Wednesday, November 23, 2011


The waiting room
So recently I had to go to the Hospital here. With my background and 'luck' we all knew it was inevitable but even I was surprised I lasted this long here until my first visit.

The outside of the hospital called Boris.
Anyways, the other night I woke up and my face literally hurt to the touch. All night I rolled around in pain and eventually I got up to get some breakfast in the morning. My host mom took one look at me and started letting out a long slew of Russian concern and disgust from my face. Finally she said in English--what happened to your face?! So I ran to the bathroom to look in the mirror and my face was red and swollen HUGE--so big that my eyes were almost shut from the size of the swelling in my face.

Wellp I went to the doctor and they had no idea why it was swelling but injected me with a lot of steroids and I had to go back twice for two more treatments of it and now my face is somewhat back to normal. Jeesh.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Today was a good day!

My Russian here is getting tons better every single day! I even text and talk to my host mom on the phone in only Russian now! I feel pretty dang legit. Today I was trying to do some shopping before school and I found a small shoe store. Given my shoe size, I try to look in every shoe store to see if they even have anything in my size…some things never change. Anyways, when I walked in, the store owner started spouting off sentences faster than I could process. I smiled, opened my mouth to speak, and to my surprise, only Russian came out! I just simply started having a conversation with her without really thinking!! I told her that I was sorry but I only can speak and understand a little bit of Russian—not a lot. Then she and I talked about the type of shoe I was looking for and the size and she said she only had one in the whole store and to my surprise (insert sarcasm) it was hideous. I told her thanks for her time and right before I left she complimented me on how well I spoke Russian! I native complemented me on my ability to speak their language understandably!! Woooooo-hoo!!

Karaoke Bar

This week, my girls and I were totally feeling like we needed a break from teaching and we got all dressed up and headed to a local, popular Karaoke bar. We arrived around 8 and stayed until right before closing at midnight because we were having an absolute blast!! We were seated right in the middle of the room and it was so cool—colored lighting, mirrors on all the walls, and 5 karaoke screens. They had a lot of English songs to choose from and we totally made the most of it and I dragged my friend Jen up with me and we picked Respect by Aretha Fanklin.

After that, the Ukrainians were in. haha they loved watching us attempt to sing and dance and we loved listening to their Ukrainian songs! I was so happy that I could read the Karaoke screens when they were signing Ukrainian songs and I could sing along with them—so fun and the Ukrainians thought it was really cool that I could read the lyrics with them!

Russian, Russian, Russian!

I love love love Russian. Not to mention the fact that I really like it here, too. I am going out every day and just reading the signs along my journey. I first learned the Russian alphabet and now I am working on learning my Cyrillic alphabet which is like cursive Russian.  I can certainly say that I am going to miss that part a lot about Ukraine. I really enjoy trying to decipher a new, foreign language in the world around me. Today a cute older lady stopped me when I got off the metro  and asked me in Russian if I knew how to get to (somewhere I couldn’t understand). Before I even thought about it, I immediately replied back in Russian that I was sorry but I only speak a little bit of Russian and that I didn’t know. She said thanks miss and asked someone else! I LOVE being able to speak and communicate with the people here!! I love learning in general and there is nothing I love more than taking on the challenge of conquering a new language! I love it so much that I’ve even signed up for Russian at BYU-I when I go back in January :) 


Big news!!! IT’S A BOY! Ben and Kylee had their ultrasound and we found out that it’s going to be a boy. May could not come any sooner—I want to be an Aunt so bad! My little nephew is going to be so spoiled :)

Back to my roots

In the very beginning of November I decided it was time to die my hair back to its normal color—it was getting too red for my liking in the wintertime. So, my friend Jen and I went to one of the bigger markets here and found a reasonable color and got to work! I turned out darker than I wanted at first, but store dye never works out the way you want the first time anyways. After about a week it is finally calmed down enough and is back to my natural dark brown and I am so happy with it. I definitely fit in a lot more here, too. 

8 Days in Eastern Europe

I recently took an 8 day trip through a lot of countries in Eastern Europe. We started in Ukraine and loaded up on a huge double decker bus with a bunch of other Ukrainians who were going on the tour as well. The bus itself—for 8 days, pretty miserable but we tried to make the best of it. We left on Saturday morning and traveled on the bus for 30 hours. Eww.

