The Stream


Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

For Family time we went to a play, Annie and the Zombies by the Salty Dinner Theater.  They hold them in restaurants around town and I booked ours for Mimi's Cafe.  The place was packed and the kids had a lot of fun!

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At the beginning, while they're taking your orders, the characters come around to your table and introduce themselves. Here's Rooster's wife and she had her accent nailed.  She was the best.

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After the show, we took pictures with the cast who ALL ended up turning into Zombies.  (I think Becket has already turned!!)

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Have fun out there! (We know sad Barbie won't)

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The dude says, "Keep it Real."


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Final Day in Montenegro

Thursday night we had dinner with Marge and Russ Westwood and our translator Rada and her Husband Srdgyn (Surgeon).  When Rada walked into the restaurant she said, "Srdgyn meet the doctor, doctor meet the Srdgyn." Clever isn't she? Rada and Srdgyn learned English in America.  They were refugees from Croatia and Serbia.  They met in America and got married and became citizens.  He actually works for a US Bank in Atlanta, so his work day starts about 12AM.  I actually instigated this little dinner because I was so curious about their culture.  I noticed that the people wear their wedding rings on the right hand.  They say because the left hand is the sinning hand.  "The right hand of God.." They also said how everyone pretty much knows each other because the country is so small.  You always have people to go have coffee or lunch with. Rada played professional basketball in Serbia, so she has a basketball group she goes and plays with too. The really missed that in America. The Montenegrins are competitive in a way and try to out do their neighbors.  You wouldn't know it.   They missed their culture and were afraid their boys were getting spoiled and losing their traditional values, language and culture. They decided to move back to Montenegro until their boys, 7 and 9 reached the age of high school and then they would move back. At times, their boys have asked to move back to America, but Rada is happy that their boys are leaning how to be tough and not come to expect everything at your fingertips.  Srdgyn actually makes a pretty nice salary since he has an American job so it allows them to travel and have a lot of amazing experiences with their little family.

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Mat and I had finished  up our work here in Montenegro and we were to catch our flight home Friday afternoon.  We had a little time in the morning, so we packed up and winded down a tiny little canyon on tiny little roads, with BIG Ol' buses....

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To discover Stari Most.  Stari=Old and Most=bridge. It looks like Brigadoon.

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We had lunch at the restaurant the runs along the water.  We fed the birds, the ducks, and cats with scraps of bread and fish.

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We flew to Paris that night and stayed over until our flight left the following morning.  I did have the chance to have French onion soup in Paris, but the Eiffel Tower will have to wait for another time.

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We left for home, but not without a slight delay due to a coolant valve in the plane.  It added another 1 1/2 to our 11hr flight home.  Wah. Wah.  I was dying to see my kids!  Luckily, we did arrive home safely and we were able to squeeze the kids in no time.

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Thank you! Thank you! Bob and Andrea for watching over our kids. If I could take them, I would, but because that is not an option, it is nice to know they were pleasantly happy at your house and loved spending time with their Grandma and Grandpa.  Andrea is ALWAYS so good to say, "No problem! We'd love to have them." Saints. Just saints is all I can say.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Operating Days in Montenegro

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were operating days in Montenegro.  Mat operated on adults the first two days and then on children the last day.

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He was able to show the doctor's a few surgeries they could do at their own hospital so that patients wouldn't have to travel to Belgrade, Serbia to seek treatment. The doctors were hesitant, but after Mat assured them that this simple surgery for ptosis repair was easier than other surgeries they were already doing, they finally caved in and gave it a try.

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One gal, about the age of 16, last one on the right,  needed some ptosis repair (an eyelid that droops down covering half of the eye). Mat explained in English that if he could just give her localized anesthetic around her eye and not put her all the way out, then he could get the eye almost perfect.  If she was completely out, he would be guessing how high to put the eyelid and it might not look as well.  When the doctor started to translate it to the young girl, her eyes got real BIG.  She was already nervous and she did not want to be awake for the surgery.  Her dad chimed in with his painful war stories and how he pushed through it and then the doctor added her recovering stories.  They soon stepped out into the hall and Mat and I just shot each a glance because we didn't know what they had said.  A few minutes later, the doctor comes back in laughing and we asked her to explain.  She said, "The father wants me to make sure you know the Montenegrins are not cowards.  He didn't want any Americans thinking they were cowards!" Mat and I had a good laugh.  PS: When the young girl arrived for surgery that day, Mat watched her suck down three cigarettes, one right after the other and then she announced that she was ready.  Mat said she did fabulous and I think she'll be very happy that she had it done.


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On Tuesday, we had a press conference over the lunch hour.  The newspaper and TV cameras were supposed to be there, but they got held up on an accident.  They presented LDS Charities with an award and wanted to recognize them for their donation and for Mat's time to train their doctors. There was a nice little write up in several newspapers the next day.

