Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Ah, DST and small things

Mar 28- We are a little late this week, it has been very busy with a large number of small things. Buying a bed, desks and other things. But one of the small things was a 5 mm stone in an elder's kidney. Sometimes small things can become big things, or feels like mountains. Oh the memories which were brought back by watching this all unfold- none of which were pleasant. When thoughts of urinary stents dance through one's head, one is grateful to watch rather than to feel. Unlike the verses in the Book of Mormon, nothing yet has come to pass. But we have meds and prayers. And a tough elder, who has not passed out yet, unlike me. We did have a disappointment this week, just after we began volunteering in a school, and just before our next session, we were called by the administration, and told there were some papers that needed to be signed by the Minister of Education, before we can return. We think it may have been a parent. I was told the young people really enjoyed having us and want us back soon. Yet another form of opposition here, it has been interesting. We did try to find some bedding out plants, to find some flowers to transplant at a home where we will do some service. We looked everywhere and did find one nursery, but with a small supply. We did have an activity planned at the home, but there was a forecast of rain, so the home postponed it. How was the weather? Sunny and very warm. We are rescheduled. Transfers are happening as well this week. Our Elder Welling, only here for 3 months, from Finland, will be a trainer of a new elder. Quite a responsibility, but he does very well with language. Okay, just for fun, a few funny traditions here. One we say a week ago when a young man would not sit on the corner of the table during a meal. If you do, you will not get married. Whistle in the house and have no money. WE found out girls cross their legs while standing, waiting, because if a crow flies over with uncrossed legs, it is bad luck. To me, there are so many crows, that bad luck is not wearing a hat when the ugly birds fly over. Trust me, I have seen the streets and statues. Accomplishment today, I went into a furniture store to buy a bed for a missionary and get it delivered. Done, with only Romanian spoken. Now it may end up being a queen sized and end up in Balti, but what the heck. Deb said I did well, I was not so sure. I am getting good at getting oil changed and tires fixed- did we ever tell you how the pot holes are here? We are not talking pots, we are talking fire pits in size. Lost one car last week in one, but it smoothed out the road for the next driver. We are here to serve.
We went to an agricultural piata one day, looking for bedding out plants, and saw the largest ammount of apples ever. we think it was a distribution point for all the city, certainly fruit in bulk, almost all apples. 

Cost of these apples was between 25-40 cents a kilogram

This entire row was bulk potatoes and onions. bags and bags

These trucks stay on the side of the road, with their goods, whether rocks, sand, or only truck. They stay until a job comes along.

Want to cut some wood, all oak or maple?

This is a common buggy here for kids, like a tricycle, but in a buggy form. Young children love them, as they can help

The next 4 pictures are from a chocolate bar unwrapping game. A chocolate bar is wrapped in multiple layers of paper and tape, and has to be unwrapped with oven mitts [not enough] a spoon and a knife. You only get to unwrap when you roll a double. As soon as another person rolls a double , they begin. When you get into the chocolate, you eat until a double is rolled. Animals , they were.

A game of arranging yourselves in order of height, no looking

A game where a number is called, 2 people jump up and run over others and around, trying to get back to their place first.

Tudor Pogor, baptized on Saturday. Elder Welling on his R and Elder Gore on his L. Elder Gore was here for 9 months and was finally delivered, At times the pregnancy was difficult.
Today we saw cherry blossoms, I also got the snow tires off. it is spring. And it is light until 730 , yahoo!. I love the light of DST. 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Frozen ovary syndrome

