to be room temperature. But a milke shake? Oh well! Although all but one of the girls speaks some English, they chattered most of the evening in Russian. But it was fun to listen and see how much I could pick out. They sounded like a group of young women any where else in the world. After all the food preperation was done and cleaned up we played games for a while. It was a fun evening!
On Thursday we began teaching a ‘Strengthening Marriage’ class. This is one of our new special assignments from the mission president. No matter where you are in the world, the family is under attack. Strong families are important to strengthen communities. The ideal would be to teach local people to teach in the native languages. However, for now we are doing the teaching. We felt good about the lesson when it was over.
There is an extra challenge when the cultures are so different. Human behavior is very much the same, but background can influence responses. Extra time needed to be spent trying to find some common ground to explain some concepts. Also, tact and sensitivity need to be exercised. That is why the ideal would be having local folks to teach. It was fun and I hope it helps the attendees.
This week has been great! We are enjoying the challenges and the opportunity to spend so much time together. Before retirement it seemed we saw very little of each other as we ran about in our busy lives. Now our lives are busy, but we are running in the same places.
Love to all of you,
до свидания or as they say in Latvia - ciao!