Anyways, Sunday we arrived in Budapest, Hungary and after 30 hours of traveling we were ecstatic to touch ground. First we went to amazing hot pools and saunas powered by natural hot springs. The Hungarians believe it has natural powers to heal you. Anyways, going in those amazing saunas and swimming in the hot pools felt perfect after being on that bus for so long. Then we went and took a tour around Budapest which was really, really cool. It has amazingly rich history and the castles are absolutely breathtaking! We toured the city most of the day and then spent the night in a hotel which was great—a bed, a hot shower, some uninterrupted sleep...fabulous.

My girls--Jenessa, Brooke, and Brittany

We got up pretty early in the morning, had some breakfast, and loaded back up on the bus with the rest of the group to head to Vienna, Austria. We were able to stop at a giant supermarket on our way out of Hungary and it was so cool. It was like a Costco/Wal-mart all in one. We were able to stock up on fruits, granola bars, and other food that is actually real and not gas station junk. The border crossing was surprisingly easy compared to all the rest and we were able to get to Vienna earlier than planned—around 1pm. We took a tour of the city and then shopped around and made friends in the city. Vienna was absolutely amazing! It is so beautiful and the buildings were built with such attention to detail and with a really interesting architectural style. The history of Austria is also pretty overwhelming overall but I loved it a ton.

That night we got back on the bus and arrived in Prague, Czech Republic late that night or early morning…whichever you’d like to call it—it was 1am. Haha, but we all were feeling suffocated on that bus and even though we were dead tired when we arrived all of our energy instantly picked up when we realized that we were finally at a hotel. In the morning those who wanted to go to Dresden, Germany loaded back up on the bus for a 3 hour ride into Germany. The ride was beautiful! The countryside of Germany is fabulous and so amazing! I would LOVE to live in Germany!! We spent the whole day in Germany—the first part was a tour and then we had time to walk around the city ourselves and do some souvenir shopping and nay extra sightseeing we wanted to do. I spent a ton of money there…haha not too proud of that but Germany is seriously my favorite place so far. I would love to go back and visit more cities in Germany someday. That evening we got back on the bus and went back to our hotel in Prague.

That night, when we got back to the hotel I got on the computer and looked up the directions to the Mission Home in Prague. My cousin and I both left to our respective countries on the same day and he has been serving in Prague! So in the morning I found a map of the city and a metro map and I took some of my friends with me and I got us straight to the Mission Home! We ran into some sister missionaries who called my cousin, Gariet, to see where he was and when he would be back at the Mission home.  So, he said he wouldn’t be back until later that night so we went out to the old town square of Prague and did some sightseeing and shopping and exploring! It was seriously so much fun. I bought tons of great souvenirs, ate some delicious Czech food, and then made our way back to the mission home. We waited for about a half an hour and then we saw Gariet and his companion approaching so I hid behind some doors. My friends started chatting them up and I came out…haha it was sufficiently awkward because Gariet is a strict rule follower so we shook hands, and talked about our lives. He then invited us to stay for Institute that night which was so fun. It was nice to see a familiar face and feel at home even though I was so far away from home.

The next two days we spent touring the city and hanging out as friends.  The sights were amazing, the food delicious, and the people were extremely friendly. Prague has some way cool castles and buildings. I never got bored! Our last night there we went on a cruise down the main river in Prague and we got to see the whole entire city from the boat—amazing!
After so much traveling and tourism, we were all exhausted by the last day of our tours and when the bus pulled up to start our journey home, we were all actually really happy to see it. We loaded up and I fell asleep for a good 10 hours which is hard to do on a bus if you ask me. The best sleep I got the entire time was sprawled out on the floor and aisle of the bus! After enduring another 30 hours bus ride we finally arrived in Kiev around 9pm at night. I had never been so happy to be ‘home’.

To see all the pictures go here:

Overall, it was an amazing trip and I still cannot believe that I am this lucky.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Hello family and friends! I am so sorry that I have not posted in a while. I have been swamped and have had little to no access to the internet in a week. But! Do not fear--the wait will be so worth it because last week I went on a 9 day trip to Budapest, Hungary..Vienna, Austria..Prague, Czech Republic...and Dresden, Germany! I will try to get a post up when I can get back on the internet!