Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Wed. Oct. 24th 2012

We were up and at it early today as our group was going to visit the Corinth canal and the ruins at Corinth for a day trip.  There were ten of us going to Corinth and the remainder chose to go to Delphi (we had been there before).  The drive to Corinth was rainy and foggy and wasn't great for seeing the views.  We arrived at the Corinth Canal first and we were surprised at how far down from the top it was to the water.  Where we were standing on a bridge, it was 148 ft. down to the water.  We watched an open-top tourist boat go under us - it was fairly small, but some ships under a certain width can go through, but they are pulled through by a pilot boat.  Then we went  some miles further into (new)Corinth.  The weather had  more or less quit raining by then and we stopped at a park right on the edge of the Gulf of Corinth - there was a big statue of Poseidon there.  Even though it had quit raining, it was still overcast and threatening which was a shame - it would have been a spectacular view of the Gulf and the land on the other side if the sun was shining.  We travelled on through (new) Corinth to get to (old) Corinth ("Corinthia").  There is a great lack of road signs and directions to points of interest so we basically found the ruins by driving around until we could see we had gone too far up as when we looked down we could see the temple of Apollo.  Being off-season and not a pleasant day, we practically had to place to ourselves.  It covered a huge area and we ambled around  taking in what once was a marketplace, stoa, springs, fountains, a Roman amphitheater and the temple of Apollo - at least that's what the little placards in various places said - you had a hard time picturing what was supposed to be there as what you really saw were heaps of rocks and some "foundations" of structures. The sun came out and it felt really good, but there was still and pretty stiff, cool wind.  We walked down a little streets nearby and looked at the little shops - Corinth is known for its fine pottery.  We found a little restaurant that had an upstairs patio at the back which overlooked the temple and the digs and had some lunch there and it was good.  The trip home was uneventful, but, because the weather had cleared we could see a lot more of the countryside and closer to Athens, we got a really good look at Piereas which is the port to Athens.  There were lots of ships in the area waiting for their turn to dock.  A good time was had by all

The Corinth Canal

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All, but two of our group and Brent (who was taking the pic)

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Some of the ruins

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This is Acrocorinth.  What you can just make out is the remains of the fortified citadel of ancient Corinth.  The is also a temple of Aphodite up there.

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This is the temple of Apollo.  It looks like all the other temple ruins, but these columns are made from a single piece of stone.  The others I've seen seem to be sections of stone placed on top of each other.

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Saturday, 27 October 2012

Tues. Oct. 23rd 2012

The Couple's Conference continues - we were supposed to go up on Mars Hill for a meeting, but it had been raining and the rocks are slippery and lethal when they are wet.  My knees were hurting as well, so Brent & I didn't go up, but stayed in the lounge at the Young Adult Centre.  We spent most of the morning there alone, except for two sets of missionaries that came in to get their mail.  Eventually the Colliers and Colemans came back and we all went to the Arcadian for lunch.  We had moussaka which is very good there.  It had stopped raining, but none of us wanted to go shopping, so we went back to the Acropoli building.  Brent found a jig-saw puzzle and we helped him a bit between visiting.  The plan was to go back to the Mission Home for pizza night there.  We had our car, but President had to come back down to get the Cyprus couples.  We left about 4pm to get the car from the parking place that we rent and found that it was completely blocked in by another car - parked across the back of us and the two cars parked on either side of us!!! Brent was livid!  He and Elder Collier tried to move it, but it was in gear and the handbrake was on so it was impossible.  Fortunately, President called to see where we were and how things were going (not knowing about our plight) and so he got an ear-full!  He told us he would bring the other men that he was to pick up at the Acropoli bldg. and come and move the offending vehicle.  So, before long they all arrived on the scene and disappeared down to where the cars were.  Sis. Collier and I waited up top by the entrance.  A black sports car came into the parkade, went down and came back up almost immediately and parked in a little spot close to where we were standing. A guy and a girl got out and left.  Pretty soon, this guy came back and walked down the ramp to the cars.  (I thought that he must have seen our guys trying to move the car and was going down to lend a hand).  Within a couple of minutes another two young men came and went down to the cars.  We began to feel a bit nervous about things!! but it wasn't long before our guys appeared and said the car was freed.  It seems that the driver of the offending car parked across the back of our car because he thought it was his buddies' car and was told he could park there!!  Anyway, he moved it out of the way, but not before Brent let him know in no uncertain terms that he was not happy with what he had done.  I was really afraid of what Brent had said to him, but was assured by the other men that he didn't disgrace himself!!  So the rest of the evening was mild in comparison to the car incident, nevertheless, it was a lovely evening.

