Sunday, 31 March 2013

Sun. Mar. 31st 2013

We went on daylight-saving time overnight!!  Received a lovely pic from Bunt this morning of her standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.  She said the boys were kind of sick yesterday and since they were taking the train to Frankfurt today, we hope they are better.  We went to Halandri chapel and were surprised to find Pres. & Sis. F. there as they were supposed to be at the Acropoli building.  They tried to get there, but everything was closed off for the running of the Marathon.  We were invited over to Elks for dinner – they served a yummy chicken sauce over mashed potatoes and cauliflower with cheese sauce.  It was great.  Dessert was cream puffs.  Later, we were invited to the Mission Home – President made waffles for Elders Jensen & Reading.  This is Elder Jensen’s last day as Asst.   Elder Reading will be getting and new companion tomorrow and Elder J. will be going to Cyprus as trainer for one of the new missionaries.  We had a fun evening.

Sat. Mar. 30th 2013

Did the grocery shopping.  On the way home Brent purchased some zucchini seeds – zucchinis are a bit different over here and he wanted to try and grow this variety at home so now I have to check the customs rules to see if they are allowed in!!  We did some more sorting of our own papers etc. to see what we keep to take home and what we can dispose of.  Kristina didn’t come today.  She didn’t call – we wondered if the Polish people celebrate Easter like North Americans do – in which case she would deem it a holiday and not come???  The Assts. are getting ready for the transfers and new missionaries – cleaning out the downstairs apartment and working on graphs etc. Then they had to go over to Halandri chapel to start filling th font for a 3:00 pm baptism.  President offered to pick us up at 2:20 and so we went there with him and Sis. F.   After the baptism they took us to a store from which they thought we would like to try and purchase some gifts – it was not open.  We then went to a restaurant – all I can say is that it was a restaurant that served the food of Crete – the servers dressed in Crete style clothes – and it was really nice.  The food was great and we had a super time.  So that was our official farewell dinner from Pres. & Sis. F.

Fri. Mar. 29th 2013

President came over about 8:15 – we didn’t know he was coming and although we were ready for the day and was already “working” we hadn’t unlocked the door!!!
I thought it was going to be an easy day, but President announced the transfer changes and then we had to book all the flights and train passages – making sure that we get the arrivals and departure close to one another to save extra car travel.  The Assts. purchased a crepe maker – it’s huge – so we had to make crepes for supper.  They turned out really well.  We got our new Bank of America credit cards today, but don’t know how to use them yet!!!  Well – we don’t know the accounting side of them yet is what I mean.

Thurs. Mar. 28th 2013

President came over about 8:15 – we didn’t know he was coming and although we were ready for the day and was already “working” we hadn’t unlocked the door!!!
I thought it was going to be an easy day, but President announced the transfer changes and then we had to book all the flights and train passages – making sure that we get the arrivals and departure close to one another to save extra car travel. The Assts. purchased a crepe maker – it’s huge – so we had to make crepes for supper.  They turned out really well.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Wed. Mar. 27th 2013

The Elks arrived here at 8:00 am today.  Elder Elks went with Pres. F. to a “Warden’s” meeting at the US Embassy and was gone until 2:00 pm.  During that time Sister Elks and I did the Supplies Order for April – entered a Baptism on CDE, got the original record ready to be mailed and prepared the Congratulations letter to be sent.  We put the finalized copy of the Office Manual into a binder and completed the index for it.  Together we just went through an “end of the month” type day.  We had lunch together and then finished up eating supper together also.  Later, the Assts. had a teaching appointment here at the office with Harry and we were invited to sit in on it.  It went well.

Tues. Mar. 26th 2013

Brent went for the mail – there wasn’t much, because of the holiday yesterday.  President came over early to give Brent a lot of pages to scan.  It was a missionary application that has to be submitted to Salt Lake.  We went to Specialized Training meeting around 10:00 am and picked up Sis. Freestone on the way.  Halfway there, we get a call from President that he had forgotten the projector at the Mission Home, so we scooted back, picked it up and headed back down to Halandri.  We actually needed to be their earlier so we could set up tables for lunch time – but it all worked out with some extra help.  The meetings were really good – better than usual.  They had a testimony meeting to end the day and President took the opportunity to thank Brent & I for all the work we do in the office – it was really sweet.  Back home again and then I had Brent take some treats and a thank you note to Frosts for their help in showing the kids a good time when we went to Sounio.  The Assts. helped us eat up left-overs and then we visited for a bit before it was time to go to bed.

