Saturday, October 26, 2013

Week 4

We had the "big wigs" with us on Monday.  Bros. Wayne Metcalf (from Salt Lake City who is responsible for all of the camera operations around the world) and Mark Kelly (our direct supervisor from Sydney, AU) spent the day looking over our location and what we are doing.  We learned that they negotiated a new project that will enable us to stay here in Hobart for the duration of our mission.

Here we are in our "office".
 We also got a new car, much to our surprise.  We are now driving a 2014 Toyota Corolla, of course, driving on the opposite side of the road.  That has taken some getting used to.  Usually Marvin is the driver and I tell him where to turn and which lane to get into.  He is doing really well.

 Tuesday, we were left alone at the Archive for most of the day, as the McDonalds were busy packing and making last minute visits.  Marvin drove them to the airport at 6:00am Wednesday,  and as chance would have it, we starting having trouble with the camera.  Marv worked on it all day, while I did metadata for the work which was done earlier.  Thursday was Holiday, a state vacation day, and "The Show" was on at the fair grounds.  It's like a state fair.  We opted not to attend as it looked like it was mostly for young families and besides it was cold, windy, and rainy. Why would they have a fair during the early spring when the weather is so unpredictable?

Just a few interesting facts about Tasmania.  It's COLD!!!!  People don't believe in central heating, so each room needs a space heater.  Our flat has no insulation, so we hear everything and feel the cold.  I thought I was getting out of winter, but we definitely have it now.  It snowed on Mt. Wellington (Hobart's famous mountain - tall hill) Thursday.  The Woffindens, the mission office couple, flew in Thursday morning for a few days vacation, and they said that all of Tasmania had snow on the mountain tops.

We have had one sunny, warm day since arriving.
 It's WINDY!!!!  We have had horrific winds which I thought would take off the roof.  Even the locals are complaining about it.  Hobart is a cute little city which we are learning to get around by foot.  We work downtown so it is easy to walk to shops, banks, phone stores, ect.  We work only a few blocks from the wharf and have been down there twice.  What a lovely view across the ocean.

It cost how much?

Prices here about 1/3 higher than the states.  You really get a sticker shock when you go to the market and look at the prices at the deli section.  Everything is in metrics and we never learned those in school.  But as we calculate it, we have realized it isn't as bad as it looks!

Our missionary badges are a bit different.  These are the ones we wear when we work at the Archive.  Marv was so glad to "get his name back".  We wear the traditional black ones on the weekend and after work.  People are interested when they ask about FamilySearch.  We are getting FamilySearch pass-along cards.

Collinsvale community

We had our first contact with Australian wildlife today.  We participated in a two ward service project where we cleaned a cemetery up in the hills near our home.  All of this area of Tasmania is hill formations.  I don't think there is anything level except at the wharf.  So, we decided to work on one of the graves at the highest point in the cemetery.  We began cleaning the top of the grave and worked our way to around the outside, cutting and pulling grass, shrubs, and anything that was growing.  Once I stepped into a hole near the grave site and didn't think much about it.  Later, Marv was hoeing in the same area and I hear him saying "Whoa", and backing up.  Out came a large snake!  Then while I was hoeing around the other side, I saw a small snake very upset about my digging his area.  Evidently there must have been a den there.  Needless to say, we moved on to another site.

Word of the Week:  Doona = Duvet

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 2 and 3

My, these last two weeks have gone by so quickly.  Week 2 we spent four days in the Church Office Bldg in SLC learning how to use the machines we will be using in Tasmania.  It was kinda fun.  We also were taught by Church employees who check our work after we send it to Salt Lake.  We had the opportunity to have lunch with Dilworth and Pat Rust, our brother and sister-in-law, twice that week.  That is always a treat.  We were grateful to have four days "off" after our training to finish all the things that still needed to be done at home, like temple attendance, BYU Homecoming Football game, packing and repacking, and moving the last of our things to the basement.  Boy, were we glad to have that finished.