Mon. Oct. 22nd 2012

It is one year today from when we first set foot in Athens!!  which makes it less than 6 months until our release date.  Today is the beginning of the Greece Athens Mission Couples' Conference - which also takes in the Cyprus couples (four couples, three of which we have never met, only talk to on the phone).  Bent went to the airport with the van, and President went with the "7-seater" to pick up the Cyprus couples.  We were all to meet at the Mission Home for lunch and our contribution was, deviled eggs, carrot and cucumber sticks, little dill pickles and pickled beets - this was to accompany buns and cold cuts and a salad.  It was great fun to meet the Cyprus couples and after lunch, we had an introductory time where each person was given a few minutes to tell about themselves - it was interesting and fun.  Following that, there were four presentation - two of them were on the serious side and very interesting and the other two were also interesting, but very entertaining and fun.  Then we went to "3 Pigs" in the rain!! and a good time was had by all there.

Sun. Oct. 21st 2012

We went down to Athens 1st Branch and gave our talks!  Being as it is the Greek branch, to give your talk, you have an interpreter standing beside you and you deliver a sentence or whatever you think is manageable to the interpreter.  I felt this method really messed up the flow of what I was trying to present - one hopes that the audience will make up for the disadvantages of hearing it that way.  After that meeting, we left and went over to Halandri Branch.  It was their Branch Conference and usually the talks at branch conferences are top-notch and they didn't disappoint this time  - they were excellent.  Came back home and spent the rest of the afternoon  tidying up and preparing for the Collier's arrival this evening - they were driving down from Thessaloniki (6 hours).  The weather had turned dark, cold and threatening - so we made a large pot of soup which seemed appropriate.  They arrived about 8 pm and we shared the soup and had a good "gab-fest!"

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sat. Oct. 20th 2012

We picked up Pres. & Sis. F. from the airport this afternoon and they told us that yesterday, they had trouble getting into Greece at Thessaloniki coming from Cyprus, because their residency permit is in the process of renewal.   He said that for a little while he was wondering if he would have to have Elder C. fill in for him!!!  Very funny!  Anyway, they were able to reach our lawyer and she explained to the officer what was what and it all worked out.  But, holding up the line at customs in Greece is not something you want to be the cause of, as the people just let loose with how they feel about having to wait!!  Not a pleasant experience!  It was one of those beautiful clear days here today.

We had a strong wind which blew all the smog away and you could see for miles & miles - so Brent went up onto the roof and the following is what he saw  -

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The view from another direction

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This one is looking about 30 km to the sea.  You can get perspective by looking at the ship which is just left othe tall building -

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Fri. Oct 19th 2012

Lots of mail this morning - including the 2nd package of my supplements, so now we know that it generally takes one month for the product to get here which should help with getting futures orders on time 😀   Brent was out most of the afternoon going through the hoops in order to pick up the repaired van.  Another example of how things are done here  where the customer has to go the garage and get a paper and take it to the Insurance company, who signs the paper which gives the garage the OK to release the van to the customer!!!  Later, Brent & I had to deliver some stuff to one of our branch members to a place that Brent had not been to before!  When that happens, rather than go through the stress of finding the place and then trying to find parking, we take a cab.  That's what we did - and it was such a hoot.  The driver was Greek, but had lived in Canada and in London (even drove taxi in London) so his English was fairly good and he shared his feelings about Greece, the land and the people and the politics and even some of WW11!!!!  He told us that he had learned in London to be a courteous driver, but that doesn't work here because they are terrible drivers and so rude!!!'  He  took us through areas that were very new to us and it was interesting, but really, just the same as we had seen elsewhere - very densely populated side by side buildings with no green spaces.  It was not far from "the Center" but when you get a lot further out from there, the homes (even though they "single family dwellings" for the most part they are two to three stories high) but , they have gardens and trees around them and you feel like you can breath!  It was a nice little diversion.