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While Mat worked away.....

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I took pictures and hung out with the senior missionaries, the Westwoods.

I did a little shopping...

Look at these cute Union Jack Chucks!

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And these dress shirts for Mat which he really needed. Montenegrins are tall so the shirts fit, unlike Vietnam.



I ate lots of European chocolate and pastries

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And I experienced my first Montenegrin pilates class.  I think it was my highlight.  The teacher was so cute and I could understand everything she was saying because she over dramatized the movements and forms.  After class a gal translated for us back and forth.  Kinsa ( K is pronounced like Kx) said I did very well and that I had a strong body (I think she meant flabby, must have gotten lost in translation) She would not accept ANY payment.  She said "Come anytime you are visiting Montenegro. You are always welcome"  So nice and it made me feel good.

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I also was told that the houses used to look like this drabby gray on the left and in just in the last little while they have started to paint their houses bright colors of blue, orange, white...  I'm so glad! It gives Montenegro a pop.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Free Day Montenegro Monday

Mat was going to operate Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, but because of flights and timing, we arrived early so he could be rested.  As a result, we were able to see Montenegro's outer parts.  The country has a coastline that winds down the Adriatic Sea. Very rocky. Very mountainous, Very gorgeous.

Check out this image I made using Diptic!

We found ourselves in Budva, a place where every Montenegrin crawls to during the summer leaving Podgorica a ghost town. The tourist were gone this time of year, so that left us with wide open spaces to stroll through the old village and the fort.

Check out this image I made using Diptic!

I even got to dip my toes into the Adriatic Sea!  They claim to be very environmentally friendly people (despite the loaf of French bread we found soaking up the water).  The water was clear and an emerald sea green. However, it was not tempting enough, nor warm enough, to get into my swimsuit.

Check out this image I made using Diptic!

Next, we went to some ancient Roman ruins closer to Podgorica.  Very interesting, but not as interesting as the Montenegrins around it.  In the upper right hand corner picture, you can see a house in the far background built out of the ancient ruins.  This guy decided, these stones were sturdy enough for the Romans, why not my house?  Also, to mow the lawn, they grabbed a herd of goats and made a bigger fence to prevent them from getting out. Much more interesting than boring Roman history, don't ya think?

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Next, we were taken to the poorer side of town where the Roma's live (refugees from Croatia and Romania and other countries).  On the way there, we stopped and bought some pomegranates and dried figs from a stand off the street. Mat likes to get pictures of me spending all his money, so there ya go!  Notice the bottom picture. That is a house and because the minimum wage here is $11,000 Euro per yr, younger people and newlyweds can't afford property or rent for that matter, so they simply add an addition onto their parents house that is still standing.  You can see the rebar poking out of this one, ready for the new addition.

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Here are the refugee camps.  They are overcrowded and poorly constructed homes. There are only 3 open bath houses for 900 people to share. They are hard workers and love to make things out of scrap metal to sell for money. The kids run around the streets keeping entertained by sticks and leftover lumber scraps.  The local doctors here said that when they do surgeries on the Roma's they heal amazingly fast (like two days fast). No swelling and no bruising.  They believe it's because they are in the dirt and have strong immune systems. Don't be afraid to go and do that yard work now! You may heal a little faster and not be as sick.

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Here's the carts the Roma's pull.  If they're well off, they are pedaled or motorized, but most of them are pulled by donkey or horse.

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Right by the Roma's camp are what they call the Niagara Falls.  Nothing like the states, but it is a popular makeout/picnic place for the locals.  You can expect for it to be crowded on national Orthodox holidays.

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They also have a bunny and chicken mansion built into the side of the rock.

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Lastly, we toured the new church building.  It was up and running in July.  Unfortunately, it only supports 3 ward members and a handful of investigators, but hopefully it will be used more in the future.  The people aren't very accepting of our church.  It's been spraypainted on and the day before we left, someone had chucked a flat piece of broken cement through the window breaking the first pane and cracking the second.  A shame really. Sadly, whoever did this deed won't read that days headline in the newspaper stating "LDS church donates $50,000 in medical equipment to the hospital of Montenegro"  or "US  doctor travels to provide extra training in...." You know the rest of the story.

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I took a picture of the hymn book because they spent all summer trying to translate some new hymns for the members.  It is quite the process and hard to do.  There is also a picture of the chapel.  Open house will be in a few weeks (Once the window gets fixed)

We had a lovely dinner on the upper patio of a restaurant overlooking the bell tower prior to the war. It was the only thing left standing that didn't get wiped flat. I didn't get a picture, stupid me, but it was a lovely night and I enjoyed my bass immensely.