Week 69: New Arrivals, Lots to do, The Ostler’s

Sunday was busy with 19 missionaries going home this time.  15 Elders and 4 Sisters.  They start coming in on Saturday night if they were in Ireland or up in the islands and then the rest come on Sunday.  I usually leave church after sacrament and start working on everything that I haven’t been able to get done up to that point.  This week with so many going home I was at my desk and the APs came in and said they didn’t have enough room for everyone to get them up to Pratt’s Hill (Arthur’s Seat) and would I please take my car and go with.  Well, I hadn’t planned on hiking that day but I’m glad I went.  This group, like all the others, was full of missionaries that I have memories with and it was so good to spend this extra time with them.  Even though we hike up a big hill in our Sunday best.  It was a beautiful day to do it.   Can you see the four missionaries sitting on the hillside thinking about their last days here in Scotland and what they have accomplished on their missions.  The hill is so brown.  It’s usually more green but we haven’t had any rain for a month.

On the way home the Elders in my car were spotting people walking around with headphones and we passed by a few pubs that had screens with the World Cup going.  Every time I stopped at a red light they would be rolling down their windows trying to find out what the score was.  Someone did yell to us that they just scored a goal.  We weren’t sure who “they”were but it was fun.

Then it was back to work.  I didn’t even leave my desk for dinner.  I just ate while I worked but we got everyone taken care of and it was so fun to be in the middle of all the goings ons with departures.  I got home just after 10:00 PM on Sunday night.

Monday morning we got to work early because I knew I would have to help drive to the airport.  With 19 missionaries going home there are a lot of suitcases.  Five of the missionaries were being picked up by their families but that still leaves 14 missionaries, 28 large suitcases, 14 small suitcases and 14 backpacks.  So it is some effort to get through all that and get them all to the airport and on their way.  Besides missionaries going home on this day all the other missionaries how are being transferred (over 80) are in transit to their new places.  I am very happy that we are getting Elder O’Connor here in Edinburgh.  I have become friends with his mom over the past months and I’m glad for the opportunity to get to know him better.  He is companions with Elder Gowans so I’ll see him a lot.  Elder Gowans likes to stop by the office to say hi.

Elder Skelton
Elder Brockbank

Monday of course is P-Day for all the young missionaries.  Our P-Day is on Saturday’s and we work on Monday’s but it’s nice because we always get a few missionaries hanging around a bit on p-day.  This past Monday was no exception and because it was moves day we had several missionaries hanging out waiting for new companions to show up from all over the three countries we cover.  We knew they were outside on the grass playing ball, we could hear them cheering now and then and yelling.  But when a few walked in for some water we asked them what they were doing for P-Day.  Elder Brockbank and Elder Skelton both said, “We are playing World Cup.”  Of course, we should have known.  The World Cup has been a big deal around here lately.  But it was so funny to hear that come out of their mouths like we would just know that playing World Cup was a thing.

I got some beautiful flowers from Lacey and Jake.  Jake picked them out and had them delivered since Lacey was off having a great time in Iceland.  Way to go.  I think they are beautiful.  They came with a small box of chocolates to.  I loved it.

Tuesday our new arrivals came.  We had seven come from the Preston MTC and one coming from Provo MTC who was coming as a Chinese-speaking missionary. She is from the Philippines and is going to be great.  But I had told our new president what time her flight was coming in and I assumed he would go get her.  I was sitting at my desk thinking it wouldn’t be long before they would be walking through the door.  Her plane had been here for about an hour now.  I mentioned to Elder Gedlaman as he walked by that the President should be back soon with Sister Oren.  He said, the President is upstairs with the trainers.  Apparently me assuming the President was going to go to the airport was not the right thing to do.  Elder Gedlaman ran upstairs to tell the president he needed to be at the airport and the APs were heading towards a car to go but realized they couldn’t because it was time for the other new ones to head to Pratt’s Hill to hike and they needed to go with, along with the President.  So I hopped in my car with nothing but my credit card and drove as fast as I could to the airport.  I kept thinking they whole way there that I was going to go running in and she would be standing there crying because she didn’t know what to do.  Well, I got to the airport and found a parking spot pretty quickly and started running.  Once inside I had to go all the way to the end where the international flights come out and I frantically looked all over the place.  I didn’t see anyone who could be Sister Oren.  Then I spotted Duncan and Jane Garden from our Edinburgh Ward waiting in the seating area and went over to them.  Turns out their son was on the same flight and it had been delayed.  Sister Oren had not even come out yet.  In fact the airport was so busy I wanted about an hour before she emerged.  So all was well and she has no idea we about forgot her.