Mon. Mar. 25th 2013

Did the washing and answered emails.  The Assts. were up to do their weekly letters and we had lunch together.  I updated all the lists entering Rebers into them and found some omissions in the Office Manual.  We had an absolutely wonderful surprise – the most beautiful arrangement of flowers from Brenda & Dave and kids for putting them up here during there visit . President was over to do an interview and I checked with him about keeping some old documents.  Being Prep-Day, the Assts. received permission to watch "Madagascar II".  We actually got to watch in English!!  It was fun.  We fed four elders tonight – made Emily’s Chicken.


Brent took a photo of the peach tree in our garden  -

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Sun. Mar. 24th 2013

Another lovely day.  Very few at meetings today because of the long weekend and Independence Day holiday.  After a quick lunch we made up a big batch of banana bread.  We had to open a new carton of eggs and Brent really likes that I wash the eggs before we use them.  One squished inward the second I picked up, but we salvaged it for the mix.  As I was putting the rest in the fridge, I dropped one – it made a nice splat noise as it hit the floor!!   Egg handling not so good today!!  Following that, we made Sweet & Sour Meatballs and rice for supper.  We went to the airport at 5’ish to pick up President and sis. F. plus the Assts. so we took the van. They all came back and had supper with us – we had a good visit.

Sat. Mar. 23rd 2013

Went grocery shopping and it has been a gorgeous day – not a cloud anywhere to be seen – it is definitely spring as we saw a lot of pollen coating the cars.  Monday is Independence Day here in Greece – so it’s a long weekend and a lot of people are going away for the long weekend and with the temperatures near 20C. they are going to have a great time.  There will be a parade on Monday – let’s hope it is peaceful.  I’m just about finished the office manual – just doing additions and revisions and trying to put it together.

Fri. Mar. 22nd 2013

Brent got the mail, but when we were sorting it we found a pick-up slip for a registered letter that he had missed, so he had to go back to the post office for that. Received wonderful “posts” from Davey and Brenda about their day yesterday. They seem to be doing OK and really enjoying everything there.  We had a big pile of mail sitting around here for days that was supposed to go to the Acropoli building for the missionaries down there.  Because the Assts. have been away so long it has built up - so we decided to take a cab down, deliver their mail and then went to the Plaka and got all the the prezzies that I wanted to take home.   Brent dashed to the bank when we got back to get a form in before they closed at 2:00 pm.  Between office jobs and tidying up the place so our cleaning lady doesn’t freak when she comes tomorrow I had a busy afternoon.  We learned that there was a horrendous 100-car/truck pile up near Leduc, Canada, in a snow storm – they took at least 100 people to hospital!!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Thurs. Mar. 21st 2013

It is very quiet around here!!  The kids emailed that they arrived safely.  Back to the job in earnest today.  Sis. Elks came and Elder Elks and Brent went to the phone company and then moved some furniture from the apartment that is being closed.  Sis. Elks shadowed me in the jobs this morning – she is very good and will be just fine (even though she says she’s nervous!!)  We ate Greek salad and fresh bread for lunch and then they went.  I’m still washing bedding and towels, but am making good progress and also catching up on my blog.  We had a lot of demonstrations today – I hope there were no problems.  It was either very smoggy today or maybe just humid and misty – at one point I thought it would rain, but it didn’t.  Brent was able to get the meds that he wanted for his rash today, so I hope it works!

