Sunday, June 30, 2013

Redeemed !

We finally redeemed ourselves this week!  You see, Rod broke a missionary's heart a month or so ago, so we had to atone for our error.  It was the glasses.  He just didn't take the time to put on his glasses.  He flipped open his phone while we were in Cordoba, called the first 'c' entry and invited the elders out to lunch.  They were joyous!  That was when Rod realized that they had been speaking in English and the Cordoba elders are native speakers.  Uh oh!  He had to call back and let the Caceres elders know that he had miss dialed.  Tragedy!  We felt so bad. They felt worse.  We promised that we would come to Caceres and take them to lunch to make up for the disappointment.  It took some time, and one of them was already gone to another assignment, but we finally got there this weekend.  We Had A Blast.
 It is about 5 hours' drive to Caceres from Fuen.  It is one of those 'outpost' assignments and they sometimes feel isolated, so this visit was an 'event' for the Elders there.  When we talked to President about going, he suggested we let the branch president know and offer to speak in Sacrament meeting.  Umm...  We are obedient, right Lise?  We did, he said wonderful, of course.  That meant we stayed 2 nights in Caceres, and we really enjoyed our whole visit.
We left at about noon on Friday after attending a couple of hours of our zone conference, and it was a beautiful drive.  I was delighted by the fields full of sunflowers.  I don't know why it never occurred to me that if they sell sunflower oil, they must grow sunflowers to produce it.  I thought of Sara and her delight growing them.  They are sure gorgeous, especially in contrast with the olive trees, vineyards and fields of grain and hay.  There are bales in the fields right now and they checkerboard over rolling hills. Photos just don't do it justice.
They are called giro sol, or sun followers. 

We were able to find our hotel, 'Don Manuel' because of the little signs they have on the streets.  You almost never see street names, but they make it easy to find hotels.  The contrast was striking, it is a very sleek, modern hotel with an upscale spa attached, located in the middle of this ancient city, that is so little changed over the centuries that it is often used as a movie set.  The Elders met us and were so pleased to show us their city.  We walked around the old city and felt like we had gone back in time.
This was from the plaza, headed into the old city.

Elder Alomia, 1 month in country, from Colombia

Looking across roof tops to almost see their big statue of Christ.  I love the weeds growing on the roof tiles.

You wouldn't think there would be room for such beautiful gardens

Elder Bivens from Utah, loved this 4 story tower covered with ivy. Me too.

Elder Alomia loves Par Cours... that sport where you run and do flips and jumps off of buildings.

Many of the buildings had carvings on the walls and over the doors and arches.  The garden across the way reflects in the window.

Spider Men?  Who knew?

We loved these narrow streets.

After our walk around the old town, we had dinner in the plaza.

Who is the Senior here?

While we were eating I noticed this group of girls dancing.  there wasn't any music that I heard, I think it was spontaneous after some other event.  Soo cool though.

During our walk, we came upon this stage being set up for a performance of Romeo and Juliet that night.  Guess where we went after supper.  The Elders had to go home to be in bed on time.  The setting was perfect for the play, it could have happened in just such a town.  The only problem was that it was a 'dance' version.  They did do some of the dialogue but much of it was dance.  It was good the Elders didn't stay for the play.  Guess which part they liked interpreting the most in their dance.. of course.  We still really enjoyed getting to see it here in the open air.  It was fun to try to understand Shakespeare in Spanish. 

We got up the next morning, met up with the Elders and headed to Merida, a city about 30 minutes away.  We stopped at this Roman aqueduct.   It is huge, just guessing at 60-70 feet tall. 

See those specks on top? Guess what they are.  Trying to get interactive here.

Those are storks nesting on top.  They make an interesting clacking noise.  I guess they didn't like visitors.

This was really a beautiful park with a river just to the left.

There, a photo of me.  I keep trying to be cute.  Doesn't work well though.

After exploring the aqueduct, we met up with the missionaries from Badajoz, also about 30 minutes away, and together we met with a member lady from Merida who showed us around these ruins.  We expected to have to drive out of town to find them.  Not so.  They are right in the city, scattered here and there.  She said they can't dig foundations for new buildings without discovering new ruins.

This is the arena.  The dug out area in the middle was covered with wood  most of the time, but then would be uncovered  for mock sea battles and such.