Thursday night after work Sister Gifford and I ran a few errands and then we got home but I had to leave again at 9:30 to go find Elder O’Connor.  His mom had texted me to say he had broken his leg brace and she needed pictures and the serial number so she could get to work on getting it replaced before he re-injured himself.  So I left about 9:20 to drive over to their flat near the meadows.  I called once I got there and they came down to the parking area so I could take the pictures.  We got them sent off to his mom and hopefully his new brace is coming soon for him.  Elder Gowans has also been having knee issues so these two are quite the pair.  They are both a bit in pain and hobble around a bit but they are both wonderful missionaries who I adore.  Lucky for me both these boys come fromUtah so I hopefully won’t loose touch with these missionaries that have grown in my heart.  This picture looks like it is the middle of the day but it is going on 10:00 PM.  It doesn’t get dark here until well after 11:00 and then it is light again by 4:00 AM.  I love it.

Friday was a conference day for our STLs which are the Sister Training Leaders.  They were in the mission home all day learning and having a good time together.  It’s so good to see these girls.  I didn’t do very well with taking pictures but here is one with me and Sister Wahlquist.  I miss her being around here.  She will always have a special place in my heart.  Sister Gifford and I were asked to sit on a panel and answer questions at one point during the day and it’s so fun just to sit around with them and have a great conversation.  Then of course we had the party after the party in my office and enjoyed each others company as they all came in and sat down on the floor and just talked while I worked.  Then we looked at the clock and realized they were not going to make it to the airport if we didn’t leave that very minute.  So again, I piled missionaries in my car and off we went.  I got them to the airport with 20 minutes to spare before the plane was to begin boarding.  Good thing they don’t have luggage.  Instead of saying goodbye I just yelled – RUN!!  Love you!!


Today, Saturday was a day I had been looking forward to.  The Ostler’s, my next door neighbors from home, were in town.  They were on a British Isles cruise and Edinburgh was the stop for today.  They caught a bus and we met them right in the middle of Prince’s Street and hopped on the Hop On Hop Off bus and rode around.  Then we got off up by the castle and spent some time shopping and walking up and down the mile.  Then we went to Zizzi’s for lunch.  Kurt and VaLayne paid for everything for us so that was really nice.  We appreciated that.  After that the kids all left to do their own thing and to get back to the ship and Kurt, VaLayne, Sister Gifford and I walked down to the Elephant House, Greyfriar’s Bobby and Greyfriar’s Church and cemetery to find Tom Riddle’s grave.  Then we walked down Candlemaker Row and over to Grassmarket.  Up Victoria Street then back up to the castle.  We shopped a bit and people watched a bit.  They agreed that Edinburgh is a beautiful city.  It’s getting crazy now that it is summer.  Lots of people.  August will be worse.  But we had a great day and the weather was wonderful.  It was so good to see them and remember home for a bit.

J. K. Rowlings handprints

Did you notice that I am just finishing up Week 69!!  52 weeks in a year and 26 weeks in 6 months equals 78 weeks.  I have less than 10 weeks until my 18 months are up.  That’s crazy.  Of course I’m staying almost two extra weeks but still.  The countdown is on.

Love you and I’ll see you before you know it.

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