Tuesday, 1 July 2014

He's Home!

The Phelps Family Together Again!

Elder Phelps arrived home on Wednesday, June 25!  He had a direct flight from Paris, France (which they almost missed because the flight from Bucharest was an hour late!).  Consequently, his luggage didn't arrive with him.
Gavin and Jensen waiting in the airport with signs and balloons
It was so exciting to see him walk through the airport door and I hugged him and kissed his cheek.  I didn't want to let him go!  After hugs and welcome home wishes from family and friends: Derk and I, Amy, Jensen, and Gavin, Grandma Phelps, Grandma and Grandpa Dickerson, Stacy and Bryce and Austin's best friend, Carson, we were off to lunch at Chick-Fil-A.  That was the first thing Austin wanted to eat when he got back to America!
Mom hugs her son!

Little sister gets a hug from big brother.
Marisol, Kaden, Kiara, Sairi and Drake met us a Chick-Fil-A -- we went to the new one in Centerville since Austin had never been there.  He enjoyed his number 2 combo with a large lemonade and we headed for home.  Lonnie's family had been to the house and put up a "welcome home" sign on the porch in addition to the "Welcome Home" sign we had hung in the window.

When Austin came into the house he said, "It looks so big!"  We had completely remodeled the kitchen/living room area and opened it up while he was gone.  He took everything in for a few minutes and unloaded a few things from his carry on that he had brought back.  Then, it was down to his room (or as Carson called it, "the man cave.")  I made him a quilt out of his soccer and school T-shirts and jerseys.

He spent the rest of the evening unpacking boxes in his room and putting things away (Jensen had occupied his room while he was gone).  His bags finally arrived at 11 PM the next day!

It's so good to have him home!  His mission report will be on July 13th at 9 AM.
Austin and Grandma Phelps
Grandma and Grandpa Dickerson with Austin

Austin and the two other missionaries from Romania who came home on the same flight:
 Elder Carson Lybbert and Sister Amrie Stapley

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

On Sunday We Got to Take a Little Roadtrip

Not much new (you guessed it! ha). The week was just the usual. On Sunday, we did get to take a little road trip. A senior couple who had been serving in Ploiesti went home, and they couldn't fit all of their bags in the member's car who drove them down here to Bucharest to their hotel. So we drove up there in the van and picked up the rest of the bags. It's only about 64 kilometers, but they don't have freeways like we have, the roads between cities are more like our highways, and the speed limits are 40 km/hr going through a town and no more than 80 between them. It took us about an hour both ways. It was a nice drive. Then the next morning we got up way early to get them to the airport. Of course it was crowded. I have never been to the airport on Monday morning, but it was packed. And all of their bags were a bit heavy. So they had to do the balancing act to get them all right. And the flight was full so they had to check their carry on bags as well. Every bag was about a kilogram over weight, but we got lucky and had a nice lady at the check in counter. After they pulled some books from their suitcases to their hand bags, they made it. The guy was an inventor/business man that made bookoo bucks inventing farm machinery that packages hay, then exporting said hay to Japan and Taiwan. Interesting business, even more interesting guy.
 Here's a sunset picture Elder R. took of me from the office balcony.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

May 5, 2014

Well, I'm official financial secretary now. The Bakers left yesterday and its a three man show in the office now. 12 could work. Problem is that we're 9 hours ahead, and that's 9pm here. We could do it, but it'd be late here. I got the hats that you ordered, and also a Russian doll. I just have to make sure I'll have room in my suitcase for it all. 

We went to a Mexican restaurant for Cinco de Mayo. The new humanitarian couple called us and asked what we were doing and we told them just the normal stuff at the office. Then they offered to take us out to dinner, so free meal? Can't say no to that. The food was good, I had the pork fajitas, it came out on a sizzling platter and everything. Surprisingly there weren't many people there for the holiday.

Today we had staff meeting, which is usually boring, but wasn't all that terrible. After that I sat in on mission presidency meeting, due to my secretarial duties, I took minutes. We just have a lot to do. I have to call our accountant tomorrow and discuss what we are doing to change our ways after the area auditor rated us "not in compliance" in several areas. We still have cars to sell, cars to fix, tires to change. I payed rent for May for all the apartments. Busy busy busy.

May 10, 2014

We got to Skype with Austin for 2 1/2 hours!  It was good to see him and he is doing well and keeping busy in the office.  He was a little disappointed that he will be in the office until the end of his mission as he was hoping to get out into the field for his last transfer.  He understands, however, that the office is where he is needed.  He said the mission president called and asked him if he would please stay and oversee the finances of the mission.   We are excited that he will be home in 6 weeks!

Austin Via Skype on Mother's Day

May 19, 2014

Keeping busy as usual. Nothing really exciting happened this week. Today we went to the church and everyone played frisbee. They are trying to make some "I'm a Mormon" videos of Romanians to put on the site in Romanian, so they played frisbee for the background of it. I took a nap on the grass, because I didn't want to have to shower again... haha.

It's crazy how the time flies! Only 5 Sundays left.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Easter in Bucharest

Q: What's up? Anything new and exciting? Did you get to do anything cool for Easter this year? Did the package we sent come yet?
A: I did get the package. And we did the whole light the candle at midnight thing again. I'm pretty sure I explained it last year. But in short, at midnight on the day before Easter, everyone goes to the church and the priests come out and everyone has a candle, and spread the "light of Christ." Symbolic of the Resurrection, I'm not sure about the details, but it's a cool experience. I'll attach a picture.

