Sunday, August 17, 2014

Returned Mission President Observations

Diane and I have been home a little more than one month. Here are some re-entry observations:

1. There are a bazillion fast food restaurants in the United States.

2. You can turn right on a red light unless it says not to...and people quickly honk their horns to remind you if you don't.

3. It is easy to commit to have lunch with more people than there are lunches.

4. You pump your own gas and clean your own windshields here.

5. Many people do not know how to react to an abrazo. And the second time you see them can be even more awkward..Will he hug me? Do I just shake his hand? What is this "air kiss" on the cheek thing?

6. You better have a 10 second answer prepared for the hallway question, "So, how was your mission?"

7. There is a hint of independence when one of your returned missionaries ends an email with "ex-Elder _______" or "ex-Hermana ______".

8. There is also a hint of independence when the phone rings and neither you nor your wife feel a moral obligation to answer it.

9. There is nothing more boring than a televised baseball I know why, when I was a child, my family used to play Scrabble during the New York Yankees telecasts!

10. Although I have plenty of colored and patterned dress shirts, I still exclusively wear white ones.

Bonus: Heat is heat regardless of humidity, elevation or time of year...and it is HOT in Arizona!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Oh great, now I come across this....

I wish I had this when I was in the mission to share...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thank you once again Argentina

I left Argentina never knowing if I would return in 1977...once more in 2005...also in 2012...and now again this Tuesday, July 1, 2014:

Don't cry for me Argentina
The truth is I never left you
All through my wild days
My mad existence
I kept my promise
Don't keep your distance

And as for fortune and as for fame
I never invited them in
Though it seemed to the world
They were all I desired

They are illusions
They are not the solutions they promised to be
The answer was here all the time
I love you and hope you love me

Don't cry for me Argentina

Don't cry for me Argentina
The truth is I never left you
All through my wild days
My mad existence
I kept my promise
Don't keep your distance

Have I said too much?
There's nothing more I can think of to say to you
But all you have to do is look at me to know
That every word is true

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hotel Tips

For the last three years I have lived in hotels more than in a home. Hotels in the United States, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Here are some tips:

1. Tip. Any tip is better than no tip. Make sure you have enough small denomination bills so that you can tip often and reward good service. Hotel employees remember who tips.

2. If you have a cell phone and a computer or tablet and especially if you are traveling with family bring an extension cord. You will want to charge all of your items overnight.

3. Even though they say the mini bar operates on "the honor system", they will not check you out of the hotel until they ask you what you consumed...and then have an employee go into your room to verify what you have told them.

4. Always make sure you know which faucet is hot and which is the sink AND the shower. It may vary from hotel to hotel and even from sink to shower. And, just assume that when you lean over to turn the water on in the shower it will first come out of the shower head icy cold.

5. If you can hear them talking or singing in the next room, they can hear you.

6. When you enter into a non smoking room that reeks from smoke, the bell boy will swear he does not smell anything and that you should not worry because it is a non smoking room.

7. The motorcycles always park in the best spots.

8. If you leave your room and forget to take down the "Do Not Disturb" door tag, you will return to a dirty room.

9. You are not destroying the universe if you want clean towels everyday.

10. 9 out of 10 times that you put your electronic room key card in the same pocket as your cell phone your card will be deactivated.

And the bonus tip: Every now and then some wise guy will set the alarm clock for 2:00 am before he checks out....

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Confessions of a Mission President, Part II

Due to the many requests for more confessions, I thought I would post some more....

1. It seems that the toughest questions to answer are the "why" in "Elder....why?"

2. These days you have to realize that any photo taken of you is likely to appear somewhere on the Internet.

3. You are not as smart as half of the people think you are nor as dumb as the other half think you are.

4. When someone calls on the phone without identifying himself, you miss the first 30 seconds of what he says because you are trying to figure out who he is.

5. Beware of people who in the middle of a conversation say, "I like your watch."

6. If you are the only missionary in the meeting who still has his jacket on we all know you did not iron your shirt.

7. When we say "no one is perfect", we are speaking from experience.


9. Sometimes we are smiling because we are happy when we get to see you do something you could not do, or thought you could not do and are, in fact, doing without even realizing it.

10. Think, make that three times before you ask the Mission President's wife, "And, so, what do YOU do all day..."!

And the bonus confession...When someone only has one question to ask, he just asks it. When someone has several questions to ask he says, "I just have one question...."

