Monday, 30 April 2012

Mon. Apr. 30th 2012

Fri. 27th -    I have to say a big thank you to Justincm  -  my buddy that keeps my English in check.   Well - hoping that Brent doesn't get sick didn't work  -  he is sick!  Fever, chills, stomach pains & diarrhea.  Poor soul was down and out all day.  I went to the Post Office with him this morning because he felt so awful, just to be on the safe side.  I saw the cats in front of the fish market that he's always telling me about.  They are totally wild and had a little scrap with each other while I was there  -  good entertainment!.  Brent spent the rest of the day in bed and the bathroom!!!  I worked on end of month stuff and since we are having Area Office visitors tomorrow, I went over everything with a damp bleach cloth hoping to get rid of any bugs.  We received the sad news that our dear friend Lilja Ellis passed away.  She will be sorely missed.

Sat. 28th - Brent is still down, so the Assts. went to the airport to pick up Pres. & Sis. Charles and Elder & Sis. Wirthlin.  I saw them later in the day when they came up to see the Mission Office.  Elder Wirlthlin is soon to be a Mission President so he was very interested in the workings of our mission.  A very quiet day otherwise.

Sun. 29th - Brent is a little bit better.  He actually went to meetings because he was supposed to Conduct (nearly all of the Branch leadership was away).  He did it, but he really shouldn't have.  He's hardly eaten anything the last two days, but felt like he should try to eat something, so I made him some conji and it seem to go down nicely, but just kept on going through!!!

Mon. 30th - Brent is a little better still today, but the food is still going through too quickly.  He tried some Imodium (just half a dose) which laid him flat for a while - he reacts so strongly to medication!!  Rick & Renee's two little guys, Myles and Byron, are having surgery today to tonsils and adenoids.  We learned that Brenda & Dave and kiddies will be coming over here next March - terrific.

The flowers are going nuts here - so many news ones to us - the temperature today was 31C.   Don't know what this flower is called.  Brilliant!

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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Thurs. Apr. 26th 2012

Prep Day.  We both had hair cuts and then went to "The Mall"  -  I was looking for a summer skirt, but the skirts are mostly just really wide belts here!!!   Spent ages looking for one long enough for me  -  Didn't work!   Tonight, Brent seems to be running a bit of a fever  -  I sure hope he doesn't get sick  -  he doesn't need that right now!!Got this lovely picture of flowers growing just by our bedroom window.  I've not seen two different colors on one stem before.

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Wed. Apr. 25th 2012

I didn't think I had missed doing this for a whole week, but that might give you an idea of how busy we've been!

Thurs. 19th - Brent went to get his Greek driver's license.  To this point, there had been weeks of preparations in order to do this - including getting a transcript of his Canadian driving record, having it translated into Greek at the Vancouver Consulate and faxed by them to the authorities here.  He did not get the license"today"!!  Does that surprise you??  He was actually accompanied by the church lawyer and so, through her, they were able to find out that this "transportation" dept. instructions say that Brent has 185 days after he got his residency permit to get the driver's license, whereas the police have been saying that you have 185 days after you set foot in Greece to get your license.  The transportation people won't give him the license until July now!!!   Goodness know what happens if Brent gets pulled over for anything!!!  Interesting!!   About mid-afternoon Elder and Sis. Collier and the two sisters from Thessaloniki arrived.  They are down for the training meeting tomorrow and It is super to have them.  Both Brent and I have to do a presentation at this meeting tomorrow and we've hardly had time to prepare for that - hope it turns out OK.

Fri. 20th - We had a big rush to get breakfast for everyone and send them off to the meeting (we didn't have to be there until later).   I chose to talk about showing love for others.  Brent said I did OK!  I never feel like I do much good unfortunately.  He, however, did a tremendous job.  He actually spoke about statistics and incorporated a game into it - the young missionaries loved it - we oldies also loved it.  We didn't get back to the Mission Office until 6:30 pm and we opted to purchase supper  from the Noodle Bar (a Chinese style restaurant that delivers).  That was a popular decision and I made a huge fruit salad for dessert.

Sat. 21st - Our guests from Thessaloniki began their drive back at 9:00 am. and Brent took off at that time also to drive Pres. & Sis. Charles and the Assts. to the airport - going to Cyprus.  Later, Brent had to go over to the Mission Home to let the "bug man" in to spray for cockroaches.  They do that twice a year to make sure they don't get any of them.  Apparently, when they moved in there three years ago, there were some then, but they have been diligent in keeping food put away and being very clean and the have been free of them since.  Late afternoon, we receive a strange call from another Mission President about a person stuck in Athens without money for a hotel that night and for a taxi fare to the airport for the next day.  We actually found her and spoke to her on the hotel phone where she was waiting, but she wasn't making sense - we thought perhaps that she didn't understand English very well!!  Anyway, we told her to wait there and we'd be down to help her.  When we got there, she had left!!!

