Well, I survived another week of classes. My third week. And it wasn't a bad week at all. I actually "got it" I felt like. Yeah, that's right, I'm an expert at Russian Adjectives. NOT! But I didn't feel completely humiliated too often this past week.
I have made arrangements to meet my teacher for a couple hours extra the next couple of Wednesdays (my day off) hopefully to practice speaking.
I did get a little bit of practice today. I ventured out into downtown in search of Hillsong Kiev Church. I didn't find it, but I had an adventure anyway.
I was walking down this one beautiful street lined with big government buildings and museums and such. I thought I was on the right street but not sure I was walking in the right direction so finally I ventured to ask a guy if the street I was on was in fact the right street. "Eta Vladymirskaya Ulitsa?"..."Da" the man replied. Yes, it is. So then I started to tell him where I wanted to go and he just happened to have a map in his hand that he unfolded and there we stood on the sidewalk trying to figure everything out. He finally decided I was walking the wrong direction... and I was OK with that...but then he decided he would walk with me to show me the way. No problem. We introduced ourselves and he spoke a little bit of broken English. Enough to make the obligatory connection between my name and "Bill Clinton". Da, da...similar, Da.
As we were walking down the street, he suddenly stopped and walked over to the fence and picked up a HUGE wad of cash in a plastic bag. Lots of USD and EURO. A WAD, I tell ya! His first reaction was to sort of shout down the street but there was no one nearby that looked like they were frantically searching for their lost money.
So Yura and I continued walking towards the next intersection and all the while I get the impression he's explaining to me something like, "finders keepers, losers weepers." I don't know enough Russian to do anything more than shrug and say, "yeah, I guess so."
At the intersection a frantic guy approached us and started talking about losing a lot of money. At this point, I was wondering what Yura would do...and in short time he starts playing dumb. The frantic guy is demanding we empty our pockets and wallets...he was really frantic! I thought for sure Yura wasn't going to give him the money and I was praying under my breath because I really didn't know what to do. Actually, I guess I did know what to do, but I guess I was afraid to turn on the guy. Finally, Yura pulled the money out and made like it was a big joke and pretty quickly walked away from me and the still frantic, somewhat confused, but now very relieved guy.
I kept thinking of how much I've heard that it is almost 2nd nature to people here to steal and take bribes and basically thrive on dishonesty. But really...I don't know if anyone in Gulfport, MS or anywhere else in the world would have reacted much differently than Yura did when he first found the money. I know one thing: he walked away having given up a LOT of money. I have a feeling he gave in, in part, because I was standing there with him and I knew the truth. I may never know for sure.
As for other adventures: I got word this week that The World Race will be here in April. I'm going to get the word out among my new friends here and try to find them a place to stay and Debrief at the end of March when they arrive here. I'll be busy with classes while they are here, but I hope to spend some time with them. Their advance team will be here early next month.
As always, I sincerely appreciate your prayers and encouragment. Comments, facebook messages and emails are all eagerly welcome.