Sunday, September 25, 2016

Festival in Osijek

We recently visited Osijek for Branch Conference. The district presidency schedules and directs a branch conference once a year in each district.  (There are six in Croatia)  Members of the district presidency, high council, and district auxiliaries (leaders) take part in the conference as
The Strassmayer in Osijek
directed.  Our mission president, President and Sister Grant were there as well. The purpose is to strengthen faith and testimony of the members, provide gospel instruction, and conduct business.  It is always fun to reconnect with our friends in Osijek and to say hi to Elder and Sister Anderson.  We always stay at the Strassmayer which is near the square in centar.  It is a sweet little hostel that always welcomes us warmly.  We picked up KM in Zagreb and took her with us.  KM is the district relief society president.  After checking in on Saturday afternoon, EK decided to take a walk while I rested my foot...more on that later.  He called me after 10 minutes and said there was something big happening in the square.  I walked over to meet him and found that there was a dance festival going on.  It was so much fun to see all the beautiful and colorful costumes and dances being performed.  There were booths set up with delicious local treats and trinkets. We stayed and watched the different groups perform, and of course tried some of the sweets.  We ended up having dinner with the Andersons and KM at American Bar Dollar, a local hamburger bistro located in a cute little courtyard.   We attended Branch Conference on Sunday and afterwards enjoyed a lunch that was provided by the members and Sister Anderson.  Then we were off to Zagreb to drop off KM and then we went on to Karlovac.

I've been having problems with my left heel for a month or so. It is frustrating because I haven't been able to walk as much as I am used to.  After doing some online research,  I suspected my problem to be plantar fascitis.  I also talked to Sister Peterson (mission nurse), and her husband has also been struggling with the problem.  They gave me some exercises to do and told me it may take weeks (or months) before it feels better.  So, I have been diligent in my regimen and am trying to be patient.  I'm thinking positively and expect to be as good as new in due time.  (I wanted to say short time, but I have to be patient)

We had to run over to the Karlovac church to get something and we noticed some flowers on President Raic's desk.  He is our Branch President and it looked like the Primary class decided to make him a thank you bouquet.  The flowers thanked him for a number of things including being humble, for his love for them, and for his example.  It made me think of the many primary classes that have made similar bouquets for their Bishop or Branch President. Branch Presidents and Bishops throughout the world volunteer their time to serve over their branches and wards and minister to their needs. They are usually called or assigned for a period of up to five years, sometimes longer.  This is a volunteer calling (assignment) and they are not paid monetarily, but they will tell you that the spiritual blessings far outweigh the time and work involved.

The Rothes's joined us
EK with Doug and Vicky
We have special visitors with us for a couple of weeks.  EK's brother Doug and his wife Vicky have come to visit and we are having a fun time seeing the sights.  We visited Zadar and stayed in the sweetest apartment right in Old Town.  We saw the Maorske Orgulje (Sea Organ) and The Greeting to the Sun.  We even had an opportunity to meet up with the Rothey's and we took a sail to see the sunset.  It rained the entire day and I was worried the trip would be cancelled.  EK (the eternal optimist) was telling us the rain would stop and the sun would break out any minute.  He said, "The wind is ideal,  how can we pass up this opportunity"?  So we went out into the tempest.  His brother ended up getting a mouthful of saltwater when the waves crashed over the bow.  It rained the entire time, but the sun did peek out for a beautiful sunset.  EK smiled the whole time.

We meandered through Old Town the next day.  I saw this little lovely who couldn't resist playing in a puddle.  She peeked over at her parents for a reaction and they laughed.  Isn't that what puddles are for?

We took our time coming back and stopped at a roadside stand to buy some fresh figs and cantaloupe.  We drove through Rijeka and drove along the coast.  We stopped at a seaside restaurant in Senj.  We have seen many beautiful and amazing sights and are happy to share them with family.  One of the comical sights was when we came across a group of sows rooting in a yard.  As one curiously walked over by us, I grabbed my camera.  She probably wondered what the interest was, but we were amazed at the size of her and her prijatelji.

Word of the week:  barica (bar ee tsa) which means puddle

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