Sunday, June 28, 2015

Two long flights and family

We have been preparing to meet with Elder Aidukaitis of the Area Presidency to give an update of our work. We were able to meet with him on Tuesday afternoon, just before we were to go to the airport. It ends up that there is a formal process for approving our plan for calling regional and council technology specialists. Emerson helped put a few things together for their meeting for next week. By the time we returned from the USA everything had been approved.

We had a 30-hour trip from Brazil to Spokane. It started with a slow car ride to the airport (Thank you Elder Hale and Sister Hale) and a 3-hour wait at the airport. As we were waiting we talked to six missionaries who were returning home from the São Paulo South Mission. As boarding started a man came up and told us we could board with the priority passengers. In Brazil they give special consideration to the "idosos" (aged). The flight to Atlanta was long (all night), but not overcrowded.

In Atlanta we encounter missionaries returning home from Argentina. We hope they make it, because their flight was delayed. Our flight to Salt Lake went as scheduled. We even arrived about 20 minutes early.

It was strange being in the Salt Lake airport. It was so familiar and we just had a layover and were not going home. Our flight to Spokane was delayed.

Welcome to Salt Lake
We finally got on the plane and started to back up when we had to return to the gate because of a mechanical problem. We changed planes at the next gate and finally arrived in Seattle about 2-hours late. We got our rental car and headed for the hotel. Just before our exit a car in front of us started to roll all over the freeway. Pieces of car and luggage were scattered all over. We finally were able to pass by and check into the hotel.

We woke up with the sun about 4:30 am. By 7:30 we were at Blair and Janae's to spend the day with Mom. After lunch we took Mom to the bank and to the store for some of the things she needed to get.

Nascar racer at Target
 We had a pleasant evening sitting on the back patio talking as Blair pruned his bonsai.
Blair, the bonsai king

Passion fruit blossom in Blair & Janae's back yard
On Friday we took Mom to the Tri-Cities. She stayed at John & Karen's while we checked into the hotel and did some shopping. When we returned to the hotel Andrea and the family had arrived from Utah. It turned out that Blair and Janae; Steve, Lisa, Sean, and Deidre stayed in the same hotel. We all went to Don and Nadine's for a family get-together. We had a nice dinner and some reminiscing in the comfort of Don's back yard.

The three swingers 
Dinner time
The Mitchell clan 
Add the spouses
 On Saturday we went to Basin City for the memorial service. Lisa, Diane, and Don spoke. Darwin played the flute, Blair played the piano, and Steve and I sang a duet. There were a lot of memories of Mom, especially of her teaching seminary in Basin City for 14 years.

The Mitchell family 
Grand children and great-grand children
 We took Mom back to Spokane Saturday afternoon, making a couple of stops to stretch along the way, including a drive through Connell, Ritzville, and several rest stops.
Card game in Connell 
At a rest stop
Sunday was Father's Day. It felt strange not having Dad here to share it. Diane got to eat the package of cookies they gave me at church for Father's Day. I didn't feel too bad, because Karen made some gluten-free cookies and banana bread that I really enjoyed - maybe too much. Janae fixed us a nice meal of ribs, Brussel sprouts, potatoes, and corn on the cob (sweet corn, not field corn).

We have really enjoyed Blair and Janae's back yard. They have a small pine-tree forest with deer passing through at times. Maybe after our mission we can find a home in such a setting.

Back of the house
A deer in the forest
On Monday morning we went for a walk to get some fresh air. We don't get as much chance to walk in São Paulo as we would like.
House along the walk
We did some serious shopping on Monday. Several people asked us to take special items back to Brazil for them. We had a nice lunch at Red Robin (they actually had a gluten-free hamburger bun). By supper time we weren't really hungry, but stopped at a 50's-style diner for shakes.

Shake, rattle, and roll
We didn't fly out until midmorning on Tuesday. but we wanted to get there early to turn in the car and get seat assignments (none were given when we made the reservations). We finally got seats on the back row from Spokane to Salt Lake. I had a tender tooth. By Salt Lake I even had trouble eating french fries. I got some Advil. It helped a bit, but my tooth was still really sore. 

The flight from Atlanta to São Paulo was delayed due to a burnt-out light bulb. How many people does it take to replace a light bulb? It seemed like a long flight, especially with a toothache. Delta did very well handling gluten-free meals on the international flights. 

We got into São Paulo about an hour late. Elder Zaugg and Elder Hale were there to pick us up. We only stopped at the apartment briefly because they then took me to see a dentist. I got an x-ray (infected tooth), a prescription for penicillin, and an appointment for next Tuesday for a root-canal specialist. I was glad I could get right in and let the tooth start healing. Yes, it feels much better now.

This was a long week with a lot of traveling. When we arrived back in Brazil we said, "We're home".

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