Monday, February 24, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Feb 20, 2014

Hi Dev,

Thanks for the short update. I know life is pretty quiet sometimes but that is a good thing. That was brave to take two little preschoolers to the movie alone.

 Yesterday was district meeting and we have 2 new sisters in the distsrict and they'll be in Pontevedre just north of here. They are both American one from CA and the other from UT. They both speak spanish really well, which kind of discouraged me because I am struggling a little more that I though I would. Anyway it was a great meeting. Larry was a taxi driver yesterday getting elders to and from the bus for the meeting. We are happy to drive anyone that needs a ride since we feel so lucky to have a car.

We're finally getting somewhere with the internet. We found out the mission has a contract with a company and they will call us and come install it within a few days. (hopefully) Then we just pay the mission. We had tried to do it on our own because nobody told us about the contract. But the company Larry talked to said we had to sign a year contract and have a local bank account. We have also found out that the mission has a card for tolls so we don't have to incur that expense. Again nobody told us. We have learned to ask a lot of questions over and over. I am sure it's hard to remember what to tell people new to the mission so our new motto is ask, ask more than one person, more than one time.

So many of our YSA are preparing for missions and that is so exciting to see and be a part of. We're having an activity in March here in Vigo about missionary prep. Finances are tough for some of the YSA here. 

We have a pretty quiet day today so we are going out to get more familiar with the city. Larry is good at finding places but he really wants to be more sure about where he is going. Our GPS has been a lifesaver. The main problem here is parking. We find the place then there is no place to park. We are learning to look for big blue P signs which indicates parking lots. Many are underground and you just veer off the street and drive down into them. These Spaniards are the most expert parallel parkers I have ever seen there are literally sometimes inches between cars. The elders told us they have seen cars park and just back up and push the car behind them with their bumper and then do the same to the car in front of them to make room. Yikes, I haven't witnessed that yet. The elders also said there are so many dinged bumpers on cars.

Tuesday we went to Ikea again and we got everything we need for the house finally. The first time we needed so much that after a while we said enough. After that we met with the YSA in Ferrol for FHE. We had a lesson given by Ruth the YSA leader about making choices. She did an excellent job. These kids are amazing. Then one of the young men, Carlos, had made about 6 pizza crusts so we all helped put the toppings on and baked them. The pizzas were pretty good. We had such a good time getting to know these kids. Carlos also plays the guitar and brought it so he and Larry spent some time playing. Larry gave him a few tips. I think Carlos was disappointed that Larry wasn't into country music. 

Well I guess I'll wrap it up for today. We are happy to hear even the most trivial events in your lives because we feel more in touch. 

Love to you all. Take care.

Mom and Dad

Monday, February 17, 2014

Feb 17, 2014

Hello to all of you,

It's Monday morning and I am at the church while your dad is off getting us signed up for the internet. It was good to talk to you all on Sat. via face time. We loved seeing the littles. We miss seeing the Ut kids on a day to day basis.

We had a great Valentine's party at the branch which I told you about but I will repeat it for my records. The party was supposed to start at 8 but we finally got going around 9. We had a brief program. A gentleman from the branch sang a song from an opera a cappella. He had a very nice voice. Then the district pres. and his wife gave a short talk about strengthening marriage. We started eating around 10 (which is typical spanish dinner time). We had meatballs with marinara sauce, potato salad (ensalada rusa) rice and bread. It was all very delicious. Apparently Spaniards don't salt as heavily as Americans which was evident in the potato salad. Most likely a better habit. Then the dancing began at 11. Most of the branch members have a latin american heritage so needless to say they were awesome dancers. It was really great to watch them all dance. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly to us that we felt right at home even though I really had a hard time understanding a lot. (Fast talkers) They all seemed to have the time of their lives and were so lively and full of fun. The party was still going strong when Larry and I snuck out.

