Sunday, 21 April 2013

Wed. Apr. 10th 2013

Up early of course(3:45 am), as we had to leave the Mission Office by 6:15 am. When Pres. and Sis Pisti arrived we were not quite ready!! And we finally left at 6:30 am – but the traffic was light and so we made good time and didn’t get to the airport late. We checked in our bags, took lots of pictures and visited for a little while and then headed for security. It was sooooo hard, saying good bye. Our little group all waited at the entrance of the security lanes for us to go through! As we were making our way down the security lanes, an officer asked for non-EU to go into another lane – we did.  However, when we reached the customs booth, the person in front of us had a problem, and so we waited, and waited, and waited!!!  At one point we changed lanes, but went back where we had been when the person in front of us there began having lengthy problems!! – all the time our little group was standing back there waiting for us to wave goodbye! Finally, we made it through. At that point I had planned to go to some of the little shops and get the few things that I had missed getting at the Plaka. That didn’t happen as there was no time left.  We headed for customs and found ourselves in a huge line-up – but fortunately, it moved fairly quickly – that was a good thing too, as after our stuff had gone through and we were putting our belonging together again (Brent had to practically undress) a hostess came over to us and asked if we were for London!! Then we heard our names being called over the PA to go to our gate and board our flight!!!  We were 2nd of last to board the plane!!! That meant having to hunt for space to stow our carry-ons. We managed to find a spot for Brent’s briefcase reasonably close to our seats, but in the end, with a flight attendants help, my case ended up in the first class section!!  I wanted to go with it!!   Not long into the flight, they served a “snack.” It was pretty well a full breakfast! Ham, scrambled eggs with tomato, fresh fruit, yogurt w/honey, a bun with butter and jam and a drink – it was a lot lot, but it was good. At the start of the flight, as we looked out the window, we recognized places in Athens, like the Olympic venue beside Kifissias Ave. – Pirieas and a bit further on, the Corinth canal. Soon after that, there was a large bridge (can’t remember the name. We had patches of cloud, but we saw the Swiss Alps, then it was overcast for the rest of the way. When we got to Heathrow, we had to circle for some time and finally touched down about 15 mins. late.  We were delivered to Terminal 5 (the new one) – it seemed to be the international terminal. All of our luggage was booked through to Calgary, but we had to go through customs in Terminal 5 anyway, even though we weren’t leaving the building - Yaaargh!   You wait while Brent goes through his undressing routine again and when your possessions come through the x-ray you are standing there trying to get dressed, gather all your stuff from about five bins, while everyone seems to waiting for you to get out of the way!!!   Once through, we went up the escalator to check out the shops. I was able to make a few purchases and Brent spotted a fish and chips place, so we had fish and chips with mushy peas for lunch – they weren’t up to the standard of those that we got in Australia though. Then we just rested – we figured we’d been up for 12 hours at that point. About 16:30 the gate number for our flight went up on the departures board and we made our way to 10A – into an elevator, downstairs to ground level and there we waited. Finally they checked us through and sent us outside onto a bus that took a long circuitous route to our plane!!   That’s the first time we’ve ever had to do that – I thought they only put you on busses to get to your plane on small regional airlines! We got under way 20 mins. late.   Shortly after take-off we were served drinks and soon after that – dinner.  We were given a choice of curried Chicken or pasta – we chose the chicken.  Then they had a really yummy dessert – chocolate mousse. Later, they gave us a Canada Customs form to fill out and just before we landed, we were served a little snack – Some little sandwiches and a crème brulee – we were fed very well. The arrival went very well – we didn’t have to ride a bus to the terminal – and we breezed through security and customs with no problems.  THEN – we passed through the doors to the waiting public area and a great shout went up from 9 grandkids and parents and friends – totaling 27 people. Even Jim & Nancy Bullock we were there (they had been seeing someone off).  It was so overwhelming and wonderful – little grandkids so excited, grabbing on to our legs and yelling to beat the band – we wondered what all the other people thought?   After many greetings and a bit of visiting we headed home, where the kids had some snacks prepared for everyone. They are so awesome – the house looked like it had been staged to be put on the market – everything was so neat, clean and attractive.   We couldn’t believe it.   I think we got to bed around 1:00 am - but it was worth it.   So this virtually ends our mission to the Greece Athens Mission – except, we haven’t been released yet – so there is that to come and no doubt we’ll be commissioned to speak on High Council Sundays. It was a long, long Wednesday.

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