Monday, June 2, 2014

Confessions of a Mission President

1. I am a better Bishop now that I am not a Bishop than I was when I was a Bishop, a better Stake President now that I am not a Stake President than I was when I was a Stake President, and if you talk to me in 10 years, I will be a better Mission President then than I was when I was a Mission President!!!

2. Most of the times when I asked missionaries if they knew why I was calling them, they confessed to something completely different than the reason why I was calling them!

3. The reason I have such a stern look on my face when you tell me that you did something knuckle-headed is because I would probably burst out laughing if I was not your Mission President.

4. Most missionaries who tell me to expect emails from their parents are correct.

5. When you tell a missionary, "I am going to tell you something but do not tell the Mission President", you are really saying, "I am going to tell you something and I realize that you are probably going to tell the Mission President". That is why you are not surprised and sometimes relieved when the Mission President knows...and you do not ask, "How did you know?"!

6. You can not play a Mission President's wife off of the Mission President. She is too smart for that and has already raised children into adulthood.

7. The Kleenex box on the Mission President's desk is used more often by him
than by visitors to his office.

8. If your Mission President is speaking a language other than english to you, you probably should not be speaking english to him...even if you both know english.

9. It really is fun for the Mission President to just be with missionaries in their
areas working and visiting and talking...and he wants the missionaries to enjoy it, too.

10. Sometimes the reason we know something you do not is because we have the Manuals of Instruction where we can look it up!!!

And the bonus confession...Sometimes the Mission President is just as surprised by what he sees as you are to see him walk through your apartment door!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 25, 2014

I was thinking today about a few things that have changed in the mission since we arrived in July 2011...

1. The mission divided in July 2013. The province of Misiones as well as Ituzaingo, Virasoro and Santo Tome all were transferred to the new Mision Argentina Posadas.

2. Instead of having 10 member districts and 4 stakes, there are now 6 member districts and 3 stakes in the mission boundaries.

3. A new Walmart was opened in Resistencia bringing the total of Walmarts in the mission to: 2!

4. Speaking of openings, a new Subway store was opened in Corrientes bringing the total of Subways in the mission to: 1!

5. Missionaries were sent to: Fontana, Chaco; Puerto Tirol, Chaco; Quitilipi, Chaco; CGT, Chaco; and Avellaneda, Santa Fe.

6. Missionaries are making periodic visits to: Bartolome de Casas, Formosa; Herradura, Formosa; Ensanche, Formosa; and La Primavera, Formosa.

7. Missionaries returning home now fly to Buenos Aires in one hour and twenty minutes rather than take the bus sixteen hours from Resistencia overnight. (Aerolineas Argentinas stopped canceling the Resistencia to Buenos Aires flight).

8. Some (not all yet) interviews with local leaders in far away places are taking place via video conferencing...when it works.

9. Goya and Reconquista were combined to form the Rio Parana District. Maybe coincidentally an air shuttle business recently opened that will fly people from one city to the other in about 15 minutes...or you can take the 3 hour ferry or the 5.5 hour drive....

10. Missionaries have served in the mission from 30 different countries.

11. Young men aged 18 and young women aged 19 began serving in the mission.

12. The number of sister missionaries climbed from 21 to 80.

13. Sister Leader Trainers (Hermana Lideres Capacitadoras) began doing divisions and participating in Mission Leader Councils.

14. The toll to cross the General Belgrano Bridge that connects Resistencia and Corrientes has increased from 50 centavos to 4 pesos. The price of gasoline has increased from 2 pesos to 14 pesos a liter.

15. The mission no longer picks up packages sent to missionaries from outside of Argentina.

16. Heading south on the avenue 25 de Mayo leaving Resistencia you can no longer make any left hand turns.

17. Howard Johnson's is building a new hotel and casino on the outskirts of Resistencia.

18. We no longer have a backlog of visa waiting missionaries serving in other countries. At one point we had about 70 missionaries serving in other missions waiting for their visas.

19. Every ward or branch now has at least 2 missionaries serving in it, and all those with Hermanas also have Elders serving in the same unit.

20. The majority (but not all) of pensions have air conditioning units and are starting to get water filters installed.

21. The BMW dealership on the corner of where we live has become an Audi dealership.

22. I can understand what they are saying on the radio, and over the loudspeaker at airports, terminals and stores...(first time in 40 years of speaking spanish.

And....23. I think there is more grey in my hair than when we arrived!

etc. etc. etc.