Sun. 22nd - It was a beautiful clear, warm day.  Not very many people at church today.  I had to teach the Relief Society lesson because the teacher was away.  I had been making notes yesterday for it and was just about finished when we got that call about the "stranded lady" and I thought I would just quickly finish it up - in my haste I hit a wrong key which brought the options of "save" - "don't save" and "cancel" and before I realized what I had done, I hit the "don't save" choice!!!   Eeeek!  There went my work and no time to work on it again - so I just talked about what I could remember basically.  Not a good plan  -  I'm not good at winging it.

Mon. 23rd. We just realized that we've passed the six month point for actually being here in Greece as we landed Oct. 23rd 2011.  Just another busy day going flat out in the office.  With Pres. Charles away, things can be a bit quieter and it becomes a great catch-up time.

Tues. 24th - When Brent went for the mail this morning, he also went to the bank to transfer some money to one of the elders over there - couldn't do it - he forgot to take "the stamp"  -  you can't do anything here without the corporate stamp!!  Later, elder & Sis. Elks came up to the mission office to give us a hand.  They are the newest mission couple and he was a controller in the church offices in Britain a few years ago and knows finances inside out.  Needless to say, he was an excellent help to Brent and got him sorted out in quite a few problem areas.  Sis. Elks was a sweetheart and help me prepare 11 booklets for incoming missionaries - a huge job that normally takes a couple of days with interruptions - we got it done in half a day!  The highlight of the day was that we received a package from Brenda with Easter treats and my medications and supplements - yahoo!

Wed. 25th - We did a 10:00 am run to the airport to pick up the Assts.  Pres. & Sis. Charles won't be back until Saturday.  It was nice to have the Assts. back - they help us a lot with the Greek language in invoices and phone calls.  We are beginning the month end job now, so the rush is on again!!

Brent too a photo of these olive trees -  they are quite remarkable and live a very long time.

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Saturday, 21 April 2012

Wed. Apr. 18th 2012

Not much happened of note today -  just lots of office work to do.  It rained heavily all morning which was quite depressing and seemed very cool.  Pres. & Sis. C. are still struggling with the flu  -  Brent went and purchased bread for them.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Tues. Apr. 17th 2012

We checked on Pres. and Sis. Charles first things and they are really down with the "bug."  He has cancelled meeting and appointments for the next couple of days - which is not like him.  We made them some chicken soup and I also made cookies to take to Caleb's baptism tonight.  We went over to the Halandri Chapel early, just to be sure that the water going into the font was not cold this time and I helped set up the food for Caleb's mom.  The little tortoise was there to meet us  -  I think he has adopted us  -  it doesn't hurt that the kids give him some bread once in a while!

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Mon. Apr. 16th 2012

President and Sis. Charles flew over to Crete yesterday - even though Sis. Charles wasn't better yet and this morning, Sis. Charles phoned from there to wee if I could get them earlier flight back as not only was she feeling worse, but Pres. Charles seemed to be coming down with "it" too.  We had a normal, but busy day otherwise!

Another photo from our Acropolis visit.  These are the remains of the temple of Zeus.  Our Acropoli Chapel is situated directly opposite this site.  The columns are 17 metres high.

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Monday, 16 April 2012

Sun. Apr. 15th 2012

We took all our prepared food to Halandri Chapel with us this morning so that we didn't have to come back up here and then go back down to Acropoli Chapel.  Being Easter Sunday, attendance was very poor - Greeks have very strong family relationships and so it was expected that many of them would be with their families - attendance totaled 12 including us and two young elders!  Brent and I had to speak and the topic was Repentance.  It felt funny, speaking to so few.  So after just the one meeting, we went across to Acropoli Branch.  Brent figured there were about 35 there - that included 16 missionaries and the rest were young single adults.  We began watching  "Jesus of Nazareth" a 1977 film, which goes for about 6 hours.  Half way through we stopped it for lunch, which was a chicken sauce over rice with carrots and salads and buns.  Desert was different kind of cakes.  We actually had had enough of the film around 4:00 pm and came home.  I liked it, but it was too long - watching a TV screen for that amount of time - even though it was a large one!!  This Chapel is quite close to the Acropolis and the following is a photo taken from the upstairs balcony of the Chapel.  It is of the back part of the Acropolis.  It looks closer that it is because of the zoom lens.  The large black area on the right, halfway down the side, is some sort of a large cave.

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Sat. Apr. 14th 2012

Yesterday was the draggiest day that we've had since we've been here.  Climbing all over the Acropolis in the fresh air and sunshine must have taken more out of us than we thought!!!  It was worth it - but we sure found it hard to concentrate and get our work done.

