Saturday, 31 March 2012

Fri. Mar. 30th 2012

Well  -  we spent hours trying to find out what exactly was the culprit for our internet loss .   Weather it was the modem, the firewall or the wifi.  At the very end of the day and lots of time on the phone to the church help desk, it was determined that it was the wifi that was the problem.  So we'll start again tomorrow to try to fix it.

We had the admin. elders here to day - their job today was to wash all the cars and fill them with gas.  That was going well until the fourth trip to the gas station when paying again with the mission credit card, it was refused!!  It seems that there is a limit as to how many times you can use the card at a convenience store (since they sold candy and drink etc. at that gas station it was classed as a convenience store).  So, Brent had to go down there with cash and bail them out!!  Then, he had to call the card company and inform them of the situation so that they didn't cancel the card - which would have meant that we would have had to wait about two weeks for a new one!!

It was one crazy day - not being able to get our regular work done because of the internet troubles and having admin. elders and the Assts. both around - but we love them - they are so much fun.  Weather again was beautiful though!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Thurs. Mar.29th 2012

Prep day!  Brent and I both had hair cuts!  Now we can hear each other!!

The big news? - Our internet dropped.  After many phone calls and much searching of cables and machines, we discovered that our airport has died!!  I am now in the kitchen where there is an ethernet cable - but that doesn't help the office computers work.  We also learned that the airport was programed in Germany - so they are the only ones who can fix it!!!  We put in a call, but no one has replied yet.

Went to the airport to pick up Pres. & Sister Charles who returned from Cyprus.  There were a lot of military vehicles there.  We caught a glimpse of some high-powered military brass and some politicians with lots of security - we wondered what that was all about.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wed. Mar. 28th 2012

We had a poor really sick elder here with us today.  One of the Assts. has been ill with a flu bug (we think) since last Friday and he's not much better.  His temperature was 102.5 and he felt awful.  So we fed him some chicken soup and gave him an aspirin and put him to bed.  He slept for three hours or so and looked a bit better when he awoke - he said he felt better, but didn't last long - he soon got pretty droopy again.  We'll see how he is tomorrow - he might need an antibiotic.

We just about had the opportunity to go with elders to a teaching appointment, but it was cancelled at the last minute.  It would have been nice - we have had few chances to do that.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tues. Mar. 27th 2012

Nothing much happened of note today.  We are working on month-end and nobody came by to distract us and we had a wonderful run at getting lots done  -  still have lots to go to really catch  -  will that ever happen?  Perhaps not.  However, I'll share another monastery picture from Meteora!

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Monday, 26 March 2012

Mon. Mar. 26th 2012

There's not too much to write about tonight - except that we had another beautiful day.  We really are enjoying this warmth but I suppose we'll be crying for some cool weather in a month or two!!

We were on our own for the whole day and it was wonderful to get some catching up done.  We're finally getting a person to look into the reason we have not been able to call long-distance on our land-line.

We purchased a rice cooker today and had some really good rice for supper for a change!!!  🍜

 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sun. Mar. 25th 2012

Up early at 5:00 am (but really, it would have been 4:00 am yesterday) in order to drive President & Sis. Charles to the airport!!!

Today, being the real Greek Independence Day, all the members who normally meet in the Acropoli building came to our chapel for meetings.  The reason being the parades etc. going on around Acropoli building and with a good possibility of trouble breaking out there was very high security present.   There were parades all over the city actually and we had fun trying to make our way home after meetings as we ran into a couple of road blocks and pedestrians on the streets everywhere.  When we got back to the office Brent put out a Greek flag that he found in a cupboard - just to be a bit patriotic!

And here it is!

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Sat. Mar. 24th 2012

Lots of Geek flags around - especially the last two days - as it is Greek Independence Day on Sunday and they get started today with some parades.  This Day marks Greece's uprising against the Ottoman Empire in 1821.

As usual we did grocery shopping and I purchased a knee brace as it is still hurting.  I think I have injured the meniscus.  We tried to find some palatable honey!!  We have been looking for clover honey, but everything here seems to be the Thyme type and it just doesn't taste right.