You're scheduled to speak on June 29' the Sunday after you come home. So, you can start getting ready for that.

As for my talk, do you know who else is speaking, what my topic is, how long I need to talk etc. etc? I'll probably end up writing most of it here. I've already got lots of notes and stuff I can start organizing. Let me know though.

Sorry I don't have a lot to say, but it's just the same! I'm learning how to be an accountant, I'll be on my own after May 5. That's when the office couple leaves, and they still don't know about the next one coming in. They are supposed to come on June 1, but they don't even have a call yet.... So we'll see.
Enjoy the picture, sorry it's blurry, but it was dark and we couldn't hold the camera still.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

My First Meal will be Chick-Fil-A

Q: Hey, how's things? Anything new or interesting experiences this week? Have you started to train as the financial secretary? Maybe after that, you'll change you mind and decide to be an accountant, haha! I got your flight itinerary by email and now it all seems that more real and official that you're really coming home! Does it seem weird to you? It's kind of surreal. All in all, the time has really flown by for me. Strange how time works eh? How was church yesterday? Did you get the package yet? If not, hopefully it will arrive sometime this week.

A: Yeah flight itineraries came and we're all but bags packed! haha. I actually was the first person to read my itinerary. Also, I packed and sent the letter to the stake president with my certificates and release letters and stuff last week. I'm flying home with two other people to SLC and we all decided, that we're all going to Chick Fil a at the City Creek Center after we leave the airport. So, I guess you're all invited too, because that's where I'm going! haha. But overall, it has seemed fast. But at the same time, if feels like I've been here for awhile. I went to the post office today, and still no package, maybe tomorrow though. I'm slowly learning the ropes of the financial stuff. It's not too terribly hard to learn, there are just lots of steps to remember. The hardest part so far is making sure all the money gets recorded into the correct accounts (postage, gas, travel, that sort of thing) the church has a ton of accounts! So it's hard to remember which things go where.

Nothing else really to report for the week.

Here's a picture of our Sunday dinner and how we cooked it.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Tour of the Palace of Parliament or "The People's Palace"

Q: How goes learning the ropes of being the mission financial secretary?
A: I actually haven't started learning the financial secretary yet, they just had the mission audit for the year, so Elder B. had to get that finished first. I should start learning tomorrow though.

Q: Did you get to watch any of conference yet?
A: We watched the two Saturday sessions and the Priesthood sessions, and some of the Sunday morning session. The time difference makes it a little harder. I liked Elder Uchdorf's talk in the priesthood session when he told the story of him touring Air Force One with President Monson. He's always got some story about planes or flying. It was one of the easier for me to pay attention conferences. haha.

We kind of took some of our p-day on Saturday. We took a tour of Casa Poporului (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_the_Parliament). It was pretty cool. It is just giant. So many huge rooms that are decorated beyond belief. The tour only showed us five percent of the whole building. But what we did see was kind of gut wrenching. You'll have to look up the whole story of how it came to be. Lots of people got displaced, and they built it at a time where people couldn't even get bread and oil, but still used pink marble, mahogany, and all sorts of really expensive things. But the moral of the story is, is that it really is as big as they say it is. I'll throw a picture at the bottom of us there.
Me next to one of the giant staircases in the main entryway of the palace.  There is an identical one just straight across from it, one for Nicolae Ceaucescu and one for his wife, Elena.  Apparently they had it all built, then Ceaucescu came and decided the railings were too tall (he was a shorter guy), and said to rip it all out and start over.  And they did. 

Here's the view of the main drag through downtown from the terrace.  (all those tents are the same place where Roger Waters (from Pink Floyd) played The Wall when I was in Bucharest last summer.) 
As for today, we played some sports in the park, and took a car to get looked at at the dealership, and drove in big city traffic. Now we are writing our families and finishing up the work in the office.
Aerial View of the Palace of Parliament (from Google)

The People's Palace (from Google)

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

I'm the New Mission Financial Secretary in Training!

Not much new here in the office, just one thing. I might be in here till the end of my mission. Our office couple is leaving in may, and there are no replacements. So, I am new mission financial secretary in training! haha. They are going to try to get someone here so I can go out of the office for my last transfer, but as of now, they have nobody. So I could be here for awhile yet. So we have another elder coming in tomorrow, and we'll start with the threesome companionship thing again.

But this week is transfer week, we have 2 new people coming in. So this week will probably give me less gray hair than other transfer weeks and I might actually get some sleep. As for this past week, we were in the immigration office one day with the new senior couple who arrived in January, we stayed in line there for 3 hours. Talk about packed, we went towards the end of open hours to try to dodge the crowd. yeah. wrong. But we finally made it up to the front and got their work done. Also we ate at the hard rock cafe too. I dunno if you remember him, but my 3rd companion, Elder M., went home last week. He's the one who came out, and went home for back surgery, then came back out. Him and another person in his group (who also went home in the middle of his mission for surgery) chose the Hard Rock as their last meal with president. Always good to have a great burger, though I'm really excited to have an Apollo burger when I get home. Though I think my first meal will be Chick Fil A. (That should be easy since they just opened a Chick Fil A in Centerville!)

We played basketball and soccer in the park for quite awhile today, the weather has been great. No signs of snow here at all. We had an activity at the church, where we were supposed to be learning how to cook Korean food (a Korean family just moved in to the branch across, the dad apparently works for the Korean space agency? So they organized a "learn how to cook Korean food night), but there wasn't enough room in the kitchen, so most of us elders played soccer.

That's about it for the week though!

Soccer in the park (in missionary attire)