Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day....Yipee!!!!

Dore typing here.....

So yesterday was Mother's Day in the U.S., and this year it had a totally different meaning to me than any other year.  Usually I consider Mother's Day a success if we can get through it without having to referee any fights/arguments between the kids.  This year Mother's Day took on a different meaning.  I think it's fair to say that even though we are happy that P.J. is serving a mission, and yes, we are so very proud of him, NO ONE prepared me for the brutal beating my emotions would take having him on a mission.  It's not about  him being in a foreign country vs. state-side.  It's all about not being able to be in daily contact.  You see...this kid could be one state away and I would still feel this way. can understand the anticipation that we all felt with Mother's Day coming because it is one of the two times a year he is allowed to call/Skype home.  HOORAY!!!!  

First off, let me give a shout-out to the Higbees (the senior couple serving in the same town as P.J.) for having a lap-top computer that allowed the elders there to Skype their families.  There is just something special about being able to see your kid's face, hear his voice, and see him live with missionary tags on.  How did moms do this ten to fifteen years ago??  Anyways, I hope the Higbees know how much I appreciate them.  Here in the states we take for granted that having a computer readily accessible is a blessing.  From what I understand, where P.J. is, the majority of people do not own computers and there are only two places in town where one may access the computer.  The Higbees deserve a high-five.

P.J. skyped us at 9:30 am our time.  It was awesome.  He had an hour so we talked and talked and talked. Highlights:
  • He is happy there.
  • He is doing well with the language and studying the language, even though he wouldn't really speak it for us except for a phrase that sounded totally inappropriate to an American but very innocent to a Croat.
  • He has had to adjust to some cultural issues such as people telling him that standing under an air-conditioner would render his shoulders useless, sitting without a cushion would render him sterile,  wearing short-sleeves would ruin his kidneys, and walking barefoot in his apartment would cause him to get very sick.
  • He has an apartment with NO air-conditioning (which is a big deal to a Quinn...we love meat-locker air-conditioning).
  • The food is awesome and one of his new favorites is lamb.
  • He is meeting some really nice elderly people, which is good for him.
  • They are often mistaken for Jehovah's Witnesses or for people who bless homes for a fee.
  • He teaches English classes.
  • He will be staying in the same town for at least another nine weeks.
  • He gave us a tour of the church (folks...they have a ping-pong table and foosball in the church!  Ummm....can someone get on that for our building?). 
  • He doesn't miss any foods from the states.
  • His new land-lady is a woman who has son(s) in late 20's who lives somewhere else so she has sort of adopted the elders and calls them, "My boys."  When they are walking around town, if she sees them she will call out to them ("Hello, my boys!") and wave.  She has told them that since their mothers are far away, she is their mother there and considers it her job/duty to watch over them.  Hence, the lecture he received for walking in his apartment bare-foot.  As a mother, this warms my heart to know that someone over there is watching out for my son and cares about him.  Can I give this lady a cyber-hug? 
After about an hour, some of the other elders were waiting to be able to Skype their families so we reluctantly said good-bye.  Then P.J. mentioned that we could call him back on their cell phone since it was Mother's Day.  Let me say right here that I am not ashamed of the fact that I asked my husband to break the Sabbath by going out to Wal-Greens to purchase an international calling card.  And you husband (the sweet man that he is) immediately left to buy a card so we could continue to talk to him.  I'm assuming the Lord understands and that I'll be forgiven for this one.  Did you know that international calling cards are a bear to figure out?  I think it took about forty minutes for us to figure it out, but we were able to call him.  The cool thing about this call was that each person got private time to chat with him instead of it being a group thing.  Poor Phil....before they had a chance to say a proper good-bye, the card ran out and they don't believe in giving any warning; the line just went dead.  After vacillating, Phil went ahead and put some more time on the card so he could at least call him back and say a proper good-bye.  It was such a sweet experience to be able to talk to our son on Mother's Day. I didn't get emotional until after while I was getting ready for church.   ~Sigh~ next Skype will be at Christmas....7 MONTHS AWAY!!!!!  But yes, we can make it...

P.J. did send an e-mail today so here it is:

Dobar Dan! 

Another monday, another email....though i must admit that it's pretty lame compared to skype. I'm all for the weekly calls. I think I could handle it without getting trunky. The only reason people get trunky after calls is because they know that they have to wait 7 and a half months until it happens again. If it was once a week it wouldn't be an issue..... Maybe you should write the first presidency and see what happens. But it was really good talking to you all yesterday. And not so good saying good bye, but oh well. that's the way it's gotta be. I'm glad we were able to use skype too.

I'll just say sorry right now. I don't really have much to say since the phone call last night. It's just another p-day in Karlovac and there's not much to do. It's still pretty cold and rainy outside, so walking around outside aimlessly isn't even all that fun. And all of the old people are back to harassing me. And yes, it is a little cold outside, but I refuse to wear anything even close to a jacket when it's the middle of May. That's just a crime.

So as far as exciting news goes, I decided to see what this country has to offer, so at Kaufland today I bought bacon, hamburger, and hot dog flavored chips. I'm not really expecting either of the three to be good, but I just had to try. The hot dog flavor confuses me. Why would you want chips that are flavored like pig left overs? But then again, people like me buy them. Next big thing....We get to go to Ljubljana again on Wednesday!!! The drive should be even better this time because everything is even greener now. I'll let you know how the conference was and how awesome Slovenia was....which is really awesome because you can buy lemon-lime gatorade there. 

 So ya....things are going pretty all right here in good ol' Karlovac (emphasis on the old). I don't have a whole bunch else to say.... Jake says hi. I think that's about it. Sorry it was a little bit of boring email this week. I hope I have more to say next Monday. Were you able to find that flash drive in the cabinet? I hope so.....

Well, I love you all bunches and I look forward to Mondays....and Christmas (only 7 and half months away!!!!)

Talk/type to ya'll later!

**pdays are prep-days.  They get part of one day a week to do things like grocery shopping, laundry, sight-seeing
**trunky is a missionary term for wanting to go home, fantasizing about home, dreaming about home, planning on going home, you get the picture.
**His comment about writing the first presidency is tongue-in-cheek.  He knows I would NEVER do that.

Closing comments:  

I am sooooo thankful we were able to talk with him.  Even though it isn't easy having him gone (and we will have two out on missions soon), we are so proud of him and our girls.  Mollie, our youngest, had a teacher ask her today what her parents did to punish her and she said that she really didn't get into trouble.  Her teacher replied, "I really don't believe that..."  But, it's pretty much true.  As a counselor who works with many teens, I'm well aware of the things my kids could've chosen to do.  I am soooo thankful for our kids.  When it comes to P.J. serving a mission, yes, it's hard.  But I can't help but think of parents who have had their children pass away and I can't complain or feel sorry for myself.  He is doing the Lord's work and we wouldn't have it any other way!

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