Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Wed. Feb. 29th 2012

Very cool today, but no snow.  We split our time this morning between office work and preparing the guest room for the Davis'   They are 4 days away from going home and since they had to be out of their apartment by tonight, they will be staying with us for the next 4 days.  Pres. & Sis. Charles, the Mowers, and Brent and I went to lunch with them to the "Three Pigs" - it was their "farewell dinner."   It was really fun and the food was good.  While we were there about 400 demonstrators walked passed - chanting and waving their signs.  Apparently they are from one of the largest steel factories in Athens.  Recently they had their pay cut drastically and, this week, they have gone from a six-day work week to and four-day work week.  Although, they were peaceful, they were NOT happy.  Poor guys!

Lots of people came to the office this afternoon  and evening.  The Assts. brought Davis' cases etc. over here and Pres. & Sis. Charles came by with their married daughters and husbands for some of Brent's banana bread - so we had a full house there for a while.  Good company though.

Here it is - the famous "Thee Pigs"  properly know as "Souvlaki Kifissia"

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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tues. Feb. 28th 2012

It has been blowing wildly all night and when we got up this morning it had just started to snow and an hour or so later this is what it looked like!

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This is the third snow event that they've had here since the new year and, apparently it is quite unusual.

I went to the dentist today and got the permanent bridge in and apart from a checkup in 8 weeks, I think I am done with dentists for a while - a long while, I hope.

Unlike yesterday, when it was warm and sunny and outdoors was where you wanted to be, we were quite happy to stay inside as much as possible - so, apart from the dentist's, that's what we did.  It was a good work day, while we watched from the safety and warmth of the house what was happening to the garden.  See below -

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Mon. Feb. 27th 2012

Today is Clean Monday.  It is the Monday that begins the season of Great Lent in Eastern Orthodox Churches and corresponds with the season of Lent found in Western Christendom - so it was a holiday in Greece.  It was not particularly a holiday for us, but the Branches planned an activity day.  Pres. called and asked if we would like to go for a while to it with them - so we went.  It was fun - they had pot luck lunch - and some activities after.  Our "couple of hours" turned out to be more like four hours - but it was fun.  By the way, we will be celebrating our Easter on the Orthodox date and that will be April 15th.  Western Easter is on the 8th April.

Keep this picture in mind when you read tomorrow's blog!

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Monday, 27 February 2012

Sun. Feb. 26th 2012

Today we were invited to dinner at the home of Sean & Alyson Frost.  Our 3rd invite to a member's home since we got here.  It was great - they are the nicest people and they have four children - roughly the same family situation as Brenda and Dave's.  Their home is amazing - it is huge and unlike most homes in Greece, they have a very large garden area.  It is situation on a steep slope and has (on a non-smog day) a fantastic view of Athens.  The house is rented  - the landlady lives downstairs which is common here.  I've said before that these houses are huge because they expect their children will live in it on another floor or side-by-side (duplex) kind - so the home just stays in the family "forever."  This house is very "open area" style.  The entry is big enough to be a separate room all by itself (about 15x20ft.) and has stairs going up to the top level on one side.  To the right of the foyer is a large archway and a couple of steps going down into a huge space - we are guessing about 50 x 20ft. It runs the whole length of the house.  The floor is all white marble.  Toward the front, is a formal lounge area - in the middle it is just open space (an area rug and small wall table I think, and wonderful windows) and at the back part, you go up a couple of steps into an area that is like their family room (comfortable couches, TV etc).  To the left of the foyer - we didn't get a good look at the front, but there seemed to be a couple of rooms there - we could hear the older kids in one of them watching TV or something - the little kids were over in that family room watching Disney!!  (It was so much like home, it wasn't funny!  Also to the left of the foyer was a dinning room and then behind that and the foyer was this huge kitchen, with tons of cupboards and drawers.  I guess it is more "Americanized" than the average Greek home - but it was wonderful.  We had a super visit with them.


This is the Halandri chapel where we meet.  It is the only Church built facility in Greece.  All other buildings are rented.


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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Sat. Feb. 25th 2012

It is the most gorgeous day.  It is showing 18C. and the sun is shining in an almost cloudless sky.  Haven't seen this since last November and I am loving it.