 

Friday, 19 October 2012

Thurs. Oct 18th 2012

Today, we understand, is a national strike here in Greece. Transportation seems to be affect at different times, including the airport.  It is very fortunate that President and company flew out last night!!  Brent & I went out to do a bit of shopping and everything seemed normal.  President has been having trouble with his phone - it rings people when he isn't instigating the call!!  It has the "touch-screen" and so he got a new phone with buttons instead and a spot for two SIM cards.  The procedure to get it working seems simple, but it turned out to be a pain.  First off, the SIM card in his old iPhone is smaller than what fits into his new phone, so I gave him a new card and he departs for Cyprus expecting that I would have the phone company activated today.  The phone company called to say it was done  and ready to go.  I tried to call Pres. to tell him that - BUT - I got a strange voice speaking Greek.  It took hours of calling the phone company and TRYING to explain the problem and they trying to make sure I had given them the right numbers and that the card was in the phone and then, me trying to reach President to confirm all this.  I asked the man at the phone company (Georgios) to call the number and tell me who the person on the other end was - come to find out, it was an Albanian man and Georgios seemed surprised - anyway, I finally got through on the Assts' phone and learned that Pres. did not have the new SIM card in the new phone, and he was trying to down load the information from his old card (which wasn't working because it was too small).  Pres. got the right card in the right phone and it all worked after that.  So I had to call Georgios and tell him it was our fault after all!!   😞

Wed. Oct. 17th 2012

Had a little scare over some "missing" letters for some missionaries.  I distribute the mail which comes in for the missionaries and yesterday, I took some letters to that meeting for some of them.  Later on In the day I couldn't remember having given them out and I couldn't find them in my bag. So we had a worrisome evening, looking in cars and bags and purses and trying hard to trace my steps - no luck there.  This morning I had planned to call around to people that were there and see if anybody had seen them.  I thought I would start with the sisters just in case they had somehow received those letters in the interim - and thankfully they had!  The Assts. had seen the mail sitting on the desk at the meeting and gave them out after the meeting.  Whew!  Was I ever relieved!  Pres. & Sis. Freestone and the Assts. are headed for Cyprus this evening and so they were all here this afternoon preparing for that.  At one point Brent asked the elders, "Do you have your passports?"  Sheer panic crossed their faces as they realized that they didn't have them and they were back in their regular apartment, not here in the downstairs missionary apartment where they have been staying for th last week!!!  Fortunately they had enough time to get there and back.  Thank goodness for "Grandpa Clark checking up on the kids."  President would not have been happy if, as they set out for the airport, they announced that they didn't have them!!!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Tues. Oct. 16th 2012

Brent and I finished making our Shepherds Pies (3- 9x13 pans) and President was supposed to pick us up at 9:20am.  He is always punctual so we were surprised when he wasn't here then.  He finally called at 9:30 and told us that the garage door wouldn't open and we needed to take our car and get him.  We did!  Now we were late leaving and eventually got caught in the traffic and if took us over an hour to get to the Acropoli bldg!!!!  He actually missed his first meeting all-together.   However, we were in good time for the Training meeting.  The morning part went really well and the lunch was a success.  Our Shephers Pie was well liked!  The afternoon part was very good also.  President had a couple of interviews after that, so we had to wait for a while.  We finally got on the road by 6:30-ish and on the way, Pres. decided we should try out a Mexican restaurant they had seen.  It was called "Dos Hermanos" and was one of the better restaurants.  The food was quite good and we enjoyed it.  The Assts. joined us and we had a bit of a giggle when one of them tried a bit of a teeny green pepper  -  it turned out to be a habanero!!!  He was not too comfortable for a while.  President, on the other hand, loves hot food and ate a whole one, but even he was perspiring profusely after eating it.