Elder Erickson taking a rest on an original stadium seat  seat.

Rod decided he was too short to be a gladiator so he would be an emperor instead.

The Christians waiting for the lions.

Erickson, Castillo, Bivins and Curtis

We lost Alomia again!

Then we came to the part Rod has been anxious for all along.  This is one of the most complete Roman Theaters in the world.  The backdrops and second story facades are still there.  Amazing!  This is right next door to the arena.

He actually did a few lines from Julius Cesar.

The detail is amazing!

That is Sister Guymon and Sister Chavez in front.

'This is so Cool!


The Men folk
Who aren't afraid to show their softer side.

We let them put us on  pedestals!

Can't keep a good elder down.


After a wonderful time sight seeing, we went to lunch at a Chinese buffet, all you can eat.  This was an amazing buffet, and they did get filled up!

It is hard to see but those are frog legs he is eating, cooked to order.

The end of a great meal, ice cream and coke.  A happy man!
We spent an hour at the museum, looking at statues and art.

I loved the mosaics!

As you can see this is 3 floors tall.

This tree with a serpent at the base and birds in the branches was so delicate and lovely. 

Rod drove the Badajoz missionaries home while I waited with our Caceras elders.  We saw the temple of Dianna

and crossed this Roman bridge.
I know you are tired of photos by now.  Just know that I only posted a third of what I took.  Thank you for your patience.  Geeves, you shouldn't have told me how to make it go faster.  It is your own fault.  We spent that night back in Caceres and then got up the next morning and attended the branch there. I gave my first Sacrament Mtg talk in Spanish! Rod spoke too, but he has done it before, so I am not sure it counts the same.  Everyone was so kind and sweet.  I felt loved even  though I had never met them before.  I think we may have to go back there some time.
We didn't stay for Sunday school.  We headed home instead and when we got here look what I found!  That is 34 red roses you all, 34 years of marriage to the best husband EVER!  I am so very blessed.  In addition, there were tickets to see Julio Iglesius

Hope you all have a wonderful week.  We love you!  Challenge for the week.  Give out 1 pass along card.  The lady in the grocery store, the clerk that smiled at you, the postal worker that didn't go postal.  It isn't hard, and you feel virtuous when you do it.  Give it with thanks for a kindness and people won't be offended.  Most won't do anything with it, but someone might.  You never know.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Behold my 'Garden'! 
Yes these are the seeds I planted a couple of months ago.  I am quite excited.  These photos are a couple of weeks old.  A neighbor advised me to move each zucchini plant to it's own pot.  Instead I just cut out 2 of them and left 2.  There have been bugs on them so I kind of doubt I will actually get any squash, but I have enjoyed just watching them grow.  There are now some baby squash trying to blossom, so we will see.  Stranger things have happened.

These are my judias.  See how wide and flat the pods are? I picked these, but just after that something got to the plants, probably a mold, and they are now leafless and dying.  Oh well. 

This is the fun one.  I have harvested lettuce 3 times so far and it is still going strong.  I even served it at munch and mingle.

See the marigold.  Elder Norton, one of our office elders bought that and gave it to us.  See, I told you they were wonderful.  Then Elder Butler made cookies for us just this last week and they were delightful.  It is rare for the missionaries to 'return the favor' of cooking for us and I really wouldn't want them too.  They are supposed to be using their time for missionary work.  I was still deeply touched.  Kind of tickled too, cause they were chocolate chip so I got to eat all of them..tee hee.

Here is the view if our entry way right now.  The geraniums are growing and looking beautiful.  There are flowers everywhere.  We have put some pots of geraniums outside the windows of the office.  In addition, Rod found an orange hibiscus and put that outside the front door of the office.  When our lady postman brought the mail the next day she said, 'You are now real Andalusian.'  I asked why and she pointed to the flowers.  Yup, that made us feel good.
The lady that cleans the office for us is a member but only comes to clean at night, so we only see her occasionally at church.  She has remarked that she likes the decorations Rod has put up.  I have done some 'cleaning out' and reorganizing and she noticed that too.  I am not done yet though.  I don't mean that things weren't organized or neat when we got here, they were.  But you know me, I can't leave things alone.  So I have gradually rearranged the store room and the 'kitchen' of the office.  Now I want to redo the Book of Mormon wall.  You haven't even heard of some of the languages we send the Book of Mormon in.  It is just cool and I want that to be seen more.  The other thing is that, because the mission is growing so much, we have to have more places to keep orders.  Slowly right?
The next photo shows my owie.  I jammed my little toe against the table leg, and had to wear sandals for a few days.  It didn't really hurt that much but boy was it colorful.  The photo doesn't do it justice.
The bruising is visible between the last 2 toes at the base.