Saturday we helped teach english with the elders to three men. Two young guys in their twenties and one gentleman about 50ish. He is a banker and I got the impression quite successful. He has been taking these classes for a while just to improve himself he says. He is such a family man with three kids and a wife. He is very Catholic so the elders said that is a problem (as far as teaching the gospel) when they are so devoted to their family they don't want to change the status quo. One of the young men is a chef and wants to move to England so he comes here to learn. The other just wants to learn english. They were all just great so friendly and fun to teach. 

Yesterday, Sunday our day began at 8 when we drove 2 hours to Ferrol north of here. We followed the District Pres. and Ex. Sec. in his car. We took Hermana Maron a counselor in the district RS with us. We enjoyed getting to know her. She is single in her thirties I would guess and lives alone. Her mom recently passed away and her dad is in a care center. She was accepted to LDS business college and had everything ready to go to the states but when she went to get her visa they tore her papers up and told her there was no reason for her to go to the states. She has a sister in Draper that was going to sponser her. It made me so sad for her espcially when I consider all the people in the states illegally and nothing happens to them.

The branch conference was really good and we met so many wondeful people. Again they were so warm and welcoming.We were able to meet with the YSA during Sunday School. Such a good group of kids. Two of the young men are preparing for missions. We gave them a brief message and planned some activities with them. We're going to try to attend one activity a month with these kids. The toll charges for our round trip yesterday was $47 so I am not sure how we can work such an expense into our budget if we make the trip a few times a month but we will try because the district president would like us to be able to meet with all the YSA in all the branches (six) at least monthly. The youth are really struggling here and need a lot of support. They really need another Senior couple up here.

We didn't get back to Vigo until 5:30 and then we met with the YSA here in our branch at 6. Only four came to our planning meeting but the YSA leader Tairi says that when the other senior couple was here attendance really increased so she thinks the same thing will happen again. We planned the rest of Feb. and part of March. Next week we will have FHE at our apt. After our planning meeting we stayed for their institute class. What an awesome teacher sister Avila is. In fact these Saints here know and love the gospel, and are as strong as any members in the world. Such an inspiration to be here with them.

Today we will pick up a new sister at the train station that was transferred here from another part of the mission. So sad to lose hermana Rica after knowing her only a week. Then the Elders want us to go to lunch with them at Domino's Pizza. Apparently they have an all you can eat buffet for $7 on Monday. (P day) Lunch is usually mid afternoon here. 

Saturday we wanted to go eat somewhere around 4. When we got out we realized almost all of the restaurants close at 4 and don't open again until 8. We wanted to be home getting ready for the next day before that. Finally we found Tommy Mel's diner which I mentioned in another email that is open all day. So we ate there. The food was American and really good.
Next time we go eat we will plan better. 

We miss everyone so much and love hearing about your day to day lives. None of it is boring or trivial to us. All of you take care and keep us informed of the happenings in your families. 

We love you all.

Mom and Dad

Friday, February 14, 2014

Feb 14, 2014


Northing much new to report. Yesterday was so quiet and the weather was so nice that we walked to a mall down on the waterfront. There was an American import store there so we know where to get some things that aren't available here like real brown sugar. What they have here is more like brown granulated without the moisture ours has.

We also came across two american style restaurants one named Peggy Sue's, and the other Tommy Mel's diner while we were walking and exploring the area where we live. We will be trying those restaurants out really soon. Although I do want to try the seafood here, it is supposed to be fabulous.

The hermanas came over for lunch and we had a great time getting to know them. I actually cooked for the first time in the kitchen. It is definitely a step saver kitchen. I made  chicken soup, tomato and cucumber salad, and we had bread. One of the sisters has had a lot of stomach problems so I tried to make something light for her. She did say how good it was and she was able to eat it. Both of the sisters are from Spain now, but were originally from Brazil and Argentina. They are such darling girls. Gotta love sister missionaries. While at lunch they practiced their english while I practiced spanish. Larry went back and forth.
Today we went to city hall to register. Then we tried to go to the police station to make an appt. to get fingerprinted but it was pouring rain and we could not find a place to park. We gave up and went home. We decided while we were out in the rain that we need new umbrellas that are bigger and sturdier that the ones we brought. 