Mon. Oct. 15th 2012

Assts. came up early to work on the presentation for the training meeting tomorrow.  I had lots of e-mail to attend to today.  Also, there was problem with the bikes in Cyprus.  Apparently, the bikes are in bad shape, most of them in need of repair, which is costly, and two of them were stolen.  The budget for the bikes doesn't begin to cover what is required and there is a new policy that will be implemented where the missionary will be responsible for any damage incurred to the bike!  We are in a lovely period of weather where the days are nice and warm (not hot) and the evenings are cool - however - the humidity is up, but it's bearable.  Brent and I worked on Shepherds Pie to serve 24 people at the meeting tomorrow.

The pomegranates are just about ripe -

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Sun. Oct. 14th 2012

It was a pretty quiet day.  We had to prepared food for the pot-luck meal in between watching the re-broadcast of the Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon sessions of General Conference.  Fortunately for us it was in English.  For whatever reason, we only had 11 in attendance and four were Brent & and I and the Assts.  Some left right after the first session leaving us four and two others - then those other two left before the second session!   We did enjoy watching it in peace and quiet though.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Sat. Oct 13th 2012

We were thrilled to have our cleaning girl, Kristina, return to us today after being back in her native Poland for three months.  Nobody was sure that she was going to come back and trying to communicate with Lucy and Anna about it gets you nowhere - they are Polish girls who speak Greek - so it was a lovely surprise and she brought chocolates for us too.  She cleans faster and better than the others, so it is great that she's back.  It was Harry's baptism today and the Assts. were going in top gear, trying to get everything done for it and also preparing for the training meeting next Tuesday.  They went and filled the baptismal font - which takes a couple of hours and even bought some goodies to go towards the snacks right after the baptism.  Brent & I also did up carrots and cucumbers "sticks,"  some diced cheese and some little cheese puffs that you bake in the over.  A lot of people were in attendance for the baptism.  Harry is a unusual type of Greek convert in that he has great leadership talents.  So the baptism went beautifully and the eats after were a success.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Fri. Oct. 12th 2012

When Brent went for the mail this morning,he found that my supplement had arrived - I'm saved again - for which I am very grateful.  The problem continues regarding money needed for Cyprus and Brent is really stressed about it.  He is the person in charge of having funds available for mission business and unfortunately some large unexpected expenses have hit all at the same time - including this one rude man from Cyprus who only submitted his bill Wed. and has been yelling on the phone ever since for his money!.  He doesn't seem to understand that it takes up to three/four days to transfer money to the bank over there.  Not fun!  I finally got the "help desk" to enable us to get the web site regarding strikes in Greece.  Ever since the new firewall went in we have not been able to get it along with a lot of other stuff that we regularly referred to for information - but that was an important one for us to have so all is good there.

Thurs. Oct. 11th 2012

Brenda e-mailed this morning telling us how nice their shift was at the temple open-house was this time - they were warm and inside.  They saw a lot of Gord & Karen who were in the same area - and Brenda was also working alongside a sister named McBride.  She asked Brenda if we knew the Maxwells who are in our mission.  They are friends from Ireland!!!  I phoned Maxwells and shared that news and they were delighted to hear about their friends there.  It's a small world.  Pres. came over  - an important e-mail came that he and the Assts. needed to respond to together.   Brent & I left them to it - we went to get haircuts - and when we got back Pres. and the Assts. were still at it.  It's much cooler now and feels a little more  conducive to work - good thing too -there's lots to do - among which today was, fixing up cell phones and checking out new ones.  We made soup for lunch and Brent had made a banana loaf which was very welcome.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Wed. Oct. 10th 2012

