Sunday, July 29, 2012

Before we reported to the MTC,we went to lunch with our Fijian teacher Lokahi and his fiance Mary and just had to get our latest U of U fans a shirt and hat!
 Richard and I, Lokahi, Joyce and Dick Wells at the only class we could all attend.  We learned how to say
head, shoulders, knees,and toe, eyes, ears, mouth and nose ( using the primary song), did a review and each bore our testimonies in Fijian.  Sister Wells was having some health problems and had several doctor appointments during our week at the MTC.  It was thought that she had gall stones, but it turned out to be a  
complication from a hernia operation she had in June. She was operated on Friday and then they had to go back home for 3 weeks while Joyce recovers from her surgery.  They will then fly straight to Fiji.  The challenge for them is that several families are living in the upstairs and basement of their home so they may have to head up to their cabin to recouperate.  The MTC was a great experience but I think we've gained 10 pounds because we always seemed to be eating and going to classes!

Our room was in the perfect spot with the vending and ice machines just outside our door and a work out room and large scale to check the weight on our luggage next to it and everything in our luggage was under the weight limit, yes!  Saturday we left for the airport excited to begin our adventure, not realizing that it must have been "trouble with the air conditioning day" We were seated on  our Delta plane and the Stewardess announced they were having some trouble with the air conditioning, a loud noisy machine would be fixing it, but they wouldn't be able to run the air until we took off which was about 40 minutes late.  At least that took some time off our 5 hour wait in the LA airport.  For our Air Pacific flight they told us they charged for the number of pieces of luggage and charged us near;ly $200.00, but we were able to get reimbursed for some of the charge by the church. In L A, we went to buy some dinner and discovered that a lot of other passengers had the same idea and there were no tables available. Richard went to buy some dinner and I managed to snag a small round table.  I saw an asian family looking for somewhere to sit and motioned to them to use part of our table.  Their daughter spoke a little English and said they were from Bejing.  I pointed to my badge and explained a little about our church and she translated for her parents.  They were so gracious and I showed them a small photo album of our family I had in my carry on bag. We exchanged emails and talked a little about temples since I know that's a part of their culture.  They were very sweet. 

When it was finally time to board we were loaded on a standing only bus and bused to a ramp by our plane.  We entered the plane and climbed some stiars to the second level and got comfortable.  It was starting to get warm when the stewardess announced they were having some difficulty with the air conditioning and thanked us for our patience.  They passed out ice water to everyone and then came around with cold juice before announcing that the ramp to the plane was malfunctioning and they couldn't get the last bus load of people on the plane so we could leave.  They later announced they would have to unload part of the luggage and the top level of passengers would have to get off the plane, as we moved toward the back of the plane they announced it was working, loaded the passengers and then we waited another 10 minutes.  By then we were all drenched with sweat and I felt like I was wearing a wet bathing suit under my clothes. After this 2 hour delay, when the plane began to move we all cheered and the air finally came on.  I was so grateful I had packed a change of underclothing in my carry on and managed to quickly put it on in the rest room which made for a much more comfortable 12 hour flight to Fiji.

Our first glimpse of Fiji.  These fluffy clouds were a forewarning of what the week would be like. We,ve had clouds and drizzling rain every day through Saturday.

 This is the market place in downtown Suva.  There's a lot of produce on the main floor and you climb a ramp to the second level where there's a lot of cava roots, and Indian spices for sale.  We took this picture leaning over the half wall.  It's a very old building and the second level was hot so we stayed only long enough to buy a few things.

 Second level of the market.  Brother and Sister Barfuss who Richad and I are replacing in the office.
 The view from our patron housing room we stayed in the first week.  You can barely see a bit of ocean just below the clouds.
 The board behind them is one of the many things I have to maintain to know which missionary is serving where.  An interesting thing here is that the people, including missionaries will change their names because they like their favorite uncle or some other family members name, which is a big deal for me, since I'm struggling to remember their first name, let alone a new name!
 On Saturday the Brother and Sister Tennis drove us down to the market to shop and there are alot of people who set things out to sale outside where they don't have to pay rent.
 The flowers are big and beautiful and will last for a week
This is a starchy dense vegetable called Dalo that many of the Fijians cook and slice thin and use to scoop up other food with rather then use utensils.  I tried a little piece when we went to see the apartment we would be inheriting from Brother and Sister Barfuss and it's not one of my favorites.
Our apartment has two bedrooms.  It's just cool enough (for me) that this light blanket our Mission President's wife Sister Klingler gave me hleps to keep me comfy.  Richard just sleeps in sheets.  I was so grateful to be able to finally get a goods night sleep (until about 5am when a rooster starts crowing and the dogs join in!). We both slept in a queen bed at the patron housing that was so soft that my hips would hurt in the morning.  There are quite a few long windows throughtout our apartment, that have screens and decorative metal work for security. The shutters are a heavy metal and tighten down well when we each turn on our unit to cool our room down the way we like it, and then turn in for the night.  If we get hot during the night we use our remote controls to cool it off again.  Each room has a vanity and two drawers plus a lot of closet space which works out great since the bathrom bar area is narrow and doesn't hold much.  We have one narrow bathroom with a toilet and sink and the second one right next to it has a sink and shower stall.

