Wednesday, January 1, 2014

December 25th, CHRISTMAS DAY!!

We are missing our family today!! It is Christmas Eve for them and we know that the grandkids will be so excited. It is nice to have a stress free Christmas, but Christmas is for the little ones and we do miss seeing the anticipation and the thrill on their faces at this special time of the year.

I had put some things together for our stalking and when Alan saw them this morning he was mortified that he hadn’t bought me a present. He couldn’t figure out when I had done all that, because we are always together. He didn’t want to open anything. We ate breakfast, went for a walk and came home and got cleaned up before I could get him to sit down and open his presents. He began to relax when he saw that I had wrapped up all of the things we brought from home that we haven’t used yet, the extra toothbrushes, razor blades, deodorant etc. We have been married almost 40 years, I can’t believe that he couldn’t have figured that out. We did get two new presents. I bought him a day planner and he bought one for me. It wasn’t a surprise but it was something to open. We found out that we will have some surprises sometime in the new year. Tiff, Lisa and Kristine have all sent packages. Hopefully they will get here before we leave for home. We got one yesterday, but it was for the Beans. It was sent in October and they went home 2 and a half weeks ago.

The Breits left for home this morning. It’s sad to see them go, mostly because we are worried about his health and the students that they are leaving behind. They didn’t seem sad at all about leaving. Tonga just wasn’t a good fit for them.

We ran in to the hospital to see Elder Riddle and Elder King. They looked tough! Elder Riddle has a cut on his forehead, broken ribs and cuts, scrapes and bruises. Elder King looked a little better but he had a nasty gash going down his leg that needed a lot of stitches. Unfortunately, here he only got a few so he will have quite a scar. The was also cut up and bruised and they both are “sore all over.” They truly are so lucky to be alive. They told us about the accident and it was easy to see that they are both angry about what happened. Evidently the Mission President stopped in Vava’u on his way home from the Niuas on the boat. While he was there he was able to meet with some of the missionaries, one of them being Elder Riddle’s companion. Elder Riddle and his companion are the Zone leaders in Vava’u and the president wasn’t happy about some of the things that this young man was doing. When the president left, they got in the van to go back to their MQ and Elder Riddle’s companion drove. He was going way to fast. When the 4 other missionaries in the car told him to cut it out and slow down, he went faster and started jerking the wheel around. The van started to fishtail, he lost control and that is when they spun around and hit the palm tree. The Mission President isn’t back here yet. We don’t envy him trying to sort all of this out. We stayed and talked to the boys for about an hour and then we headed back home.

It took me all afternoon to clean, wrap, bake, cool and shred all of the potatoes for our dinner tonight. The Breits were going to bring potatoes too, but now that they are gone, I needed to make more. I am crazy about having enough food for these meals. I made funeral potatoes because we are having ham and we can get everything except sour cream that I needed to make them. I made do with what I had and they turned out great. If you put enough cheese on, everything tastes good.

The Tongan couples that are serving here didn’t come to the dinner tonight. They are all spending Christmas with relatives here on the island. The rest of us had a wonderful meal. I don’t think ham has ever tasted so good to me. It is amazing how when you haven’t had something like ham for over a year and then you get to eat it again, it tastes twice as good as what you remembered. We had plenty of food and everyone just enjoyed the evening. President and Sister Tupou and the Hamblins got home today and they all came to the dinner. It was so good to see them again and have them home safe and sound. After dinner, they told us a little about their trip. Their 3 day visit to the Niuas turned into a 2 week adventure. In short, they ate raw fish, lobster and pigs, they got eaten alive by the mosquitoes, they slept on mats on a bed frame or on the padded benches in the church, they saw some amazing tropical scenery and sunsets and they met some wonderful people. President Tupou served up there for a year when he was here on his mission and he kept saying over and over again, “It is insane”!! It hasn’t changed a bit in the last 40 years, no progress at all. That is insane!

They don’t have a descent Warf on that island, so when the ship comes in you have to go out to meet it in a small boat. But if it is high tide and the wind is blowing, they can’t get the small boat close so they tie it to a huge rock at the end of the Warf. You go out on the rock and when the wave comes in, the boat comes up and you jump in! Then they wait until the next wave and someone else jumps in. When all of the adults are in, they start throwing the small children to their parents in the boat as the waves come in. THAT IS INSANE!!! When everyone is in the small boat, they take it out to meet the larger boat and go through the whole process again. Every trip is life threatening!!!!!

The president said that they need a water project done on the main island up there and he wants to send Elder and Sister Webb up to get it going. Seriously?? After the stories they told us I have NO DESIRE to see those islands. Alan has always wanted to go there. He didn’t get to go there when he was serving here. Maybe he and an engineer could go up and have a look. I’ll send the camera and then look at the pictures.