We went to Primark and found Rod some father's day presents.  I think his favorite gift was the carrot cake, thouth. What?  You aren't surprised?
Last week we got our 2nd wave or our wavelet of new missionaries.  We are having dinner on the patio at the mission home in these next photos.  They are great missionaries, but they will have to hit the ground running.  We are already having some sisters training after only 6 weeks in the field.  The trainers were so so so so nervous.  One of our 'jobs' has been to call and visit occasionally with the new missionaries and see how they are doing, let them speak some English and decompress a little.  They are so cute, delighted to talk, often discouraged that they can't speak Spanish better, and glad to hear that they are normal.  We love them.

That is sister Deere and her kids on the far side of the table.

I was helping collect luggage, so I got there late, after most everyone was done eating.  I did some driving all by myself too.  I didn't even get lost.  Aren't you proud of me?

Left is our new AP, Elder Gochez and right is Elder Hooper.  The photo just didn't pick up their halos.
 One fun thing Rod started doing right when he got here, was when answering the phone, he says, "Hola querido(a) missionero (a) de la Mission Malaga." He always says that when he addresses the missionaries and they are picking it up now too.  It means 'hello beloved missionary of the Malaga Mission, and it tickles me to hear them say that back to him and each other. 

Here is Rod sporting his new skinny leg Spanish pants and tie.  The shirt is new too, but will have to be a Sunday only shirt.  We didn't notice when we bought it but it has no pocket.  Rod lost count of how many times he tried to put his glasses, phone, pen etc in that nonexistent pocket.

Here you see another 'event'.  You see, I put the clothes in the dryer when we left in the morning.  The dryer runs for about 20 minutes and then just fluffs them every few minutes till you take them out.  Well, the slip strap got caught and by the time I opened the dryer when we got home that night, every thing in it had twisted into one long rope.  All the clothing survived intact though I may have to replace the slip strap.  The little plastic loops used to adjust the length, who knows what they are called, will never lie flat again.
We went to Estepona this week, took the Elders to meet some new investigators though we doubt it can go too well because they live so far away.  While they were teaching, we went to find the home of some members of the branch that haven't been seen in a long while.  It took some work, directions from a kind passerby,  a visit with the real estate guy for the development, and good luck, but we found the house.  Only problem was, no one answered the door.  We still don't know if they are gone for good, just weren't home or what.  We will try again I guess.

 A few weeks ago, I signed up to receive email from the city about events and have wanted to attend several of them.  Friday night we finally got to one.  This was a street party that ran for 3 days, mostly in the evenings, which means after 9:30 pm here.  That is the time we got there and we were early.  We really enjoyed it.  They had some booths, kids rides and one of those bouncy play houses.  A few of the restaurants on the street were still open and 1-2 stores.  At one end of a little plaza, they had set up a stage and we got to watch some dancers.  The last part of the show was a few community members that sang songs from the musical Grease.  In Spanish. All except the words 'greased lightning'.   So Funny!  They made a cardboard cut-out car that said 'Greased Lightning' on it as the prop.  We loved it.

I am going to have to learn to use castanets.  They sound so cool.

I think I want a skirt like this costume too. 
 This Sunday was Munch and Mingle for the branch.  It was our month to have it here at our house.  It really is fun to have them come.  Today we had visitors from Finland and Sweden.  We in the states are so limited, all of these visitors, even their kids, speak English. I just love getting to meet all these wonderful people.

The 2 on the left Jack and Seth from the ward, the one on the right is our Elder Butler from the office.
Well, you didn't get a day by day, but you did get a glimpse of our weeks.  We are planning on going to Caceras this next weekend.  I will let you know how it goes.  Please leave a comment.  I love knowing that someone is actually reading this.