The Call

The Call

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Birthday in Riga
Went for a quick trip to Riga, Latvia, for the annual inspection of our vehicle.  It just so happened to be Sister Allred's birthday.  So, for her birthday wish, we went exploring to Riga's Central Market.  There are five historical buildings that house the central market.  They were, at one time, German zeppelin hangars that were used in WWI.  It is Europe's largest market and bazaar.

Riga's Central Market

Inside is a marvelous collection of food and produce that will gladden the eye.  One hangar is totally devoted to seafood.  The others have their emphasis as well.  Here are a few pictures of what we found.  There are rows and rows of produce and other foods.  It is truly amazing.

Produce everywhere

Honey and beeswax

Don't even get me started on the bread . . .

After looking through each building, we went outside and there were more shops that operate outdoors (cheaper rent for sure).  We took a walk over to old town and found a KFC (late lunch).  The weather was quite a bit nippy and a certain someone was getting very cold, so we went back to the hotel and warmed up and then went window shopping at the mall next door.  It was there where we found a place to enjoy a birthday dinner.

The birthday girl enjoying her vegetable soup

Tallinn Branch Christmas Party
The annual branch Christmas party was held December 17th.  It is quite the festive affair with a full dinner, entertainment and a visit from Santa.  In Estonia, children are not just given gifts, they must first redeem them by reciting a poem or singing a song.  All the children went up and performed for Santa as well as the YM and YW organizations.  Sister Allred and I sang Silent Night as a duet with narration between the verses.

Before everyone arrived

The Dinner

More Dinner

Missionary Entertainment

Santa Arrives!

The children singing to Santa

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Bathing with a Loofah
One of the unique things about our accommodations here in Estonia is that we have no clothes dryer in the apartment.  A washer, yes, but no clothes dryer.  My darling companion, who dutifully launders our clothing each week, is forced to air dry our wet clothes on a drying rack.  To aid in this process, she employs an electric fan that is directed to blow air across the wet clothing.  After a few hours

they are dry and ready to fold.  Doing laundry here can take up a lot of time. A side benefit is a lower electric bill each month.  Another, and almost overlooked benefit, is the salon treatment each time we shower.  If you have ever air-dried a bath towel, you will understand that when air-dried, the nap or pile of the towel does not feel like Charmin, but more like a loofa.  You know, the skeletal remains of the luffa fruit that feels like sandpaper on your skin and was meant to remove dry or dead skin from your body.   Yes, that is the loofa I'm talking about.  

Showering and using the towel, fresh from the laundry, can be a rather invigorating and liberating experience (if you think that liberating your skin from your body is a good thing).  I like to think that keeping my skin on is a good thing.  Dear reader, do not think I am complaining.  On the contrary, I've lost 10 pounds already.  Apparently, I have more skin than I actually need.  The downside, however, is that now I'm more sensitive to everything and everybody.  I used to be thick-skinned. 

An Awesome Tradition
In the winter months, the Tallinn Branch has what we affectionately call, Soup Sunday.  Every other week is Soup Sunday.  Immediately after the Sunday block, the chairs and tables are set out and we all enjoy soup together.  Usually there are plates of white and dark bread on the table to go along with the soup.  Different families or individuals provide the soup and ladle it up right in the kitchen.  We're not always too sure what is in the soup, but it tastes wonderful and we get to visit with the members on a less formal setting. 
Supping with branch members on Soup Sunday