Sunday, December 31, 2006


Yesterday Ray and I went on our first excursion since I arrived here. We started out by taking the ferry over to the Republic of Ireland.

Pay particular attention to the wonderful blue skies in this picture. We zipped right across to Inishowen. We stopped at a lovely village called Molville where we ate at a pub called "The Town Clock". I had a particularly delightful meal of Fresh Seafood chowder and brown bread. This chowder was honestly the most delicious thing I've had since I arrived. It had fresh salmon and some white fish and some mussels in it. It was TDF for sure. I also had a Diet Coke which Ray was quick to inform me probably cost the equivalent of 4 US dollars. But I chose to not let that fact mar the enjoyment of the day.

Here they have a saying, "if you don't like the weather wait 5 minutes" After having only been here but a short time I can attest to the fact that this is true. You'll notice from the picture above that we left with blue skies. We had determined to go to a place called Malin.As you can see by the time we arrived there it was a torrential down pour. Here we are trying to stay dry and warm. Neverless we continued on and were rewarded when not 5 minutes later the weather changed again and we were able to capture these pictures.

This one is from the top of the hills at Malin Head. Malin Head is the most Northernly part of Ireland.

This next picture is after we had driven down the hill. It was at a little beach area and it was beautiful. The beach was made up entirely of stones and as the water would rush back out into the sea it made the most beautiful noise like thousands of hands clapping with joy. I must admit I joined in and clapped my hands in glee with appreciation for the beauty of this place.

Ray and I have decided to make Saturday's our day of explorations. This country I find myself in is truly beautiful. We had such a perfect day that I can hardly wait for Saturday to come around again. There is much here to be explored and I'm anxious to get started!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Fun

Christmas has come to a close here in beautiful N. Ireland and I can definitively say that my first Christmas here was an absolute delight. Let me recap a few of the highlights.

The Wednesday before Christmas Margaret and I went to Tallin's Christmas Play. He was one of the 3 kings and did a wonderful job. Sadly I forgot the digital so I don't have the photographic proof of how amazing he was but trust me he did a wonderful job. That evening we went to a Carol Service where Judith's (Ray's Brother Stewart's Fiance) son Harry sang beautifully.

This is a picture of the church the Carol Service was held in. Taken courtesy of Ray's camera phone.

Thursday Ray and I finally finished painting our living room. Margaret had arranged for some movers to move the furniture ( which she generously donated to our cause) from her house to ours. We were so grateful because the move happened with no inconvenience to ourselves. We then went out and about and bought a Christmas tree and decorated it to the hilt.
This is our tree in all it's glory. I was so relieved to be done painting and to have a tree. It just wouldn't have felt like Christmas without one.

Friday Ray and I went to Brogans Carol Service. Here a Carol service is done in the church and it's hymns and the nativity. Here is a picture of the church where it was held.

Brogan played the recorder and he did a marvelous job. I thoroughly enjoyed myself watching him perform. Here he is giving us a personal performance.

Saturday we just got ready, did any last minute grocery shopping for the big holiday.

Sunday we had a wonderful Carol Service at Church. I was asked to play the organ for said service and after a frantic phone call to C.S. Walker I felt like it was going to be ok. It did end up going fine.

After church we had Stewart & Judith over for lunch. I made Connie Allen's famous Broccoli Cheese Soup. It was delish. We hung out with them and chatted and played some Phase 10.

That evening we spent with Stephen Smyth and his family. We read Luke 2 and the B of M account to the birth of Christ and their was a nativity play. I was so appreciative of them inviting us over to share that with them. I really felt the spirit once again whisper to me of the divinity of Jesus Christ and I love doing things that are centered on Him and to take time to remember what the season is all about.

Christmas morning Ray came over and we opened our gifts from each other and the package that my parents had sent. It was so nice having a little piece of home in a foreign land on Christmas Day. My favorite gift had to be a book that Lacy had made of pictures of Canyon. I think the fam had a fun day in Utah as well. Here was one of the pictures Dad sent me that was taken on Mom's new digital camera.
We spent Christmas Day with Ray's family. His mother made us a wonderful Christmas dinner and we enjoyed spending time with Ray's parents and his brother and fiance. I have to say that Margaret and Ray Sr. spoiled us terribly at Christmas as well. They gave us many fine and thoughtful gifts that were greatly appreciated.

