Sunday, July 31, 2011


Diane and I were talking about some of the things that are different here from at home. Here are a few together with our feeling of whether we like it better the way it is here, or at home.

1. The street lights turn yellow before they turn red and before they turn green. We like it better.

2. Milk comes in either a bag or a box. We don't like it as much because the bag has spilled over when we put it down and milk has gushed out when we (me) squeezed it too hard when pouring.

3. The garbage is collected every night at 8:00 pm. We like it better. The dogs don't like it at all.

4. When you check out of the grocery store, they ask you if you want to pay all at once or in installments. We don't like it because (a) the first couple of times we had no idea what they were asking us; and (b) it makes us feel like we are really buying a lot of groceries!

5. When traveling behind a large bus or truck, the driver will turn his signal on to let you know it is ok to pass. This is a tough one. We didn't like it the first couple of times when we were trying to figure out why the bus was going to turn left into nowhere going 80 mph, but liked it when we figured it out and passed with ease. Didn't like it when the trucker thought the oncoming car was going slower than it really was.

6. Unlike the Susan B. Anthony dollar, the one peso coin is very common and used everywhere. We like it, especially at bridges and toll stations.

7. Credit card receipts are about 1 inch square. We like the conservation of paper, but we are not so fond of having to microscopically inscribe our signature with a Bic ball point pen.

8. People who are selling their cars, put a clorox bottle on their roof when parked so you can spot them when you are driving down the street. Once we figured out what they were doing, we think it is a hoot. By the way, wrong guesses included: making tea, marking the car to find it later and keeping the cats away.

9. The first floor in a building is referred to as the "Planta Baja" and the second floor is referred to as the "Primer Piso" or "First Floor". It really confuses us, especially when in a crowded elevator.

10. The person you are talking to always wants to be the last one to say thank you. It goes something like this:

Me: Gracias.
You: No, gracias a Ud.
Me: No, por favor, gracias a Ud.
You: No, hermano, no hay de que.
Me: Bueno, cualquier cosa me avisa.
You: Si, gracias y a mi también.
Me: Bien, gracias y saludos a su esposa.
You: Gracias y a su esposa y a sus hijos.
And so on, etc, etc.

We like the first 2 or 3 exchanges, but we LOVE the challenge of being the last one to thank the other!

Friday, July 29, 2011

It is Friday Morning...

So, I woke up this 1 am, 1:15 am, 1:40 am and 1:55 am...but I am getting way a head of myself.

Wednesday, Diane, my Assistants and I went to the bus station in Resistencia to meet the 17 new missionaries...we arrived at 6:45 am. If you do the math, figure half an hour to get there and 45 minutes to get ready and going to bed the night before after the 11 pm phone call and you start to get the picture. We arrived so early, even most of the dogs were still sleeping at the terminal.

But we did get great parking spots near the fence at the terminal.

So, we got there and waited...

And waited and waited and waited. Diane bought breakfast...called chipas (they are like round cheese pretzel balls, if that makes sense. Our son Chris said they were "a must").

My Assistants started visiting with the locals to be productive.

Around 10:30 am I said I had enough and was going to make the 12 hour ride to see the waterfalls at Iguazu. Diane talked me out of it.

This is what we were watching for about 4 empty bus parking stall, as if by staring at it we could make the bus appear faster!

Then it happened...a little after 11 am, the bus arrived and all 12 of the missionaries arrived...yep, 12, not 17...

Seems 8 of them still did not make it. Now I know you are thinking, wait, 12 plus 8 equals 20, not 17, and you are right...but that is a whole different story. Ok, 3 more of them are coming from Mexico and due to visa problems are still in Mexico. One hurt her leg and can't come until Monday. But 4 of them are still (as of Friday morning) in Miami!

