Sunday, November 29, 2009

We are just about settled in our new home

Most people already know that on January 15, 2010, we moved from Dubai to Puerto Rico. It has been quite an adjustment for both of us, at work, at church, and in our daily lives.

We were released from our respective callings in November, Waldo as president of the Manama Bahrain Stake (administrative and ecclesiastical authority over an area of the church-this stake is the largest in the world), and me as stake primary president (working with the primary children's organizations throughout the stake). It felt very strange to go from 100% involvement to nothing! We actually had time to go to the beach!

Waldo went from the greater volumes, longer travel times, and more stressful schedule of the GCC to the Caribbean & Central America office here in San Juan. While he has even more countries (23) to visit on this side of the world, he has also been enjoying being over here, re-acquainting himself with old friends, and is finding the different pace of life very rewarding.

Four days after we got here we were at our stake conference (a regional meeting of many wards or individual churches) and we met the mission president, who is head of all the missionaries in our area. A few days after that Waldo gets a phone call from him, apologizing for having to do it over the phone, but he was calling Waldo to be the first counselor in the Mission Presidency. Imagine that! A calling Waldo has never had before!

I was enjoying teaching English at the Berlitz Language Center in Dubai, and working in the Primary organizations in the different wards in the stake. Now I am busy unpacking (still), making new friends here, and finding grocery stores, dry cleaners, and doctors without getting totally lost.
The most recent new thing is learning to play Mah Jong! There is a group in the Newcomers club that meets every Thursday so when I'm tired of boxes it is a welcome change.

In church I am teaching the Sunbeams (3-4 years old) and getting to practice some of the principles I spent so much time teaching as a stake leader. It's great to see it works!

We are looking forward to traveling this summer to see new grandbabies that will be arriving, a girl for Rick and April, and a boy for Waldo and Jen.

I'm sad to say, the first trip will be made by me next weekend, as my aunt passed away, and there will be a "going away party" for her on Sunday. I am looking forward to re-connecting with members of my family that I haven't seen in longer than I care to remember. It's sad that somebody has to die before we make the time, isn't it?

Aunt Marge, her dog Maggy and me in 2007

On a happier note, the first non-business trip that Waldo will make will be to Madrid, Spain, for the UEFA finals. He is determined to make this region of Ford as successful as the last. He won this trip, which is a good start!

I found some pictures from our house-hunting trip in November 2009. As you can see, it's very different from Dubai!

We feel really lucky to have found a lovely house in this subdivision, Dorado Beach East, which as you can see is green, green, GREEN!

There are footpaths going all through the subdivision, and the houses all have golf carts to get around, to the pool and gym, as well as the golf courses! While we were happy with our villa in Dubai, it is so nice to have a real yard (Heidi and Shotzie our Mini Schnausers love it!) and it is very quiet quiet at night. We love that.

While things are still very different from our lives in Dubai; here we use dollars not dirhams, 110 voltage not 240, pounds not kilos, church on Sunday not Friday, it's alot like coming home. Although you don't really need to speak Spanish to be able to understand conversations in the stores and on TV, people are even friendlier when you try. Some things remain the same as everywhere else I have lived: the love and caring of the neighbors and church members, the trials that we all share. The goals for ourselves and our families. Everything that is important is the same. I love that.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Saudi Arabia, Lasik, and Vacation!

A few weeks ago I went to Saudi Arabia for the first time.... We flew to Bahrain (1 hour) rented a car and drove to Dhahran. This was about a three hour trip, and we went through immigration on the causeway between the countries. We got there about 1pm, and had to go out, be fingetprinted, walk across the border, and then go back to the car. Temperatures there were at about 110F, and of course I wore my new abaya (black dress that covers everything) they aren't as strict for foreigners, so I didn't have to wear the scarf too,

We stayed with some friends in the Aramco compound in Dhahran, where I had this dejavu feeling of being in California in the 60's. The houses are like they were when I was growing up, wall-to-wall carpeting, 110 voltage, popcorn ceilings, and women can drive inside the compound. Women don't drive in Saudi Arabia and are not allowed to be unaccompanied in public. The picture is of a street in the compound, and of me roasting. I hope the women who have to wear these all the time get some that are more comfortable!

Yesterday I joined the family and got Lasik done to my eyes, following in the footsteps of the kids and Waldo.It was much less scary than having the retina repair surgery that I had in 2006 before we came to Dubai.