See that date??   Yes, we've been on our mission one year!  Six months to go!   It didn't really feel like it to me until I looked back on my blog and then it all started to come back to me and I was surprised at all the events I had forgotten - I'm sure glad I've been keeping this blog.  It seems like you can't keep a good man down as Pres. F. came over to finish his meeting with the Assts.  I went over the whole office with a bleach- rinsed rag before he came!!!  We don't want to catch that bug.  So while all of this was going on, I tried to do my work which is piling up again with elders calling in with orders and the like.  One of our young sisters goes home tomorrow and it's a bit different as she is the only one going home - usually there is a bunch leaving together.  Anyway, Pres. & Sis. F.  took her to lunch and then to do some shopping which is kind of a tradition when you are going home.  In the evening they brought her here so she could check her bags for weight - they were over!!  For about 45 mins. Pres. and Brent help her discard stuff - check the weight - discard some more stuff - check the weight - re-distribute belongings in the cases to make it even out a bit - then check the weight.  This time everything was good!!  They were so patient with her - I would not have been!  Then they took her back to the Mission Home to sleep there on her last night, making it easier to get her to the airport in the morning.  After they left, we got some food in for the Assts. after learning that they had not eaten since breakfast!!  They weren't going to tell us either.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Tues. Oct. 9th 2012

We were not off to a very good start this morning!  First thing - Colemans called to say that Sis. Coleman was down with "the bug" (the same kind that Sis Elks had) so they would not be coming to meetings - then Sis. F. called to tell us that she had not slept well  and excused herself - so that reduced our numbers to nine.  Things began unfolding as usual with the Mission Presidency meeting first, followed by the Greek Class and then lunch.  Lunch was great - Sis. M. did Chicken San Remo with noodles and she had just enough spice in there to make it delicious.  We had garlic bread (warm), fruit and topped that off with real apple pie.  Brent thought he'd died and gone to heaven.  After lunch, Pres. F. was meeting with the Assts., when all of a sudden he took off like greased lightning, headed for the Mission Home!  Sis. F. was so surprised when he burst in - he was ashen and sweaty and NOT looking good.  He came down with "the bug" also!!!  Poor soul, he's just barely over the sinus/bronchial thing that he had.  Also - Sis. Elks, who is just getting over "the bug" has the beginnings of shingles!!!  The Elks had another "whammy" - they got news of the death of a former for-mate and friend in South Africa who crashed his car into a bridge abutment  in the rain - his wife is left with 10 children!  Lots of "sad" happenings today.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Mon. Oct 8th 2012

It's Prep Day - but not so much for us as two elders need to come up here to pick up some clothes.  Also, there is supposed to be a delivery so we need to be here for that!  We were going to do something with the Elks, but with what I just mentioned and the fact that she is trying to get over a "bug" of some sort, we jus stayed here all day.  The Assts. came in the late afternoon to do their e-mails.  I am still waiting for an order of supplements that Brenda submitted Sept. 14th and I am just about out!!  I don't know what's happening with the mail here - the last order only just made it in time as well, so we purposely ordered "early" to avoid that kind of a situation again!

Sun.Oct. 7th 2012

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada!  Oh - I can almost taste the pumpkin pie!!!  Sis. F. called us for a ride to Halandri Branch because Pres. F.  had to go down to Acropoli and he was going to be staying there all day in meetings etc. until around 7pm - that was too much for her so we took her with us.  About halfway to Halandri, Pres. called to say he was stuck - the roads were barricaded !  So we wondered if we were going to see him arrive at Halandri later.  Then he called again, still trying to find a way around the blockage and said that it was because of a race - there were hundreds of people standing around in running gear with numbers on their shirts.  When we got to Halandri, some sisters pulled up from the Athens1st Branch who have morning meeting times also.  We tried to understand what they were saying to us, but couldn't make it out.  Then we saw the Assts. and they told us that as had been announced last week, the members from Athens 1st Branch were told to attend either Athens 2nd Branch or Halandri this Sunday because the whole Athens 1st Branch Presidency would be involved all of Saturday night and early Sunday morning translating into Greek the Conference sessions thus canceling Athens 1st meetings.  After trying several times to connect to Pres. F. with out success, I finally got through and learned he had made it to the Acropoli building OK and he did know about the cancelled meetings and was already involved with some other business  We brought Sis. F. home with us and we had dinner together here. We made up our meatball stew recipe - Potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, zucchini, mushrooms in a Cream of Mushroom soup gravy and that went down OK.  We had a lovely visit with Sis. F. sharing stories.  We watched the Sunday morning session of General Conference and absolutely loved Pres. Eyring's and Elder Holland's talks.