Today was better.  We did our usual shopping, but it was extremely busy as it is the Orthodox Easter weekend and I think I reported before that Greeks put more emphasis and celebration on Easter than Christmas.  At the grocery store, in the meat department there was actually a crowd.  People lined up, waiting their turn to get huge sides of lamb? or pork - anyway some large side of meat.  They take that and put it on a spit and wrap it in intestines and let it cook for hours and hours.  They say the intestines, when done are wonderfully crispy!!  In the late afternoon early evening, we notices a couple of neighbors out in their yards preparing this meat - almost seeming to make a celebration of doing even that part  -  lots of drinking and joviality!  A lot of our day was spent preparing cakes - cooking chicken - and we bought  48 LARGE carrots and chunked them ready to cook Sunday morning.  This was to take down to the Acropoli Branch because of Easter being such a big family day and there are quite a number of young single adults there with no family to go to.  In the afternoon we had our first experience going on a visit to a lady whose husband sent us her name to visit.  We went with two elders.  She is a very nice lady - works in the Nigerian Embassy and has three of her children here with her, and her husband, who is working in Edmonton has the other daughter there with him.  He met the missionaries and was baptized and he wants her to learn about the church too.  While we were there, there was a huge thunder and lightning storm and a downpour of rain.  When we left after visiting with Florence, there was still water rushing down, spilling out of the gutters and all over the road - but, at least the tun was shining!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Thurs. Apr. 12th 2012

Preparation Day and we went on an outing!  We went with Elder & Sis. Mower the CES couple and Elder and Sis. Elks, the new couple to the Acropolis.  It was lots of uphill slopes and stair climbing - but we went at an easy pace with a few breaks on the way to look at the views from different places.  It was pretty busy with tourists, but not crowded.  It was an ideal day for it - not too hot or too cold, so that might have accounted for the big turnout.  Once at the top, there were four main things  to look at. The entrance part is the "Propylaea" (built abt 432 BC) - it is supposed to have paintings or frescoes on the north wing (which we couldn't see) that part is called the "Pinokotheke" which means "The Art Gallery."   Then the Parthenon (which everyone knows).  It is huge and they are doing a major reconstruction of it and it was roped off -  also, eventually, all the buildings that were on top of this hill they will restore, if they can.  As you walk around, you pass piles of marble pieces and stone pieces which are numbered carefully and these areas are roped off too.  The Parthenon was erect in "the 2nd half of the 5th c. BC" and was dedicated to the goddess Athena.  Then there was the "Erechtheion" which was built abt 420 BC and housed "earlier cults."  It was named after a legendary Greek hero named Erichthonius!  It is much smaller than the Parthenon and has six draped female figures (caryatids) as supporting columns which are very interesting to see.  They were the only sculptured forms that we saw up there.  The fourth thing of note for us was at the opposite end to the entrance and was right as the edge of the hill in the form of a lookout area.  You had to go up a narrow set of steps to get to it and it was a nice little enclosed (by a wall) area with a flag pole in the middle an a 360 degree view to die for!  The most fun part was most everyone spoke to everyone else and the main language there was English because they were all tourists.  We met a lady who lived two houses down from Adam!!!  Mowers met some relatives from Richfield Utah - we spoke to some girls from Hanna High school.  It was amazing and so much fun.

This is the Propylaea - where we entered.

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This is the Parthenon.

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This is the Erechthereion - with the female figures.

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This the Mowers and us at the "lookout area"

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Friday, 13 April 2012

Wed. Apr. 11th 2012

Yesterday, the poor Assts. reported that they have been having to deal with cockroaches in their apartment!!  The one elder is a bit of a "clean-freak" and is especially "grossed out" about it.  so Brent had to get in on the act and told them all that they must do -like filling in any holes and getting spray etc.  So, he went and got some expanding foam for them to use and Pres. Charles had some very strong product that they put down after they had filled the holes.  However, the latter product was so strong they had to stay away from the apartment for a day or two, so they've been staying downstairs.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Mon. Apr. 9th 2012

This is betting to be a habit - missing a couple of days of my blog!!!  Needless to say, there has been so much going on that it's been very hard to do my "own stuff" lately.

Saturday, was a pretty quiet day as everybody was supposed to go to Halandri Chapel to watch the recorded sessions of General Conference.  We couldn't go because the cleaning lady comes on Saturdays and someone has to be here with her.  However, we were able to bring it up on the computer, so that worked for us.  The rest of our day was "catching up" on things.

Sunday, we did go to Halandri Chapel and watch the recorded Sunday sessions of Conference.  It was in Greek, but we had earpieces to get it in English.  I wondered who the translators were.  I reasoned that they spoke Greek so well, they must be native Greeks which meant that they would likely be from Athens, so I asked Elder Mower from Acropoli Branch - who were these people that were translating?  To my astonishment, he told me that the translations were all done HERE by our own members!!!  One of them a current missionary!  They sounded so professional.  We had a pot-luck lunch between sessions - I took Sweet & Sour Meatballs and rice.

