Mormon Mission World

Monday, January 16, 2012

Getting Busy in Latvia

Hi Everyone!

This has been a quiet week in Latvia! We managed to stay busy but not much excitement to report. On Monday we filled in for the other office couple, the Millet's, while she had a medical test to see how much longer her battery is good for (pacemaker.) No wonder the young folks do the real work in the mission field – their batteries don’t need checking.

                                         Writing the Blog

We did go on a long walk from our apartment up to Old Town. We had a great Cheeseburger at TGIFridays and took the bus home.
 This week a couple, who were in Riga on a visa trip from Moscow, dropped by the office for a visit.  In Russia is it required that you leave the country every three months to renew your visa. We have heard that the Secretary of State and her Russian counterpart have agreed to one year visas for Americans in Russia. But nothing can happen until after elections settle down there since it will need some sort of approval. It would be such a blessing to missionaries to not waste time and money with the frequent trips out of the country. Please remember this in your prayers. The Woods had accompanied two younger missionaries who are here for the same reason. It was fun to exchange tails of life in each country. I must say, we could not compete with some of the disadvantages they have to deal with. We have many more products available and our living conditions are much more comfortable. We invited them and the Millets over for dinner on Thursday to visit some more. This is where we would post a picture of them if we had not forgotten to take one!

We also decided to buy a dining table and chairs. We only had a table for two which did not comfortably seat any more than that, not with food anyway. We walked to one furniture store and saw several options but wanted to visit a store we had previously been to before making our choice. There we found a floor model that was on clearance for 45% off.  It is just perfect! We even had it delivered in time for our dinner guests. Then started another adventure!

I came home early from the office to meet the delivery people. The table had been dismantled for the delivery and these were delivery folks, not assembly folks. Since there were only two bolts (or screws or whatever they were) per leg I figured, ‘how hard could it be?’ So I attached the legs – and a mighty fine job I did I must admit. Then came the problem of setting the table upright. It was pretty heavy and I am pretty weak. I was afraid I would snap two of the legs off if I put that much pressure on them. After surveying the situation I determined the best plan was to take two legs off and re-attach them when it was upright. This plan worked quite well, although it might have made a great video for “America’s Funniest Videos.”  But there was no one to record it or I would not have had the initial problem. In the end I was able to get it together and all set in time for company to arrive.

Friday was the most adventuresome day of the week. It turned out to be a snowy day. When we left home it was dry and snow was not expected until evening, so I did not wear my boots. Surprise! The forecasters here go to school with the ones in America! They are only correct 10% of the time. By mid-afternoon we had about three inches of snow. After putting in a productive day at the office we accompanied the mission president’s wife, Sister Boswell, to see a potential apartment for a new pair of young missionaries. Elder Segeberg was delegated to drive. Here he was in the president’s car, unfamiliar with its equipment and quirks, driving across the city on Friday afternoon in the snow to an area we had never been. Don’t forget the ‘no left turn anywhere in town’ rule. He did very well and we were hardly ever nervous. There was a little bit of a hike to the building because we went the wrong direction. Guess we should have continued to use the GPS.

On the way we passed a group of young people, 20ish, rough-housing in the snow. No matter what country you are in boys, girls and snow cause a ruckus. Shortly after we passed them I felt a thud and a sting in my side. They hit me with a snowball! How rude! Is that anyway to treat a Babooska? (grandma) Finally, we arrived at the apartment in an old soviet style building. The door looked as though you were going into the maximum security area of a prison – big, metal and ugly. But after we climbed the four flights of stairs, since no one was brave enough to get into the scary looking elevator, the apartment was quite nice - by local standards. After negotiating with the owner we arranged for additional furniture and accessories to be added and the price to be reduced.  Then, of course, there was the drive back through now rush hour traffic. We had to go another way due to the lack of left turn capability. But in the end it was a successful trip! It was nice to see another area of the city. We have stayed within three miles of our apartment so far.

The snow continued through the night and all day Saturday. Since we had woken up with the beginnings of a cold on Friday we stayed in most of the day and watched the snow. 

                                          View from our apartment windows

Well, except for a trip to the post office to get a care package from home. That was like Christmas! Ziplock bags, Peanut Butter M&Ms and Tootsie Rolls, just to name a few treats!

The weekend ended with Elder Segeberg being called as the 2nd counselor in the branch presidency and the branch clerk as well. That might be a challenge since everything is in Russian! We had needed help filling out a denotation slip the previous week to turn in our fast offering. We are far from fluent yet, but still working on it. Luckily the president and the other counselor are fluent in English. We are enjoying our little branch and hope it is much bigger by the time we leave. They are a great bunch of people!
So long for another week, до свидания!

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