Brent played the rescue man this afternoon.  He says, he was walking from the car to the office when he noticed a lady jammed in the process of trying to get out of the back seat of a sports car.  Her knees were jammed nearly to the floor behind the driver's seat.  The driver lady was trying to get her out and appeared to be having some success, but he didn't realize how badly she was jammed or how long they had been there.  As he was waiting for traffic to clear so he could cross the street, the lady vigorously waved him over and it was then that he realized how stuck she was. She was elderly and heavy.  First he tried to have her grab his arm so he could pull her out, but she had no arm strength or gripping power.  He tried to jockey the driver's seat forward to no avail.  Finally, he had her put her arms around his neck and he put his arms around her upper body and had her lean forward until he could get his left hand on top of the car and lever her out until she could get one foot on the ground.  Then she was able to get out.  Fortunately, she spoke some English and thanked him profusely.  He suspects she is bearing some bruises today!!

We also changed all our clocks forward tonight - losing an hour of precious sleep.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Fri. Mar. 23rd 2012

Soon after we got up this morning we were treated to the noise of a lawn mower - "Hosepipe Harry"  (as he is called because he gets water everywhere - even under the doors sometimes when he waters) was mowing up a storm - the first of this season.

We still are not able to make long-distance calls from Athens!!!  I don't know what the problem is and when you try to call them about it you are put in t hold pattern until someone is available - but we can't wait that long and will probably be told (like before) "it's broken and we are working on it."

The Admin. elders  came up to get the van so they could help move furniture from an apartment that's just been closed - i.e. that is no longer being leased by the Church. I hope they get if completed tonight because it is "Greek Independence Day" weekend and there are demonstrations scheduled for both days as well as a parade and there are a bunch of streets closed for this which could be a problem for the elders.

 

Thurs. Mar. 22nd 2012

Preparation day and five months since we landed in Greece!!!

We went shopping to the office supply place, and to the bank, and to Carrefour (mostly to get bottled water for the dispenser in the office), but I went to "H&M's" and purchased a couple of lighter tops (that was nice).  The Assts. were here again most of the day working on the computers - they come here on Prep. days anyway to do their letters home - the missionaries only get to do that on Prep. day.  Later,  Pres. & Sis. Charles came by to drop off a few things and it was in relax mode and the jokes were flying between them and the Assts.  -  they are a lot of fun.

Another beautiful day.

Wed. Mar. 21st 2012

The last of the transfers took place today with us driving the two sisters to the train station so they could go to Thessaloniki.  The Elders took the last of the elders to their areas also.  The Assts. were still doing reports and finalizing stuff, so they were here with us, but the pressure was off and we drifted back into normal routine - almost.  However, our energy level was about zero after a succession of late nights etc. so I don't know how effective we were!!!

Tues. Mar. 20th 2012

Today should have been a quieter day for us as it was pretty well an all-day District and Training meeting for the missionaries at Halandri Chapel.  We had to transport the sister to it and was expecting the President to be there as Elder C. needed his signature on a document to get a large amount of money from the bank so that it would be wired to the Mission 2nd Couns. in Cyprus  -  but we had to wait a precious half hour before he arrived.  However, it was accomplished and Brent went to the bank on the way home - then we stopped by the delli and purchased what we needed to feel the hoards that night.

The weather has been absolutely beautiful for the last while - perhaps Spring is really here.  The temperature down at Halandri was 23 deg. but up here it was 20.  I think that bodes well for the summer that it might be a "bit more" comfortable up here.

Mon. Mar. 19th 2012

Like I said - this day began early with Pres. & Sis. Charles (they always pick up arriving and take departing missionaries) coming to pick up the departing missionaries at 4:45 am!!   As I understand it, they wanted to have breakfast at McDonald's there at the airport while they waited for their flights!!!  The 9:00 am flight group didn't mind the wait - they obviously had fun.  Later, Pres. & Sis. C. took the last sister at 1:00pm.   About that time we were notified that the first two (on their way to SLC) were held up so long in "passport control" in Paris that they missed their connecting flight to SLC.  As we tried to call the Missionary Travel Dept. in SLC it was then that we learned that long distance calls on our land-lines were down!!!  However, we were able to use our cell phone.  So there was a flurry of calls to parents and Missionary Travel to inform every one.

