Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Week With Two P-Days – September 21, 2014

This week we had two P-days!  Wednesday was the Fiji National Elections and it was a national holiday.  Everything, (well almost everything) was closed, thus we had a free day.  As we left home at about 8am that morning the voting was in high gear down at the Samabula Primary School.  People were in line and the line snaked back down the road for over one of our city blocks and that was where we lost sight of it.  Everyone was anxious to get their votes in early.

We spent a short time at the office and then a few of the other couples said they were headed for the Spice Farm, so we went along.  It was  a bit drier this visit and we actually got to see the vanilla growing.  It was very interesting to see it.  They have to hand pollinate it here, and it is very labor intensive, but they get about a 7x return by doing it by hand.

We saw vanilla beans, nutmeg on the trees, ginger, and a chocolate bean.  We cut it open and tried the beans inside.  They are slimy little devils and are sweet, but haven’ the slightest “chocolate” taste.  A lot has to be done to it before it is what we recognize it as chocolate.

And for our second P-day we went with the couples out to Mosquito Island.  Mosquito Island is about a city block away from the road and the Novotel.  But unless you want to wade out at low tide (which we didn’t want to do) you take a short boat ride over.

We had such a large group that it took two trips to get us all over.  We went over with the second group.  I got in and was standing up and the boat driver said, “Will the tall lady please sit down?”  I laughed and told him that I didn’t care what he called me as long as it wasn’t the fat lady.

The island is a city park and it “well loved”, meaning it gets a lot of use.  And the caretaker has about 6 mangy dogs who greet you as you land and wait patiently while you eat your picnic lunch, hoping for hand outs.  We had our picnic and did a bit of swimming/wading and talked a bunch.  Then it was time to head back.

As I got in the boat the driver said, “Will the fat lady please sit down?”  And then he laughed and said, “See I remembered you!”   Ughhhhhhhhh!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Another Check on the Bucket List– August 13, 2014

Well we accomplished another check on the old bucket list.  Friday we took off in the afternoon and drove to Nadi.  We had dinner at the Hard Rock Café.  We met our friendly waiter Ronnie and as we left he asked if we wanted to get a “frequent diner” card.  We told him no, that when we go home we eat at McDonalds.  I fear we have shattered our image by admitting that.

Saturday morning we took a ride with Surf Fiji out to Cloud Break.  Cloud Break is a world class surfing wave and is one of a few left curling waves.  We rode out with three Aussies who were there to surf, not like us who were just along for the ride.

It was fun to watch them wax their boards and prepare to go.  Unfortunately they told us that the wave was not great, and it was too bad we didn’t come a day earlier, it was at least twice to three times bigger the day before.  Guess we never took that into our planning.  But they looked big to us.

We sat in the boat and watched them paddle out and ride the waves.  As the morning wore on the wave got a bit better, but nothing really “world class”.  Unfortunately, sitting out in a bobbing boat falls under the sea sickness rules and even with taking a pill I began to get queasy. 

The surfers returned and were ready to head for shore.  But one of the motors on the boat didn’t want to cooperate, so it took a bit longer than I would have liked.  But finally we were moving again, and the water was white cappy and choppy and it was a bit of a bumpy ride.  But we couldn’t have asked for a prettier day. 

As we got ready to go in a small white sea bird with a long black bill flew down and hit Dew in the shoulder and dropped into the bottom of the boat.  Evidently he wasn’t very well. He rested for a while and when we threw him into the air to take off he flew a bit then landed in the water. Poor little bird.

We have included a few pictures of Thomas and Manoa as they went to the temple for the first time on Thursday evening.  It was fun to be included and the both came out with big wide smiles, ready to begin the preparations to leave on their missions.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

White Envelopes and Birthdays–September 7, 2014

What a week we have had!  On Monday Fokie told us that Manoa’s white envelope had arrived (all mission calls are sent to the service center because there is no mail delivery in Fiji) and it had to be given out to the stake president to give to the missionary.

Mr. Patience, aka Elder Jackson, waited patiently until about 4pm and when it looked like it the stake president wasn’t going to make it in to pass it along he took things into his own hands.  He called President Sefeti and told him it was here and would he give his okay for it to be given to Fokie to take home to Manoa.  He even walked down the hall, cell phone in hand to make sure the message got passed.  And so Fokie was able to take it home and Manoa was able to open it at their FHE and discover he is going to the Philippines, leaving on October 14th.  That will have the two brothers in the same country and only a month apart.

And then on Thursday another white envelope arrived for Thomas.  He was almost beside himself with excitement.  He took it to the mission prep class and opened it there.  He has been called to serve in the Suva Fiji mission and will go to the MTC in Hamilton, New Zealand.  That is a perfect call for Thomas, and we are all excited.

He has been walking around with the biggest smile on his face.  And then to make it even more tender he asked Fokie (his stand in Mom) if she would help him write a letter of thanks to the person who took him to church with them and started it all.  He will fly out on November 20th – the day before we leave.

After all that excitement we spent Saturday going to lunch with the other couples. We went out to Pacific Harbor and on the way had to stop while a huge herd of cows make their way slowly across the main road.  As they say TIF – This is Fiji!

We celebrated three elders birthday – Elder Terry, Elder Wells and Elder Jackson.  And winter seems to be on its way out, the heat is beginning to creep back.  We are sorry to see winter leave.

Oh yea!  We are eating “Rice Cakes” outside, so we don’t dirty the service center floor