Wed. Mar. 20th 2012

A gorgeous day.  Brent & I drove Pres. and Sis. F. to the airport to do the Cyprus & Thessaloniki trip.  The morning was spent packing by Brenda, Dave & Sherry, while Grandpa entertained the kids and Grandma did a couple of office jobs and cleaned up.  Dave and Sherry really wanted to check out a super market here and Brent and I wanted to show the kids our “Hundred Acre Wood” – a small forest that we go through when we go to the grocery store – however, we only had time enough to drive through the forest in the end.  We did that and the little ones were suitably impressed and asked where the Hefalump was!!  Then we headed to the airport and arrived in plenty of time.  We went to the McDonalds there for lunch and all too soon we were saying our goodbyes.  That was hard, but not as hard as it might have been if we had maybe six months left to serve – instead we will be home in 20 days all being well.  Got back to the office and I started washing sheets and towels etc.  The washing machine and dryer  are very slow, so I expect it’ll take me a couple of days to get it all done.  I received phone calls from the zone leaders regarding their April supplies orders and two other "help" calls and so it goes – problems here and problems there.  Brent has gone to the drug store to try and get some meds for a rash that just won’t clear up!!   They weren’t open!

See you in 20 days!!

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Tues. Mar. 19th 2013

The weather forecast was iffy again today, but as the day got going it got better and better, so our Corinth trip began.  First though, the Elks arrived once again to cover for us – we can’t express how grateful we are to them – and Brent and Brenda went and purchased a birthday cake for Davey as we planned to celebrate a little bit, his birthday which is coming up on the 30th.  For one reason and another we didn’t get on the road until 11 am, but it’s only about 1½ hours drive and we were there by 12:30.  We went straight to the Ancient Corinth site and headed up to Acrocorinth -  A road twists from the ancient site to the summit, which is a  rugged limestone sugarloaf mountain that rises 566m (1,855 ft.) above the plain.  On a clear day, the views from the summit are great.  We drove to the parking lot which is just below the summit, but hiking up to the fortress/castle is really no place for the physically challenged  -  “Demanding walking, limited paved areas, and lots of uphill hiking over rocks etc. But the views are spectacular, and the little chapels, the cannon, and the medieval atmosphere are very cool indeed.”  Even where I was in the parking lot, it was amazing.  I sat in the van with the door open and took in the view and listened to the birds – it was very peaceful.  The rest of the crew were up there for about 1½ hours and they came back thirsty and a little bit red from the sun.  We went down the mountain to the ancient site and walked around the ruins a bit and ate some food that we had brought with us and topped that off with an ice cream treat from a little kiosk.  The kids found a playground  while Brenda checked out a pottery shop where she purchased a few items.  Then it was time to head home but first, we had to stop at the Corinth Canal and was fortunate enough to be there as a ship was being towed through. This canal separates the Peloponnese from mainland Greece, connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf and is quite something to see. Once home, we had souvlaki and gyros for supper and the surprised Davey with a cherry cheesecake.  It was a lot of fun.  Then Brenda and Sherry did loads of washing in preparation for packing in the morning.

As you can see it was warm and the little ones had no trouble making their way over rough terrain -

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This was my view from the parking lot up there -

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Here's the whole crew with one of the towers of the fortress being restored in the back ground -

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Lauryn, Sophie & Rhys back down in Ancient Corinth in front of Apollo's Temple -

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The ship passing through the Corinth Canal -IMG 1519

Mon. Mar. 18th 2013

President came to pick up the Assts. at 8:15 am to take them to the airport as they were headed over to Cyprus a couple of days sooner than Pres. & Sis. F. so that they could work with the missionaries over there before they arrived.  Elks kindly came to “mind” the office while we were gone – they are the best!  It was very overcast and quite cool, but not much wind!   That was a bit of a problem, because it is “Clean Monday” and it is a tradition in Greece to fly kites on Green Monday.  Here’s a bit from Wikipedia – “Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece and Cyprus, where it is celebrated with outdoor excursions, the consumption of shellfish and other fasting food, a special kind of azyme bread, baked only on that day, named "lagana" (Greek: λαγάνα) and the widespread custom of flying kites. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days, but shellfish is permitted in European denominations. This has created the tradition of eating elaborate dishes based on seafood (shellfish, molluscs, fish roe etc.).  People on Clean Monday usually take their picnic baskets and put inside fasting foods because it is the day that Lent begins”.  We met Frosts at a soccer field not too far from the office and had fun trying to get the kites up in the air, but they were the wrong design or they just needed more wind, so we gave up on that after a while and got back into our cars and headed to Sounio – about an hour and a quarter south of Athens.  That is one of my favorite places – however, it was even more overcast down there and was drizzling a bit.  Frosts had suggested that we go to a “Taberna” (tavern) that they knew of, just down the hill from the Temple of Poseidon.  Of course, there, you ate fish that day and the bread that they talked about.  There were shrimps about 6 in long (head & tail on) and some deep-sea bass and one other kind that I couldn’t pronounce or spell!! – there were chips(fries) and fried cheese and Greek salads.  They were crowded in that place, but, it was located right on the water with maybe a 5 foot strip of sand at the front, so, the kids went nuts.  In no time they were out there with shoes and sox off and searching around in the water for little fish.  One of the kids had a bit of bread and thus they found their little fish in short order – they went after that bread like a bunch of piranhas.  It was like pulling teeth trying to get them to leave, but we finally got on the road and went up to Poseidon’s Temple, took a few pictures, had a quick look around and came back down – it was drizzling and very cold.  We headed back to Athens on the coast road which was pleasant in the van out of the cold and still a lovely drive.  When we got home, we were really tired, so we just ordered in pizza for supper, got the kids to bed and the brave adults stayed up and played word games – while us wimps went to bed.

