Week 35: Thanksgiving turkeys, falcons and owls!!

Monday morning we woke up to a big rainstorm.  We got to the office just to find out that two of our missionary sisters had  wrecked their car on the way into Edinburgh from Galashiels.  They were on a little old country road and rounded a bend and hit a big muddy patch and went off the side of the road.  The car must have hit something because there was damage to the front bumper and the front light was broken.  But worse of all the brake fluid was leaking so something hit that.  Luckily a nice man wasn’t too far behind them and stopped and gave them a lift to Dalkeith.  Elder Winter sent Sister Hill and Sister Palmer, our STLTs (Sister Training Leader Trainers) out to get Sister Dahl and Sister Wayne.  They were sitting at Dobbies Garden Center which is where the Butterfly World is.  I drive by there often so I knew how long it should take the STLT’s to get to them.  But they didn’t get back when

 I thought they would.  I called Sister Dahl expecting to hear that she was in the car with the STLTs but they were still sitting at Dobbies waiting.  So we called the STLTs and they were heading to Dobbies in Kirkcaldy.  Totally wrong direction.  So we decided I better go get the girls.  I ran out of my office so fast I only took my keys.  No purse or phone.  Traffic was horrible due to the weather and when I got to Dobbies there was no one in sight so I parked and went inside.  Wow!!  Sister Gifford and I have driven by this place a thousand times but we have never been into the garden center.  I was expecting a garden shop but it is a huge place with clothes and books and crafts and home decor.  It also has a really nice cafe which is where I found the girls drinking hot chocolate.  The pastries were amazing looking in there and there I was with nothing but a set of keys.  I decided right there that this is where we are going to go on Saturday.  Anyway, as we were driving back to the office I found out that Sister Wayne went to school with my nephew Carson!!  They were Spanish buddies.  Here is Sister Wayne who along with Sister Dahl survived their car accident.  (The car didn’t survive!  Totalled!)

Tuesday I had to go into town to pay a speeding ticket I got a few weeks ago. You never see a policeman pulling a car over here.  You rarely see police cars at all but they have cameras everywhere and then you get a speeding ticket in the mail.  I know that I am usually driving just under the speed limit because I’m wanting to look around and forget how fast I should be going but

apparently I did speed.  They have pictures of your car and everything.  I believe this was early in the morning when we were driving home from Oban.  It was like 5:30 in the morning and we were the only car in sight for miles and miles.  We drove through a lot of little towns and I think I didn’t slow down enough in one of them.  But here is the entrance to the place I had to go to pay my speeding ticket.

Wednesday I spent quite awhile working on travel.  Trying to get one boy home to China and another one home to Lithuania who has to go to another mission to be released before going home.  I also have a senior couple I am getting travel for along with the 11 going back to the states.  I really like this part of my mission but some days it isn’t as easy as others.

Thursday was Thanksgiving.  Not in Scotland obviously but we didn’t want to not have Thanksgiving.  Cooking a Thanksgiving meal is hard enough but when you are also working the entire day and trying to prep the turkey, bake the pies and stir the gravy it gets a bit crazy.  One thing I know I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving.  I’ll never take a Norbest Turkey for granted again.  At first we didn’t even think we were going to find a turkey.  The first few places we looked said they get them in for Christmas.  But we did finally find a big ole turkey – bigger than I’ve ever bought before.  Wednesday I ran back to the mission home about 8:30 PM to put the turkey into the brine.  We couldn’t find a container big enough and it was still a bit frozen so we ended up putting it in one of those insulated grocery bags you can get.  I should have taken a picture.  The kitchen in the mission home cools down at night since all the heat goes off so we just left it on the counter in this bag full of salt water, oranges, lemons, rosemary and thyme.  It’s crazy but I knew we would be blessed for our efforts.  We were feeding 16 missionaries with this bird.  Then Thursday when I pulled it out and cut away some things that I have never seen on a turkey before…(gag) I reached into the cavity with a paper towel to dry it and the

towel came out dark red.  Not just a little, but completely.  I kept getting a new towel and wiping away but it just kept coming.  I won’t go into more detail than that but I thought I would never get it clean.  I did some things with my fingernails that I will probably never get out of my head.  I kept thinking I will always be grateful for Norbest turkeys after this.  But regardless, the turkey turned out great.  It was so big we literally had to push it into the oven.  We didn’t think it was even going to fit at first.  Oh and there are no big aluminum pans.  Their disposable roasting pans look like an enlarged pie plate but it worked.  I thought for sure we were going to have a big mess but it all turned out.

