Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You say "potayto" and I say "potahto"

Greetings from Europe! You might say we're "learning Irish" here. There are many words used in Ireland that are extant in America or certainly less common. Here are some of my favorites:

Aunties: pronounced of course as ahn-tees. There are, simply, one's aunts. I'm am especially fond of this one because it helps me understand why my great aunts were called by us "The Anties". It was a carryover from the homeland of Ireland!

"Dear", meaning expensive. I had a 13-year-old girl ask me yesterday if our Nikon camera was dear! I loved it! I asked her (just to make sure), if she meant "expensive" and she said, "yes." I told her that the word dear in Utah is hardly ever used, but that I thought it was great.

"Toilet" - now this is calling a spade a spade. Here in Ireland one never asks to use the "restroom" - we ask to use the toilet! You don't find a lot of toilets here, anyway, but when you do, it's called simply that. It's kind of amusing to be personally to see all the signs on buildings around town that say "To let", because I always think they're just missing the "i" rather than indicating that a place is available to rent.

Biscuits are cookies and sweets are candy. A carriageway is a freeway, more or less. A car park is a parking lot, not a place for your cars to play.

Cabbage and bacon replaces the Americanized corned beef and cabbage, which replaced the original cabbage and bacon (a most delicious meal).

Garda are police. Bin bags are trash bags - but I think I told you that one before. A mantleplace is what we call a mantle.

They burn coal in their fireplaces. No special words there - just an interesting face.

8:30 is half 8:00. Karate is "Krattee". (We know this because of Evan, our recent convert.)

They can't pronounced "th" at the beginning of a word, so thirty is turdy, and 33 is turdy-tree. (Euw.) Seriously.

There are many more examples that I just can't bring up at present, but I'll write again and let you know what we've learned. In the meantime, if you're lucky, there are pictures of our youth activity last night with five young people, and a rainbow below, taken from our apartment window just this morning. Ah, it's grand to be here!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Is it Halloween yet?

Ah, what to say. So much has happened since I last wrote. We've had several meetings and conferences in Mullingar and Dublin. Last Saturday I (Sister Walker) got to go to a fabulous Dublin Stake Relief Society Conference in which we learned to dance and to sing (a very beautiful medley) and to properly "pipe" cakes (we would call it frosting). Then we had some wonderful talks by the female auxiliary heads and a slide show presented by the Stake President. After that we joined together again in the cultural hall for pizza and cake. I'm going to weigh a ton when I get home!

It's so frustrating when I do this blog, because there are pictures that I want to insert, but the jpeg link above will not bring them up half the time. I'm afraid this blog may be all words. Sorry about that!

General Conference was wonderful here, as it was everywhere else. We only saw one broadcast as a branch and that was the one on Sunday morning, which we saw at 5 p.m. on the wall of our chapel. There were only a handful of people there because most people were either not watching it or were watching it on a computer at home. I especially appreciated Elder Holland's talk and President Uchdorf's talk on "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith".

Here is a random shot of Glencar Lake which I just got to come up. This lake is where baptisms happen, WHEN baptisms happen. We've only had one since we arrived.

One of the things we've been doing here is placing Books of Mormon in local libraries. I may have talked about this before. Anyway, we were on our way to place one in Boyle when we passed by this amazing old, old, old church in Gurreen (pronounced "green") and what was unique about this place is that the floor inside the building had totally worn away, as had the roof. We're used to seeing buildings with no roofs, but this particular church had a small forest growing INSIDE it and the tops of the trees replaced the roof that used to be there.  I'm going to try again to put a picture in here.

No good. Aaarrgghh!!

We've settled into a bit of routine here in that we do some of the same things each week: On Monday evenings, we attend Family Home Evening with the Youth Single Adults of the ward. This is always held at the Walshes' home because their children make up the bulk of the YSA. On Tuesday evenings, we attend activities with the youth of the branch. Tomorrow night we're doing something very special: we're going to go see the helicopter which has very recently been purchased for the purpose of rescuing people from the ocean. If we're lucky, they'll take us up in it. Yikes! I never thought I'd want to do this until now, but now I'm thinking "hey, why not?"

Also on Tuesdays - in the morning - we drive two hours to Mullingar for the weekly district meeting. It's a seven hour trip altogether, but always fun.

Fridays are given over to YSA activities. This Friday we will be learning how to cook. It's about time I did that! What's different about cooking here is that everything is measured on scales, rather than in cups. Also, there are some very different foods. But we haven't run into anything too horrifying yet. If we get to Scotland I suppose we'll be faced with a haggis at some point, but the Shepherd's Pie that they make here in Ireland is delicious!

We've been trying to find an reactivate less-actives here, but it finally dawned on us why we're having no success: it's because the people we're going to see don't know us from Adam! What we need to do it take members of the branch with us who actually KNOW these people. So we've got a Reach Out night scheduled for a week from Wednesday.

Another very cool thing that we've scheduled (with, of course, approval from our mission president) is a Senior Couples Conference in Dublin on Nov. 4. We are all hoping to share ideas to help each other become more effective in our roles as either MLS (like us, Member and Leader Support) or YSA missionaries. We're also hoping to do some cross-training so we can expand the number of things we can do to help our respective branches.

Well, I think that's it for this time. Please write to us if you can. We always respond!

Love, Elder and Sister Walker
Sligo Branch

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A small miracle?

Thursday we found ourselves at the branch building, preparing to participate in the first Institute class of the year. There were supposed to be five youth there for the lesson, but one of them - Evan - couldn't make it because he had a terrible migraine headache. So we decided to use our time, instead, on beginning to tidy up our storage/library room. In the process of doing said tidying we found something a little unusual for an Irish branch - it was a Lithuanian copy of the Book of Mormon. Well, this is interesting, we thought, and decided to give it to the elders in case they ran into any Lithuanians in their travels.

Fast forward to Saturday, when we went with the elders to give a blessing to a two year old boy and his mother. The little boy is having problems with his lung development and is undergoing a slow series of shots, given once a month. Just before giving the blessings, the subject of the mother's nationality came up, because she obviously wasn't Irish. "Where are you from?", we asked. "Lithuania," she replied.

Coincidence? I don't think so!

Of course, we went out to the car, got the book, and gave it to her. Unreal!