The branch is having a Valentine's dinner tonight for couples. We are here at the church right now and someone has been here and decorated. It really looks festive and valentiney. We will go tonight. The elders called us and told us we need to bring our own plates. Hmmmmm.

We have had some down time the last two days but it has allowed us to get settled in the apt and get organized. We started doing companion study a few days ago and we really like doing that. As we  get more involved I can see how that would be very valuable.

The District President asked us to go to Ferrol a city north of here (two hour drive)( Just like Blythe days right Terril) Sunday.They are having branch conference and he wants us to meet with the YSAs during the Sunday School hour. We will get to know them and give them a lesson.

We'll skype Saturday at 10:30 with Dana and Cam,  then Devry and the rest of you if you want,  let us know. We'll probably call anyway.

Love to you all!
Keep the emails coming with the pictures and videos we love everything!!

Mom and Dad

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Feb 12, 2014

We loved the happy birthday video. Thanks to the cute grandsons who sang. Larry had a pretty uneventful birthday since we were driving to Vigo that day. 

We made it here and found the apt. building but couldn't find a place to park. Parking is a huge problem in these big cities in Spain. Finally I went in and asked where to go and was directed to a paid parking lot. Then we met with the realtor and owner of the apt. got the keys and found our underground parking space. The apt is nice, small but everything is quality. Our fridge is very small. We do have a freezer the same size as the fridge. Both are built in as part of the bottom cupboards. That will take some getting used to. We do have dishwasher and a washer but no dryer. We drove to A Caruna yesterday to shop at Ikea and get our household items. We got most things but need a few more. We're trying to decide if we're going to get a new bed because we only have a double. It is a bit crowded. 

We got lost on the way home because we had taken freeways all the way to A Caruna but were hit with about 15 dollars worth of tolls along the way. So we programed the GPS to get us home avoiding the tolls. Big mistake. We drove through some beautiful country on some back roads that seemed like they led to no where. Then somehow the GPS volume got turned down and we couldn't figure out how to turn it up so Larry held it up to his ear so he could hear. A cop stopped us in a little town and said it was illegal to drive and use the phone. Larry explained but the lovely policeman didn't care so that cost us 100 Euros. Would have been cheaper to pay the tolls.We finally made it home.

We met with the YSA rep in our branch last night, she told us a lot about the other kids in the branch, and gave us some photos to help us learn names and faces. We heard some sad stories and some great ones also. Also the two Vigo Elders came by and chatted for a while. There are also two sisters here. 

We attended our first district meeting this morning with 8 Elders and two Sisters. It was a really good meeting. The sisters are coming for lunch tomorrow. They have FHE in the branch for people with no family here on Wed. at 8. So we'll be going to that this evening. Then the branch is having a couples Valentine's party Friday night. We will meet with all the YSA Sunday at 6 for a planning meeting. Then they have institute after that at 7.

That is a rundown of our week thus far. It is really cloudy and chilly today. The Elders told us some great places to shop that are so close to our Apt so we're headed out to explore right now. We're here at the church using the Wi Fi.Our apt. is literally across the street from the church, which is part of a high rise. Small but nice. We are on the 11th floor in our bldg. We'll try to send pix soon.

Thanks for all the pix, videos, and emails we feel so loved.
Love, Mom and Dad

Feb 10, 2014

Hi Devry,

I am sitting in our hotel lobby waiting for the elders to come bring us some money and help us load the car. We will leave for Vigo as soon as that is all done. It is so windy here today and freezing. I can feel the wind in here because the automatic doors don't close completely. BRRR!! 

Saturday Larry and I went downtown to see the real Madrid. It is so beautiful and we had such a nice time. We ate lunch at Foster's Hollywood a restaurant that was here when I was here before in 1973. It was then the only American style restaurant in the country. We visited Plaza Mayor where they used to have bullfights and the Spanish inquisition centuries ago. Now it is restaurants, shops, and artists. We also visited Plaza de Espana a tribute to Cervantes. There is a statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. We also made a stop at the building where I lived while here on semester abroad. 

