Saturday, February 28, 2009

Be Prepared!

Elder Edmunds recently had a serious accident. He fell through a glass door while exercising in his apartment. Here he's showing curious fans his pictures of the nasty gash in his leg and describing the 40 stitches that were required to sew him back together. It was not a pretty sight and he has spent the last month hobbling around on crutches.
But, through this experience we all learned a valuable lesson. Always be prepared!
After the doctor finished cleaning out the glass and stitching up the wound in the hospital emergency room, it was determined that it would be best to keep him in the hospital overnight. Late that evening, Elder Edmunds found that he needed to use the bathroom, but when he tried to do so, he discovered that it had no toilet paper. He asked a nurse for some, but she said that she couldn't help him. He then asked another nurse and got the same response. He finally limped down to the nurse's station to see if he could get some help from them. It was at that point that they informed him that you're supposed to bring your own when you come to the hospital. Elder Edmunds explained that he didn't know that policy and that when he came into the hospital he was bleeding profusely and that toilet paper was not on his radar screen. He asked for just a couple of squares, but was told that he should call a friend to bring him some. After some talking and coercion they were finally generous enough to tear off a piece of paper from the examining table!
So...another lesson learned. Always keep some tissues or TP in your purse or in your pocket, you never know when you'll end up at the hospital and have need for it. The scout motto of "Be Prepared" has once again proven to be a truism.
Or better yet, just stay out of Polish hospitals.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Carts

When you go to the grocery store in will find that all of the shopping carts are locked together. If you want to use one, you must insert a zloty and then the lock will release. To get your zloty back after shopping, you must return the cart to the rack and lock it to the other carts. This is a pretty ingenious way of making sure that their shopping carts don't wander away and it's easy for the personnel to go and collect the carts.

I thought this was an interesting piece of Poland, so yesterday while shopping I asked Dean to take my picture while I got my cart.

I guess that's not allowed, because the security guard approached and told us we were forbidden to do that. So we played the "ugly, dumb, American" and went about our business anyway. Here are the pictures we were able sneak. I guess that I'm lucky that I'm not writing this from a jail cell.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The "L"

In order to drive in Poland, you're required to take driving lessons and log many hours on the roads. This is really a wise thing, because they definitely have their own way of driving here. There are dozens and dozens of driving schools and I think that 20 of them are located within a 1 km radius of our apartment. We are always following one or two, or three down the stree. And there must be a rule that they can only drive at 20 km./hour. It's interesting to note that every car used by every school is a Toyota Yaris. I have no idea why that's the case-----Toyota seems to have a monopoly on the driving school cars in Poland.
The cars are also all obviously labeled with a large blue L on top. I'm so glad that I didn't have to announce to the whole world that I was a beginning driver (although I'm sure that my dad thought it was obvious to everyone anyway.)
We haven't figured out exactly what the L stands for---"Learner", "Lesson", "Loser", "Lame",
or maybe "Look out!"

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lessons from a Snow Shovel

All last winter we laughed as we watched everyone shovel there snow with these wooden snow shovels----wondering how it was that they had not yet discovered the metal scoop that we use in the States. How could they be so behind the times?
Then one day, I got to thinking....
(I know, I need to try it more often.)
and I looked at the sidewalks and noticed that they are not cement slabs like we have at home, but rather they are made from paving stones, bricks or even cobblestones.
Now I remember shoveling our driveway at home and everytime I would come to that crack in the middle, the shovel would catch and give my teeth a jar. The shovel was also worse for the wear each time it crashed into that impediment, curling and bending on the edges.

So, perhaps they DO know what they're doing here. A wooden shovel gives more and slides across the top of those rough edges much more easily. Their years of experience had taught them that.
So-------what is the lesson I learned.
Perhaps we are too quick to judge others and their choices before we have the full picture. It is easy to think that our way is best, or smarter or we are more clever. But, we need to step back, put ourselves in their shoes and try to understand where they are coming from. Be humble, be teachable and open. There is much to learn from other cultures. I know that I have learned an important lesson from the snow shovel.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Domestic Side

Keeping myself entertained in the car as we drive
all over this country to meet with teachers,
students and do various mission assignments
has been a
real challenge.
Our car is standard missionary issue----
no air conditioning, no radio, NO CD player.
The hours can become long and tedious sometimes.
So, my friend Jann has been a blessing---
she has helped me learn how to do Swedish weaving.
I spend hours working on little projects
like these dish towels.
I love it, it's so simple that even I could figure it out,
but I think that they turned out lovely.
Probably too pretty to ever really use to
dry pans and pots.

Mixed Messages

This past week we traveled hundreds of
kilometers throughout Poland
training the missionaries here to be
facilitators for a "Stop Smoking" program.
Poland is filled with people lighting up
on the street corners, at the bus stops
and standing out on their
balconies in frigid temperatures.
I'm personally convinced that the
gray cloud that covers the city is
from cigarette smoke,
not coal or wood burning stoves.
It's a huge issue here.

Most people say they want to quit.
But, when I saw this in our
hotel room this week,

I couldn't help but laugh
at the mixed message.

Does it strike you as a bit confusing too?