Saturday, August 30

The Church is True.

Long-story-short, we got lost looking for the Kiev Temple. After tons of wandering in an industrial neighborhood under a blaring sun for more than a half hour, we had no clue how we were going to find the Temple site. But miraculously (and in answer to Mom Turner's prayers), who should we find but 2 Elders off in the distance, who got us on the right bus and helped us find the site.

The Kiev Temple:
Our two Russian speakers/translators:
Patron Housing

Taylor's mission companion Chernyuk (now a Branch President) and his wife Valentina, and another Elder from Taylor's mission, Shmurak (center) - who are all living in Kiev. We met up for dinner in Kiev and talked for about 3 hours - it was a blast. They were all so hilarious, and incredible English-speakers! I walked away motivated to learn Russian. Check out the Russian food court!
We ran into missionaries everywhere - and some that we knew! We saw someone from Crismon's mission volunteering with his mission companion in the Hermitage (St. Petersburg), and in Paris we met a sister missionary who was in Mom Turner's sorority at the U - she walked by us in Paris with her companion when we were eating breakfast. Not to mention the missionaries all over Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg (probably a zone conference) and a bunch of sister missionaries in the Paris metro. They're everywhere! Hooray!

Next & Last Installment: Yalta, Potpourri, The End. I'm sure you've all had enough. :)

Friday, August 29


The women in Russia and Ukraine are amazing. They must be earning the money for the family because they are all over the place, selling fruits and vegetables, handmade dolls, really anything they can sell. The entire trip I kept thinking, "Where are the men?" It was a humbling experience to see how hard these women work to support themselves and their families.

The quality of a lot of these photos isn't great because half of them were taken as quickly and secretly as I could get them.

Singers in the amazing open-air market where we spent like 5 hours! Taylor put some money in the bucket so they'd let me take a picture. Not full-on Babushkas, but beautiful.

Babushka hanging up her cell phone in the St. Petersburg airport. She was yelling away on that thing - it was pretty funny.
I snuck this picture on the metro - it turned out really bad, but she was such a neat lady! I love her wrapped-up broom.

Babushkas begging outside church gates (two views, from inside and outside). I love the Virgin Mary on the ceiling inside the gate.

I totally regret not buying one of these dolls.

Next installment: The Church is True

Thursday, August 28

Eastern European Fashion & Hair Wonderment

A fun look into the different styles we found in Eastern Europe.  

First, here's your typical American tourist (so you have something as a reference point). We obviously weren't trying to go incognito.
As close as we came to Eastern European fashion... wearing $1 sparkled scarves at one of the monasteries in Kiev, Ukraine. Molly got the vote for most stylish.

Speedo! We started counting in Yalta, and stopped 5 minutes later when it reached DOUBLE DIGITS. They were EVERYWHERE.

When we were there it was the month of weddings - we probably saw at least 2 dozen brides throughout the trip. Yes, Eastern Europe is about 20 years behind, or maybe they're ahead (fashions come in and out and in again).
Behold, the square-toed, elongated shoe.Transitions well from day to evening, and even from the office to the beach (if you find a nice woven pair like those at far left). The key is the longer, the better. Be aware that longer toe boxes have a tendency to point upward, which will bring attention to your beautiful face (and hairstyle).
Goes great with an embellished pant (yes, very awkward trying to take this picture).
Onto hairstyles.

This one combines fashion and hair. When visiting the elegant palace where the Romanovs lived (and the Yalta Conference took place, ending WWII), swim-wear is definitely appropriate (and this photo has been cropped), along with your best pigtail mullet. The guy on the left got yelled at when wanting to enter with just his swimsuit and no shirt. He begrudgingly put on a tank top to oblige the tour-guide. Mind you, these are tourists as well, so I'm not sure where they're from.
If you're going to go for the mullet, start in a subtle way or do it with a friend. This allows time for you to phase into the maroon hair-dye that's currently all the rage.
Or just go for it.

Men like to be bold too.
His & Hers (though you can't really see hers)...

Curls and ponytails can suggest the softer side of St. Petersburg gentlemen.
And the grand finale...
Are those bullets in his jacket pockets?

Next installment: Babushkas

Tuesday, August 26

We're back.

What an incredible trip! We've had a TON of questions since our return about the war in Georgia. No, we didn't get bombed. Strangely enough, the war didn't seem like that big of a deal when we were out there. Probably because we were being fed Russian propaganda (the Russian government censors the newspapers): "Russian army goes in to save women and children!" More on that later.

I have no idea where to start. It will take at least a half-dozen posts to cover all the great things we saw, so I'm breaking it into the following sections/topics:

Eastern European Fashion/Hair Wonderment

The Church is True

Yalta & The Luxe Resort Lifestyle



In other news, we're both going to be published in the coming months! Taylor's article on Religious freedom in Kazakhstan is currently undergoing its final stages of editing before being published in Columbia University's Journal of Eastern European Law. Amazing? YES. My Maurice Riley article is set for the Journal of the American Viola Society this fall.

We're nerds. But sometimes we're fun nerds. In the words of my sister Liz, "I'm glad you two found each other."

Sunday, August 10


Greetings from Kiev! We spent the past week in Moscow and St. Petersburg, two of the most expensive cities I've ever been in... ever. $23 for a peach? (No exaggeration... that story will come when we're home and can show pictures - we realized the price AFTER we bought the peach.).

Russia is absolutely amazing - lots of Babushkas, tons of incredible mullets, fashion blunders, and tasty borscht. Ukraine is beautiful, and it is so fun to see Taylor with "his people" again. This morning we enjoyed Sacrament Meeting in Russian and Ukrainian, and all this week we'll explore Kiev, Yalta, the Black Sea, and Simferopol. Then back to Moscow, and finish in Paris!

Ah, so much to share, so many photos too! We're having a blast! Happy Sabbath - and see you in 2 weeks!

Friday, August 1

до свидания!

We're off to Russia/Ukraine/France! See you in 3 weeks!