Brenda & Dave in front of the Temple of Poseidon

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Sun. Mar. 17th 2013

Brenda was up bright and early and looking very spiffy  -  I don’t know how she did it – she’s still on Calgary time and must have been desperately tired.  We were all ready to go to church and get there with time to spare, there was a phone call and then when we were all settled in the van, we had forgotten some plates that had to go back to Halandri, plus Ralph’s letter – so! we just barely made it on time!!  I did my talk and then we had the treat of Dave & Brenda & kids singing a primary song – then it was Dad’s turn to talk.  We were glad that was over, but the song was absolutely super.  The Elks came to our meeting instead of Athens 1st just to hear the kids – they are so sweet.  We had pork roast, mashed potatoes, carrots and Greek salad for lunch followed by Sis. Freestone’s wonderful chocolate cake – yum!  The missionaries ate with us also and they were a wonderful addition to our group.  Dave took the kids for a walk while we cleaned up and after that we did a lot of visiting and played Banana Grams (a word game that Bunt brought with them – it’s really fun.  The kids were really good.  Alyson Frost called and we planned to have them join us on our Sounio trip tomorrow.

This is Lauryn and Caitee Frost standing outside Halandri Chapel..  Lauryn and Caitee began emailing each other soon after we began our mission here -

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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Sat. Mar. 16th 2013

Well, it’s just about 8:30 and Brent & I are the only ones up yet – not surprising!  The weather looks iffy at the moment so we’ll have to brainstorm when everyone gets up as to where we should go today.  We decided to go to the Acropolis!  Elder Elks and Sis. Elks came to the office as they had offered to “cover” for us while the kids are here so that we can spend time with them and take them places – so Elder Elks drove us down to the centre of Athens.  That was a fabulous help. One, because we had to go in the van and there is no parking to be had in the centre for ordinary cars let alone the van! - and two, because Elder Clark hates driving in the centre.  Unfortunately, it was windy, cold and overcast when we got down there.  But that was good in one way, because there were very few people there, just the same, we did freeze ourselves - but, we did have a good look at everything and when we came down from the Parthenon I stayed at the foot of Mars Hill while the others went up there and had a quick look.  They just couldn’t go home without seeing Mars Hill, especially when they were so close.  After that, we went to introduce them to moussaka - the Greek national dish!  We went to the little place that we have been to a couple of times before and everyone was really impressed with that dish.  It was then that I discovered that I had forgotten to bring my cell phone along with me!!!  So then began the search for a pay phone.  Brent finally found one so he could call Elders Elks to come back and pick us up.  While we waited – Brenda and I went to the Plaka to see if we could get some gifts.  She did OK, but I had forgotten to get some cash from Brent!!!  Meanwhile, Dave took the kids to a park.  We got back to the appointed meeting place and Elder Elks was already there, but no sign of Dave and the kids!!  When we left them, they were on their way to the park, so we reasoned that they were there somewhere so Dad and Brenda went looking for them.  They returned minus Dave and the kids but Brent had fallen and scaped his knee and strained his left arm!!!  Poor guy!  he just can’t win.  So then, Brenda went off at a run across to the park – I was very nervous about her being off on her own, running around a park in the middle of Athens.  I don’t know how long she had been gone – it seemed  like ages – and I was beginning to panic.  It was then that we saw a little kid come out of the Acropoli chapel – then there were others – sure enough, it was Dave and the kids – one of them had to go to the bathroom!!  So then, it was back to worrying about Brenda.  Bless her heart, she finally turned up and we were waving at her from a distance that everything was OK – she was so out of breath and I, for one, was sooo relieved that everything turned out OK in the end.   So, it was back to the office and pick up the Elks and go to “Three Pigs” for supper.  They really enjoyed that place and we had a lovely time together.

