Очень холодно (ochen hól-od-na) = Very cold
The theme of the week for the Mission Presidents weekly letter is, “The Frozen Chosen” and that would be us. The temperatures have been very, very low. Up until this point the winter has been mild. All the way into January it was like being home in Seattle – rainy and mid to high 30’s. But as the month progressed the temperatures began to dip - one degree at a time. It reminds me of the frog in the water that is gradually heated up. He doesn’t notice and is ultimately boiled. We have cooled one degree at a time until we are nearly frozen through and through. The temperatures have dipped to the negative numbers, both Centigrade and Fahrenheit. I think the lowest we have seen is-30C which is -22F. Going out for a stroll would be fool-hearty since we need to bundle up just to go to the office which is only five minutes away. When we did venture out it was a contest to see who could layer the most clothes. Elder Segeberg has the biggest challenge with his feet and my challenge is my hands. Although if I layer two pairs of gloves and top it with my rabbit fur mittens then put them in my pockets, I can manage to avoid frost bite. Not warm, mind you, just no frost bite! So we have stayed in most of the week.
Strolling in the cold
No - that isn't a bandito, just Elder Segeberg dressed to go out.
It had warmed up when we took this pic. It was -30 the other morning.
With the Buffs
One exception was on Wednesday evening. We went to teach a Strengthening Marriage class and had to go across town to teach it. This involved a walk to the first bus stop, where luckily the bus we wanted was just arriving, then a walk of several blocks to another bus, where luckily the bus was once again just arriving. Neither bus was very warm (they must have turned the heat off when the temps dropped) but the second one was pretty much a refrigerator (the freezer compartment.) The windows were frosted on the inside and there was no insulation on the metal sides –brrrrr! Then we walked another block or two to the place we were to teach. Thankfully that was warm! After the lesson we did the bus rides in reverse. Luckily, once again, the buses arrived right when we walked up. Usually the buses come quite frequently and there are a variety of buses we can take. But to this location there is only one bus.
As we left the final bus and were heading for home we saw the Mission President on his way home from a meeting – all bundled up and nearly unrecognizable. He unwrapped his scarf and said, “if you two are just out for a stroll, you’re nuts!” We assured him we were not that crazy! After we returned home it was definitely time for hot chocolate and a warm blanket! But our hearts were warm and full! It makes a good story and it really was cold, negative something, but there is joy in helping others. The couple we are teaching are sweet and very in love. They are experiencing some communication challenges as well as the, ‘we have been married for two years now and some of the things you do are not as cute as they once were’ syndrome. Mostly what we can do is help them learn to better communicate and not let mole hills turn into mountains. We love them and they will always be dear friends.
Friday night we went to the Millet’s for dinner and a movie. It was -10 deg F out and we had to walk. Dinner was good though.
Riga 2nd Branch Presidency. Sergejs, Sasha & Elder Segeberg -what a happy group
As we were chatting over lunch one day, we discussed what we like least and most about being here. For Elder Segeberg it is the transportation that is the most challenging. He misses the freedom to hop in the car and quickly get to where you want to go. For me it is the challenge of not being able to obtain the ingredients I need to cook and bake whatever I want. With a lot of thought you can do a work around for some dishes. For others, you are just dead in the water. I am making a list of things we are able to make – after a fashion at least.
But we could agree on what we like the most and that is the people we have gotten to know. Although most people on the street have a grim exterior, once they let you into their lives you are deep in their hearts. We love that! So I guess the moral of the story is, we are cold on the outside but very warm on the inside! До свидания (do svid-an-i-ya)! Good Bye!