The next job was to pick up a sister at her home (she is serving a "mini-mission" for about three months, as we are now short one sister and we'll not get a replacement until July I think) and we've not been in that area before, so we had directions written out to get there - we were to exit at "exit 13" only to find that it didn't exist - so to cut a long story short, we got totally lost!  I guess it was time for a bit of humbling as we have felt pretty confident over the last while about going places in Athens, but that one pulled us up full-stop!  We were really close to their place and we stopped and asked people on the street where Kritis St. was and discovered that people in Athens do not know the names of their streets - they all go by landmarks!!!!  Anyway, by the time we found this sister, we were supposed to be at the airport to meet the sister who was coming in from Cyprus to be her companion.  Thank goodness for slow customs processing - we arrived just a few minutes after she came through the doors.

 

Sun. Mar. 18th 2012

Well - with everything else going on, we had to give talks at meetings today!  After meetings there was a little program and lunch to celebrate the Relief Society  Anniversary which was very nice.

Then another "departing missionary" tradition took place at Mars Hill which is just below the Acropolis.  Mars Hill is where the Apostle Paul addressed the Athenians. So, the departing missionaries, plus all who want to attend  gather there and each missionary gives a last little minute talk/testimony and then photos are taken.  The last one we attended was in November and the wind was so cold and strong, it was quite unpleasant - but this day, was gorgeous and there were lots of people just sitting around on the rocks enjoying the view and the sunshine.

We made sweet & sour meatballs over rice for supper and then those missionaries went back to finishing their collage for Sis. Charles.  It was 12:30 when we all finished -  I guess, at this point mission rules "go out the window" - they NEEDED to get it done as the first two had to leave at 4:45 to get their flight - the next three had to leave at 7:00 and then the last sister's flight was in the afternoon because of her late connection to Ireland!!!

This shows you what Mars Hill looks like with some of the missionaries already gathered.

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This is part of the view of Athens from there

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Sat. Mar. 17th 2012

Went shopping and took the Sister missionaries with us.  The one is from Ireland and the other, from Germany.

All the "departing missionaries" (as we call them when they have finished their mission and are going home) have a special day with President & Sister Charles just before they go home.  They have their final interview with Pres. C. and Sister C. puts on what has come to be known as the Leonidas lunch where these missionaries are presented with a statue of King Leonidas.  King Leonidas has become a kind of "mascot" for our mission.  He saved many thousands of Athenians from death by defeating the Persian army about 480 B.C.  His helmet represents the "helmet of salvation."   The breastplate is the "breastplate of righteousness."  The sword represents the "word of God" and the shield is the "shield of faith."

They came back to the Mission Office not very hungry after that, so we just served soup and huge chunks of round bread - I don't know what it is called, but it is very heavy and they like it.

Later those missionaries got together and built a collage of pictures of themselves and Pres. & Sis. C. and some others and intended to frame it, but didn't get it finished by bedtime.  It is to be for Sis. C. for Mother's Day which is this weekend in the U.K.

The last few days reminds us of when our kids were Institute age, all gathered in our "play room"!!!!

This the Statue of Leonidas with the four elders in front taken on the Meteora trip.

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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Fri. March 16th 2012

Today was Meteora day.  We left just after 7 am.  It was kind of drizzly and cloudy and we were afraid that our day was going to be spoiled a bit, however, after about 2 hours of traveling, we drove out of it,  thankfully.  The rest of the day the weather was flawless.

There were two vehicles  -  the van with the 6 departing missionaries and Pres. & Sis. Charles  -  and the Mowers and Brent and I in the Corsa (Opel).

We first stopped at Thermopylae so that the missionaries could take pictures, shooing off their muscles in front the Leonidas statue etc. and visited the nearby hot sulphur springs  -  they really smelled bad!!  That is where Leonidas and his Spartans held off the entire Persian army.

