Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Crossing the border

Well, we tried to cross the border.  We attended Sacrament Meeting in Rijeka last weekend.  We ended up staying over an extra day for our P-day to explore.  There is so much to see in this beautiful city.  We stayed at the Hotel Jadran, which is now our favorite place.  On Monday we drove to Slovenia to see the Postojna Caves, a network of  passages  where you can see stalactites, and stalagmites in a variety of colors and shapes.  We also saw Predjama Castle which is built under a natural rocky arch in the side of a mountain, built in the 12th century.  Amazing and magnificient!  On our way home, we decided to take a different route in the mountains.  That should give you an indication of trouble to come.  It was dark, we were tired, and were ready to be home.  When we approached the border we noticed it only had one gate.  Two guards (not knowing English) came out and waved their hands to stop.  One of them told us that we could not cross because it was a small crossing.  We needed to turn back and go to a different border crossing.  It took a while to understand what they were saying, because we thought you could cross at any border, small or otherwise.  I'm sure there was a reason, we just didn't understand what they were trying to tell us.  We finally caught on and with much disappointment, turned around.  We drove about 10 miles and were able to cross at the next border and get home.

View from our balcony in Rijeka
All is well in Croatia.  We had a whopping twelve people in our English class on Thursday night.  That is a record!  We always end with a spiritual thought for those who want to stay.  Everyone  usually does.  It is a good time to answer any questions that may pop up.   We have made new friends in English class.  Nenad is one of them.  
I sometimes get the impression he thinks we will move here after our mission.  I asked him, “what about our family?”  He said we could go back and visit them every year.  On Thursday he invited us to a restaurant where they serve good hamburgers.  We met him and walked over to  the GP Grill.  The hamburgers were enormous, big enough for us to share.  Next time EK and I will make sure to split one.

We went to Zadar and stopped to visit a church member who lives two hours from Karlovac. 
Dušan and his wife Slacica  are Serbian refugees.  Dušan has been a member for 10 years.  He was thrilled to get visitors from the church.  We visited for about 1 1/2 hours.  He speaks very little English, but we were able to communicate quite well.  We felt the Spirit in his home and we were all sad when we had to leave.  He  will be traveling  to Karlovac in a few weeks  and will stay with us, since we are fortunate to have an extra bedroom.

Sister Hertz's mission is coming to an end and she is heading home on Thursday.  She has served well and we will miss her.  We took everyone out for a farewell lunch, and then had  District Meeting.  We were able to take a last picture of all of us, along with our two visiting missionaries serving a mini mission.

The word of the week is: doviđenja (doe vee jen ya) which means goodbye.  It is always difficult to say goodbye to our missionaries.  Love you, Sister Hertz!

Monday, January 18, 2016

On the road again...

Sea Organ
On Friday we packed our overnight bag, hopped in the little blue Opel, and headed out to Zadar.  We planned on meeting up with the Devers and going out to dinner, staying overnight at the Hotel Bastion, and attending church on Sunday.  Zadar is a beautiful city on  Croatia's coast on the Adriatic Sea.  Our hotel room overlooked the Zadar harbor and two marinas. My sailor companion loved to look at the boats. We walked a short way to see the the Greeting to the Sun which is a huge circular array of solar collectors situated on the main promenade facing the ocean and next door to the unique Sea Organ.  The energy collected in Sea Organ plays music by way of sea waves and tubes located underneath a set of large marble steps overlooking the sea. It is amazing to hear.  You can listen to it here:
View from our room

We walked into Old Town from the lovely waterfront promenade and found ourselves in the remains of an ancient Roman forum.  It was fascinating to see something so old.  It made me want to go back in time.  I would love to walk the streets, mingle with the people, and experience what life was like so long ago.  Wouldn't that be amazing?  Then I would come back to the present and enjoy all the conveniences I love and be back with my family.