Things are still a little fuzzy--the doctor says it will continue to change. by my next check-up next week, he says that there will be a big difference! This doctor has a clinic in Atlanta Georgia, and comes out to Dubai for a week each month, to do the surgeries.. It was interesting seeing all the diplomas from US universities--reassuring, really.
We have one more month to wait before going on vacation!! We are really looking forward to seeing the kids and grandkids! We'll be driving the motorhome like usual (Waldo says it's relaxing!!) and stopping in Salt Lake to see Marci and Mike, Rick and April, then stopping at a lake in Arizona for a few days to play. Then on to Simi Valley to see Waldo's family, back to Utah to meet some leaders for Waldo's calling (his other full-time job), then back to Seattle.

It'll be relaxing for me, I'm not driving!
We hope your summer is wonderful!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Can we come up for air??

Almost everybody has heard by now, that Waldo was called to be the president of the Manama Bahrain Stake, which encompasses the entire gulf region (9 countries & 16 units). It is almost the same geographical area as what he covers for Ford. (his other full time job!) Oh! I forgot--there are 56 servicemen's groups that are also the stake's responsability.
This picture was taken the week before the Stake conference that has changed our lives so much. We took advantage of the opportunity to visit our son Waldo when Elders Holland and Clausse were in Kuwait and got this picture. Nobody know what was coming. We were just happy to see our son!

For our friends and family who don't "speak Mormon", a stake is an ecclesiastical area which supervises individual units, or churches, made up of wards- like parishes- and branches. They tend to be smaller here in the middle east, because we don't have regular church buildings, we rent large houses. Actually, in Saudi Arabia the wards meet in schools.This stake has 16 units, which is a few more than what most stakes in the rest of the world have.

So we've been busily visiting different wards in the UAE and Qatar. It's quite an opportunity to visit the different countries and meet with different people.

Waldo has been on a business trip to Detroit for the last week, and took last weekend to make a surprise visit to his mother, which is great timing since next Sunday is Mother's Day. (at least in the US--I found out that the UK celebrates it in March! So there are no more chocolates or flowers on sale for this weekend!) It's probably just as well...less pressure, which I appreciate, and so does Waldo. this weekend we will be speaking in the Doha First and Second Wards. so we get to talk about mothers, anyway!


The other day I had a fender-bender, a small accident that scratched my beautiful car and has given me a minor stiff neck, which the chiropractor can help with. It was my fault, I simply looked down at the wrong time, and when I looked up, it was too late to stop. I just bumped into the gentleman in front of me. Fortunately we weren't going very fast, so no one was hurt. What I learned was this:

  • When things work in Dubai, they work very well.

  • It's true here like the rest of the world, you can never find a cop when you need one! During the week the road we were on is crawling with them, but not Saturday!

  • I had my drivers' lisence confiscated, so I had to go to a downtown police station to pay the fine and pick it up, so I took a taxi, not knowing exactly where the office was.Turned out it was very easy to find, just down the street from Waldo's office.

  • Taxi drivers still know best; apparently there is one office for paying fines, and another for paperwork--he took me to the right one.

  • I went in, found out what to do, went back and forth between different desks a few times to ascertain that my lisence was indeed there and that the fine was paid,

  • The polite officer helped me with the computer screen to look for my record, and when it occurred to him to change it to English, I went ahead and paid the fees with a credit card.

  • Then I went to the man with the box full of confiscated lisences, got mine, watched him say with a grin, "halaas" (finished) and rip up the ticket!

  • Once I got into the office, the entire exercise took half an hour!

Then of course I had to go outside and find a taxi, at noon, in the sun, and it was about 100F. Not one of my favorite things. However, it was a Ford taxi, so I felt a little better.

So now I'm driving Waldo's car til he gets home...(Veeerry carefully!) and my car is in being repaired.

Everything needs repaired these days. The microwave stopped heating, so Shirley and I had to find the Black and Decker repair shop and take it over there, and I had to call the LG repair people because the dishwasher motor is burning out.

How do I know this, you ask? Because it is making the same sound that it was making last year when they replaced the motor! Of course these things happen about 3 months after the warranty expires!

On a positive note, the English classes are going well. Right now I have a young Emirati man who is planning to take the TOEFL so he can go to an American college, and a German lady who is recently arrived, and wants to start to work. You need English to survive here (and after my experience with the police, I know that Arabic wouldn't be a bad idea either!)

So tomorrow, all the repair people will get paid, and we will have appliances again. Also, the weather is supposed to clear up--sandstorm over- so it should be a lovely day, and best of all, only one more day til Waldo gets home! Everything's great!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


We hope you're having a wonderful, warm cuddly winter so far, and that you can hug someone who loves you on Valentine's Day!

