Sunday, September 12, 2010

Visit to Madrid

(This is Bob)
KLynn and I are spending a few days in Madrid, switching our Russian business visas, which were about to expire, for work visas good for a year. The Russian embassy in Madrid gives faster turnaround on these than in other countries, which is why we are here. Madrid is beautiful, and we are enjoying our visit. Yesterday we visited the Prado Art Museum, which was wonderful, and last night we attended a flamenco dance performance. It's a nice break. I will take the red-eye back to Moscow Tuesday night, and KLynn will fly from here to the U.S. to visit family. I go to Utah a week from Friday for meetings.

We met some church people Friday at the LDS Temple and Missionary Training Center here, and it turns out some of their family are coming to visit for the next few days, including a Utah Bankruptcy Court judge whom I have known for years. We are planning to go with them to Toledo on Monday. I haven't taken any vacation time for a few months, and it will be good to take a day off. This new job has been interesting on multiple levels. I worked long hours in private law practice, but I'm working longer hours now. For some reason, though, the days don't seem to be as long. I am still on a fairly steep learning curve learning how to deal with the wide variety of legal problems here, and the email stream is relentless -- even on "vacation."

I don't remember if I wrote much about the activities surrounding the dedication of the Kyiv Temple two weeks ago. At the risk of repitition I'll share a few observations. The "Cultural Event" Saturday evening before the dedication was outstanding. KLynn and I watched it by closed circuit TV in Moscow. The Church rented a large auditorium in Kyiv that was packed, and young adults from the various counties in the temple district performed folk dances, ballet, singing, etc. I was proud of our kids. They did a great job. I especially enjoyed the group from Kazakhstan. There is just one small branch of the Church there, in Al-Maty. I visited it in June. Nine young people from that little branch performed a beautiful folk dance number in exquisite costumes. I was told that one of the young people in the branch has a friend who is a professional dancer, and she helped with the choreography. It was very well done. There were large groups from Russia and Ukraine, and smaller groups from Armenia, Belarus, the Baltics, Bulgaria, and Moldova. There was a large Ukrainian choir dressed in traditional embroidered shirts. KLynn and I felt privileged to be able to witness it.

Meanwhile, KLynn is growing increasingly comfortable navigating the Moscow metro system, which gives her a feeling of independence. It's good not to be dependent on a driver to take her around. I'm legal to drive in Russia, but KLynn isn't and probably won't be. I drive to and from work every day, and a driver is available -- in theory at least -- to help KLynn get around while I'm at work. We have some American friends in Moscow who work for oil companies, and they are forbidden by their employers to drive at all. One couple has lived in Moscow for over ten years and never driven.

It's Sunday morning now, and KLynn and I are going to hop on the subway and attend Church meetings.
Love to all,