Sat. Oct. 6th 2012

Groceries cost 150 euros today because we have had lots of folk to feed this last while!  I am still trying to catch up on my tasks - I am beginning to wonder if that is always going to be the case!  We went with Pres. & Sis. F. to a baptism this afternoon.  We usually take some snack-type food for eats and drinks after the baptism and Pres. needed to pick up some cookies.  He stopped at Max Perry's which I thought just sold chocolates - but they also sell cookies!!  Ever since we got here, we have been passing that store and I keep wondering how good their chocolates are!! - but because it is in such bad place to try and park, Brent has not been willing to stop there.  So - at last I got  a quick "look-see" - and I did see some "real" chocolates, but we were in a bit of a rush and will have to go again to check it all out properly - especially since "our" favorite chocolate store "Leonidas" has finally shut down after not being open for business for about two months - but, never fear, there is still a Leonidas at the airport so we'll survive!  We have been noticing a lot of different bird calls lately - very pretty songs - so I wonder if there are birds on a migrating lane through here??  We watch the Sat. morning session of General Conference at 7pm our time.  We were astounded with Pres. Monson's announcement that young elders may now go on a mission at age 18 and that young sisters may go at age 19.  That is terrific news.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Fri. Oct. 5th 2012

President was over here for a short while today - he sure didn't look much better!   The Assts. came and worked here all day - poor souls, they have such a load of work to do.  I helped them book their flights for the end of this month.  We ran into trouble again doing that - we went through the process on-line all the way to the end where you pressed the button to "book the flight."   It wouldn't do it, and there appeared a red banner telling you that you have to call in to complete the booking.  I did and asked the girl why this was so?  She didn't know, but she helped me get all three flights booked!!!   We went through about a three/four month period last winter where this happened - it's just so inconvenient and time consuming!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Thurs. Oct. 4th 2012

Cloudy and cool this morning and we did get some light rain for a while.  Our dear Pres. freestone still sounds awful  - with his sore throat and cough.  He actually came over here to work on a report  that he HAD to get in.  a lesser man would not have done that!  Thankfully, it's been very quiet here for a change allowing us to do some much needed catch-up.  We had trouble with the phone system again today - we were not able to get any calls through to Germany, but we were able to get the States and England!!  Another frustration is that I haven't been able to get some Church videos and other sites that we use constantly to help us in our work since we got that new firewall.

On a brighter note - it has been too hot for the roses to flourish during the summer, but they are doing nicely again now  -

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Different view

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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Wed. Oct 3rd 1012

The Elks and two elders were here early to get the van so they could move the furniture etc. into the new Ilion apartment.  In the afternoon we had a man come in to do preventative maintenance on the A/Cs.  That got a bit dicey when Brent saw how much "stuff" had collected on the fan blades of the unit in our office and the only action the man was taking at cleaning it off was to spray some cleaning liquid on the blades through the grill where the air comes out.  This liquid was something like "Fantastic" (what we use in Canada to spot clean greasy marks from walls and floors etc).  The difference was that we, having once sprayed a spot, would clean it off with a paper towel or rag - but - he would spray this stuff on the fan blades, through the grill and then wait for it to "soften up" a bit, then turn the unit on and expect the buildup of dirt to let loose and fly off.  It actually did fly off a bit - making a mess on Brent's desk - but  no where near getting the stuff completely off and clean.  I thought Brent was going to lose it with him.  Brent has worked on these units and taught students how to care for them for years and this was not up to his standards.  There was a little discussion and then the guy let Brent get in there with a bit of rag on the end of a stick and scrape the blades until clean!  When he was done, we turned the unit on and it was so much more efficient at moving the air through, we thought it was on "high."

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Tues. Oct. 2nd 2012

Jani & Rich made it home safely.  They were able to get on a flight to Montreal going stand-by and thence by WestJet to Calgary.  We had a lovely Skype visit with them.  Brent did the mail while I iced the birthday cake and tried catching up on my jobs, but it's so hard to do that when everyone is here.  Pres. F. has a nasty sore throat and sounds awful - he's going to get an antibiotic later today.  The lunch was a success in spite of him not feeling well.  Now my big push regarding my tasks is to get new lists produced with all the new missionary information on them.