Sherry, Dave, Lauryn, Sophie, Erik & Rhys by the Acropolis

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Brenda, and the kids to the left -

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Friday, 15 March 2013

Fri. Mar. 15th 2013

The day we have been waiting for ages!   As soon as we got up, Brent went on to Flight View on the computer and watched the progress of the kid’s flight from Calgary to Frankfurt – when we checked in about 8:30 our time they were alreadyover Greenland.  We had a busy day again doing the last minute things and our office jobs.  Sis. F. called to tell us she had made a cake for our family, so went over to the mission home and got it -  she is sooo thoughtful and we had a nice little visit with her as well.  It still looks like we could get rain any time – overcast most of the time but with sunny patches now and then with the temperature around 16C.  Hopefully it will get a bit warmer.  We went to the airport about 10:15 pm and their plane was 5 mins late.  Seems like we had to wait forever for the kids to come through the gate – but – oh! how wonderful to see them and to actually be able to hug them!!!   They looked sooo good, but tired.  However none of us seemed to feel it much and we just kept on talking and talking and didn’t get to bed until 1:00am.  The children had a peek in the “yard” and saw one of those palms that look like a giant pineapple and they were freaking out about that.  It’s so fun to see things through the eyes of little guys!

Thurs. Mar. 14th 2013

Rushed around madly this morning getting things ready for the arrival of the kids and then hit the office and entered two baptisms during which time President dropped by (Sister F. Is not well today!) and Elder Elks with missionary helpers – they are moving furniture etc. from an apartment that is being closed.  The Assts. went on a teaching appointment to Sean Moore – it didn’t go well and maybe visits to him are coming to an end.  Brent and I went and did a big shopping this afternoon so we will have enough food etc. for the kid’s visit.  We made meatball stew for supper and after I worked on my talk for Sunday.  President says Sister F. is feeling better tonight.  It has been a very windy day and overcast – it looks like it is getting ready to rain.  We are now about six hours away from the time the kid’s plane leaves Calgary

Wed. Mar. 13th 2013

We were off to an inauspicious start this morning with one of the trays on the door of the fridge falling off and Brent began a repair job on it before he got out of his pjs etc.  The job took longer than he thought and suddenly President F. was here to work in the office and Brent was scrambling to get presentable.  It was pretty funny.   I spent half the day making up white binders for incoming missionaries ( It contains lots of instructions for them and pages of Greek language helps).  It’s a big job making covers, copying the information to go into the binder and then binding it altogether with the plastic Circlex.  President stayed for lunch and left soon after.  The rest of the day went quietly.  The weather is changing and we are probably going to have rain in the next day or two  -  ☹

Tues. Mar. 12th 2013

Tidied up and got ready for Mission Presidency meeting.  President arrived with treats in hand to celebrate Elder Elks’ birthday which was yesterday!! Yum!!  I sent out the welcome letter to Hansens and booked flights for the Assts. to go with President on the next mission tour.  Sis. Elks didn’t come today and so Elder Elks went home for lunch which left us with just the Assts. to feed – we made Greek salad and Brent purchased some good, fresh deli bread.  Between jobs, Brent and I made a big apple crisp as we were assigned to bring dessert to the couples meeting tonight at the Mission Home.  As usual, it was a great time with lots of fun and President showed a movie called “Beyond the Blackboard” about a young teacher on her first job and she had to teach homeless children with all the problems that you can imagine that might be there in such a scenario.  It was terrific.

