Nonyaka omusha omuhle!
(As you might expect, that's Happy New Year in isiZulu.)
Ours has started off with a bang. I spent most of the week in my clean, quiet, empty house (except when Steve would come home from interviews and take me out to lunch). I de-Christmased the house and put away all the decorations, and started sorting through cupboards that have been waiting to be organized. But mostly I worked on resource materials for sharing time in our district primaries. With Liahonas that arrive 2 months late, no computers, and in some cases not even a building, the Primaries depend on the couplesisters and the mission for whatever they need.
So, anyone have any good coloring pictures of African children or families? The Church is making great strides in Asian and Hispanic, but African is pretty sparse. I am learning how to tweak pictures a little so they "suggest" African children... I'll probably ask Claire Bredenkamp, in Pinetown Ward, to draw some pictures for me. She just finished her matric exams (short for matriculant examinations, by the way) and is planning to go on in art.
Friday night we had dinner with the Sessions, Johnsons, Mickelsens & Markums. It's always fun to get together. Mickelsens were relieved to learn that the "gunshots" they had been hearing were holiday fireworks. They live in an Indian area, and every holiday there seems to be a good excuse for fireworks. I can't blame them for being concerned - when's the last time you went out on New Year's Eve to a fireworks display?
Saturday morning we got up to a flurry of emails & gchat messages telling us that Morgan couldn't find his passport. (This is Idaho's Friday night; the boys are scheduled for a 7:15 am Saturday flight to Salt Lake, then a Sunday 8:25 am flight to Johannesburg.) My personal favorite among the messages was Chris's gchat - apparently our computer was on, so he sent a message, and I didn't respond. So he sent another one, this time "yelling": Sister President Mann!!!!!!!!!!!! Then he sent one saying, "I guess the exclamation points don't make it any louder..."
It was too late at home to call anyone, so I sent off emails, including a copy of Morgan's email, suggestions of where else to search, and who else could double check the places already searched (moms figured strongly in that one), instructions for sending Hunter to Utah and taking Morgan to Parma, possibilities for changing tickets if the passport was found Sat am or Sat pm, what we'd do if it wasn't found... Of course, I thought of all these things one at a time, so there were LOTS of emails for the kids when they got up!
Then I waited until 5:30 am Idaho time to call Parker and see what was happening. No passport, so he cancelled Morgan's flight, took Hunter to the airport and checked all the possible Lost & Founds at the airport. No passport. THEN, thank goodness, the passport turned up - jammed between the seat and the console in Parker's car. Morgan caught the noon flight, and all was good. Whew.
The hotel we stayed at was very nice, with an amazing golf course (no, we don't play) and a private beach. The beach is what attracted us, but the website didn't mention that the beach was 5 minutes away by shuttle. We opted to sit out on the patio under some beautiful trees, on the one sunny afternoon we've had in days. Steve didn't quite get into holiday mode - but he came up with a great visual training idea which you will see on a future website.
Oh, and speaking of websites, if anyone wants to look at the member missionary training we're doing, or the movie Parker and Justin put together for us, they're at sadm.site50.net Elder Terry put it together for us, and did a dynamite job!
Sunday we went to church in Margate, our furthest south branch. It is a resort town branch whose attendance fluctuates wildly during tourist season (like McCall). It's also the branch where the elders learn sign language. We saw Elder Wengert signing, but Elder Lerios just got there, so we'll give him a few more weeks! We had some great meetings, and then went to lunch at the home of the branch president, Jean Pierre (and Gina) Ohlerking. His brother and American sister-in-law were visiting, and Catherine turned out to be best friends with my niece Kim (Allen) Tolman. Naturally. Catherine and Rene met during a production at the Grand theater at Salt Lake Community College, which is, of course, where my sister Carolyn worked. They took a picture of the four of us to email to Kim - is it too soon to say "small world" again?
It was a beautiful, green (and gray) drive home, to a water-less mission home. The water system has sprung a leak, which can't be repaired until tomorrow. I might actually have to go to the gym tomorrow morning, so I have an excuse to use their showers. Oh, the pain of it!
The boys will be back Tuesday night, so we have only 48 more hours of peace and quiet, but if Jack Bauer can pack so much into 24, we ought to be able to make good use of 48!
Mom/Grandma/Sue/Susan/Sister President Mann
ps The other day a dove flew into the house. I thought it would be nicer to let it find it's own way out instead of scaring it and chasing it, so I "herded" it into the kitchen, closed the inside doors, and opened the scullery door to outside. An hour later, while working in the office, I heard some noises and saw that the monkeys had arrived for their semi-monthly visit. So much for being nice! I had to zip over to the house, assist the dove out of the door with the broom, and then close the door so the monkeys wouldn't come in. Maybe they were all looking for our holiday open house...