The following day here is a holiday as well. It's known as St. Stephen's day or Boxing day. It started out that people here used to give gifts in boxes instead of wrapping paper so the day after Christmas they would put their leftovers into these boxes and administer to the needy. Now it seems more just a day to be with loved ones and not at work!

We spent that evening with the Elder's again and this time got to be with the Nephews and give them our Christmas gifts. We also got to stay that evening and I got to meet all of Margarets siblings and their spouses. Most of whom I was meeting for the first time.

Schwoo.......clearly we had a jam packed and wonderful Christmas. I must admit that the last 2 days Ray and I have taken things VERY easy. We have both been exhausted from all the fun and merriment. Here's hoping that everyone else had as fun and as merry a Christmas as we did in beautiful N. Ireland.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Freezing Mist and How I Keep Warm

The temperature here has dropped. It's now -2 celcius. I realise that in Utah it's probably still colder than this but it really is true what they say about cold and Humidity. It does sort of seep into your bones. Here's a picture I took from my bedroom and out the front door yesterday. This would be what is know as Freezing Mist.

Even with this mist and the cold temperatures I still bundled up and walked down to the little market we have in town. I had to get a few items to stuff Ray's stocking with you see.

Although it has been quite cold we manage to keep warm. Here instead of having say central heat, people would use radiators. They are actually quite delightful. We have one in every room of the house and in the halls. What's nice about them is that you can adjust them individually. So I can have the radiator turned off or down in any room that we don't really use. Also this means that I can turn it up say in my bedroom to keep it quite toasty warm. Here is a picture of the radiator in my bedroom in all of it's glory.

Also speaking of my bedroom. Since I arrived here I have been sleeping on an air mattress which was generously supplied by Dr. Ray and Margaret (Ray's parents). It is a deluxe model and I am so grateful just to have had somewhere to sleep. But long term it was not working out. Last weekend Ray and I went to a store just down the road from us know as CFC Interiors. We met with a lovely old 'gent named Stanley who gave us a great deal on a mattress, bed frame and 2 end tables. Here is a picture of my delightfully redecorated room.

Let me just say that last night I had an amazing nights sleep. I also now have a place to put my glasses and my book (and a comfortable place to read at night).

My heart and my back feel happy with this new purchase.

Last bit of news.........The Elder's generously let us come over and borrow their total gym. Let me just say that I feel my muscle's building all ready. I've used it 3 days and it is a wonderful workout. I hope to use it many more days so that I can look AMAZING on my wedding day. More time to get in shape I suppose is a reason to be grateful that we don't have a date yet(Hopefully we will have one by the new year, More on this in another post).

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fridge Space Is At A Premium

It's the first part of week 2 and I am still settling in. We haven't finished painting our living rooom yet. We run and run at a million miles an hour and still don't manage to accomplish every thing we were hoping to. Ray is currently working and I'm just on the computer typing a few IM's and writing this blog entry. As soon as he finishes we will go and hopefully complete the painting in the living room.

I thought I would share a few of the joys that I have discovered living here thus far. The first is the power of the mini fridge. Only here they just call it the fridge. It's the size everyone has and while at first it might seem inconvenient, I'm discovering that actually it can be a delight. I don't think we will have very much food that goes to waste due to the fact that the fridge only holds about 2 meals worth of food. Because this is the case we also have to go shopping pretty much every other day, but it always makes sure that the food is fresh.

Also I can always find everything because you don't have very many places to look. I think we should all downgrade to the Mini. A Mini Fridge revolution should be just what America needs to fight the obesity epedemic. I'm just saying.

The next delight that I have discovered here is the art of the Christmas card. Here everyone exchanges Christmas cards. They don't really write anything in them. They pretty much let the card do the talking. And that is fine by me. Easy to the point. Open up the card and it gives you a little holiday message no reason to embellish. Then one signs ones name. BOOM done.

Case in point. On Sunday Ray was getting mass amounts of Christmas cards. The woman who sat in front of us in Sacrament meeting passed one back for him. Then she realised that she hadn't included my name on the envelope. No stress she simple reached into her bag and gave me a card (Notice that we have two with birds on them). It's genius really. It's like Valentine's Day cards for kids in America. Everyone gets just the card. Although come to think of it they do give candy with the cards. That might be the only thing that could make this tradition more delightful.

