Saturday, June 29, 2013

PFS then Visiting the Countryside–June 29, 2013

One of our assignments is to hold a “Preparing For Success” workshop every month.  They are normally scheduled for the first and third Saturday of each month.  But because some of the students needed it earlier we moved it up a week.  We have been cramming for the last couple of weeks for it.  We do half one week and half the next and it’s a required class for any student applying for a grant or a loan.

We had 12 people signed up.  We went over early and set up.  Some of the signed up people never came, but others did, so we ended up with 13 students.  It went pretty well.  We cleaned up, had lunch and headed out.

Last week we went towards Nadi, and this week we went the other direction, out Kings Highway.  It is called the delta and there are a lot of farms out that direction.  We drove out past Korovou and to a point called Lawaki.  In our little book it said that it is “a 20 minutes stretch without potholes!”  Unheard of!  It was rather amazing!

We came to the end of the road and there was a school, a boarding school called “Queen Victoria” School.  It is between semesters here and all the students were gone and they were cleaning.  All the bedding had been washed and was drying – on the roof of the dormitories.  Rather an amazing sight.

We found a jetty where ferries come in and thought it would be fun to ride over to one of the islands and look around and come back.  Not to be, if you go over you stay – the returning ferry isn’t until Monday.  Another time maybe.

Then back, and we took a little turn off into one of the villages.  We passed a group of children who had been out cutting plants.  They had machetes and greens all wrapped up, bringing them back.  We stopped and asked if we could take their picture and they were overjoyed to let us.  So cute.  And there was one small boy who ended up in the back of the pack – but he was not to be outdone.  He simply marched up to the front and posed with his machete.  Check out his eyes, this kid was serious!  I think that he could be a throw back to the cannibal's of old.

By the time we got back home the rain had come back, but we had one whole afternoon with bright blue skies to take our pictures.


Small World–June 29, 2013

Today Shirley and I held our first “Planning for Success” workshop.  Following the workshop one of the students was watching a YouTube video titled “Fiji Bus Driver Dance”. 

As I was watching it, I noticed a FAMILIAR FACE.  Nine months ago our grandson Sam was on a work project here in Fiji and he just happened to be on the bus. 

Check out the video, he is the curly haired young man in a blue and white stripped shirt.  Here is the link


Sam 9 Months Ago in Fiji

A Gecko and Some Toilet Paper-June 29, 2013

We had our first introduction to Geckos.  The first spotting was when one came out from under our couch.  It just sat there and didn’t move and I left it alone.  I was told to be nice to them because they eat the nasty bugs.  And today we spotted one on the ceiling at the office.

Contrary to popular belief they are not green, they do not stand on their hind legs and they do not speak with an Aussie accent.

I love a good “creature comfort”.  And one of the first things I had to buy when we got here was American TP.  I have found many varying types of TP, but the TP found at the office is the absolute worst.

You hear people say that the TP was so thin that you could read the newspaper through it, and so I just thought that I would show you that that kind of TP really does exist and that it is alive and well and hanging in the Institute of Religion in Fiji!!!

Our friend the Gecko

Toilet Paper So Thin You Can Read Through It!!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Abbie Received Mission Call–June 28, 2013

Today was one of those “pay days” that life brings.  Just a few weeks ago Abbie (our oldest granddaughter) submitted her mission papers and on her Facebook she wrote “Mission papers are in, place your bets ladies and gentlemen!” 

And today she opened that big white envelope.

Just a word of explanation.  Abbie has always loved anything and everything Japanese.  She has studied the language, the culture, had Japanese foreign exchange students stay with her and on and on and on.  And when Tyler our oldest grandson got his call to the Japan Kobe Mission she was crushed and feared that she would never get the chance.

And last year she finally got to visit there and she soaked up every thing around her and had a permanent smile on her face for the whole time we were there.

And today she was blessed with a call to the Japan Tokyo South Mission!

There has been a joke in our family for a long time about who was the favorite – and Abbie has always held her own in that argument.  And today when she got her call Kent said, “Oh no, now not only does she think she is the favorite grandchild, now she is going to think she is Heaven’s favorite as well!  Could be!!!

We are so grateful for Skype and all the modern technology that allowed us to watch this momentous event as it happened and to be a part of all the excitement.  And to top it off, she reports to the MTC on September 18th – Grandpa J’s birthday.  (Remember – mi cumpleanos  es en Septiembre!)

Video of Abbie’s Mission Call

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Views From the Temple-June 27, 2013

It is officially winter here.  You can tell its winter because the babies all are wearing ski hats and are wrapped in blankets.  But to us it’s perfect.  We have had lots of cloudy days and then the sun will come out and everything is beautiful.

Today was one of those days.  As we left work to drive home we needed to purchase petrol and headed for the station.  We drove up by the temple and the view was amazing.  So we hurried back and walked around the temple taking pictures.  It’s too bad that camera’s just can’t quite get the full beauty.

The temple is on a hill and we were looking down at the water and the hills across the bay were shrouded in a haze that made them just beautiful.  We took a few of the view (beautiful) and a few of us (less beautiful).  And even got one of one of the newer buses stopping at a bus stop.  And before we knew it the light was gone and so was the glow.

The Road Saga Continues–June 27, 2013

Today is an anniversary of sorts – one month ago we entered the MTC and began this adventure. 

