Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Travel Plans

Hey Everyone!
So everything is still going well. I'm really excited to leave on Monday, it feels like I've been here for forever.
We got our travel plans on Thursday, so that was a really fun day.  We are leaving Monday morning at 5 from the MTC.  I'm really mad that I forgot to bring my plans with me, so I don't know the exact time our flight leaves off hand.  So, I am allowed to call from the airport, so I'll be doing that pretty early on Monday morning.  We fly to Atlanta, and only have 1 hour from the time the planes lands to when the next plane is scheduled to depart, so unfortunately I will not be able to call from Atlanta.  We fly from Atlanta straight to Moscow, so that will be a really long flight.  We arrive in the morning Moscow time and spend the whole day there doing various things apparently, like getting a new passport and I may be able to call from Moscow, but I'm not sure.  Then we leave that night and fly overnight to Novosibirsk and arrive there in the morning.  So that will be a pretty crazy trip.
We all can't really figure out what our baggage limit is on that last plane, because that's on a different airline and even the travel office here isn't much help.  Our best answer so far is that we have to pay fees for luggage over a total of 22 pounds, which obviously we have much more than that.. but the church will reimburse us for one 50 pound bag, one 37 pound bag, and a 22 pound carry on.  So I guess we shoot for that, but I've also read that the fee is only about a dollar a pound, so if I'm a few pounds over on that second bag, I think I'm not going to worry about it too much.  Everyone else has a third suitcase, but like a small carry on sized one. I only brought the two and the shoulder bag, but I figure as long as I can get 22 pounds into it, then it's all good I guess.
You don't need to send any money or anything, I have plenty of emergency cash for traveling and as long as my debit card is good, everything should be fine.
So the temple finally opened up this week and we got to go.  We went a little early so I could get some of their wonderful hash browns.
Last week at TRC we taught a real, legit, Russian.  It was really crazy.  So how it works is you sit in the "control room" and there are tv monitors and headphones so your teacher can watch in on your room and see how you are doing and critique you.  Then your teacher gives you the room you are going to teach in.  So we got room 4...So there are about 20 or so rooms around the building all set up to look like little living rooms.  We see room 4 and the door is open, which is awesome because we got to do 'the walkby'  which is when you walk by, like you aren't going to that room, so you can get a good look at who is sitting in there and mentally and emotionally prepare for a few seconds.  So we walk by and we could just tell she was a native Russian and not just an RM, she just had that look.  So once we actually went in there and she started speaking, that thought was confirmed.  She started talking so fast and crazy, but surprisingly we understood most of what was going on, and I think we both thought that the lesson went really well.  I felt like when she talked we couldn't understand the details of what she was saying, but we always understood what she was talking about. Anyway, it went really well.
Classes are still going well and are fun.  I dunk all the time in gym now, almost every day.  I think I've just gotten better at looking for opportunities to do it and taking more risks.  I've even had 2 right on big people, so I feel like I've accomplished all I needed to at the MTC :) 
Thanks for the address Sam and for the paperwork mom, I just sent that out.
I'm going to need to send a letter to you about when I think I will be able to call and more detailed travel plans.  I think I'll just send that to Sam too, because you'll be in Provo? Anyway you'll get it.  And please dear elder me (one that I receive by Friday) the number you want me to call, I don't know if you'll be at home or not.
Love you all, can't wait to talk for a little bit.
-Elder Topham