We are finally at the office to get to work, but it appears we forgot to ask what time to come in. We hurried to get here by 8:00 and we are the only ones in the building! From reading the signs (should have done that yesterday when we were here for Church), we think the office opens at 10:00. How's that for banker's hours??!
Jason asked what we will be doing in our spare time. So far we have been going to "welcome Caldwells" parties in all of our spare time, but that ends Wednesday! Each senior couple has had us to dinner or taken us out to dinner and then on a tour of something. Saturday was really fun. The Clarks took us all over town (walking) and to 2 really nice stores. Of course the nice stores are expensive. He also asked if we needed books. We brought a couple of books (including the set Jason bought us) that we would like to read, and apparently the game of choice around here is dominos. Everyone has their own set of dominos and there is fierce competition! We had a social Saturday night for everyone and the minute dinner was over, out came the domimos. If you don't care to play dominos, the church has it's own pool table!! Go figure! They said dad was a "shark"! And one of the couples (they are church employees--not missionaries) is going home for Christmas and they are bringing us back our own set of dominos! It's a must around here.
We also have the option of going to the "black market". Dad is going to brave that one today. They say keep your money in a deep pocket and keep your hand wrapped around it. Even at that you will find one or more hands in there with you!!! Sounds like a crazy place. The elders are going over there today. We have been shopping several times over the past couple of days (in regular UB stores) and every time we go to purchase something, our guides say, "It will cost 1/2 that much at the black market". Course if you lose all your money there, it may not be worth it!
The weather hasn't been too bad---yet! We have very warm coats. Dad bought a hat. You'll see it in the pictures. We are waiting for the Clarks to forward them to us. We forgot our camera Saturday, but they took some great pictures of us. We also want to sent you some pictures of our apartment. It shocked us at first, as I'm sure it will you. But it is starting to feel like home and we are beginning to fix it up to fit us. That is one of the reasons for the black market trip today--to pick up some things.
The kitchen is very small, and the bathroom is full of exposed rusty pipes and our washer is smashed in there as well, but the living room is nice and we have 2 bedrooms (one is an office). I did a batch of wash this morning. They don't have dryers here in UB. But I am considered a pampered woman--I have THREE drying racks. I could do an entire week's wash in one day if I wanted to. Most of the couples have only one and they wash a small batch every day.
We are changing our diet a little. We will be going back to more casseroles. And, Jason, they actually do have Spam here!!! We have been able to find most things. There aren't a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, but they do have them if you are willing to pay the price. I bought a tiny sack of grapes (maybe 1/2 pound) for $3.30 Saturday.
We are meeting with the people over English today, so we should get more assignments. And tomorrow we meet with everyone else--meetings all day long. We were told we stay VERY busy. The employment is our "day job" then the branch is our weekend and night job. We help with all their activities and meetings. We are being assigned to a branch about 40 minutes out, so it will take up more of our time. We go to their weekly baptisms and their Church block and their family home evening (plus anything else they think we should help with). Then of course, we add 1 1/2 hours of traveling to each thing.
We do a lot of walking. I think that will help with the weight. I don't think the food is going to be a problem. We haven't been able to find CLR (lime away). Don't send any yet, but that might be something we would like to have sent over. This is getting long. We will be sending pictures later so we'll close.
We love you and we miss you, especially the little ones (nothing personal about the big ones!) Give each of the grandkids and big hug and a lot of kisses from Grandma and Grandpa.
Elder and Sister Caldwell (aka mom and dad)