A blast from the Past

Yaroslavl Russia

A bit about me. After I graduated from college in 2002 I moved to Russia for the summer to work in some orphanages and group homes for children. I wrote my journal to my Mom every morning via email. A few months ago I was discussing my experience with some friends when I realized how much I have forgotten. I decided to open my email and read a bit of what I wrote to my parents. Unfortunately this was before I had a digital camera so I can't post any pictures unless i take the time to learn to use my scanner.

I enjoy getting up in the morning and hearing
from everyone back home. It makes me feel less

I am doing very well. I have some difficulties with
the other volunteers when it comes to Politics and
religion, I feel very out numbered.

Starting today my schedule was interupted quite a bit.
NOw, instead of going to the internet place at 9:30 in
the morning I will more then likely have to go at 5 in
the afternoon (thats 3 in the morning for you) We
started planning tours around the city with our
translators for the mornings so we didn't feel like we
were waisting so much time.

I bought the most beautiful coat! It is long and very
Classy. It was only $150.. I love it! Besides, it will
keep me really warm while I am in St. Petersburg this

We got the most amazying deal on our trip this
weekend. we paid a local travel agent 160 dollars to
plan our weekend. THe 160 includes: the train ticket,
the hotel room for saturday night, a traslator, a car,
and transportation to and from the train station, and
a 3 hour tour both saturday and sunday. I dont guess
you can beat that! I'm excited to go, but I know it
will be a very busy weekend. This will be the last
time I write before I go so I"ll tell you all about it
on monday!

CCS is trying to buy a house. If they do they must
have it ready by June 13th which means I will be
moving. I dont know if I like this idea for a lot of
reasons. FIrst, I wont have a much privacy. Second,
its not near an internet. Third, it is about 30
minuets from down town so it will be more difficult to
wander around the city. Fourth, it is about 30 minutes
from my orphanage so I will have to ride in the van to
work everyday. (right now my orphanage is just around
the corner so I get to walk to work) Anyway, I'll keep
you posted on what happens.

Creighton is sometimes very difficult for me to deal
with. I think the whole mormon thing is just a by
product of him being immature. It wouldn't be so bad
but he is my work partner so I spend a lot of time
with him. ALso, he has no desire to organize anything
and he makes it difficult for me to organize
activities for the children. He likes all the
attention he gets from the girls and does nothing to
help include everyone. It is frusterating. I would
speak to nadia about it but I dont want her to move me
to a different orphanage because I like being where I
am. HOpefully things get a little better as far as
that goes.

Mom and Dad,
Well, I'm home from St. Petersburg and I must say the
trip was very educational. We left Yaroslaval at 10 pm
and arrived in St. Petes at 10:30. The 12 hours on the
train was quite uneventful because we were all asleep
most of the time.

We had a travel agent named Helen pick us up at the
train station and take us to our hotel. Then we went
on a car tour of the city. There were many things we
were unable to see because President Bush was there, so many of
the streets, churches, and museums were closed. I
didn't even get to see the Hermitage. HOpefully
someone from the June group will want to go so I can
go back and have the chance to see the Hermitage...
it doesn't seem right that I was there and couldn't go
in. It was closed all day because the two presidents
had lunch there.

Saturday night we went on a boat ride through the
canals; we shared a boat with two returned missionaries
and their wives.  It was fun to talk
to them. ONe of them was a Plamer from Idaho Falls and
the other one knows Audrey L really well.

Sunday we went to Peterhof which is about 45 minutes
from St. Petersburg. It is one of the Palace's built
during the time of Peter the Great. Pres. Bush was
also there the same time we were so we were unable to
go inside, but there is PLENTY to do outside. This
place makes Versallies look boring. You have to go to
Russia if only to see this building and the gardens. I
cant even describe what the lower garden is like.

We got back to St. Petes at 4 and we had to be at the
train station at 5 so we hurried and had dinner and
ran to catch our train, we nearly missed it. The train
ride home
was much more eventful, but being that you
are my mother and you worry lots I'll wait until I get
home to tell you about it.

I went to a Nunnery today with a few of the group
members and Nadia the director of CCS. David, one of
the volunteers was a Catholic Preist for 14 years and
he wanted to talk to the preist of the Nunnery. We
talked to him for almost 2 hours. It was really
interesting. He showed us the upstairs of his church
which is in complete ruin from the Soviet Power. I
got some great pictures of what a church looks like
after it has been ruined and before it has been

THe orphanage was really good today. I took paper
plates and construction paper. All the kids gave me what they made,

 so i'm starting to think i'm going to be
taking all the supplies I brought home with me, only
they will be in a different state. IT has gotten to
where we spend the last 30 minutes of each visit just
giving hugs and kisses. I always wonder if I am
going to get sick from all the hands I hold and all
the kisses I get. THere are about 4 girls that I am
becoming quite attached to. One girl, named Katina who
is 16 years old is at my side always. She is very calm
(not like the other 16 year olds) and saying good bye
to her every day is incredible difficult. Some of the
kids hold on to my neck so tight I fell like I am
saying good bye to them for eternity, not just for the
next 24 hours.

I would appreciate it if you would call Valarie
H and see what her son said on MOthers day
about the missionaries. I will be in yaroslaval this
weekend and if there are missionaries here I would
like to go to church with them.




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