Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ode to Jetlag

Liz's pillow was super soft
But her circadian rhythms were off
Tried so hard to sleep
So she started to weep
Tomorrow she'll be exhaust...ed
Yeah not my best work...
PS - don't worry...I didn't really just rhymed


Well here I am in Russia...almost 3 weeks in...oh and did I mention it's 4:45 am and I've been awake since 3:20 am? Did I also mention this has become a nightly tradition? So, being the science nerd that I am, instead of counting blessings or sheep (or rather...AFTER trying those techniques...epic fail), I decided to google jetlag and read some scientific papers on it. Yes, as you may know, jetlag occurs when you move across time zones (in my case, I'm 11 off from Utah) and it messes with your body's circadian rhythms. While for most people, reading about the physiology of jetlag - hormones and things - would solve the jetlag and put you to sleep, I was fascinated. Therefore, I am still awake and now blogging! Good times. I also learned that it should take you 1 day per time zone to recover. Now I know what you're thinking...hmmm Liz is 11 h off and on day 20 of recovery...something is not adding know what, the same thought crossed my mind. In all honesty, it only took me a week to a week and a half (hmmm about 11 days now that I think about it) to stop being tired during the day, etc. But turns out these early morning parties still occur.
Now the depressing 3 days I make the reverse journey and confuse my circadian rhythms once again! Don't worry though...I came across a simple solution. It has only been tested in mice, but it worked beautifully. So...I just might try it out and write a paper about myself. ;) In order to prevent getting scooped, I won't give you any more details at this time. Wish me luck! And goodnight (hopefully)!

Monday, August 27, 2012

learning Russian!


*yes, no
*Hi, Hello, Goodbye, Bye, Good morning.
*(The equivalent of) Nice to meet you!
*How are you? fine, good, very good, great!
*My dad is President Gibbons. My mom is Sister Gibbons.
*I am called Liz. What are you called?
*I am from Utah.
*I know that God lives.
*please, thank you, you're welcome, excuse me
*one, two, three, four
*Sorry for my Russian. I don't understand.
*joke, bones, fever, horse, delicious, earrings, bomb, flour, cow, church, Jesus Christ

And now I can read the Cyrillic alphabet! I'm pretty slow though...reading the hymns fast enough to sing is tough... 

Roadtrip to Barnaul

We took a short roadtrip this weekend to visit the saints in Barnaul, Russia. We took the missionaries there to dinner including an amazing senior couple serving their 5th mission! (This is their 3rd to Barnaul.)

Sunday, we attended church with the branch there. Here is a picture of us with one of the members in front of the church building. It looks like some kind of bunker or bomb shelter from the outside, but inside it seems like a familiar church. They'll have a brand new building to meet in in a couple weeks, so I'm way excited for them! I got to play the piano for sacrament meeting, and my dad even called on me to bear my testimony. I had a translator, but I said one sentence in Russian and felt cool haha. I love how the church is the same wherever you go, and I admire these saints so much for their faithfulness!

Busy transfer week!

We spent most of this past week in the mission home welcoming 10 new missionaries to the mission! We woke up at 3 am to take the departing missionaries to catch their flight home and pick up the newbies. My friend Mallory from a BYU ward was among those arriving!! Small world! I now appreciate how hard my mom works cooking for all the missionaries. We cooked for a solid 8 hours to make homemade chicken pot pie and homemade rolls for dinner. Here are some pics of the craziness!

YSA Conference in Krasnoyarsk, Russia

After a red eye flight from Moscow to Novosibirsk, I didn't even spend one night in the mission home before we were off traveling! We took an overnight train to Krasnoyarsk for a tri-mission YSA conference. It was my first time on a train! We were running late and had to lug a bunch of luggage up and down like 4 flights of stairs to get to our track, but we made it! I slept in a private coupe and felt like I was on Harry Potter. The countryside was gorgeous...especially a stretch of hundreds of beautiful dachas (Russian summer homes) with beautiful gardens. I tried to take a picture, but since we were on a moving didn't work out too well, sadly.

The conference was held by a beautiful lake!

The highlight of the conference was definitely the baptisms of two amazing girls from Kazakhstan in the lake. One was planned, and then the night before, my parents and I were able to teach the other girl and she decided she was ready as well! Words can't describe how amazing the whole experience was. I felt like a missionary again...and there is no joy quite like it. We had over a hundred people walk to the beach with us and witness the baptism.

There were dances every night. The first night was disney themed. I had a blast dancing with my Pops! I think everyone was impressed with his moves. He's a rockstar.

I loved meeting these wonderful members in Russia! They were all so so sweet to me and so patient with my Russian, even translating for me :) It made me so grateful to have so many amazing members my age in Provo that I get to see all the time. These members only get together like this once a year. They all live thousands of miles apart and some ride trains for 3 days to get there.

Here's the whole group! 

And another overnight train home...


My blogging of this trip has been an epic fail. I'm so behind. I may or may not catch up. We will see...but for now, let's talk about Moscow.

Let's be honest, I was only in Moscow for a couple hours, and only in the airport. BUT it was legit. Why? Well you see, as we were coming down the escalator, a sea of red and white was below us. The entire Russian Olympic Team was just returning from London! It was quite the sight. What blew me away was how young some of them looked! And check out the guy on the top left, SO TALL! I was the annoying American tourist snapping pictures:

When I saw these three girls taking a picture with someone, I knew I wanted one! It was my first time seeing a gold medal (or any color for that matter) in person. Dad told me a phrase to say in Russian to ask for a picture (можно?) and it worked! I think they thought I was weird, but oh well! While we waited for our next flight, we googled all the Russian gold medalists to figure out who they were. Pretty sure they are rhythmic gymnastics. Cool experience!

Beautiful Finland

We had about a half a day for sightseeing in Helsinki, Finland. I LOVED it and would love to go back someday. I wish we could have seen the temple, but it was Monday so it was closed and quite a ways away. Impressions of the city: CLEAN and GORGEOUS, right on the water. I loved the cobblestone streets, outdoor market (where I got some earrings made out of a Finnish coin!), and all the boats. We also did some window shopping (and tried on these lovely hats) and saw the Bridge of Love where couples put a lock on the bridge and throw away the key!