March 19 2017- Okay, I just have to write on some of the traditions- medical - of Moldova. As an outsider, one should be tolerant and patient, but as a doctor , some of these drive me crazy, and the drive is much too short. One of our sister missionaries went to the piața this week without socks or tights, just a dress. She said at least 27 people told her to go get some clothes as she would freeze her ovaries and be infertile. I always wondered why the Inuit in Canada were childless. Really? Also , sit on a bench in the cold and you will also freeze those ovaries. Who knew birth control was so easy? One day this week was +15, all the children were in hats and heavy coats- curănd or the wind will make you sick, and if those ears are uncovered, then an ear infection will ensue. Oh, and ice cream in winter, might as well book your plot in the cemetery. Cold water, cause of all throat infections. And the list goes on. This country really has a mild climate compared to Canada, but the population believes the weather causes everything. If wind caused disease, southern Alberta would have no people. It is interesting. The other thing that is frustrating is that doctors here believe that every illness deserves at least 4 medicines, even if viral. Saw an infant this week, rhinitis or runny nose. The doctor prescribed clavulin, a strong antibiotic, a funny form of interferon, a probiotic and then a cough syrup. My advice- time and patience. The doctor even told them she thought it was viral, but you just never know when your baby will get ill and die. Scaring patients is common. We certainly have docs in Canada who believe that every illness deserves a few meds, but it is bad for patients. I remember when Beth was in Croatia, all the things she was told  that made her infertile. I guess those 4 kids were a miracle with damaged ovaries. Some days one just has to laugh. By the way, no one wants to hear that the old traditions just might be a little crazy, luckily I am full of tact and decorum- whatever that means. Okay, only on a mission would you drive 2 hours to a service all  in Russian you do not understand, then turn around and drive back to prepare a dinner for 7 people with in the hour of return. And yes, it was a good day. I taught one lesson 4 times this week, a record, I almost got it by the 4th time. We had a police encounter again, one of these days we will meet a cop who  speaks English, until then, we will continue to enjoy ourselves being seemingly unknowing of the Romanian. This guy even pled with people on the street if anyone spoke English. No bribe for you today, sir. We do love the people here and we do enjoy the odd funny time with the law. Deb and I began volunteering at a school this week, she taught keyboarding, I did an English club. They were enthralled with knowledge of Canada. I think, at least those who were awake.
Last week I showed a house with extreme poverty. Here is the other extreme. I thought it was a church, but is a private residence, absolutely monstrous and out of place in this country.

the front building looks like a party pavilion

Nicole Bright, our USA student here to learn Russian,, was in charge of our FHE. The next few pictures are all of line dancing she taught. Line dancing, there is no touching for the missionaries present.

Elder Sarsyan was trying to show an Armenian dance, badly I might add

Front and center is Elder Welling from Finland. For 2 months, his Romanian is amazing.

In the middle is Dasha Zelenski, probably spelled wrong, with Sasha on her right and Olga on the Left

From our left, Elder Morgan, Elder Vashchenko, Dasha, Elder Rybyskyy, Elder Griffeth

It is so rare to see wild life, had to take a picture of about the third squirrel we have ever seen. Boy, will I get thrilled by gophers.
So we hope the weather continues to improve so the nations fertility rate will not plummet. Traditions are interesting, but not necessarily useful. 

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Spring is here?

March 12 2017 Spring has sprung , the grass has riz, I wonder where the flowers is.  Well, in Moldova, in the first and second week of March, the flowers are all for sale on the street. Mainly tulips from Holland, but flowers by the hundreds of thousands, for sale on every corner and especially at the flower piațas. The big day was Mettes birthday, the 8 of March, or Womens day, which is their mothers day. But the rest of the week was very big for flowers and they were given to every woman in the country, I believe. For a poor country, there was a lot of money spent on flowers. We took 2 young women to catch a bus to Kiev on Tuesday night, and it was at a station next to a flower piața. It took well over an hour for what would have normally been 15 minutes. People were triple parked, police were there giving tickets and flowers were leaving at an astonishing rate. At 9 pm at night. It was amazing. I did get Deb flowers, and the inhabitant of the grave did not complain too much, (joke). We got some for our sisters in Bălți, buying 7 bunches as there are never more than 7 and usually about 5-6. They were having a special activity so there were 10 sisters, awkward for us. We explained to the younger ones the situation and they were good, we think. I am sure those tears were just the joy of seeing us again. Actually, the cookies and cake- a delicious pumpkin cake- made things better. Because flowers, while pretty, dont taste that good. We seem to have begun a wet season, as it has begun to rain, but the weather is great. This week we moved a set of elders and then helped them clean, we were praying that our sons apartment was much better that what we have cleaned and inspected. Please?! We seem to be busy with so many things lately, but it is all good. We are already realizing how quickly time passes and how much we will miss people. Oh, in case you are wondering , I do have a screw loose, but I got the tire fixed this week and my mental status has improved a lot.
Okay, if ever you complain about your home, this is the residence of the mother of one of our members in Bălți. What you see is what is there. The only bright spot is the pink blanket in the corner, made by Deb. You cannot see the fire pit, in the middle of the floor.