We attended church and met the  members of the Zadar Branch.  It was good to see a large number of youth attending. It reminded us of how much we love the young adults.  Afterwards, we went over to the Devers for tacos and then headed back home to Karlovac.  It's always good to come home after a road trip. 
Church of Donata amid ruins

We had Nenad over for dinner this week.  He is one of our English Language students, and he is the greatest guy.  I made Italian Spaghetti and salad and we had a good discussion over dinner.  He is a smart and thoughtful young man.  He asked us questions about our Church and we discussed many things from Word of Wisdom to the Restoration of the Gospel.  We have a common interest in good movies and he promised us that he will select a good one for us to see the next time we meet.  

We had English class on Tuesday and we had a full house!  We have a family with a mother and her three children who come, along with four other people.  It makes for a fun class.  We usually start with a grammar lesson.  Then we do a reading or writing project, and if time, a game of some sort.  The missionaries always end it with a spiritual thought for those who want to stay.  There are two additional missionaries in Karlovoc for two weeks, serving a "mini" mission.  Elder Mangeris is paired with Nenad Rašović, and Elder Poore is paired with Elder Andrewsen.  We had everyone over for a dinner of taco's and fudge cake.  I think they liked it!  They are working hard and deserve a good dinner. 

We had the most beautiful snowfall last week in Karlovac. We took a stroll down by the river to take  some pictures of the snow on the trees, and of the river.  It was a winter wonderland.  It reminded us of Wisconsin, but without the below zero temperature.  The snow would gently fall off the branches, and glisten in the sunlight.  As the week progressed, the sun and warm temperature melted most of the snow, including  the snowman that the neighborhood children had made.  It was perfect because I love snow, but not the cold that sometimes comes with it. 

The word of the week is: sunce (soon-say), which means sun.  We have had many beautiful sunny days.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Loud New Year's Eve

Never trust your GPS
People in Croatia love their fireworks.  They have been setting them off since Christmas.  But New Year's Eve was the night of all nights.  As we stood on our balcony, there were fireworks all around us.  During the day, kids will set off what appear to sound like M-80's.  They are not your typical firecrackers.  I'm surprised I haven't seen more missing fingers.

Go Packers!
We went to Varaždin during the day and decided to take a different route through the back woods, which took us up a mountain.  We had our GPS set with our destination and we ended up having to stop because the road appeared to have fallen off the edge of the mountain.  We were able to take a detour and avoid a serious accident. We met up with the Porter's at the church and EK helped them with their computer.  Afterwards we tried to find a place to eat, but everything seemed to be closed.  That surprised us, as New Year's Eve is usually a big night for restaurants back home.

A sweet reindeer sleigh
We did find one place open, and we had a nice dinner with the missionaries, the Porters, and President Bahin and his daughter.  Afterwards, we walked around  and found a sleigh with reindeer made out of white birch logs.  We also saw the cutest window display, with a snowman made out of paper cups.  Then as we left town, the Elders told us to drive by the soccer stadium and check out a little cafe/bar nearby.  We drove that way out of town and came across a Green Bay (Packers?) cafe.  We never expected that!
The grandkids will love this!

We are continuing to teach Institute (adult religion class) every week, and are learning so much ourselves.  We love all the opportunities we have to study and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We meet with our missionaries weekly for district meetings and they continue to amaze us with their ability (at 18, 19, and 20 years old) to plan, set goals, motivate, teach, and speak this challenging language so well.  It is a another confirmation to us that this is the Lord's work and He is in charge.  We are grateful to be a part of it.

And now they are four!
On December 29th, our eighth grandchild was born.  We welcomed Oliver William David Krehbiel into the world, and we are so grateful for his safe arrival.  We are also grateful for our healthy unici, and know that although we miss them very much, we will have plenty of memory making moments when we get home. We are grateful for the technology that allows us to keep in close contact with them. Thanks to Face Time and Skype, we can almost reach out and touch them!  We've even had them "kiss and hug" us on the screen.  They are so sweet, and we appreciate the support we receive from them.

And lastly, we got hit with 6" snow last night.  We woke up to this winter wonderland which made us feel right at home.  We haven't seen a snowblower anywhere,  just a lot of people shoveling.  We may be stuck for a while, as it is supposed to snow for three more days.

Speaking of unuci, it's time for the word of the week, which is:
snjegović  (snay-go-veech) which means snowman.