Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Are We There Yet???

That often repeated family phrase included in almost every family trip is ringing in my ears...."Are we there yet?"
We are on our 4th flight itinerary since last October.  If all goes well, we meet with the Spanish Consul tomorrow morning at 10:30 and finally get our visas and passports.  Church travel has booked us on a flight to Atlanta Friday morning and after a 4 hour layover, on straight to Madrid.
When one takes a minute to reflect on all the events that have occurred in our life since October it's easy to see this is the right time for us to be leaving for Spain.  The greatest thing is our improved Spanish.  And to be able to attend a family funeral (Carol DuBriell) and another of a close friend (Joyce Frederickson).  To be able to participate with the little Spanish Branch in Draper during their Christmas program and other holiday events and get to know them better.  To hear some life-changing devotional talks here at the MTC, among which were seminal talks by Elder Holland and Elder Bednar.  To be here at the same time as a close sister friend and offer some needed comfort.  And then to be able to say goodbye to so many wonderful people, once, twice, ten or maybe even 20 times!  Even when we had to leave our home when the Hofs moved in was not so bad.  Being housed at the Provo Marriott is very nice.  And we DO NOT miss the daily commute from Sandy .  Clean towels and sheets every day; the room is clean and picked up by someone else.  I'm going to miss it.
But every day I look at the weather in Madrid and a little part of me aches that I'm not there.  We've just lived through one of the coldest Januarys on record in Salt Lake City.  The average monthly HIGH has been 24 degrees, and it has averaged around 0 degrees overnight nearly all month.  But the real bummer has been the "sludge" we have had to breathe in the never-ending inversion layer.  Meantime the average daily temperature in Madrid has been around 48-49 with overnight lows around 32-33.  That translates to a 25 degree swing during the days and a 30 degree swing during the nights.  I am SO looking forward to Madrid!
We will miss the friends we have made in the Spanish Language Training program at the MTC.  This sister in the first picture, Sister Karolyn Cropper, recently returned from a mission in Siberia.  She manages the scheduling for the immersion language program for senior missionaries.  She was very helpful in setting up our training schedule every day with study buddies, TALL (technology assisted language learning), various tutors, and volunteers who come to help us speak Spanish, with no compensation; just out of the goodness of their hearts.  I'm humbled by how many good people there are around us.
Below is Sister Christina Keller, who served in the Miami Spanish speaking mission.  She was an incredible teacher.  The board behind us was filled every day with hundreds of Spanish language components on which we were drilled over and over.

The Livingstons, pictured below, were a terrific couple.  They leave the same time we do, going to Barcelona.  We had many meals together and spent many many hours in building 18M where senior missionaries receive language training.

Well, the laundry is done and we're going to go back up to the MTC and check on our travel plans.  Maybe I'll remember to take a few more pictures of the MTC.  I intend to every time we go and always forget to do it.


  1. maybe you could get us your flight # and time and we can see you off at the airport Friday morning??? maybe that would be acceptable??

  2. I'm so glad that your visas came through and you are now in Espana. I also wanted you to know that my mother passed away this last Thurs. morning. The funeral will be Feb 2. We are very happy for her. With her dementia she was lost and miserable. Anyway, I'm glad you are finally doing what you want to do and where you want to do it.

  3. I thought about you all day on Friday! Thanks for the e-mail letting me know you made it! Loves.