Sister Donaldson really went to town and created the most beautiful centerpiece that was all fruit and vegetables laid out in a beautiful design with a wreath and hurricane candle in the middle.  It really was beautiful and added so much to the mood of Thanksgiving.

The best thing about dinner was each one of those missionaries when they were done eating got up and took care of their dishes and then walked around the table where we were still sitting and settling and they thanked each on of us individually

for making them Thanksgiving dinner.  For our newest missionary, Sister Wahlquist, she said it was the best Thanksgiving Dinner she has ever had. I told her I’m sure it was just because she was a bit homesick and didn’t expect something that reminded her of home today but she was so cute and sincere.

Friday came sooner than I wanted it to and I was up early making cookies to take to the bishops for another dinner that he has invited all of us missionaries in the ward to.  The missionaries are so excited to have two good meals in a row.  Sometimes these Edinburgh missionaries don’t get the special attention that they do in other areas so this is a big treat for them.

Elder Wright, Elder Huang, Elder Gibb and the bishop’s oldest son.
Elder Worley, Elder Copeland, Elder Wang
Sister Palmer, Me, Sister Gifford, Sister Irving
Sister Hill, Sister Wahlquist
Grace, Carolyn, Lyla
Bishop Haws

The bishop, his wife and his family of five kids live in a nice neighborhood in Edinburgh.  He is originally from California and she is from Boise.  They came here for a job and he got made bishop.  He is a great bishop and does an amazing job with a ward that is so transient and so diverse.  We got to their house (all 12 of us) and they had Cafe Rio cooking.  Of course over here you have to call it Cafe Euro because you really can’t quite get everything you need to make it truly Cafe Rio.  For instance you can’t find a can of black beans.  The beans are always a medley of beans.  It was excellent though and it really hit the spot.  I was instantly satisfied with the very first bite.  Their children are great and so excited to have a house full of missionaries.  After dinner we played a game.  Heads Up which is a game of charades.  I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed harder.  The elders especially were so funny.  I took video of them.  There were five of them and they were so fast and almost in sync with each other all the time.  And we got Elder Huang who doesn’t speak English very well to try finally and they were so close to him thinking it would help.  I know this doesn’t sound as good as it was.  But anyway, we had a great night.

So today, Saturday, we went to a Christmas Market at the school across the street from the mission home.  We’ve always heard that this is a very high-class private school and we have always wanted to see in there so we were standing in line at 10:45 this morning waiting for them to open the doors.  They had a bell-choir as we entered and then we walked through the school grounds.  This is an elementary school but I always thought it was just this big house and I was so surprised to see that the grounds go clear through the block with many out-buildings.  It was a nice morning.

Then we headed to Dalkeith and Dobbies.  We spent several hours there shopping.  It was so fun.  I bought a few things for my Christmas visitors and we got something for the ladies we visit teach.  We had lunch their as well and I brought home a salted-caramel muffin baked in a pot.  I didn’t take any pictures but I did video so I’ll put together a little video maybe tomorrow and put it out on Facebook.

Peregrine Falcon
Lanner Falcon
Boobook Owl
Barn Owl

The day has been really cold but no rain.  At first we thought we would go to Scone Palace today but we decided it was too cold and it gets dark so early now that by 3:00 you think it is night time.  So we got in the car and put into our GPS nearby historical places.  Sometimes we luck out when we do that and yes, today we did.  Dalhousie Castle was less than two miles away and even though we had never heard of it we decided to go for it.  We would at least get a drive out of it that we hadn’t seen yet.  When we drove up to it we discovered the castle is now a hotel and spa so that was a bit of a disappointment.  I drove up anyway and was just going to turn around when I saw all these falcons sitting on posts.  At first I only noticed a couple and then I realized there were several of them.  We parked and got out.  No one else was there but us and two ladies who were there for the birds feeding.  As usual we managed to get there at the one time a day that they feed the birds.  It was wonderful.  One of my highlights of my mission.  I enjoyed it so much just walking around and looking at these birds.  And they were so excited because they knew they were getting food.

Well, I hope this finds each of you well and happily full from Thanksgiving.  I bet most of you are getting your Christmas trees up this weekend.  We actually saw snow today.  Not here in the city but up on the hills.  We drove up pretty close to it.  I love you and miss you.  Have a good week.

2 thoughts on “Week 35: Thanksgiving turkeys, falcons and owls!!

  1. Love and hugs to Sister Hill. Elder Wang and Elder Huang all of whom served in my ward here in Belfast. xxx

  2. Wow! So many beautiful things to see and places to explore! Your turkey looked amazing! Can you tell me how you bribed your turkey? How much salt, water, oranges, lemons. I’m going to try it in a week or two with the extra turkeys i bought.

    Love you!

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