Sunday we went to the ward at the temple and another senior couple had us for dinner. We had  a great talk with them. This is their third mission. So many of the couples have served more that one mission. I think that is in our future also.

The Elders are here so I need to go. Give those two adorable boys hugs and kisses from us. It's nice to know they think about us and talk about us. Can you forward this on the the others? Loved hearing from Mallory and Cam. Hope all is well. Love to all of you.

Next stop Vigo.

Love Mom and Dad.

Feb 7, 2014

Hi to all,

We heard back from Dana but nobody else. We'd like to hear what is going on with all of you. Yesterday we got a late start because your dad was finally sleeping soundly so I let him. He finally woke up at 9:30. We were going to attend the temple and Larry figured out how to drive there via google maps. We took the metro the day before. Anyway we had a few detours finding our way but we made it. 

Once there we stopped in at the YSA center just to see what was going on. We met the Sullivans who are the YSA seniors in Madrid. They were at the center giving a haircut to a YSA (Brother Sullivan gives any person a haircut for free (the guys). We spent the afternoon with the S. talking to them and getting ideas. They invited us to dinner at their apt. so we hung out there for a while. They had caffeine free Coke Zero!!!! It is sold here which I couldn't believe. I think I can be truly happy here now. We found it at the store across the street from our Hotel after we got home last night so life is good. Now you know the important stuff. 

Today we really are going to the temple and then not sure after that. We are planning on spending tomorrow seeing the sights of Madrid because who knows when we can do that again. Our jet lag is better but yesterday seemed especially hard. It poured rain last night and when we woke up today it was cloudy but the sun is out and it looks like a pretty day. We did our laundry this morning (there is a small washer in the kitchen) and our clothes are hung out all over the living room and kitchen drying. Pretty much nobody has dryers here so they have clotheslines indoors and out depending on the weather. The S. had two small drying racks that fit over their wall heater and they dry their garments on those. So we'll see when we get settled. One Senior sister says she really doesn't wash her regular clothes all that often because of no dryer. Not much else to say we are heading out in a while. Hope to hear from all of you. Let us know what you're doing and how the kids are. Of course we miss you all.

Mom and Dad

February 6, 2014

 Hey everyone! We're doing great. Kind of taking it easy today. Larry is paying bills and getting a few other things done like getting our phones turned on. The office elders are working on that for us. One of the office elders is from Joyce's ward and is good friends with Tyson. Elder Merrriman.

PRES. And Sis..Jackson picked us up at the airport then took us to the mission home so we could pick up our car.Then we went to the mission office where we were part of their meeting with office elders and two senior couples. We met Hermano and Hermana Lopez who were the ones that found our apt. Or piso. They had pix on their phone and it looked really nice. Two bedrooms and two baths. Jacuzzi tub. It's across the street from the church and we have an ocean view!!!!! Our car is small,an opal. And it's orange!! A dull orange.

Our hotel is simple but nice. It's really more of a one bedroom apt. Only a double bed. Very cozy! We crashed after we got to the hotel.

Yesterday we met with Paco Serrano who is over the employment center here and works with employment reps in wards and stakes. He familiarized us with the program and sort trained us so we can work with the employment rep in our district and help her. He took us to lunch to a Spanish restaurant that was good.We left there around five came home,and went grocery shopping just across the street. Really nice store but small compared to a grocery store in the states. Shopping is going to take some getting g used to. We're sitting in the lobby of the hotel right now because there is no WiFi in the rooms.???? I think we're going to the temple in a while and then not sure. We're kind of on our own until we leave Monday for Vigo. I'll be glad to get settled so we can communicate easier and often. We miss you all and want to see all of you via face time as,soon as possible. Everyone has been so wonderful to us. Pres. Jackson is so kind and,easy going.I'll email soon. Dana forward this on to all the kids because I just emailed you. Take care everyone.

We love you all
Mom and dad.