In July of 1998 when we moved into our home in Gilbert I told Elder Ashton that I was NOT going to move again......little did I know at that time that I would be moving into an apartment in Chesapeake Virginia this past week. And even though we had help from others in the mission (including four young elders) can I just say that I REALLY DISLIKE moving! I was very anxious to get in our own place and stop living out of suitcases but it is alot of work to unpack and get an apartment set up. We are making good progress on settling in, but every day I find two or three things I don't have that I really need to function efficiently! We started moving in on Tuesday and managed to get about 1/2 of the stuff put away and two beds set up before we crashed for the night!
We got up the next morning expecting to have breakfast at out dining table - we had purchased cereal, milk, bread, butter, paper plates, plasticware....but OOOPS, the other office couple still had all the dishes and pots and pans - we didn't have any bowls for cereal, and no toaster to make toast. So, Elder Ashton had a small container of yogurt for breakfast and I had a bit of rice pudding (rice is a grain so that's healthy, right?)
That same couple had sent us home from dinner at their house on Tuesday night with some leftover spaghetti so I planned to use that for supper on Wednesday evening. We got home and I started to get the Spaghetti out of the refrigerator and stopped in my tracks to say, "We don't have a microwave to warm this up! - oh, well, we can just heat it on top of the stove - no wait, we don't have any pots and pans!" I looked at Elder Ashton and said "well maybe we could just put it on a paper plate (totally forgetting our situation) and warm it up". He said, "In the microwave we don't have?" and we both started to laugh........so we had sandwiches for supper :)
By Thursday evening I felt like we finally had most of our "required" kitchen tools.....even a toaster, a microwave and a crock pot!
The "Bike" Room
The "Master" bedroom
The "Master" bathroom
The Living Room
The "Den"/AKA Computer Corner in the Living Room
I believe this apartment is about the same size as the 3rd apartment we lived in while going to school at BYU in 1971/1972 and so far we seem to be doing fine......even though we share a cube at the office during the day and a small apartment on our off time, no hard feelings yet. Maybe that is because Elder Ashton has been giving lots of "Yes, dear - whatever you want" responses ;-D
We continued to work at getting comfortable in the apartment in our off hours through the week and finally got internet and TV set up on Friday. I haven't watched any TV yet but am certainly glad to have internet access....I've felt like I have been out of the loop!
While we were busy moving on Tuesday, Elder Simmons (in the maroon sweater) got a call telling him that his brother had passed away. He and Sister Simmons were scheduled to leave this coming Wednesday, November 26, but due to the passing of his brother they left on Thursday, November 10 instead. We took one last picture with the "office staff" before they left the office on Wednesday. Elder and Sister Wilson (on the left of the picture) take care of the apartments, baptisms, referrals, and supplies.....they will be going home to Boise Idaho in early March; Sister Stoecker (next to me in the picture) is the mission secretary. She lives here locally and is serving for two years.....she will be released next summer. Elder and Sister Simmons who trained Elder Ashton and I should be back in Utah by now and they will be missed in the office and in the ward! I already had to call Sister Simmons once to ask her where to find something in the software, but felt better when she told me it wasn't there and we had to do a "work around" to handle that process - made me feel just like I was back working with the good old court software AZTEC :)
On Saturday we went over to Norfolk, hoping to get close and see the Norfolk Navy Shipyard, but we couldn't find it. We did get the excitement of driving through a tunnel under another arm of the bay - and I didn't even hold my breath this time!
A shot from the moving vehicle of some of the work being done on the ships.
We rushed back from our adventures and went shopping in preparation for feeding three of the young men missionaries last night. I decided to make a pan of chicken enchiladas, have chips & salsa, green salad, and a Better Than XXX cake" - but had to go shopping first because I only had one 9x12 pan and needed two to fix the dinner. I had also volunteered to make some pecan pies to take over to the house where we are having dinner on Thanksgiving and I didn't have any pie pans or Crisco to make the pie crust.
After more than an hour of shopping we came home, put the stuff away and I started to cook. Oh, My, What an adventure! As I started to mix the cake, I realized that I had only ONE liquid measuring cup (at home I have 4) and only ONE rubber spatula (at home I have 6 or 7), and I didn't have any salad tongs or other utensils to serve the salad - ended up using two large spoons and washing the spatula and measuring cup multiple times while cooking. I didn't realize I had been living so high with all my kitchen tools back in Arizona but I think I might need to get a few more kitchen tools if I am going to survive for 18 months back here!
Even with the preparation challenges I think the young Elders appreciated the dinner last night - there wasn't much left when we were done. They asked us if we would go with them again at 8 o'clock to teach JaNae and we were glad to do that. She had a rough week as she had to go to court and her two children were taken away from her for awhile (probably something that happened while she was suffering from postpartum depression). I feel so sad for her. She is such a quiet and gentle person and really wants to follow what Jesus wants her to do. She said that when her kids were taken she just wanted to go home to her apartment and crawl into bed and not get back up, but then she had a thought that she needed to have faith that God and Jesus would help her through this. I sure hope she can find some peace! When we left last night I gave her a big hug and told her that I think she is an awesome young woman to move forward with faith even though things are very hard right now. She tentatively agreed to be baptized on December 27th, but didn't come to church this morning so I don't know if something came up or if she has changed her mind. Guess time will tell.
Driving away from church this morning....as you can tell the sky is gray again. Haven't seen much sunshine when we got here - I'm wondering if we got confused and drive West to Washington State instead of East to Virginia :)
Home next to the river
Same home from different angle
Home sits on this little knoll along the Elizabeth River
We drive over the bridge that spans the Elizabeth River several times a day on our way to the office and back home. Every time I pass the home and docks shown above I start singing, "Way down along the Swanee River" in my mind.....this is what I picture that would be like.
When we arrived home from Church today, we had a little squirrel visiting just across the parking lot. I don't know if you can see it, but it is the little gray thing with the bushy tail on the road right in the middle in front of the sidewalk. Bushy tailed squirrels were everywhere the first few days we were here, but I haven't been seeing as many. I think they may have gathered most of the acorns and have decided to hibernate for the winter because it has been pretty cold here.
In the last four weeks we've received some great letters, emails, phone calls, and text messages from friends and family. Keep them coming.......they all help me to feel a little less homesick.
Happy Thanksgiving Week to one and all. Wish I was there to hug on my family and friends, but realize it is because of all my blessings (and my gratitude for those blessings) that I am here on the East Coast learning to love and care for others.
It will be a crazy busy week as 25 young missionaries are leaving to go home on Tuesday morning and 20 young missionaries are coming in to begin their missions on Tuesday afternoon. I have the responsibility of printing boarding passes and paying luggage fees for all departing missionaries and for handing out pre-loaded debit cards to all arriving missionaries. Just thinking about how busy it will be makes me tired! I think I will go take a nap :)