I made a horrible boo boo this morning when booking flights.  I have trouble with the 24 hour clock system that is in use here and in many other parts of the world, of course, but not something I'm used to.  I was supposed to book return flights for the evening, but got mixed up with the times and made the booking for the morning and didn't realized it until we were discussing what the arrival time would be in Athens - I knew it was supposed to be about 9:30pm.  -  but I had them coming back at 9:30am!!!  The really bad part is the cost of rescheduling - even if the original booking was done on the same day, you were still charged 50 euros each!! - Ouch.

Brent went with the Assts. to an appointment with an older lady who is a cousin of a former Greece Athens Mission President.  He was here just before Pres. & Sis. Charles.  He is Greek, but has lived in Australia for many years.  This lady lives a little ways out of Athens and on such a beautiful day I envied Brent going.   He found her to be a very nice person - very well read - speaks 6 languages and has lived many places in the world.  They left a Book of Mormon with her and will check back later.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Fri. Feb. 24th 2012

Busy, busy today.  Deadline day for a lot of "end of month" things.  I was trying to get the Supplies Order done and Brent had to take off to pay a bill and a senior couple, the Maxwells, plus two elders came to get the van so they could move furniture out of an apartment that's being closed as one couple has finished and is going home.  So there was quite and interruption with that - and then there was the phone - and then the Assts. came back to do some jobs and returned our bleach saying that it had worked - and I was just going nuts trying to concentrate with the orders and tend to everything else.  Somehow, I got it done and then Pres and Sis. Charles came by and we ended up going out for our supper.  That was really nice.

Thurs. Feb. 23rd 2012

It was Prep day.  Sis. Charles, Brent and I went to the hairdressers.  I had a perm and Sis. Charles got some highlights in her hair and Brent got a haircut - so that was nice.

Brent went to the bank to transfer money to a couple in Cyprus yesterday and came home quite quickly - he was unable to do it because he had to fill out four forms and have "the stamp" on each one and signed properly!!!   So today, he went back for another try at getting that done and was successful this time.  We should be getting used to the Greek methods, but whenever cease to be surprised.

The Assts. came looking for help with mold problem that they are having with their apartment.  Mold can be a real problem here for whatever reason.  During the day, we have a de-humidifier going constantly in our bedroom and we have to keep the closet doors open all the time or we would have mold also.  Every week the cleaning lady goes over any walls ceilings etc. that show sign of becoming moldy.  Anyway, these poor kids were in Cyprus for a week and the mold took over while they were away.  They took pictures of it for us to see!!  We gave them a bottle of bleach.

Wed. Feb. 22nd 2012

Wednesday meeting day - AND - 4 months since we landed in Greece!  Time is flying by!

Had meetings all day, but noonish, Pres. Charles purchased pizza for everyone.  We added Greek salad and some dessert to that and everyone enjoyed it well.

The Assts. were here right into the evening hours.  It's a lot of fun having them around and seeing things through their eyes.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Tues. Feb. 21st 2012

It was a nice sunny day today - is it possible that we really will see some warmer temperatures finally?  Even the folks here say it has been an unusually cold winter for Greece.

I had my second to last dental appointment this afternoon where she fitted the new bridge and made some adjustments (she is very thorough) and next visit, it will be all finished and polished ready to go.  I'm going to miss our talks.  About the last four visits we have had about a 20 minute chat before she started working on me and she is a wonderful lady - full of curiosity and well read - so I learned a lot about Greece from her and she learned a lot about Canada from me.  It was fun!  That part, anyway!

I began working out a better system for me to keep track of orders for Thesseloniki, Cyprus and Athens - trying to match the deliveries with the orders.  They never seem to come filled as ordered - you always have back-orders to keep track of and they sometimes, don't get filled before you have put in two more monthly orders.  I was going nuts trying to keep track of them - and even trying to sort it all out for the last three months I have papers spread out all over the office!!!  We'll see if I can get it together tomorrow because it's time to submit the March order!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Mon. Feb. 20th 2012

Cloudy and dreary looking today.  Brent had to take one of the cars in for servicing
this morning.