We finally arrived at Meteora around noon.  It is a really amazing place with these crazy rocks with cliff-top monasteries sitting, seemingly, in the air.  Apparently, that's what Meteora means - "in the air."  We went through this little village, Kastraki, which is at the foot of these rocks.  The rocks seem to be limited to just this small area.  I read in one of the books that the rocks were form about 60,000 million years ago when a land-locked lake burst though a gap in the mountains, spurting through onto the Plains of Thessaly, forming these pillars.  We drove up to what is generally called the Great Monastery.   In order to access it though, you had to go down a lot of step to a little bridge which connected with the pillar that this monastery sat atop.  Once across the bridge you went on a short flat path which let into a rock tunnel and then out the other side of that, the stairs began to go up and up and up!!  I REALLY wanted to go, but common sense told me that I shouldn't try it.  So everyone else went, while I purchased a book about this attraction, went and sat in the car and basically read about everything they were seeing inside.  They were gone about an hour and then we drove to another monastery, but it was closed by this time and so the missionaries just had fun climbing down some of the more navigable slopes and back up again.  We had a lovely restful time up the top, in the beautiful sunshine, just drinking all the beautiful scenery.  Then we went back down into Kastraki and had supper before starting back home.   I tried their moussaka  and found it to be very nice.  I've had it in Calgary and it came like a square of lasagna, but here, it came in an earthenware bowl and it was VERY hot - in temperature.

We began driving "home" in the daylight, but it didn't last very long and we had to have taken a wrong turn somewhere, because we didn't recognize any of the places that we were passing, looking for the "National Road" and the GPS didn't help at all.  The map that you could see on it was very localized and you couldn't see the National Road on it  -  the only thing that did help was that it showed that the kilometers to our destination were decreasing!   We finally found our bearings after going over some mountain pass (in the dark) and we could smell where we were heading before we got there  -  we came out at Thermopylae, by the sulphur hot springs and found the National Road there.  We arrived at the Mission Office at 11:05, exhausted, but all in all, having had a really nice day.

This is as you approach Meteora

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This is a monastery just beside the Great Monastery

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This is Pres. Charles Brent & Iooking toward the Great Monastery

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This isn't a particularly good picture of the Great Monastery  -  spreads over quite an area, but,  right in the foreground, if you look down, you can see a little bridge with an entrance and that's where you go in - and from there you walk to the left in the picture, on the flat, through a little tunnel, and then you start the climb up and up to see the Monastery itself.

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Sunday, 18 March 2012

Thurs. Mar. 15th 2012

Slow going today with a sore knee and hip!!

All the missionaries that go home on Monday came together  here in Athens today, so things at the office were humming.  We went to the train station (which is an ordeal in itself - but we made it!)  to pick up the two sister from Thessaloniki.  Two elders were already serving here and the other two flew in from Cyprus.  There are fun things planned for them.

From then on, it was, provide meals!  We are beginning to think we should have been called to CES   -   as Elder Mower describes it  -  it means "cook every second." It is fun though.

My reports are likely to be short in the next couple of days  -  but I'll try to get something posted.

 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Wed. Mar. 14th 2012

It was  sunnier today - really nice.

Wednesday meetings were happening as usual, but with an extra "buzz" because of transfers.  Lots of talk re the changes and Pres. C. was busy phoning each missionary to tell them if they were being moved or not.  Pres. C. interviews us about every two months to see how we are faring.  Today, he basically thanked us for the work we've been doing - which was very nice, but we wonder if we really merited that.

I tripped on a teeny little edge of a path in the parking area inside a mall today.  I am sore, but no real damage, I don't think.  We had to get some bottled water for the dispenser in the office.  We would have purchased two or three, but they had only one left.  I guess that's better than none.

Brent took a picture of the travel folder with all the colored tabs showing the different flights that are up-coming.

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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Tues. Mar. 13th 2012

Well, we thought the transfers were all done - but, guess what? - back came the Assts. with instructions from the President to make some changes.  Those poor elders had worked so hard on this, but they are still happy and smiling.

Changes made and the next job was the booking of flights and train rides.  I didn't have to do the train bookings, but I did take one of the elders through the process of booking planes flights on-line.  It's not that difficult - except that now, the airlines actually check with the bank re any U.S. credit card.  So, you go through the process on-line to where you've entered everything, including the payment information.  When you press "book now" instead of getting "confirmation" - you get a notice that your booking cannot be completed online and you must phone the "call centre" to finish your booking.  When you do that, they can actually check their computer somehow and see that you've fill in all your information.  However, there is a bit of a wait, while they check your credit card.  Anyway, there were 11 flights to book and by the time we had finished it had taken about three times as long!

It was another blustery, rainy day.  They are calling for much warmer temps for the next few days - whoopee!

