When I was nineteen I spent a semester living in Moscow.
And one time we went on a grand trip through northern Russia, across the border to Helsinki, Finland where this story begins, and then across the Baltic to Stockholm, Sweden, where this story ends.
Now, we start in Helsinki, where we arrived at five am after an overnight bus ride from St. Petersburg. Six of us girls stayed with an LDS family who lived outside the city. We spent the day in Helsinki, shopping, seeing the sights, etc. But when it came time to return to Ruska’s house (Ruska was the teenage girl of the host family), someone had the bright idea that we should all dye our hair matching shades of wild red. Michelle opted out, but the rest of us bought our own two-week-wash-out in the shade of our choice.
Now really, if your house was invaded by six foreign teenage girls, would you want them all in your bathroom, dying their hair? I cringe at the memory of this, but still, we did it, and had a grand time in doing so.
And our coifs were wild and furious crimson by morning.
Well, the day or two after that we caught the overnight ferry over to Stockholm, where we planned to stay at the LDS Temple Hotel, the accommodations made for the members of the church who travel from around Europe to do their temple work. It was the nicest hostel at the best price available to us – but if we were going to take advantage of such an economic boon, we’d better do some temple work while we were at it.
And so we each brought our recommends to do baptisms for the dead, and spent the first morning in the Stockholm temple doing the work.
We visited with the workers of the temple, each were missionaries, most from the United States, called to serve and work here at the temple in the Sweden. I am relieved that they were American, for you can excuse the thoughtlessness of your own culture a little easier at times, and I hope they forgave us! Two or three girls had been in the font when someone mentioned that the water was looking a little pink. Then the girls took a closer look at their jump suits, and noticed a reddish tinge. And then the towels were noticed, bright bright red with the rinse of our hair dye!
We all panicked at our thoughtless faux pas. But I remember the lovely temple matron chuckling and telling us not to worry, for hurray! We had given the women something to do that afternoon when the temple was empty, they would wash all the linens and empty and refill the font.
Oh, good grief, we were hair brained – literally.
And months later when I came home to the US of A, my sisters greeted me at the airport with bright red hair of their own, and even my dad had dyed his greys “just a little” to make good fun of me.
I’m going to try and write down memories I have – for my little lovelies who always ask “Tell me a story of when you were a kid . . .”
I’m going to call them “Tales for Tuesdays” – and will try to write one a week . . . unless of course something else happens. In which case I won’t.