Elder Lunt's Box
Elder Lunt, Cindy's elder, got one of those flat-rate US Postal boxes like we sent to ourselves. The only difference in his box was that it came in a bag. Yep. His bog came in a big, plastic mesh bag, courtesy of the Russian Postal Service.
Which brings me to an observation that I am reluctant to make. It is too easy to ridicule these people. They have very little of this world's goods and most of it is poor quality. Their infrastructure is suffering from terrible neglect and a harsh climate and the place looks like it is like it is disintegrating before your eyes. But I look at the people and see that, for the most part, they are doing the best they can. Sure, there is the mafia and the corruption in office, but the ordinary Russians are doing the best they can, and I see really nice people behind the scowls.
Sunday, as we rode the Metro, there were two fun incidents that illustrate my point. The first was a young mother with an 14-16 month old toddler who wanted to walk while the train was moving. At that age they aren't all that steady so I guess the moving train wasn't too much of a challenge. Anyway, as the mother stooped over and acted as training wheels for the little girl, they "walked" together down the center of the car from the front to the middle door. Every eye was on that child and smiles were on every mouth. Everyone enjoyed the sight of this unsteady, lerching journey through the car and some even put out a hand to steady either the mother or the child. As the car slowed and both mother and child lost their balance, the mom swung the child into her lap as she crashed onto a space on the bench provided by other passengers moving over. Everyone had a moment of shared joy. Then we all put on our game faces and went on with our business.
The second occured as the train left that station. A young 20-something man was sitting on the bench seat as an older woman came through the door at the last minute and was trying to steady herself as the train moved. he leaned forward to give up his seat and as he cleared the bench, she slid into the seat a little out of control. Just then the train jerked forward and the young man started to stumble down the center isle, working to catch his balance and the woman began to slide in his direction; off the seat. I grabbed her arm and swung her back onto the bench as the young man continued to stagger down the car to the middle doors where he graped the pole and stopped his staggering assault on the back doors. Everyone, including the young man and the older woman were smiling or even laughing at the sight. We all had fun with it and the woman thanked me as she smiled up at me. I gave her my best "pashalsta" and a big smile and we were all friends for a moment.
Our young friend Lydia says there is an old Russian expression that roughly translated says, "Don't get involved with strangers" or "Don't smile at strangers". Well, that is the way most of them deal with life. Just don't get involved with strangers. Let them alone and mind your business. I think that explains a lot. As a Temple Square missionary, she says she has a new perspective on her own culture and can laugh at some of the things her people do to get through life. She is proud to be Russian and loves her country, but she has a good laugh at some of the things they do as a culture.
Back to Elder Lunt's box. The box had apparently ruptured and spilled its contents as the end of it was torn open along the fold. These boxes take a real beating and this one didn't have any reinforcing tape around it.
Some postal worker had taken the time to scrape it all up and put it into a bag, including the ruptured box, and tied it up so as to not loose anything. They could have just thrown it away or kept its contents, but they didn't. From the customs list we figured that everything was there and in pretty good shape, considering. Somebody did a nice thing, just because it was the right thing. I think I like these people.
What a country