Sun. Feb. 19th 2012

It was an interesting Sunday!  Because of the riots/demonstrations, all the members of Acropoli Branch were invited to Halandri Branch.  On a good Sunday, Halandri might have 30 in attendance, but yesterday we had 88.  I'm sure there were quite a few Acropoli members that didn't come, but it was really nice to have so many  - it felt almost like an normal ward.

We went to the Mission Home with Elder and Sister Willis for lunch which was really nice.  Sis. Charles served soup, then ham and chicken, baked potato strips and we provided our Zucchini, Tomato, Onion, Cheese dish.  That was followed by Blanc Mange, jello and ice-cream.  We had a great visit after and learned lots about Albania.  We thought we had it bad with the Greek language!!  In Albanian, "Yes" is "po"  - sounds like"pour" and at the same time, moving your head from side to side, like you do when you are saying "no"  -   then, when you say "no" in Albanian it is "jo" and sounds like"Yee-oh" the "o" being the short "o" sound, as in "hop" and the head is nodding up and down like we do when we say "Yes"!!!  They also said that the traffic is worse in Albania than in Greece!!  They said there are no traffic lanes and if there are any traffic rules, they either don't know about them, or they don't obey them.  When trying to walk across roads, you literally have to dodge cars as they are going every "which-way" to begin with.  Fruit and Veges are wonderful there, but other foods are fairly expensive.They have been having the same problem as do all senior couples going to a foreign speaking mission - not understanding labels, or
street signs (when they have them), but the people are very friendly.  Mostly, Albanians are quite poor by our standards  - there is about 40% unemployment!

Back to the airport this evening to pick up the Assts. from Thessaloniki.  We are really tired!


Sat. Feb. 18th 2012

Boy!  we are tired today - really hard to get up this morning!!  - and guess where we went early today??  yes, to the airport again!!  The poor Assts. had to fly to Thessaloniki and tomorrow they'll fly back - and we thing we're tired!

Dad got a call from the brother who was trying to fill the baptismal font that he couldn't get the water to run hot - so Brent dashed over there to try and rectify the situation.  The lights were also out, but they managed to get them on a half hour before the baptism - no warm water for the font though!!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Fri. Feb. 17th 2012

Out to the airport again first thing as we were assigned to pick up a couple coming from the Albanian Mission - now know as the Southern Adriatic Mission as of last Sunday.  It has expanded a lot - taking in about three or four other countries.  So now there is a "Southern" or "South" Adriatic Mission and a "North Adriatic Mission.  That's where Elder Kay is serving who is Dave's nephew.  Anyway, Elder & Sis. Willis are a Humanitarian couple and are here to check out opportunities where help can be provided for Greek people.  We really enjoyed meeting them - she is originally from Dublin, so you know she has to be nice!!!  Brent and I were asked to join the group taking them to lucy,so that was a real bonus.  The rest of the day we focused on cramming as much work in as possible before we had to go out to the airport again to fetch the Assts. who were coming back from Cyprus too - but that wasn't until 11pm - so we had a really late night  - for us!

Thurs. Feb. 16th 2012

With the increase of demonstration - some of which were pretty ugly - Brent & I decided to register with the Canadian Embassy.  We tried to register online, but after three tries, we couldn't make it work, so we went down there to do it. Compared to the US Embassy it was an insignificant place.  Our Embassy in China's was way better.  Out on the street there was a guard and we had to show our passport to her before she would let you in the door.  The door was heavily barred, with metal,  but in a decorative design so that it didn't stand out as a barrier so much.  We were told to go through the door together, but one had to wait just inside at the foot of about 6 stairs, while the other went up the stairs (me) and let them scan my purse and answer questions about it's contents, then I walked through an (airport-style) scanner and I think they didn't like what they heard (I had on a sweater with metal buttons on it) because then, I had to take my coat off and let them scan me with a hand scanner.  Then my purse went over to another scanner - you put it on the belt which carries it through the x-ray - and they then, discovered that I had nail scissors in the purse, which I had to take out, and they put them in a cupboard and gave them back to me when I left the premises!!  We were ushered into an ordinary waiting room - it had four  8 x 10 pictures - one of PM Harper, and I didn't get a good look at the others  -  it also had as many pictures of native art.  We noticed some newspapers in English and I spotted a hockey picture featuring the Canadiens team - the only bright spot in the whole place. We were able to get the forms we needed from the girl behind a very secure glass barrier - so secure, it was hard to make yourself heard by her.  After some questions and, maybe them getting a bit of a feel that we were genuine and harmless, they were nice enough to us.  The guy that did the scanning on us was most nice to us as we left and we had a nice little chat with him.  so, that's kind of what the Embassy is like here.   Interesting, eh!