This is our living space/ computer area

We were happy to have a newer black bar in our kitchen and some basic cooking utensils and dishes.  The stove is gas and a couple that lives in the same 4 plex as us gave me the formula for converting the oven from celcius If I'm trying to cook at 350 I double the Celcius number take 10% off and add 32  Who knew cooking was going to be so complicated!
We were so excited to see the sun today for the first time in a week and took a few pictures.  This is our back yard.  Many of the people use clothes lines to "dry" their clothes but this week their was a light rain falling most of the time so we're grateful to have a small washer and dryer in our apartment. We drove around in the afternoon after church to give dad some driving practice since there is far less traffie on Sundays.
 You can see a little bit of ocean and bay area on this street which is directly behind the temple
 This is the church owned school that has a banner I Am a Child of God. at one end their is a chapel that we attended church at today.  This is looking up the street from where we live at the end of the building where the chapel is.  A sister is assigned each week to have two tropical arrangements for the pulpit and all the members sing with such enthusiastism and in beautiful harmony. We will be visiting this ward a couple of weeks and then be assigned to a different ward that's further out when we have a better driving skills.

This is another school I think is owned by the church but I'm not sure.  Well tomorrow is coming fast and I need to get some sleep.  Richard and I will be busy with an unusually large number of missionaries that will be coming in September (20).  I have to prepare files for each of them, submit visa paperwork to immigration which is interesting.  We went down to immigration on Wednesday to have Richard and my passports stamped with a work permit seal.  She told us to come back Thursday.  We couldn't due to having to do our office work and help sister Klingler serve a large number of Elders lunch. Friday we took the paperwork for the 20 missionaries plus hoped to pick up our passports.  She told us to wait while she checked the 20 and said to come back at 3 for the passports!  We waited, got the paperwork passed,went in the payment line and gave them a very large check and the worker said to us, wait and managed to stamp our passports so we wouldn't have to come back,  it was a good day at the Immigration office.  About 4pm Sister Klingler suggested Richard and I quit early so we could move to our apartment, which we did and by 7 pm dad said don't fix me any dinner and went to bed.  He's had a persistant cough since we left for Utah and the polluted air from all the buses and cars here seems to make it worse.  Please keep him in your prayers.  Love Sister Hogge.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A week with family and friends

It's Sunday July 15th (then why is the date different above? because it's on Fiji time!) We've had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends this week.  We arrived Tuesday afternoon and Richard's sister Janet drove all the Hogge siblings and spouses up Parley's Canyon to  a property owned by Connie's husband Aaron's family.  We had a beautiful dinner outside in the pines and quaking aspens what a treat!  Thursday we took our teacher who has been teaching us Fijian,  Lokahi and his girl friend Mary out for lunch and were so excited to hear that they are engaged to be married in September.  That night we met up for dinner with our good friends the Crumps and the Uribes and caught up on what's been happening with them. On Friday we went to my sister Lois house for a luscious tropical feast and had fun reminiscing about the good old days with our spouses (picture below is my sister Laura and Darlene, my brother Alan, and my sister Lois and me.

Jenny and Darren arrived at Karen's house on Thursday and we've had fun going up to Eden and seeing the Hogge Farm, and a museum in Ogden.  Saturday we went to This is The Place Monument, Temple Square (the Tabernacle, Assembly Hall, Visitor's Center) and took a tour of the Conference Center.  We loved the flowers gardens and took some last pictures with the Salt Lake Temple in the background. 

Tomorrow we report to the MTC and if all goes as scheduled we will begin our over 12 hour flight to Fiji on Saturday July 21st.  Richard has had some extra trials with a cough and a tempermental knee that swole up on the drive up to Utah so please keep us in your prayers.  
We love you, and thank you for all the love support each of you have given us.  Love Richard and Mary