But the story does not end we paired up the new missionaries with some of the veterans throughout the mission which started the chain reaction of transfers. About 50 missionaries moving from one location to another with all of their possessions, by bus. We only lost 2...temporarily. One was supposed to go from Resistencia to Formosa, but did not get off there. The bus's next stop was Asuncion, Paraguay. Fortunately, the missionary did not have her passport with her and was left off on the Argentine side of the border. She waited for the next bus to Formosa and got there...just a little late. Which leads us back to my phone calls beginning at 1:00 am this morning. Seems another missionary was headed to Vera but his companion to be went to pick him up in Reconquista...1 1/2 hours away. The first call was from the missionary at a Shell station in Vera wondering where his companion calls were tracking down his companion, finding out where he was, why and suggesting he find a taxi willing to drive him to Vera (at 1:30 am) to get his companion. The last call came from the Shell station and I told the missionary in Vera that help was on its way (in about 2 hours) and to buy some comfort food at the gas station and I would reimburse him!

So around 2:30 we put an end to this chapter...and the "Fugitive Four"? We're going to have the Church just send them by overnight mail!

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One if by Land, Two if by Sea...But How Many if they Miss Their Flight?

Paul Revere was never a Mission President! Today 17 missionaries are scheduled to arrive. Tomorrow all of our boxes of things from home (60) arrive and a few pieces of furniture. Thursday 6 missionaries leave after completing their service. All of this requires missionaries to be on the move, replacements assigned and transferred and new assignments made. Human dominoes!

This morning at 1 am I got a call from one of the missionaries who was at the Miami Airport...seems the missionaries missed their flight and won't be leaving until tonight, arriving in Buenos Aires at 6:10 am on Wednesday. If they can't get a connecting flight to Resistencia (they only have a few a week...and that is when they don't have volcanoes erupting in Chile) then they will have to make a 10 hour bus ride to arrive here! Their adventure has begun!

I can't wait to wake up Friday morning and see how this all played out.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bella Vista

One of my administrative duties is to negotiate and sign leases for apartments or homes for the missionaries and other buildings in the mission. Today I dealt with 3 in 3 different provinces. A situation arose where I had to go personally to Bella Vista in Corrientes to sign some documents and deliver some money...more on that later. I left around 4 pm, got there around 6 pm and returned at 9:30 pm...more on that later, too.

So, at Bella Vista I dropped in on the house the church is renting as a chapel until the new one is finished in 2 months. Here is a glimpse for those who wonder what it is like:

The outside. Notice the official plaque on the wall to the right of the window.

Walking in the front door, looking to the left at the podium.

Looking to the right at the rest of the chapel area.

The Branch President's office.

The kitchen.

The Relief Society Room.

The cultural hall.

The new building will be welcomed. We are sending another set of missionaries there to help things along.

Part 2: So, I was at the Notary Public's office in Bella Vista signing documents when the man suddenly looked at me and asked when I was returning to Resistencia. I told him as soon as we finished signing the documents. A complete stranger, he then asked me if I would drive his 14 year old son to Resistencia and drop him off at the tennis academy where he lives. It seems the son is pretty good and really lives at an academy in Resistencia and gets home when he can. Well, I had my 2 Assistants with me but before you know it we are putting Bautista's tennis gear and suitcase in the back of my vehicle, he is sticking the earbuds to his iPod in his ears and we are all headed back to Resistencia. Of course, we had to stop off at an ice cream shop first (Bautista is an ice cream fan, too) and then we dropped him off at his apartment where he lives with 7 other tennis players. We did get in a good discussion and Bautista did walk away with a Book of Mormon as his souvenir from his trip with the jefe of Los Misioneros in Resistencia!

Pesos + Vehicle = Diane being Diane

So here is what Diane does after she declares on Thursday, "I need pesos" and then, as previously documented, determines to drive by herself on Friday...

Just a few of several dozen that have been lighting up the faces of the missionaries around the mission...

The last surviving loaf of banana bread that has the missionaries dropping by the house, just to check up on things..

Today's experiment in brownies...

And we are not quite sure yet, what Diane is up to now...although for full disclosure I should mention that absent from this roadshow of culinary delights are the apple pie she baked that we both devoured and a previous batch of brownies!!!