Mon. Mar. 11th 2013

Our returning missionaries made it into the car by 6:30 am OK!!  It is so hard saying goodbye to them – they are all such good young people and you get very close to them, especially those who have worked in the office with us.   The Assts. looked very tired today – I think they are basically worn out with all the chasing around they had to do – making sure the returning missionaries were where they were supposed to be and with whom they were supposed to be – pretty much at their beck and call.  This morning, after the flights left, the Assts. went to get their license plates back.  They went to the place that they were at on Saturday where they were told to come back today and were met with – Oh! you are in the wrong place – you have to go ?? to pick them up!!!  They went there and finally got the plates, but what a lot of messing them around.  VERY frustrating!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Sun. Mar. 10th 2013

One months to go!    We had to take the 7-seater to church this morning because we had 5 missionaries, plus Brent & I and Sis. F. all needing a ride!!  It was a bit squishy, but it all worked out.  There was a much better attendance today and the weather was super – got up to 19C.  It was pot-luck also and we took Hawaiian beans – two people brought pastichio!  Sis. Frost and Caitee were back from their trip to the States.  This afternoon there was lots of traffic in the Mission Office because of the ones leaving wanting this and that.  Elks came over here in the evening to borrow boxes as they have to move stuff out of a vacated apartment tomorrow.  We could hear the missionaries downstairs still packing and joshing around until fairly late which was probably not a good thing as they had to be in the car in the morning, ready to go to the airport at 6:30 am!!!

Sat. Mar. 9th 2013

We went grocery shopping.  The Elks picked up the two sisters and the two elders that had not been to Corinth and took them to see it.  The other elders went to do their traditional last shopping for souvenirs etc. – but they couldn’t do it at the Plaka because of demonstrations going on there today – it’s a shame.  The Assts. were supposed to have been able to pick up their license plates today that were taken away from them ten days ago.  They had even phoned yesterday to confirm that they could get them today, but when they got there they told them they would have to come back on Monday – that’s just typical of how things work here!!  Kristina came to clean thankfully.  It’s a lovely day so far – it’s a bit cloudy but fairly warm.  It was noisy and busy here in the office tonight - the elders that had gone shopping and the ones that went to Corinth congregated here swapping stories and generally just visiting - so we were "chaperoning"!!!

Fri. Mar 8th 2013

Brent got the mail – there was a lot and he hid a parcel from me!!  It was the FiberSmart  -  now I don’t have to order any more as I will have enough to last me until well after I get home!  It’s a big day for all the missionaries going home on Monday -  today they all have their final interviews With Pres. F. and a special luncheon at the Mission Home and do the traditional trip up Mars Hill for their final testimony bearing.  The Assts. have been on the go since Wednesday evening picking up missionaries and taking them to apartments or planes and it looks like they will have a bit of a break now from all that now.  The Elks brought the sister who is going home to the Mission Home at 9am and then stayed with us until lunch time at which time they had to head out to complete a Humanitarian project at Damaris orphanage.  So while they were here went did some more training with them – they are so good and are “getting it” really well.  Brent and the Assts. went to a print shop to pick up the bookmarks that the Assts.  ordered weeks ago.  We took the Cyprus mail over to the Mission Home for President to take tomorrow and Sis. F. gave us each a plate of food for our supper.  She is so sweet.  Brent got some pictures of the plum tree which is now blossoming outside of the kitchen.

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Thurs. Mar. 7th 2013

It’s raining!!  And President, Harry, Wilderspin, Reading and Jensen left for Corinth this morning early.  Sis. F. called about the “history” that we are supposed to report on as couples for the respective branches that we attend – we went over that for a while trying to fill in the gaps for January & February.   Brent & I both got haircuts which will be our last ones here in Greece!!  Maria’s cleaning girl came to do the stairs and Brent had told Manolos to tell her that there is a big patch of mold on the ceiling up on the 3rd floor – she did a great job of getting it all cleaned off.  I worked on the release package for Smiths who go on 28th March and tidied up a lot of little messy things.  I received answer from Area Travel regarding Nicholls and Brandenburg.  The plan for Nicholls’ trip fell through as the flight that they told us about was only available until April and so it won’t work for May travel – so we are in the process of figuring out another flight.  The Assts. and Wilderspin came back from Corinth tired and very wet – especially the feet!!  They cleaned up and we had souvlaki and hamburgers and cheesecake for supper!!  Now they have gone out to the airport to pick up two other elders that will be flying home on Monday morning.