I noticed this little lemon tree in our yard doing it's best to produce a couple of lemons.  It's cute!

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Monday, 12 March 2012

Mon. Mar. 12th 2012

Still cold!  The Assts. came in to the office and worked all morning and finally got the transfers completed.

It was a good work day - we got caught up on a lot of things, but not really very much to write about.

We took a picture of our Mission Board.  The top row on the left are all going home next Monday.  Brent says - "that's one sixth of our mission"  -  we won't begetting any new missionaries until July (3) and Sept. (2).  There may be more in the works though.   You'll be able to get more detail if you enlarge the picture.

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Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sun. Mar. 11th 2012

It was an interesting day at church  -  Brent and I were asked to take the Primary children - all five of them - normally there are six.  I was a lot of fun.  Those kids are very well mannered and well taught in the gospel so it was a delight to spend time with them.

Pres. Charles came to a decision about the transfers and now comes the time to figure how to get the missionaries to their new places - how to work out plane times so that they coincide i.e. making sure a missionary arrives about the time his/her companion leaves so that you don;t have a missionary without a companion for any length of time.  It can be a real headache.

As I suspected, that nasty wind was a harbinger of bad weather.  It was still blowing pretty hard early this morning, but dropped in the afternoon and rain began to pour - AND - it's cold!!!

This is, as Brent says, our "gasoline pony express"  -  on other words - our mailman!  He usually doesn't have much mail for us though - most of our mail goes to a P.O. box.

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Saturday, 10 March 2012

Sat. Mar 10th 2012

We entered the MTC 5 months ago today!  I was right about the change in the weather.  The wind has been brutal -it's blowing at 50km but gusting higher than that, however, there hasn't been any precipitation as yet.

Usual shopping trip and uneventful morning - BUT - we received a help call from Halandri Chapel where the missionaries were trying to fill the baptismal font - they were unable to get hot water running into it again!!   The last e-mail I saw about that problem said that "to my knowledge, it's been fixed"  -  that was a week or so ago. Brent went and check things out and found power right up to the pump and then nothing - he thinks the pump has seized up.  Anyway, he found the missionaries running  like crazy - boiling water in the kitchen and running it to the font.  I haven't heard if it made an adequate amount of difference or not, but they REALLY tried.  We had go to the airport to get Pres. & Sis. Charles.  Every day brings a new challenge!

 

Fri. Mar. 9th 2012

It started out a beautiful day, but clouded over later and the wind started blowing, so I think we are in for a change.  It was nice and warm though - we actually left the doors open for a bit.  We went for a short walk too - it felt good as we haven't done that in ages.

We had elder here all day again.  They are such good kids and very enjoyable to have around.  They work really hard.  They loaded up that shipment of paper towels, toilet paper etc. that came a few days ago and took it to Halandri Chapel for us - that REALLY helped.  And we fed them a couple of meals

The Assts. were kind of waiting for a call from Pres. Charles to tell them if the plans for the transfers were OK.  He hasn't called yet, so I think he's still mulling over things.

We found this snail about the size of a walnut in the garden.  He looked kind of pretty there, blending in with the leaves and twigs.

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Thursday, 8 March 2012

Thurs. Mar 8th 2012

We were out the door at 6:30 am to take Pres. And Sis. Charles to the airport.  They flew to Frankfurt to a Mission President's Seminar.  When we first went out, everything was so quiet, except for the birds - they were in full mode song practice - it was wonderful.

The contractor who was responsible for getting a man to us yesterday to put our power back on - who only flipped a switch basically - came by with his invoice to receive payment.  We nearly fell off our chairs when we saw that the total was 88 euros/ $120!!!

The Assts. were here again this morning, so we fed them breakfast - it was just scrambled eggs etc. but they were very grateful.  They are in the middle of planning transfers and Pres. C. was supposed to call them to let them know if the plan they had worked out was final.  Pres. C. seemed reluctant about something in the plan, so I guess these will be some adjusting yet.  If the plan was satisfactory, we would have been helping the Assts. make bookings on flights for those getting transferred.

The picture is of the tree just outside our bedroom window.  A week or so ago, it was just starting to bud out, but now it is in full glorious bloom.