Mon. Oct. 1st 2012

Wow! a new month - where did September go?  I was sooo tired today - too many late nights and anxious about not being able to keep up with everything.  More clothes washing than usual today because of all the visitors.  We have meetings tomorrow and we had to plan the lunch for that.  I finished up opting to do the birthday cake for Pres. F.  so we needed to do a little shopping.  I decided to do a Bundt cake - Sour Cream Banana Party Cake - which I make often at home - but then I couldn't remember the exact measurements of ingredients, so after unsuccessfully checking on-line for the recipe I took a chance that Brenda might be able to find it for me.  Bless her - she did - and I got it made in time - so it all worked out well.  Elks had some work to do up here and they finished up eating with us and as usual, it was a hoot.  The Assts. were back again and so they had the left overs - of which there was plenty.

Sun. Sept. 30th 2012

Up at 3:45am!!  Got to the airport by 5 am - just as well too, as the line up was already huge.  We stayed with Jani & Rich until they were checked in and had their boarding passes - didn't want the risk of anything going wrong for them as this stage.  With that accomplished we said our goodbyes again - that's the really hard part - but the great memory of their visit somewhat compensates.  Church was anticlimactic after that, but the "special" investigator was there with his two darling little ones - 18 months and 3 yrs old.  RS was a special meeting today.  They had a presentation with four sisters taking the roles of former General RS Presidents - telling some of the spiritual experiences they had during their term of service. Following that we had a little lunch.  It was all very nice.  Frosts invited us to dinner and that was fun.  Alyson(mom) is about Brenda's age and they have four children also.  It was kind of like being at home - almost!

Sat. Sept. 29th 2012

Colliers went with Pres. F. down to the Acropoli building for their meetings.  Pres. also took the car we drive - the Cosair - because it is small and easier to park which left us with the Saphira - it is awful to drive - it is an automatic that drives and shifts like a manual!!  but, it's wheels go around and that's what counts!  Meanwhile, Jani & Rich had docked and were making their way up here in a cab - which Brent intended to pay for because he was loathe to drive about 30km. to an area which he didn't know.  It worked out well - they arrived without fuss and it only cost 38 euros.  Once again, it was absolutely super to see them and what a story they had to tell about their wonderful adventures in Venice and on the cruise to the ports and islands in the Adriatic.  They also brought a a beautiful set - letter opener and magnifying glass  - made of Venetian glass.  It's gorgeous - almost antique looking.  We talked and talked and viewed lots of their photos and then settled down to try and find out about their reservation for a "stand by" ticket to Amsterdam.  They had a request in for the 5:20 flight, but that is not a booking and we were not getting anywhere with it on-line or on the phone - so we had a bite of lunch and worked with their baggage to get the weight distributed more evenly and went on out to the airport to work out their flight arrangements there.  They asked at the counter - showing them their reservation request - and were told to report the wicket #65 at 4:30pm - about 45 min. wait.  Close to 4:30 we went to that wicket and there was already another couple there.  You take a big chance when you try to fly stand by and when Jani saw the other couple, she whispered to me that if they were KLM staff, they would have priority over her and Rich.  Great! - but we didn't know if they were KLM staff!!  4:30 came and went and all the staff were swamped trying to get ticket holders processed - our girl included - so that we finished up waiting another 45 minutes before anything much happened.  We notice "our girl" was having some difficulty with two men - come to find out they had tickets and were about the last passengers to check in only to find that the plane had been over-booked and they had no seats left for these two men.  They were not happy and that kind of put an end to Jani's hopes of getting on that flight.  The next thing was, they told those of us who where waiting to get on the flight that there were two "jump seats" (seats that the flight crew use when taking off or landing) available - and - you guessed it -the two in front of Jani & Rich were KLM staff.  So! "back to the drawing board."  Next thing to do was to go to the desk where they try to help you get another flight - they couldn't help us much in the time constraints that had to work with so we went downstairs to the travel agent and Jani & Rich finished up paying for tickets to get to Amsterdam via Rome.  We went back home to get an "early" night and be up at 3:45am to go back to the airport!!