Wed. Mar. 6th 2013

Did a few tidy-up jobs and then pushed forward with cleaning out cupboards.   It was a nice day – mixture of sun and cloud, but still a bit nippy.  President came over and we cleared up a bunch of things for him.  The Assts. came back this evening after being on and overnight exchange and then they went to the airport to pick up Elder Wilderspin.

Tues. Mar. 5th 2013

President had a Mission Presidency meeting.  Sis. Elks came and she worked with me on secretarial duties and then we sorted out some cupboards – we threw out a lot of old stuff and things are looking a lot better.  President brought over some apple pastries and Sis. Elks brought some chocolate cake – so we were well treated today.  We made carrot soup for lunch, which went down well.  Brent is feeling a lot better today.  The weather was nice and sunny too.

Mon. Mar. 4th 2013

Brent said the pains are not as strong today, but he feels really tired.  It is Prep Day and I did the washing and ironing and a few office jobs.  It was a partly sunny day – quite pleasant.

Sun. Mar. 3rd 2013

We woke up to a minor thunderstorm with plenty of rain.   Brent still not good – Elder Jensen seems better, but Elder Reading is now hurting lots!!  Pres. & Sis. F. picked me up to go to Sacrament meeting at Halandri – then, as Pres. had to go down to Acropoli after, he dropped me off back at the office.  I made some very mild/bland chicken soup with rice in it for the sickies and it went down OK.  However, everyone headed back to their beds after so it was a REALLY quiet afternoon.  Later I watched Music and the Spoken Word and then, with the Assts. President Monson’s biography, “ On the Lord’s Errand”  - it was really good.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Sat. Mar. 2nd 2013

Went grocery shopping at 8:00am – we took the Assts. too since they are without car privileges still.  Pushed along all day getting caught up on stuff.  Brent and the Assts. seem to have come down with some tummy upset!!  The Assts. had to cancel an appointment!!  Hopefully they’ll recover soon.

Fri. Mar. 1st 2013

We were up and out early this morning.  Left at 6:45 to go to the airport to see the Maxwell off on their way home.  We met at the airport at 7:15 and everything went smoothly and soon they were ready to go through security.  After a little short visit and some picture taking, they went off through the maze and pretty soon were out of sight.  It was sad – they are such sweet people and who knows if we will ever see them again – it was a privilege to know them.  The Elks came back to the office and Sis. Elks and I did the Book of Mormon order – that is one of the more challenging monthly tasks.  After that, we booked some flights for elders that will be coming back here from Cyprus – they will be travelling home on March 11th  -  that is another job that can be a pain.  Sis. E. doesn’t hear well and wears a hearing aid and when she had to call in to get the booking finished, she couldn’t hear what the girl was saying.  I’m wondering how she will manage with that problem.  Meanwhile, Brent & Elder E. went to the Post Office to see how our picking up the mail works and followed that up with telling him about some of the financial stuff.  Manalos, (Maria’s supervisor/gardener) came by to drop some bills off for us to pay – dealing with him is fun at the best of times – it’s good that he brings an interpreter!  The Assts. worked in the office for most of the day and had lunch and supper with us.  They do not have the use of a car yet – President told them that they’ll have to use the bus and metro until they get their license plates back (10 days)!!!  I wonder if he’ll make them wait that long?  We receive more tags today – the rest of the Jan. 2nd order.  We went out to the airport at 9:50 to pick up Pres. & Sis. Freestone returning from Germany.  It’s fun driving with them – you catch up on everything.  With the Maxwells going home  today,  Athens now has only three couples, not counting President & Sis. F.    Couples are really important to the young missionaries - they go all the time with them on teaching appointments - especially where there is only a single lady, and couples are essential to helping transport the young missionaries (especially when there is luggage involved) - also when they are sick and need to go to the doctor. So we have three couples!  The CES couple don't have a car, so that makes two couples left - Brent & I do not go with the young missionaries very much because of the nature of our calling and the fact that we are far away from any of the proselyting areas.  So that leaves the Elks, and they are going to be taking over here - so do the math!  Pres. and Sis. F. just came back from a Mission President's Conference in Frankfurt and sad to say, as they visited with other Mission Pres. and their wives, the story seems to be the same everywhere - they can't get couples.  In Madrid, they do not have an office couple, but have had to pull young missionaries in to man the office!! so it would seem that could be the way of the future.  Trying to get couples now is like hen's teeth - especially since 58 NEW missions have just been announced and they are looking for couples  etc. for those missions.  It's going to be interesting - we know it will all work out - but probably not in the way it has been functioning before.