When we arrived we found that the street where we live is under repair.  We watched a group of laborers work to dig out some of the asphalt and dirt and smooth it.  And then it rained and the dirt all washed away and the next day they began again.  They work with shovels and with long poles which they use as a pick.

And then last week-end things got really serious – they brought in actual heavy equipment and paved a small part of the road.  Not all and they haven’t touched the pot holes yet.  So tonight as we came home we found small mounds of dirt all along the road and we feared we wouldn’t be able to get in the driveway, but they had left us room.  I fear that road construction is not on the “high priority” list.  Stay tuned for more reports.

But this sign was outside of our driveway the other morning.  I loved it!  Does it mean the road is half closed?  Or that half the road is closed for half of the time? Or does it mean we work half time?  Can’t really say.

Half What?

Friday, June 21, 2013

First Saturday Free–June 22, 2013

Actually our week-end started on Friday evening.  A group of the missionaries went out to dinner and to a movie together.  (Yes, it’s allowed for seniors!)  We ate at the food court in the Tappoo Center, which is a large shopping complex.  I struggled, the burgers were lamb, pork and even goat, (chicken as well) as were most of the meals.  Vegetarian is my new mantra.  Afterwards we went to see the new Superman movie.  They have a pretty nice theater and the drinks and pop corn are cheap, cheap, cheap.

And on Saturday we took our first foray into the countryside by ourselves.  Actually we just followed Queens road towards Nadi, nothing too exotic.  We wanted to find fun places to take visitor's, hint, hint, hint.

We found a full day trip on the Navua river  which includes whitewater rafting, canoeing, swimming in the waterfall, and a visit to a Fijian village and lunch, all less than an hour from where we live.  And add another 15 minutes time and we can catch a cruise and go snorkeling, fishing and diving. And this cruise goes out and circles the island that Scott and Ann are scheduled to stay on when they come.  And of course there is the diving with the sharks trip which I plan to miss and zip lines as well.

We found some beautiful sights and even got to walk along the beach.  Lunch was pizza, Hawaiian at that.  No lamb or goat, thank you very much.  We decided to check out a resort that specialized in diving, fishing, and surfing.  To get there it was two kilometers of dirt road and most of it was straight up, and I mean straight up.  By the time we got to the top of the mountain and realized that we would have to go down the other side to the ocean the idea of seeing the resort had lost it’s appeal.  Driving back down those hills was almost as exciting as riding a zip line down.  Give me a resort that can be reached from the highway any day.

We also found an amazing golf course at Pacific Harbor.  There was hardly anyone on the course and it advertises that it has more sand than the beach.  And you can rent clubs, you just have to wear golf shoes, and a shirt with a collar, no mention was made of the fact that you had to know how to play.  They had cool hats, hope we get a chance to play there just to get a cool hat. Pacific Harbor advertises itself as “the adventure capital of Fiji.”  Worth another visit or two.

And we topped the day off at a car wash.  A not to be missed adventure.  Our car was covered in mud and to get in and out of the car wash you had to drive through more mud.  I wanted the car vacuumed and they just had one spot to do that so it took a bit longer than just a wash did.  But they did a great job, there were some hard working young men doing all the work.  And we paid the grand total of $5.00 Fijian or about $2.50 American, so what's the problem with a little extra mud on the tires anyway?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I Can’t, I’m a Member–June 20, 2013

This morning in went to the lunch room to get an ice cold Diet Coke and there were two cute little girls in there coloring.  They saw me pour a glass of Diet Coke and one of the girls said, “Is that Coke?” and I said it was.  She then replied, we don’t drink Coke because we are members of the church.

She made me feel so guilty, but I drank it anyway.

Two Little Girls on Right

Some Things Are Different–Some Are The Same! June 20, 2013

It’s funny how quickly you can acclimate to a new area after you have lived in other similar areas.  For example there are a lot of things like we encountered in England such as driving on the left side, putting your “rubbish” in the “bin”, and other very English things that the Fijians have picked up from their English friends. 

And of course there are a lot of very Asia things here as well, for example they love Chinese food and there are Chinese restaurants all over, and they have a huge market down in the center of Suva that is just like Hong Kong, and you see smaller neighborhood markets along the streets as well.  But then something happens that makes you remember that you are not in Kansas anymore.

Tonight we stopped at a super market to pick up a few things and of course Dew wandered around and got lost.  And as I continued to browse around one of the employees came up and said, “your husband is lost and looking for you.”  And I thought, “and how do you know it’s my husband?” And my next thought was, “of course she knows which one is my husband we really stand out in a crowd.”

Yesterday as we visited the big market we came to a small round about and there in the middle were about 5 or 6 men, sitting in their wheelbarrows and just watching the traffic go by.  As we (Fokie and I) went about the market looking for the items we wanted, Dew was wandering around taking pictures.  When we were ready to leave we couldn’t find him and as we walked outside the men in the roundabout pointed the way he had gone.  And he said they did the same thing for him and pointed the way that we had gone  Now how do you think they knew we were together…we stand out in a crowd. And as we watched him come up the aisle from far across the market we both laughed and said, “wow, is he easy to spot or what with that white hair and that white shirt!”

But the prize winner had to be tonight when we were standing in line at the super market to pay for our groceries.  As I paused to wait our turn something caught my attention  It was the Muzak music that you hear playing in the background.  But it was the song – Mary Did You Know?  A Christmas song and it was sung by Alex Boye!  No kidding, it really was and now I am officially in the “Christmas” mood.  Who knew?

The Resting Roundabout


Fijian Information Center