For those that are enjoying summer now, we hope it isn't too hot for a hug!

We are busy, busy, busy with work....Ford here in the Middle East is doing very well thanks to a very effective team (and Waldo, of course!). Things are picking up at Bertitz as well, so Cay is now trying to coordinate the worlds of teacher and homemaker. Hat's off to all the ladies that do this on a daily basis!

Life has changed at church as well. Cay was released from her calling as the Young Women's President, and is now teaching four nine-year-old boys in the Primary! Waldo has moved to the Young Men's organization as the first counselor. He is preparing for youth conference this weekend.

We had a wonderful, peaceful Christmas and New Year (sorry we couldn't write back then, we were just too busy!)

We are also really looking forward to visiting our son Waldo who is stationed in Kuwait. and this visit coinsides with the visit of Elder Holland for Stake Conference!

Love, Waldo and Cay

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Things We're Thankful for

We had a peaceful Thanksgiving, a delicious dinner with about 70 of our friends, at a Marriott hotel!

That Thursday was a regular workday here, but Waldo took a personal day because he's been travelling so much--so we got to spend the entire day together!

Here they are, Schatzie in the foreground snoozing, and Heidi on duty! As usual when Waldo's not there, she sits in his chair. They were 6 years old on Dec. 1.

Dec. 2 was the UAE's 37th birthday!


There were parades and other activities, but we didn't know about them, so we went driving around, which was nice because there was no traffic! We went to Hatta, by the Omani border, and visited a heritage village there. It was interesting to see the construction of the houses, and realize just how important the cultivation of dates is to the survival of the culture. the date palm could be compared to the buffalo in the native American cultures. Every part was used, for clothing, construction, and food.



I thought the construction was very interesting....they didn't usually have to worry about rain, so if things weren't waterproof, no problem! (Although this week we've had a lot of rain--its very refreshing!)



The UAE is to be commended for the vision the seven rulers of the emirates had when they agreed to unite for the betterment of the region, and give up their tribal heritage. It opened the door for the progress they are now enjoying. Granted, not every emirate is as advanced as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, but they are making progress. We are both so grateful to be here at this time. We are very aware of how lucky we are.

So now we're back at work, and getting ready for Christmas!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Waldo got to visit with W. (Cachi)

The end of our vacation was still great! Even though Waldo Had to get back and go back to work, I was able to spend a few days in El Paso with Jennifer and Gigi. It was so much fun to see them both, and do one of Gigi's favorite things--the El Paso Zoo!

The minute I got back it was to begin my job at Dubai American Academy, as a teacher's aide for a 3rd grade class. It was fun!They were very energetic, and reminded me of Jordan and Alaina! I worked there for a month, and then Berlitz Language Center hired me as an English teacher. That's where I'm working now. I'm grateful I have the opportunity to use some of the skills I studied so hard to learn!

The other exciting thing that happened in September is the business trip Waldo made to Kuwait. He was able to meet with our son Waldo (Cachi). He is a captain in the army, stationed at the base in Kuwait. They were able to spend a wonderful few hours together.
(you can sure tell they're related!)

Our goal this Christmas is to spend it with him, if its at all possible. Think positive for us!

The weather is getting really beautiful (I'm actually wearing jeans and tennis shoes right now!)
We're getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, and we know we have so much to be thankful for, and then to decorate for Christmas!
Check back for more updates!

Monday, November 03, 2008

New Adventures and Opportunities

Hello again, after many months and new experiences! so much has happened since the last time I wrote I may have to split this up into a couple of entries!

We had a wonderful vacation, saw just about everyone we had planned to see, did just about everything we had planned to do and came back home just about as exhausted as we thought we would!
We travelled from Dubai to Seattle and the next day flew down to Simi Valley to see Waldo's family, and after enjoying their company for 4 days, flew back to Seattle so we could drive the RV to Salt Lake. There we met our newest grandson, Sammy.

After staying with Rick and April for a few days, we headed south to Zion National Park, where we met Marci and Mike and their kids, and enjoyed our time with them. The park was wonderful, and even though we couldn't have a campfire, the pool was awesome!

This is our step-granddaughter Sibhana and granddaughter Jordan enjoying one of the pools at the campsite, and us with the Emmett kids as we drove through Zion National Park. This was a great trip, just too short!

We had many more adventures, some of which I'll tell you about in our next posting!