We had to pick Pres. and Sis. charles up from the airport after supper.  that's always nice as you get to hear what's going on in Cyprus.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Wed. Feb. 15th 2012

Here it is Wednesday again and once more it is not taking the usual agenda of meetings, because the President is in Cyprus - so it was kind of a catch up day.

We received notice that a senior couple will be coming, maybe by the end of April.  That will be really good as we "lose" a couple on March 5th - they have served 23 months and done a marvelous job.  So, when missionaries come and go, we have, what we call "arrival" packages and "release" packages to make up.  When they come, they get orientation booklets,  guides and helps to aid them in settling in.  When they go, they get letters and a history of their service plus a certificate and such like.

One of the Assts' jobs is to take the mail from here to the two zones  in Athens, but since they are in Cyprus right now, everyone has to wait.  We have mail sitting here for the two sisters and they have been soooo anxious for it.  They phoned today to say that they were getting permission to come up here to the mission office to get some things out of their bags, which are in storage here in the basement!!!!   Of course, they checked their mail too!!!   I would like to see how necessary it was to have whatever they got out of their bags!!  They are reallocate girls though.

Tues. Feb. 14th. 2012

Valentine's Day!   My honey bought me chocolates - yummmm!   Got some nice Valentine emails.

The post office wasn't on strike today, so Brent was able to get mail.  Soon after he got back, a phone call from our Pres. generated some phone calls on our part.  Instructions on keeping safe - where and where not to go - etc. - as there are more disturbances going on.  As mentioned before, we are 15 Km from the centre and pretty isolated from demonstrations, but Brent went down to the hub of Kifissia (about 3 miles from us) to pay a bill and when he came out of the building, there was a demonstration happening.  About 150 people marching along Kifissia Ave. (peaceably) but he wasn't taking any chances - he got a cab home!

Tons of work to do - I don't know where it all keeps coming from!!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Mon. Feb. 13th 2012

Kind of a normal start to our Monday, but that changes very quickly upon receiving a phone call from the Assts. (no doubt as President's bidding) to tell us to go to the store and buy enough "long lasting type food"  to last us a week.  The exporters/importers are likely going to strike!!   That generated a few phone calls from missionaries who were low on funds that we had to assist with.  Brent went to the store with a just a bit of a list for us (just in case) as we already have quite a lot of foods in our pantry  -  however, the missionaries usually do not, so it's good that we were warned for their sakes.

Next thing was a call from Canada asking if we were OK as they had been watching news about the riots in downtown Athens - apparently 45 building burned and over 100 people injured!!  We are 15 KM from that area and hadn't a clue as to what was going on.   We just kept plugging away at our jobs here and everything was hunky-dory!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Sun. Feb. 12th 2012

We arrived at meetings and were sitting their calmly until after the sacrament was passed and we heard announced that "Elder Clark would be our speaker."   A new speaking schedule had come out in January listing us to talk on Feb. 19th and we thought (never assume!) that any old assignments were dropped!!!  No - not so!  Anyway, Brent did a great job of speaking about "coincidences"  -  pointing out that "coincidence was God's way of being anonymous."   Some of you will remember the incident where Brent weighted down his boots and put a hose in his mouth with which to breath, so he could retrieve a borrowed swimming fin from the bottom of a pool in a stream - the breathing hose failed and he was unable to kick the weighted boots off!  He doesn't remember anything beyond trying to kick the boots off and then everything went black.  The next thing he knew was that he was surfacing, but he was quite a distance downstream from where he was.  Coincidence?  He doesn't think so!

Pres. & Sis Charles flew to Cyprus this afternoon for Zone Conference to be held this week.  We drove them and we had a quiet afternoon and evening.  We finally found a way to connect on the computer to watch "Music and the Spoken Word" so that was a nice bonus.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Sat. Feb. 11th 2012

Well the demonstrations and strikes are in full force.  We picked up some news of the riots downtown on our computers  - some good coverage from London and yea! from CTV - which was most clear and enjoyable to watch - not so much the content, but the production.