Thurs. Feb. 28th 2013

Went to The Mall and got a really nice cheese slicer and was supposed to go to Plaisio on the way home to pick up the folders that we had ordered, but we ran out of time because we had to be back so that Brent could meet Sophia (lawyer) at the bank.  He did that and it still took a long time to get the transaction done, but not as long as some other times!! The wind was blowing pretty hard today and the house across the street where the renovations are happening had their fence pulled down and a deep hole was dug all around the fence line for the new foundation for a fence ready to be poured – but they had it taped off and the wind had blown the tape onto the road, so Brent went over and fixed it. Maxwells, who are going home tomorrow called to have me do their boarding passes on-line.  Just as well they did, because, when I tried to enter the Booking Ref. for Elder Maxwell, it didn’t work.  After a few phone calls, I discovered that when I informed Germany (when they were doing the original booking) that Sister Maxwell’s passport was still under her previous name, they issued another ticket for her.  They did that by splitting the original ticket and issuing her a new one – not realizing or maybe forgetting to tell me that Elder Maxwell’s ticket received a new Booking Ref. at that time.  Once I got that straight there was no problem.  Elder and Sis. Elks came over firstly, so that I could teach Sis. Elks how to do the statements at the end of the month – and secondly, to meet the Maxwells here.  The Maxwells had to bring their car up here and leave it here and so the Elks drove them home and will pick them up early in the morning and drive them to the airport.  The Maxwells didn’t get here until 6:30 and Brent cooked up a pork and potatoes supper while I “taught" Sis. Elks and we ate before the Maxwells got here.  It was a blast as usual.

Wed. Feb. 27th 2013

Brent drove President & Sis. F. to the airport at 7:00 am – they have a Mission President’s Seminar in Frankfurt.  On the way back, he dropped the car off at the garage for servicing. We took some pictures of the almond tree next door – it's in blossom and it’s awesome.  The garage called to say the car was ready so the Assts. drove Brent down to pick it up.  Someone from Finance in the States called asking if we had received the new bank cards for the missionaries  – so we can expect some changes in our accounting I should think.  Work-wise it was a very good day for me.  With very few interruptions I was able to get a lot of cleaning out of files done (still not finished though) and subsequently lots of shredding done.  The Assts. came home with their tail between their legs – they had parked illegally down at one of the missionaries’ apartments and when they came out they found the police had removed their license plates!!!  That’s what they do here – take the plates and you don’t get them back for 10 days and there is a 40 euro fine as well!!!

Beautiful blossoms -

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and more  -

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Tues. Feb. 26th 2013

Brent did the mail run.  Presidency meeting this morning.  Elks arrived and shortly after Elder Maxwell arrived.  I did more training with Sis. Elks.  We processed some Paymentnet transactions.  Then I helped her put her Chicken lasagna together – Brent went and got some fresh bread and we made a Greek salad.  After lunch Sis. Elks and I did the March Supply orders for Athens and Cyprus – then we began going through files so she could become familiar with them.  It was a full day and boy! am I tired.

Mon. Feb. 25th 2013

Prep Day – but we worked anyway.  It was another beautiful day and nice enough that I put the socks out on the rack outside to dry – first time this year!  The heating is run by oil here and the Mission Home received a delivery this morning.  Oil delivery guys are notoriously dishonest and this morning we had a new guy come and surprise, surprise, this man and his son turned out to be honest.  Brent had the tank measured and he knew exactly how much he needed and when the job was done, the level was within 2 mm of what it should have been.  Brent was very happy.  President had quite a few jobs for us to do today, so we had a full day – but it was a good day too.