Fri. Sept. 28th 2012

Was commandeered to do one of the jobs I loathe to do today - that of changing flights.  Pres. F. needed to move three flights from one week to the next - yes, it was only three flights, but when I call in to do it, the English speaking Greek girl's accent is so heavy and she speaks so fast (even in English) that I often have to have her repeat things and I find that embarrassing and difficult.  A few times in the past I have missed key points in the process which can be very expensive - fortunately I have not lost any money that way yet!!  The Colliers arrived this afternoon after a 6 hour drive down from Thessaloniki.  Elder Collier had knee surgery some months back and this was his first attempt at such a long drive and we were concerned about his knee standing up to the task, but even though he was tired he said it was OK.  We were going to take them out to dinner, but when we considered our choices of the few places we knew, we decided to just cook at home.  The Assts. have been staying here for most of the week because of the changes going on, but decided to go back to their own apartment tonight.  They had moved into this apartment about two weeks ago and had picked up a bunch of keys, which they assumed had a front door key on it.  No - it did not - so they called us in hopes that we had a spare key.  We didn't -so back they came to sleep another night up here and would try in the morning to get a key smith.  An expensive lesson as I understand they charge around 40 euros for that service!

Thurs. Sept. 27th 2012

The new missionaries, having had their training meeting today are dispersing to their assigned areas today.  Six went to Cyprus and we drove some of them to the airport.  We had to purchase 6 of those big bottles of water today - the kind that fit on the water dispenser.  The temperatures have been so warm the last couple of days (31C. to 36C.) that they have finished off two bottles in two days!!  The office was busy again today - Pres. had a mission presidency meeting and that meant that their wives were here also "hanging out" during the meeting - they are always fun to be with.  We haven't had a "quiet day" since last Wednesday and we have to plan carefully to fit everything in before the Colliers come down from Thess tomorrow and Jani & Rich arrive on Saturday morning early.

Wed. Sept. 26th 2012

We made breakfast for the Assts. after which they helped me with the photos of the new missionaries that are to go up on the Mission Board.  Brent had taken their photos and when I printed them on the "hoopty-do new laser color printer" they came out very dark and muddy looking.  I tried changing settings on the printer and on the computer, but I wasn't able to produce good photos.  So the Assts. helped me with that - and we finished up having to send them to our little old HP Desktop and then they came out clear and the color was right.  So much for the color laser printer!!  All the new missionaries and their trainers went to the Halandri Chapel for an all-day training meeting.  Some of us were asked to help with the food for their lunch.  Brent & I had to do baked-potatoes.  The lunch consisted of Chili over baked potatoes, plus Greek salad and coleslaw and French bread - topped off with chocolates coated ice cream bars for dessert.  We came back to the office, but had to go back over later to help transport some of the missionaries back here - this help required because of a National Strike here in Greece today.  Things got out of hand down at the Acropoli building as demonstrators tried kicking in the glass doors and setting garbage bins out the front on fire.  Our new CES man, who was formerly a police inspector in the U.K. took care of everything - calmly closing the metal doors and sending everyone home.

Tues. Sept. 25th 2012

Up and at it early - fed the Assts. who are also staying here - but upstairs, with us -  in preparation for the onslaught of the 10 new missionaries today.  Pres., the Assts. and Elder Clark all went to the airport in separate vehicles to get those missionaries, plus the piles of their luggage.  When they got here, their faces wore that familiar look  - stunned, glazed eyed - deer in the headlights look!!  Poor kids were so tired and they were not very used to the warm weather.  We took them in small group to do their check-in - mostly just getting their personal info' for their files.  While I had a group doing that, another group was over at the Mission Home having their personal interviews with Pres. F.   When all was processed, we went for the traditional welcome lunch at "Three Pigs"   It was nice, and in spite of being super tired they seemed to enjoy the food and had a fun time there.  After that the Assts. took them down to Acropoli Centre and they finished up fulfilling another tradition for new missionaries - going to Mars Hill for a little testimony meeting.  We didn't go for that part.