Went shopping as usual, but our cleaning lady didn't make it here because of the strikes - she lives way across town.  Two of our elders were able to make it up to Kifissia on the "Green Line" metro which somehow was running (according to the notices, it wasn't supposed to be running!) - although it took them twice as long to get here than normal. One of those elders was one of the elders whose bank card was compromised about three weeks ago, and although he was told then to draw out enough money to last him for two weeks (before they closed that a/c), he really needed to get his new one which had arrived here, but we had no way to get it to him.  Brent went down to the station to meet the train (Kifissia is the end of the line up this way) where he gave them their items and they just hopped back on and headed back to their area.  They said the train was extremely packed and was stopping at every station for the maximum time with lots getting off and on.

I had some big orders come in yesterday and already had two boxes sitting there from a previous order, so I "went to town" on that and got it all put away.  In the process (and likely the reason I didn't get the previous order put away) I had to sort some of the items into new language categories and make space for them.  We have books and other supplies in 34 languages in our Mission!  And I'm having trouble learning Greek!!!!?

Brent said - @ 04:59:44.3 (the clock said 5:00) the Athens Geological Department recorded a 2.8 magnitude quake @ 38:07,  23.88 and a depth of 15 km.  Our location is 38.082626,  23.833211.  So it was centered about 1/2 mile south and 3 miles east of us.  I didn't feel much shaking, I just heard what sounded like about 3 seconds of thunder  -  big deal I know!!  No damage - no injuries - just no real excitement.


Fri. Feb. 10th

It is four months since we entered the MTC!  Time is just flying.

We are being kept informed about Ken & Carolyn Pierson's doings in Russia - they just arrived in Moscow and are going through much the same problems with getting their sleep patterns adjusted - poor guys - and finding it hard to shop and do other things that required the language - but they'll make it.

We had a call from the Mission President in South Africa and I took the opportunity to ask if the Stonehockers were in his mission and he replied that they were - but only for another week - their 18 months is already up!!  That went fast!

Well, I've seen the odd snow flake, but no rain and it actually looks like it might be clearing a bit.  I'm ready for sunshine!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Thurs. Feb. 9th

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Here are the promised pictures of the boots purchased to do the clean-up on Tues.

At about 6am, we were already Skyping our son as it was his birthday yesterday, but it was still yesterday there, so we made it in time for "his day"!!   It was super to chat with him.

It was Prep. Day, but even so we had much to do in the office and the Assts. were busy on the computers too.  We took them out to the airport and decided to wander around Ikea after  -  which is in a very convenient locality - right by the airport!!!  Just too much temptation!   We picked up a few kitchen gadgets and a bag of their famous frozen meat balls.  It was still cold and somewhat snowy today, but down there around the airport it is a lot lower and it seemed like a pleasant day.

We learned that  there are big demonstrations going on tomorrow and most public transportation is down starting at 5am and lasting for 48 hours!!   Also, the post office was closed again today.  That's twice this week.

Wed. Feb. 8th

Our "Wednesday Meeting Day" took on a different agenda today.  President Charles asked our CES couple to put together a video featuring each of the senior couples in Greece with the intent to send it to our Stake Presidents to be an aid in recruiting senior couples to serve missions!!

Of course, it was not a particularly sober experience  -  when you get that many sr.  couples together away from their regular assignments, they tend to goof off just as much than the young missionaries.  The video part was seriously attended too (except after each one had done it and the critique was done - that situation was ripe for humor and much fun was had by all.)   Sis. Charles had a nice lunch for us - a big steaming pot of soup - which was great as it was really snowing and cold.

Soon after that, the Thessaloniki missionaries (including the Colliers) piled in their cars and headed back home.  We thought for a while we might be keeping them one more night because of the storm, but by then, it had let up and the roads were better.  We still had company for dinner though - the Assts. opted to stay in the downstairs apartment overnight because we are going to drive them to the airport tomorrow - they are going to Cyprus.

