Saturday, February 12, 2011

February 12, 2011

The hardest part about being here – is not being there.  We knew things would go on without us, but never would I have thought that in the 5 months we’ve been here, things would happen as they have.  I think the biggest concern we had, coming to Portugal, was that Rick’s Grannie would pass away.  But, we are so happy that she is doing well (as well as can be expected with her Alzheimers) and that we will be able to see her again.  But, at home in Mapleton, things have been different.  Serving in the church gives you “attachments” to others in an interesting way.  Although you may not be “best friends” with a person, when you care about someone through service you have a special place in your heart for them. 
One of those people was Brenda Allsop, who passed away recently.  She had been ill (with cancer and arthritis – I still cannot pronounce what she had) for many years.  In fact, the whole time we’ve lived in Utah, her body suffered.  I think because she had been ill for so long, I assumed she would always be here fighting her illness.  Another sister in our ward, June Shurtliff, also just passed away.  June was just so cute.  An elderly woman with a lot of spunk.  I just loved her.  I will never forget the conversation I had with her after seeing a picture of her sitting on her night stand.  It was her, in her younger days (maybe in her 50’s), and she was a little “plump”.   Now, the June I always knew was very thin & frail.  So, when I saw this picture I was quite surprised.  She said “I spent my entire life trying different things to lose weight – diet, exercise, Weight Watchers – and never could keep it off – and look at me now – I can’t keep it on”.  We had a good laugh.  Shortly after that conversation she had gained a little weight because they fed her so well at “Jamestown”.  I will miss her.  And lastly, Brother Nemelka.  Devastating.  We will definitely miss him and his energy.  To receive this news was overwhelming.  Although David was much older than me, I figured he’d outlive all of us – because he was “Brother Nemelka”.  Our family had a strong attachment to him because he was so good to our kids – Devan, especially.  He always told me that Devan reminded him of him when he was a kid.  We “boarded” our horse on the Nemelka property and he would teach Devan, over the years, about taking care of a horse, and having a good work ethic.  There are no words to express the shock and sadness we feel about what happened.
Although these are the times when it is hard to be away from home (a true “homesickness” – not just a whiney “I’m craving In and Out”), and we know that life will be different for many when we get home, we also know that this is where we were supposed to be for right now.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 9, 2011

So, I can’t believe I haven’t written for a month.  How time flies when you’re having fun.  Luckily I have a very diligent journal-keeping-daughter who lets me browse through her journal to refresh my memory.  I just love her. 
First, I want to give an update on my health.  I know you’re probably sick of hearing about it, but it’s only because several people have asked me how I’m feeling.  And I did leave you all hanging because I had to go back to the doctor at the end of January.  I’m happy to report that I haven’t had a fever since the long day spent in the hospital.  So, that’s been just about a month.  Wow!!  It did take me a couple of weeks to regain my energy.  And I’m actually starting to feel like exercising again (although I haven’t actually done any besides a couple of walks and a bike ride – hmm).  My hands have continued to go numb on occasion; but, I’ve had no weird rashes or anything.  So, things are looking up.  (I hope I haven’t jinxed myself).  As far as my doctor appointment that was scheduled for the 31st.  Well, funny story.  It didn’t happen.  Robert and Ange Workman (friends from Utah) were coming in to town (which was so great), so Rick and I went to the hospital to reschedule my appointment (thinking I’d have to, maybe, wait an extra week or two).  So, we get directed to the doctor’s office area to talk with the receptionist there.  We tell her that we’d like to reschedule my appointment (she only spoke Portuguese, so actually Rick told her).  He said that we’d like to reschedule for any time after Wednesday.  So, she goes to a different office and comes back with a paper that has my new appointment on it – FOR MARCH 28TH.  Can you believe that?  Then when I said that was too far off and that I’d need a sooner appt she said that was the doctors next available.  So, then when I figured we’d just have to squeeze it in while the Workman’s were here, the receptionist said she couldn’t change it back.  Unbelievable!!  She changed our appt to 2 months later without verifying it with us and then says she can’t change it back.  So… We went to the lab and got my results, saw that whatever they had tested me for came back negative (good) and figured we’d just wait it out.  If I get sick again we have some friends in Lisbon who told us they’d hook us up with a really good doctor, or maybe I’ll just go to the doctor in March, or maybe I’ll just wait till I’m back in the USA (if I haven’t died yet – haha).  So, as for now – all is well.
And since I’ve been feeling well, we’ve actually gotten out and done some fun things.  I’ll give you a brief run down:
We went to another castle.  A castle in the city of Abrantes, which is about 20 minutes or so from our home.  It was kind of an interesting place.  The castle wasn’t typical.  From the outside it looked like most other castles.  But, after walking the grounds for quite a while and circling the castle, we finally found the entrance.  Inside the castle was mostly just open space – grass field.  There were a couple of rooms, but nothing that exciting.  It almost seemed as though the castle had been filled in with dirt, which created the “grounds”.  There were a couple of areas that had been excavated, and you could see “walls” underground.  The view was amazing – overlooking the river.  Every time we go to a castle Rick says he wants to buy one.  Those kings/rulers sure knew how to pick property – location, location, location!!  The funny thing about this property, though, was that they turned the outer walking path (around the outside of the castle) into an exercise track.  They had different stations for different exercises – stretching, push-ups on logs, pull ups on bars, balance beams, etc.  And on one side of the castle the city had built a “skate park”.  The old and the new.  I guess they wanted to make use of the land rather than just have it sit there as a monument.  I will have to share some other fun things in the next post.  We’ve received sad news from home and writing on my blog just doesn’t seem appealing at the moment.  I’ll finish later.