Sunday, January 26, 2014

Moving on to the New Year

January is almost over.  I rather thought there wouldn't be much to write about in January so I indulged in more Dec photos.  Wrong!  Catch up time!
 We had a rousing celebration for our new year's eve.

We indulged in spinach dip thanks to thoughtful kids who brought the soup mix

 A few days later, we celebrated Elder K's birthday.  Actually, the whole city celebrated.  King's day is the day gifts are exchanged even more than Christmas for lots of Spaniards.  So we enjoyed dinner and cake.  Birthday cake and rosco de reyes.  That is the round cake.  There is a bean hidden inside but also a favor.  If you get the bean, you buy the king cake next year.  If you get the favor, you are king for the year.
We had all the missionaries in Fuengirola come too.
The round one at the bottom is the king cake.  It was very tasty but not as sweet as our cakes...of course.
 This birthday celebration was on Jan 5, the night before King's day.  As we were finishing our supper, we heard a band playing in the street outside our window.  There was a parade! 

There was a pause just outside our building, so we got down there in time to see the whole parade.  Sooo Fun!

Some of the 'kings' were younger than others.  The train in the background usually gives a little tour of the town.

Here come the floats.  They were beautiful, mostly Disney themed, and all filled with kids throwing candy. 

We all had to go down stairs and photograph it.

Each of the 3 kings had a float.  Here is one of them.

There were pounds of candy thrown by each person on the floats, some of the throwers should have pro ball careers.

I am afraid we stood out a bit.

Another king.

I think this one was Balthazar.  He was by far the most popular and all the kids called to him.

The view from our balcony

We had 3 zone conferences early in Jan too.  We went to 2 of them and wanted to attend the 3rd but had too much to do in the office.  After the regular Zone Conference, the missionaries had talent shows and those were fun to watch.  We eat well at them too. 

This was the salad at a Zone conference.  The yellow is potato pure.  It was delicious.
These are some of our sister missionaries.  Who does the middle one remind you of?
We welcomed another group of  new missionaries (only 8).  There were 4 who finished their missions this month too.  In the coming months, it will be the number of returning missionaries that will tax us, both logistically and in the loss of leadership.  It is always amazing how the Lord arranges things though.  He does provide. 

This is a photo of the painting Rod did for President and Sister Deere's birthday.

We are doing well.  I have gotten over my cold.  Yea!!!  We are still busy and finding great joy in this wonderful work.  Thank you for your prayers.  Your support means the world to us.  Love you all

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Rock!

Our next adventure was to another country.  Gibraltar is actually British!  Spain signed it over in the 1700's, under duress of course.  But even though they tried several times they couldn't take it back.  I was surprised that they are rather militantly British.  Prices are in pounds, everyone speaks English, and fish and chips are a big item in the restaurants.  I almost bought tea towels.  It was so cool.  

We went to Gibraltar because John wanted to see it and we were so glad.  We had a blast.  We got to borrow the van to get there, but because of the friction that still exists between England and Spain, it takes 2 hours wait to cross in a car.  Instead we just parked the van and walked across.  The first thing we saw when we got there were some 'van tours'.  We decided to go for it and were so very glad.  The baby slept in the van the whole time and we were able to  walk through the sights and he was able to rest.  Worth every penny!
The first stop was this view point. Those mountains are in Africa.

J knows where we are!

The pillars of Hercules
 The next stop was a cavern.  During the war, it was a field hospital.  Now it is used as a concert venue.
 J got a little monkey as a souvenir, so first she danced with it. 

Then Poppop got a turn. 

This is a cross section of a stalactite.

It was fun cause we could actually touch the rocks.

I think they said it was 900 feet deep.  We had fun making monster shadows on the walls.
 The next stop was the highest point of the rock.  Here we met the infamous monkeys.  It was actually Churchill that imported them.  It used to be an island and there weren't really any animals there at the time.
They are accustomed to humans but aren't really tame.   Sometimes they climb on people's heads and shoulders.  I was glad they kept their distance from us.

We were trying to speak their language, but it didn't seem to work.

You can see how sheer the mountain side is here.  It is the same on the other side of the car.

You can see the city, port and dry docks. 
 Our next stop was the tunnels dug by the British in the 1800's.  They wanted a path to get the canon up to the notch of the rock.  As they were digging, they punched an air hole through the wall of the tunnel and realized that it formed a perfect spot to shoot the canon from.  Controlling that straight is still an important job, and is part of the reason the Brits won't give up Gibraltar. The tunnels were used again during the last World War. It's easy to see why. 

That is Spain across the straight.
After our tour, we spent a little time wandering the shops.  J met a new friend who shared a coin operated ride.

At first I thought that this canon was made wrong, the I realized it was meant to shoot down on ships in the harbor.

M enjoyed his long uninterrupted nap.

We had to try the fish and chips.

It was!  The boy next to us didn't finish his, so this seagull flew over and took care of it for him, in about 30 seconds.


Between 'the Rock' and Spain, they have 'reclaimed' land for an airport.  Just after we crossed, they closed the gates and a plane landed.

See?  I told you!

We had a fun visit, even with the 40 minute wait to get through customs before we left.  We were grateful someone told us that families with kids could go to the front of the line.