Tues. Feb. 7th

Well, the maintenance man that was here helping last night would not let us turn on the boiler even though we had removed all the water!!  He said everything had to be checked first.  The language problem was huge and he obviously had no way of knowing how competent Brent was with boilers!!!  So, about 4:30pm today, he came and put the boiler back on and it didn't take long for warmth to be felt, thankfully, as it was still snowing and rainy outside.  The maintenance man did something wrong when he started up the boiler (something to do with putting water in the tank instead of air, I think) anyway Brent was doing his best to let this guy know that he was in error - gesturing and drawing diagrams and when he realized Brent was making sense that "broke the ice " so to speak, and he suddenly became more interested and attentive to Brent - they actually got on pretty good after that.  Needless to say, we spent a pretty cold day - but there were lots of people around and lots going on.  The Colliers decided to miss the Zone Conference and give us a help with clean up.  We did many loads of washing and drying and the men went downstairs with buckets and mops and bleach to disinfect the place.  Before they did that, Elder Collier and Dad went shopping for rubber boots (last night, just about all the missionaries and older men had their shoes totally soaked) and you should see the boots they came back with - we'll put a picture on the blog of those!!!  Fortunately, the area where there was sewage back up was mostly confined to the boiler room and the elder's apartment was spared that kind of contamination.  Another plus, is that the floors are all marble down there, and cold as it might be, there are no rugs or carpet of any kind, so that make clean-up a lot easier too.  It was so fun having the Colliers with us.  The help was marvelous, but they are a tremendous couple and loads of fun, so it was an absolutely super time being with them.  We found out the Conference was shortened because some of the missionaries had to get home on the Metro and it stopped running at 5pm because of a strike!!   About 5:30, Pres. & Sis Charles and a whole bunch of missionaries arrived unannounced!!!  Pres. wanted to see what condition the basement was in and he did a couple of interviews as well.  The great part was that he said for us to order pizzas - so it was a nice break not having to scrounge up a meal for that many.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Mon. Feb.6th

Our missionaries from Thessaloniki plus the Colliers (a senior couple) arrived about 3:00 p.m. Everyone began to settle in - four elders in the downstairs apartment, and the Colliers and the two sister upstairs on or floor.  The two sisters and two of the elder had to go over to the Mission Home to a meeting, leaving just two elders and the four of us old foagies upstairs.  It started raining and the elder were thinking of going to the store to purchase something for their supper (they are supposed to be self-sufficient in the apartment downstairs - but we guess that the Assts. hadn't brought in any food for them) when dad gave them a twenty and told them to order in something.  We would have just had them come and eat with us, but rules are rules - so they ordered from the Noodle Bar (an Asian type take-out), so they were taken care of.  We had just finished eating and were doing the dishes, when the thunder and lightning began and the rain came down in buckets.  It went on and on - it seemed like the storm just hovered over top our our little mountain and was not moving anywhere.  We are situated on the side of this little mountain, and the water started backing up and flooded a large area of the basement, boiler room and storage  area - most of the area was under about 3 in. water - however the boiler room is situated a little lower than the rest of the basement and had about a foot of water in it and it shut down automatically when it became flooded and the whole place stank of sewage back-up!.  When we saw the extend of the flooding and realized we were loosing the battle, we called over to the Mission Home for help.  They came en masse, and we found ourselves with about 16 elders in - armed with bucket, mops and anything that would move water and a ton of enthusiasm.  We had made other phone calls to Church Physical Facilities and eventually their men arrived with a pump.  However, that pump was too small for the job.  One of those guys called the fire brigade   - they came - then there was lots of talk and gesturing (with us watching and not knowing what was going on, but guessing it was negative).  A couple of elders were helping Dad communicate with them and it turned out that the problem with the fire brigade was that their hoses were too big for the job!!  So they went and that left the plumber guy and a helper and Dad and six missionaries to help.It was getting late and the other missionaries had gone to bed.  Then we had missionaries' wet and messy pants to deal Sis. Collier and I set about collecting pants to put in the washer and drier (about 10:30pm).  Dad and the two guys kept trying to find the problem because it smelled really bad.   About 11:30 they found a blockage and were able to clear that - so some of the water in the basement was then cleared with the help of two elders that had the fortitude to stick with it until 2am, bless their hearts.  Don't know if the boiler will work tonight though!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sun February 5th

At church today, we had a visitor from Colorado.  He's looking for a house and is going to bring his family over here because of his job with Nokia-Seimens.  As he was telling a group of us, one of the group made to feel his forehead, asking him if he was feeling OK?  Yes!  most people you talk to here are looking for a way out of Greece at the moment!!