Here's a little insight into the size of the transformer that Diane has to use to convert the electric current to be able to use her Bosch mixer (a little dated by its plastic bowl).

On top of all the baking, Diane has accompanied me to meetings, visited a family with some Sister missionaries and taken care of a number of medical emergencies.

Friday, July 22, 2011

We Haven't Shared Just One Vehicle In 32 Years....

When Diane and I got married we had one car...a peach colored Pinto. She has never let me live that down. As soon as possible we bought our second car and so on and so forth...

Thursday Diane decided that she was going to brave the traffic and drive herself around town and to do her shopping. I was worried. Diane is the most obedient and law abiding person I would she survive the anarchy that prevails on the Argentine roads?

The car begins the journey...

It inches its way into traffic...

A wave, a smile and she's off...

The only person in the country who actually uses her turn signals...

I worry...

I wait...

I pace the streets...

And then it happens...Diane returns! Certainly she will be frustrated and ready to call it quits. The car will be mine, all mine once again!

WRONG... have met your match! And, after 32 years, we are sharing a car again!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Obsessed With Keys

Ok, so you must be thinking that we are obsessed with the keys to our house, but really......

Times a couple hundred?!

Here Is What 100% Humidity Looks Like

When you get between 60 to 90 inches of rainfall a year, a little day long shower doesn't really change much of your daily routine...

Here is my car with a few raindrops and mud spots.....

The famous empty swimming pool (it is in our courtyard between our garage and front door) gets a little wet...

The neighbors still have to do their daily grocery shopping...

At wet open air markets in the plaza close to our home...

But no one is playing basketball or soccer (especially since Uruguay beat Argentina in the Copa Mundial)

No kids playing in the plaza...even though this is vacation time...

But the workers still have to do their jobs come rain or shine...

Bless the missionaries' hearts. They, too, put in a full day's work come rain or shine.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Here Are Some Random Fotos

Number 1: People email and ask for more photos...

Number 2: A few days ago we learned how to download them from our iPads to the blog...

Number 3: Today we figured out how to download them from our camera to our iPads...

So, here are a few random ones...

The humongous converter Diane killed with her hair dryer.

Some of the local leaders and their wives at our home for lunch our first Monday. I invited them on Saturday and they came...found out they all knew and remembered our son Chris.

Our friends the Griffins who came with the Udalls and Huffakers from Asuncion, Paraguay for last Sunday dinner. The Griffins and Diane's family lived in Tempe and have been friends for years.

Diane and I greeting missionaries in one of the chapels in the mission. One of us is a natural, the other one has a lot on his mind and needs to smile more!

The people we spoke to yesterday in Formosa.

Some young girls who adored Diane and wanted their picture with her and figured to do that they had to let me in, too.

A little girl who followed Diane around everywhere she went.

And a bonus...our favorite pastime...iPadding! I should point out that the ironing board was just purchased and is not permanently stored in the dining room, it goes in the washroom...and thank you Helen and Carol for the Arizona pillow, which unfortunately is upside down in this picture.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Diane's First Public Talk In Spanish

I was very proud of Diane today. We drove back up to Formosa to speak to a youth group and their leaders. I told Diane if she wanted an interpreter we could get one...not only did she reject that suggestion, she wrote her own comments and got right up there and spoke on her own. She is a natural. I would have taken a picture, but it was in the here is a little 1 of her talk.

How awesome is that?

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Day In The Life Of Hermana Heyman

So, here is a typical day for Diane in the mission:

Bake a few dozen cookies! Yes, her famous chocolate chip cookies...

Sort out a few hundred keys for a few hundred doors at our home.

Buy every single can of Mexican salsa left in Wal-Mart (seriously she did).

Mingle with the masses who were trying to see the latest Harry Potter movie (she did not go to the movies, although a few people came up to her and wanted to know where she was from and told her how beautiful she was, she is great for making first contacts with people).

Bee-line it to a familiar looking burger hang out....

And check in on a few missionaries to make sure they are healthy and working hard.

Then it is back to being Hermana Heyman all over again. As you all know, she never rests...