Well that's me signing off. I'm just going to run downstairs and have a little pre -painting snack. Something I'll no doubt get out of my Mini fridge whilst looking at my Christmas cards. More later!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Virtual Tour

I thought I'd give you all a virtual tour of our cute house. Here is a shot from the outside.

When you walk in the front door the living room is on the right and the stairs are on the left.

Straight ahead down the hallway is the kitchen. In the kitchen to the right is the actual kitchen area. Behind the door is the utility room with washer dryer etc. To the right is the breakfast nook. It's all one big room.

When you walk upstairs the first door on your left is our Spare room. It's the only room in the house with a mirror so I do my makeup in there every day. This will be your accomodations when you come to visit us. We are in the process of purchasing a bed for the room so you will be very comfortable when you come.

Next on the left is my office where I will be helping Ray with his ebay sales and writing many emails and IM's. On the right is Ray's office where he will probably be shutting the door hoping for some peace and quiet.

Finally at the end of the Hallway is the Master. It comes compete with an "En Suite" bathroom as they call it here. Which is just a shower, pedestal sink and toilet. Also has 2 built in closets.

My First Week

Well my first week didn't go quite as planned. My luggage didn't arrive until late Monday night and so we didn't do much on Monday. We finally left a note on the door asking them to leave the luggage should they arrive and headed out to the grocery store. The "Walmart"over here is actually called Tesco's. So we headed over and I experienced things on the metric system. Which makes things a bit difficult when trying to convert some of the recipe's that I brought over with me. Highlight of the day had to be sharing breakfast with Ray ( We haven't been able to do that for ages)

Tuesday we had the missionaries over. They gave us a discussion and we also read and discussed Elder Ballards talk on "Creating a Gospel Sharing Home". Since we were still getting settled we fed them frozen pizza. Here they are in all their glory.

Tuesday night was also Enrichment night. It was the Christmas Enrichment and we had a lesson on having more of Christ in Christmas. Many of the ladies shared ideas of how to have more of Christ in Christmas. I shared my favorite holiday tradition. That of bearing our testimonies on Christmas Eve. I'm going to miss that very much.

We had a nice dinner afterward. It was Chicken Curry and Rice which was delish. They start a little later than normal here. The program started at 7:30 and I didn't get home until 11:00 p.m.

In between all the planned activities Ray and I have been runnin here and there trying to get a few things for the house. We are both so exhausted. We keep thinking that things are going to slow down but so far no luck.

Wednesday was pretty uneventful. Although we did go out to lunch with Ray's Mother Margaret and Judith, his brother's Fiance. We had a lovely time and I've been so grateful to the Elder's who have been so welcoming. They are helping me to feel right at home.

Today the missionaries came over to do a bit of service. We are painting and they painted the ceiling of our living room. I fed them breakfast (quiche) then fed them lunch (broccoli cheese soup). I've become quite domesticated it would seem living over here.

Ray is off to London tomorrow for his physical. I asked him tonight how he felt about it he said and I quote, "well, 600 dollars (which is what we had to pay to have him fly down there and for the physical) seems like a lot of money to pay just to have a doctor stick his finger up my bum." He then proceeded to hum the tune to "families can be together for ever".

That said, I'm going to assume from the humming that despite the finger he feels it will all be worth it when we can finally be together for ever. It was a tender moment indeed.

I have a vitual tour of the house to share but I'll end this post here and post those pictures immediately following.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I've arrived

But unfortunately my luggage has not. Apparently it got lost in the transfer from SLC to Newark. But a lovely gentleman from the Belfast International Airport with the most delightful accent just called me to inform me that it would be arriving shortly.

It's 10:30 a.m. at the minute and it's a bit surreal to think most of you lovely folk are still fast asleep in your beds as I write this. Ray is currently off helping with geneology at the church house. So I'm having a little me time.

Since today is my first "real" day in Ireland. Or at least the first day I'm not so tired I want to do harm to myself. I'm documenting it with pictures. Tomorrow I"ll have some picutres of the house. Also of all the activities which I participated in today.

More tomorrow!