Serving the Lord in Russia

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Birthday in Moscow

Having a birthday as a missionary is absolutely wonderful!  Thank you for all your loving and kind birthday wishes.  Three of the great treasures in life are family, friends, and missionaries  I am a rich woman because of all of you.  Thank you! 

                                                           October 18, 2010
Stephen gave me this fox Russian hat (I actually picked it out in August when it was 104 degrees here and the air was full of smoke) and I love it!  It is already cold here and I was grateful to be able to wear it today.  Now I feel like I'm really in Russia.  In addition to our coats, wearing hats, scarves, gloves, and boots are a huge part of our everyday attire.  We would freeze if we didn't wear them.  So, Sister Sorenson goes Russian.

President Sorenson arriving at the Mission Office today in his Russian cap.

Our two wonderful AP's, Elder Kasallis and Elder Callister, gave me beautiful red roses and a sweet birthday card. I love these two Elders!

We celebrated by buying pizza for lunch and enjoying it with our two AP's, two Office Elders (Elder Grover and Hansen) and our Office Couple (Elder & Sister Gronning).  Sister Gronning made me a delicious yellow cake (from an American cake mix which is super hard to find here) and it was a real treat. 

I even got to blow out birthday candles.

Our loyal and wonderful driver, Alexander, was able to join us as well.

On Sunday, October 10th, we met James D'Arc and his son Sam, at church.  They had just flown in from Salt Lake.  James is the film music archivist for BYU and was in town to assist the Moscow Symphony Orchestra in recording the music from the movies The Adventures of Don Juan and Arsenic and Old Lace.  The orchestra finished that recording ahead of schedule, and James invited us to visit a recording session of the music from the film The Battle of Neretva.  Here we are in the control booth with James.

In the recording booth with the conductor, William Stromberg, John Morgan, the restorer of the film scores, and Anna Bonn, wife of William, who works on the production of these recordings.  These three wonderful people are very well known for recording many classic film scores.  We did have pictures taken inside recording studio with the orchestra but that was on someone else's camera and I haven't received them yet.  I will post those when I get them.

Thank you to all for this wonderful birthday in Moscow!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's Autumn Time

Moscow in the autumn is beautiful!  We have been enjoying an "Indian Summer" here with cool crisp days, azure blue skies, and chilly clear nights.  After the long, hot, and smoky days in July and August we are basking in the delight of autumn.

This is actually a sidewalk that the woman is walking on.  People park their cars wherever they can find room, even on the sidewalks.

This yellow building with the blue trim is one of the grocery stores where I shop each week.

These next few pictures are from inside our gated community, Rosinka, where we live.

Last week I had my driver, Alexander, take me on the Babushka Road (this is what I call the road that leads out of Moscow into the country where many older women sell their flowers and produce) in search of potatoes and pumpkins.  You can not find pumpkins in Moscow and we had no luck that day in finding pumpkins.  I did get a big bag of wonderful potatoes from a cute little lady at one of the roadside stands and they have been delicious.  I wish I would have gotten more bags.  With no pumpkins to be had, Alexander did find one for me a few days later and brought it to me with a huge grin on his face.  It really was a rare find and I was thrilled!  Now I have a pumpkin that I will cook down and make a couple of pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving.  People use butternut squash here instead of pumpkin so I will do the same if I want to make some pumpkin bread or cake.  I'm learning to make "magical adjustments."

Last week I also bought some Golden Delicious apples and made some apple butter.  Oh my goodness - it turned out so good!  I have made two batches already and hopefully will be able to make a couple more within the next few weeks (if I can find a day that I can be at the mission home).  We have had missionaries here twice for meals since I made the apple butter and they were in heaven with its delicious taste.  I've included the recipe and it is super easy to make.  I have been thrilled because I was able to find all the ingredients here.  There is a store close by that sells fresh spices so I know where to get the cinnamon and clove. 

Below is an arrangement of the fresh produce I was able to find plus two of my jars of apple butter.

                                                        Apple Butter
10 to 12 large cooking apples (I like to use Golden Delicious)
2 cups apple juice or cider
3 cups sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
     Wash, core and cube apples, but do not peel.  Combine the apples and juice in a crock pot and then add the sugar.  Stir well and cover and cook on low heat for about 8 hours or about 4 hours on high, or until very soft.  Put the cooked apples in a blender and blend until smooth.  Return to crock pot and add the two spices.  Cook on low an additional one to two hours with the lid off (it will help it thicken up) or until it reaches the desired consistency.  Ladle into jars and store in refridgerator, or it can be frozen.

I hope you are enjoying the wonderful sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and feel of autumn.  We are here in Moscow!