Week 3 we were on our way.  We got to the SLC airport Monday afternoon, loaded like we have never been before.  When we travel we always packed light.  Not this time!!!!  We greeted our son, Keith, and Dilworth and Pat at the airport who came to support us.  As we started to check in, horrified, I realized that I had left my passport in the car, which was then heading back to Heber.  We called Bob Alexander, who was driving our car, and asked him to come back to the airport.  Thankfully, he had his cell phone and wasn't too far away and I was able to get my passport and some snacks which I had left on the floor.  What a terrible situation that would have created.

We had a flight to Los Angeles then had to wait for an 11:30pm flight which was an hour late.  So we finally got off at 12:30am, traveled for 16 hours and arrived in Melbourne, Australia around 10:00am.  Pres. and Sister Maxwell, of Salt Lake City, Elder and Sister Woffinden, of Mesa, Arizona, and two young elders met us at the airport. We went to the mission office for a little while, then the Woffindens took us for a little tour to the Dandedong mountains (more like hills). 

We had lunch in a little tea house called Miss Marble's (very English) and then went to the Rhododendron Gardens which were just beautiful.  There were 104 acres of gardens and almost all of the Rhodies were in bloom.  It was magnificent.  Then we went to the Woffinden's flat and took a nap then to the mission home where were we treated to a lovely dinner with Pres and Sister Maxwell and the Woffindens and the Murrays, from Centerville, UT.  After listening to some conversation, we realized that Pres. Maxwell is a son of Elder Neal A. Maxwell. 

All that we have met were very loving and kind.  We stayed the night in the mission home which was elegant.  Early the next morning we left for the airport at 8:00am but had terrible traffic which caused us to miss our deadline for check-in by 2 minutes.  So we waited until the next flight out to Hobart at 3:00pm.

We landed in Hobart in beautiful weather and by the time we retrieved our luggage and walked out of the airport, we were in a driving rain storm.  Cramming 4 big bags and 4 carry-ons into a Toyota Corolla with 4 people was a real trick!!  Rex and Mary Ann McDonald picked us up and took us to their/our flat; a lovely 2 bedroom stand alone home.   On Friday we went to the Archive and they continued to train us on specific work which they have been doing.  Saturday, we went in for a few hours, but also went to Salamanca market which is downtown.  It is like a mini Swiss Days with lots of booths and vendors, but they run it every Saturday.  Sunday we met many people at Church and found them to be very friendly and helpful.  The people in this ward are mostly elderly.  We are to have the Primary Program next week and we expect only about 10 children singing.  We will see.

The McDonalds have fellowshipped a 14 year old girl who is not a member of the Church, but attends all the classes and activities.  She planned a surprise farewell after church on Sunday.  She told me to bring a plate of food.  So without any time to secretly cook anything, I took some cookies which Sister McDonald had made and froze.  Once everyone was in the cultural hall, and the one plate of cookies was on the table, the Bishop said "Elder and Sister McDonald, this is your reward."  It was so funny to us.  Reward for her own cookies!!  A few more dishes of cookies appeared and everyone seemed to enjoy just some time to socialize.

Word of the Week:  "Footie" - Australian Football (soccer)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week 1

Our friends, Bob and Jeanne Alexander, who are house sitting for us gave us an Open House last Sunday evening which was wonderful.  So many friends came to wish us well.  We arrived at the Provo MTC Monday morning and spent the day in orientations.  The week flew by while we were trained and we met so many wonderful couples going all over the world.
 Here is Marvin posing with the missionaries.  He was hesitant about posing, saying he wasn't going to be on a bike!

On our final day in the MTC, we posed for pictures with our District.  Next to us are the Pattersons, going to the Farmington, New Mexico Mission but are assigned to a Navaho community in Arizona. Next to them are the Hedengrens who are going to Archorage, Alaska Mission assigned to a Marine Base, and finally, the Algers who are going to the Fort Worth, Texas Mission.  Since our old home in Double Oak, Texas (Lewisville area) is in their mission, they will be looking out for any old friends.

And here we are in front of the famous map in the MTC, pointing to where we will be serving in the Melbourne, Australia Mission assigned to Hobart, Tasmania.  My, that's a long way from home!!!