Monday was  another circus for Brent.  He's in the process of both getting the damaged car attended to and obtaining the necessary "stuff" for his Greek driver's license.  He took the car into Opel place where the insurance adjustor was to come and assess the damage.  It had started out a nice day, but by the time he got back to the office (around noon) the skies had clouded over and looked threatening.  The following is a prĂ©cis of what Brent had to do.


Tune in for more!!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Fri. Apr. 6th 2012

Things have been crazy since Tuesday morning.  Brent went down to the post office to get the mail and as he pulled away - (after checking behind because about 50 meters back of him is a huge traffic circle [8 roads feed into it] from which vehicles come spinning out of, usually at a high rate of speed) - a motorcyclist collided with the side of his car.  Brent was only doing about 10km at that point, but the man's bike got caught in the front fender and his arm hit the side-view mirror and he was thrown off and slid about 20 meters down the road.  He had a helmet on which does not seem to be mandatory here as you see many cyclists with no helmet.  He was a bit dazed at first and there was bleeding from his arm.  The police came and took the necessary info' and by that time the man was anxious to go - he had been on his way to the hospital to see his son who had had an aneurysm - and so he hopped on his bike saying that he was going to go home and clean is arm and change his shirt and go on down to the hospital!!  We HOPE he wasn't badly hurt, but the language barrier is a problem when trying to find out such things.  Even if you understand a little bit, they speak so fast, you are left behind trying to translate.       Anyway, although Brent had no physical injuries, he has been a mess emotionally since then. He feels really bad that it happened.  His car was well in motion before that man came up on him and tried to pass him and was likely on or over the double lines, because Brent was passing cars that were double parked!                                      Since then there has been the usual reports to fill out and submit and all that requiring help, because of the language -  it's a good thing that we have elders around to help translate!  - and get the car in for the insurance people to look at it. The insurance people are the ones who decide where "the blame" lies. The other thing that is front and centre right now is that Brent is going through the most ions of applying for his Greek driver's license.  We wonder how the accident might affect that???

It's been an unusual week anyway, as President and Sister Charles have been doing interviews every day here at the mission office and extra work has been coming my way to help with the plans for an upcoming Mission Tour with Pres. Wirthlin (Apostle Wirthlin's son in the Area Office).  Lots of typing, booking hotels and flights and trying to get the "month-end" tidied up  -  none of which is easy for me when there are a lot of people around, but I'm learning.

Today, we had a new couple arrive in the mission.  Elder and Sister Elks from Johannesburg, but previously from England..  They have brought a wealth of experience with them and will certainly be an asset to our mission.  We were invited to go along with Pres. & Sis. Charles to take them to lunch which was very enjoyable.

I think we have really turned the corner and are well into Spring now.  About three weeks ago there were blossoms out all over the place - but you should se it now!        Blossoms and flowers everywhere.

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Monday, 2 April 2012

Mon. Apr. 2nd 2012

We just learned that our Europe Area President has been called to the position of Counsellor in the Presiding Bishopric, so we will be getting a new leader in our area.  We will miss him.

Even though our internet is supposedly "fixed" it was on and off again most of the day -that is very frustrating when you've got lots to do.  We decided to try out a new place for supper tonight - it's called "Simply Burger" but it's kind of like Appleby's and I had salmon - it was pretty good.

Our photo today is of the yellow pollen drifts on the marble stairs!!   It's amazing to see such collections of pollen.


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Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sun. Apr. 1st 2012

Just an ordinary Sunday  -  until we got to Church and there awaiting us was a turtle/tortoise (not sure which).  Everyone was very interested in this little critter.  President Charles kind of nudged him with his shoe and you can see the result there in the second photo!!  A nice little divot right of centre!

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Sat. Mar. 31st 2012

What a day it has been  -  first  -  I dropped the bag with the eggs in it  -  broke 13 of them!!

Second  -  Brent went with the missionaries (so they could interpret) to get an electricity bill for one of the apartments we lease from this lady who spoke only Greek.  She thought we were not going to pay what we owed  -  Brent had to get the bill from her in order to pay it only to find out (when they got there) that it had already been paid directly by the bank!!!

Thirdly  -  After pulling the WiFi box apart and finding some numbers, the fellow at Church Global Services re-programmed it and now it works!  However, it is ancient and we are not confident that it will stay working.  We'll have to get the local fellow out anyway, because not all six computers are working on the WiFi  -  two of them have to be connected by cable.

After all that, I have to say we had another lovely day and we were able to watch one session of General Conference which is being held in Salt Lake City this weekend.  We got it live on our computer on the Church website  -  so that's two pluses!