The outside of the same home, amazing eh? Home is a strong word to use for this place.

This is a well along the highway, with a beautiful picture of Christ and the woman of Samaria. With the real well, a classic.

I said once Deb did not have enough pictures of these, I am trying.

Ever see a sign like this on a highway?

A game of giants, wizards and elves. People have to act it out, then the winner  tags the loser.  It is an active rock, paper, scissors

Ever seen a horse and buggy at a gas station for a fillup?

This guy, no lie, said he wanted his picture on the internet. So now he has, along with Elder Gerber-Kai on the L, Elder Savage on the R. It is a little hard to tell the horse and Elder Savage apart,  but the horse is the cute one.

Sister Edwards, Nina, Andreea Alexandroaia and Mariana. Andreea is engaged a nice young man, Alessandro, from Idaho. She and Nina were in Kiev this week.
So all is well, we are doing well, are happy and yes, Deb has 2 bunches of flowers on the table.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Elder Johnson

March 5. We have an almost empty house, after a full weekend and a full week. We had a treat this week as we had a visit from Elder Paul Johnson of the Seventy, who is a counsellor in the European presidency. He came to Moldova and visited with us in a zone conference, in a leadership training, in a senior missionary presentation and then today in a district conference. He is a wonderful kind man who was truly interested in the Church in Moldova and more particularly in Moldova people. The fun part, I found we both served in the Norway mission as young men, he from 1973-75 and me from 1974-76. Our paths never crossed, he went home 7 months after I arrived, and he was east and I was west. We knew similar people, and were both wise enough to not snakke Norsk. It was very enjoyable. We have had a lot of General Authority visits here, what a blessing. We were disappointed this week as we were not allowed by the Orthodox Church to help with the homeless at a soup kitchen. It was not just being Mormon, they do not cooperate with any other church here. A shame, the help was needed and we were a bit angry at first. I had especially looked forward to helping medically, so I did apologize to those people and explained why we could not come. This country needs all to cooperate. We were able to help the Dutch NGO with food hampers again, one man had had only potatoes for 2 weeks. We have also been able to volunteer at a school with some class help. It is Martisor time here, the beginning of spring. This wednesday is Woman's Day, and also Mette's birthday, Little did she know she was a national holiday. We also took our YSA bowling again, we had 49 bowlers and had to do 2 shifts as 2 lanes were out of commission. The pics are very random again.
Typical old Russian bloc where we deliver

A warm welcome to the bloc, this is typical

This older lady is on our street rain or shine selling a few items. She has some cloudy liquid in bottles and we are afraid to find out what was in them

Hundreds of Martisors for sale

Larger Martisors, all handmade

Saw this car, looked like a license plate for me, yes?

A beautiful shrine on the way to Balti, Just down the road is a dynamite placinte place. We bought 4 hot apple placintes for 16 lei, or 80 cents.

A few bowling pictures, Chiril Busila in the foreground

Here is us and Elder Johnson, what a very nice man and leader he is.
So we are hoping for a bit quieter week, we have more apartments to check and much to do. It will be nice to continue to try to help in this country.