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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Wed. Mar 7th 2012

The day began normally with us preparing for the meetings, until Brent tried to change a lightbulb!   The glass broke at the base when he was trying to unwind it and contact was made with something that it shouldn't have and - BOOM - lights, computers, just about everything in the office went off!   Then  there was the big search for what breaker went out.  Apparently, there was a panel in an obscure place where the offending breaker lived and when found, all that was needed was to turn it on.  An electrician came after four hours and took a cover off a panel that was supposed to be sealed and flipped a little switch and - bravo - we had power again.  That cost us 88 euros!

I had an awful time with a report form in Excel that had been upgraded by someone. I could not get the information that I was typing in it to stay there.  When I tried to attach the completed form to an e-mail, it somehow dropped the text.  It is so frustrating not to be able have things work for you.  With some excellent help, we did manage to get it done and sent on time.

Tues. Mar. 6th 2012

One of our your sisters went home today.  She came up to the the office to get some of her things stored in the basement and sort them out and finish her packing.

Pres. and Sister Charles came over to give her her "last interview" and Brent and I fixed lunch for them which was a lot of fun.  She is a really sweet girl and goes back to her home in France.  After lunch, Pres. & Sis. Charles took her to the airport.  They always meet the missionaries and see them off - it's their routine thing to do.   Then we had to make an extra trip to the store as our entertaining of late really lowered our "stores" - especially as we meeting day tomorrow and we'll be fixing lunch for 10 people!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Mon. Mar. 5th 2012

Rainy, most of the day, but we did have a huge thunder/lightning/hail storm in the afternoon.  Came down in sheets, but didn't last long thankfully.

In the middle of all this rain, Brent had to take delivery of boxes and boxes of toilet paper and hand towels etc. which actually is meant for the two meeting houses.  He tried to convince the driver that they should be delivered to Halandri, but, no go!  he wasn't going to do that.

We were up early to see the Davis' off.  It'll take them nearly 24 hours before they get home!!  We're tired and we haven't even been traveling!  I can imagine how they must feel.

 

Sun. Mar. 4th 2012

Another beautiful day.  We took the Davis' to church with us this morning.  They were absolutely mobbed by people wishing to say goodbye  -  it was so nice.

For lunch, we did up a nice pork roast, mashed potatoes, carrots, gravy and Greek salad.  It's the first "roast" I've attempted since we got here - it's usually a waste of time fixing that big a a meal for just the two of us.  Anyway, they really enjoyed it.  They fly out at 7:00 am tomorrow - destination - McAllen, Texas!

We were all invited to Frost's for dessert.   It was kind of like strawberry shortcake, only were given brownies and yellow cake to choose from or go half and half - anyway, it was delicious and fun.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Sat. Mar. 3rd 2012

A beautiful sunny day!  Hope we stay warmish now.

Another busy day for the Davis'  -  they had what is called their farewell interview and were presented with a certificate and remembrance statue (Leonidas) and a huge farewell lunch at the Mission Home.

Brent and I just HAD to take a little time and went up on the hill behind the Mission Office and took pictures and generally looked around.  It was nice to walk in the sunshine without a coat on.

Looking toward the south-west.  If you zoom in - right at the horizon is the sea with ship anchored there.

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Fri. Mar. 2nd 2012

We decided to do our shopping today, because Brent has to be at the Halandri Chapel at 8 am to receive a delivery of heating oil.

It was a cold, but beautiful day and after the snow it was well earned!  Davis' have been going through papers etc. like crazy, trying to get everything in order before they leave on Monday.   We had both the Admin. Elders and the Assts. here most of the afternoon - it's hard to get things done when they're here, but they are a lot of fun.

Later, the Maxwells came by and none of us had eaten, so we ordered food from the Noodle Bar.  The food was good, but the visiting was great.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Thurs. Mar. 1st 2012

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Elder and Sis. Davis slept in - we were not surprised as they have been working         really hard to move everything out of their apartment and clean it as it is no longer being used  for missionaries.  They have been sick with colds and congestion for weeks and just starting to get better, so they really needed the extra rest.  It was an excellent day for sleeping as we had snow falling up until noon and it was cold, but later, the sun came out and Brent took the attached picture of the Orthodox Church which is just up the street from us.

Brent and I had to work on getting orders in for March and thus, were busy with that, so we didn't have much time for visiting, but what we did have was fun.