There is a man named Ralph who has been in our Branch for about 10 years.  He has a very sad story.  He was born in Greece, abandoned, and adopted to an American family in the States when he was six years old and he lived there up until the time he was deported from the States back to Greece about 10 years ago with no credentials for Greece even though he was born here.  We understand that he has changed a lot over the past 10 years here - going from a "lost soul" and gradually becoming a loved and respected member of our Branch.  So you can imagine our excitement upon learning this past week, that he finally got his "real" birth records and recognition as a Greek citizen.  All those years, a person without a country, and he has been struggling without being able to have health care and other benefits afforded to Greek citizens - the most important of which is being able to work legally.  We are so happy for him.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Sat. February 4th

It actually felt like spring today.  I guess one warm day after all that cold would feel like that - anyway, it was nice.

We must be settling in - we had the same old Saturday agenda - Grocery shopping first thing in the morning - back to the office and work like crazy trying to catch up.  No visitors today - just work, work, work.

This is our shortest blog to date!!!   Just know that we love you all and appreciate your support.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Fri. February 3rd

President Charles came up to the mission office this morning with lots of typing to do and with what I had on my plate already, it turned out to be a busy, but fun, day.

In the afternoon, we had the "Admin. Elders" come to give us our Friday help.  We really use them for making calls when Greek is involved and they can take care of matters much easier and quicker because of their expertise with the language.  So we got quite a few things accomplished.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Thurs. February 2nd.

It's stopped snowing and turned to rain.  The nicest part is that the wind has died down and therefore, it feels a lot warmer - and by lunch time it began to clear.  In a couple of months, we'll be wishing we had some "cool" I bet.

It's Prep. Day and of course the Assistants are here.  They get to use the computers to do their weekly letters home etc.  They are really nice and it's a whole lot of fun watching them "operate."  In many ways they are pretty naive and it's hilarious, but they seem to get things done anyway.

We went out for a bit and I got my hair cut - that feels good.  Dad just made his famous banana bread, but used very large bananas and it filled the pan too full and now he's scraping the mess off the bottom of the oven!!

Just about finished the month end reports and orders.  It feels good to have it done this soon as in pasts months that has not been the case!!

Wed. February 1st

Today, is more of the same, but the snow is wetter and is accumulating on the grass and sidewalks/steps and roads.  Down a nearby hill, they had a huge pile of salt - three truckloads worth - and men were filling bags and handing them out to people.  Just as well, because there were 6 cars sliding slowly down this hill and Dad was the 6th one.  Fortunately no-one banged into anything and with the spreading of some salt, everyone was quickly on their way.

Wednesdays is meeting day of course, and Pres. Charles was on the point of canceling, but when we tried calling attendees, they were already on their way.  Brent and I had made a huge pot of hamburger soup and he had picked up big loaves of bread from the deli.  We made up a Greek salad which is pretty easy over here - they just cut up tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, olives and feta and pour oil and vinegar and that's it!  Everyone appreciated the hot soup!

It sounds like all we do is cook and entertain - but we do manage to all our other work as well!!!  Well, try to, anyway.😜

Tues. January 31st

Well, it looks like Canada outside - wind blowing like crazy, fine, dry snow "falling" sideways and we are FREEZING!   Our hot-water system is all frozen up - it is run by solar power and sits on the roof and we have no hot water for sinks and showers. The hot water heating system is separate and is fueled by oil which set-up is in the basement - thank goodness!   Update!  We got the hot water back on by 4:00 pm, so that wasn't so bad.

This is one time I hate to admit, but I am grateful for the funny little front load clothes washer that they have here as it runs on cold water, which, when taken in to the washer, then is heated up there!!!

A lovely day for us as we received a big envelope with pictures, a special calendar and Christmas mail that came to our home address.  It certainly is the weather for it!! but it really made our day.