Daily Archives: June 7, 2008

End of Mission Blog –

 07 June 2008 – Saturday

As I was writing in my journal today I realized that it was time to end this journal. At least the daily postings of my journal. I will go through the thousands of pictures I have stored and post some with comments. People and events that I think are especially important that I think will add to the story that is told below. I also may start another blog dealing with the time we are home until we hopefully leave on our next mission sometime in January 2009.

I hope that just one couple read these last 20 months of comments and experiences and decided that they would go on a mission. The need is so great that if tomorrow 5,000 couples sent in their papers it would not fill the openings for couple missionaries. The Jakarta Indonesian mission needs 7 couples before the end of the year. As far as we know there is only one coming.

06 June 2008

06 June 2008 – Friday

Our first full day as civilians was a busy and messy one. Busy because we started to unpack everything including the boxes that have arrived. Messy because most of it never got put away so it is in stacks around the house.

My main tasks of the day was to try and neutralize the lingering odors. Other things that I accomplished was going to the store to get more small things we needed or desired such as light bulbs, diet root beer, and gasoline. This I did by visiting 3 stores including CostCo where I got a membership and the gasoline. Gasoline is $3.80 a gallon – that is about $1.20 more than when we left on our mission.

Before I left to do the shopping I noticed that Mary looked very tired so I told her to just go back to bed and get some rest. Yesterday was very long and tiring for her and it is going to take at least two days for her to get her strength back. So for the rest of the day – at least until Jim came, she would stop and rest between other tasks.

It turns out the washing machine is broken – at least the setting dial is stripped so you can not start the machine. We really need a new one so we decided that while Jim was here we would get a new one from Sears.

I did walk around the yard and pull a few weeds. There is a lot that did not come back this year or perhaps it was last year. But the basic garden is still here so a month of hard work and buying new plants should bring it back to normal. I am not going to do too much because we will not be here for next year’s garden.

Jim, Kristy, Olivia and Charlotte arrived about 5:30. They had stopped off at Cindy’s and Bob’s along the way. At first Olivia was not too sure about us, but within 20 minutes we were best friends. Earlier in the day I had bought a close-out graduation toy at Albertson’s. It is a bear dressed in robes and hat that when you turn him on dances and sings. That was the ice breaker and soon we were best buddies.

While Jim, Kristy, and Mary got the makings for tacos going, Olivia and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. We stopped in at the Alexanders where once again it took a while for her to get over her shyness and then as we were walking home we saw Mitch Pratt, Mark Radmall, and Will Grace out in the Pratt’s yard talking about Harleys and stopped to say hello. Olivia was soon friends with them and the Pratt’s dog.

One funny thing about our walk was when I introduced her and asked her to tell the people her age she would always say “I am 3 and a half” and show them how her light up hair barrette worked. As we walked into the cul-de-sac she noticed the two Tanner boys out playing and had to stop and say hi! We ended up playing with them for a short time.

Tacos were wonderful – I explained to Jim that he needed to heat the oil as hot as he could to keep the tortillas from becoming soggy. Earlier Mary had carefully explained how to make the guacamole. Kristy says that her family are not fully converted to our soft tacos. So I guess this is one Pier family tradition that will go one for a couple more generations. I wonder if anyone reading this 30 years from now will say to themselves – “So that is where those great tacos came from.”

After Jim and his family went home, we finished cleaning up most of the kitchen and headed to bed. One thing that is really hard for me to get use to is that the sun does not set until almost 9 PM.  For 18 months the sun was down no later than 6:30.

A quick comment about the yard. I am writing this on Saturday morning and I am sitting here looking out the front window at the sea of green from the oaks, aspens, spruces and other trees. It is really beautiful. There is lots of green in Indonesia but the greens that are in my own yard are special.

05 June 2008

05 June 2008 – Thursday

I really slept in this morning and so we did not get going as early as we should have. But everything worked out fine. After breakfast we headed off for the Victoria Peak tram ride. We took a taxi, the underground and then another taxi as the safest way there. There was a good size crowd waiting for the tram and they cram in about as many as they can. The ride is quite vertical and I was glad I had ended up standing with my back against a wall. Mary was not so lucky so I change places with her. There were so many people on the tram that it was hard to take any decent pictures.

When we got to the top the view was pretty good – much better than it would have been yesterday in the rain – but it still was not clear enough to get a clear view around the island. It must be spectacular under clear, blue skies. We spent about 30 minutes looking all around and then took the tram back. I am glad we went but would not do it again unless it was a perfect day. The couples who live here probably wait for just the right day to go. I do not imagine it happens all that often here.

The ride down did not have many passengers so I could take a lot of shots and will throw away those that do not work. When we got to the bottom the place was packed with people waiting to get a ride up and the line stretched out of the building. It is really a cash cow for whoever owns and runs it.

We reversed our travels back to the hotel. Along the way we stopped and at a bakery/candy store where two small pieces of candy that Mary chose cost about $3.50 US. I tasted it and thought it was a rip-off. However my $1 pastry was great.

Back at the hotel we changed into traveling clothes – that is a white shirt for me and a better blouse and skirt from Mary. Ate some goodies we had bought and then finished packing every loose thing. I was glad that we did not have to touch three of the big bags. It was bad enough packing one of them, the two carry-ons and my backpack.

We were done in plenty of time and while we were waiting I found the hotel bakery that we did not know existed. It was probably a good thing because it had great almond partries that we did not really need to snack on.

While waiting in line to check in at the airport, a woman started waving at me. I could not for the life of me place her and it turned out she did not know me. However she was part of a large group of mostly couples who were heading home from a 17 day tour of China who were almost all LDS. She had noticed my tag and was just being friendly. We talked to many of them as we wove our way through the line. I got in a number of advertisements for the need for couple missionaries. I doubt if I sold anyone who was not already sold but who knows.

We are now about 2 hours into our flight and other than the entertainment programs will not work so there are no movies to watch, the couple in front of us are over 6’3″ and have pushed back their backs so far that they are basically in our laps, the air conditioning is not very good, and our reading lights do not seem to be functioning, everything is great.

Most of the problems were worked out – well we could not shrink the folks in front of us – and so while the flight was long, it went by fairly rapidly and we landed at SF about 45 minutes early. Getting through immigration and customs went smoothly. We did have to wait a long time for our luggage and then had to push it for miles to the Delta counter. This was quite wearing on Mary but we finally made it.

While waiting in line to go through security – it is certainly different here than anywhere else we have been including Hong Kong – we met a group of missionaries returning to the MTC after getting their visas at the French Counsel. They were a lively group and very excited about going on their missions. We found that we were sharing our flight with them while another group of 5 were going on another flight. I kidded them that the MTC had done that on purpose so if one of the planes went down there would still be some missionaries to send to France.

We did not have to wait long and we boarded a small but very comfortable Delta commuter jet. After flying only big planes it was strange being in a plane with only 2 seats on each side of the aisle and where you could see from one end to the others. The flight went smoothly and I managed to get a little sleep.

It was wonderful to see the Great Salt Lake and the blue skies. After years of pollution and overcast skies it is going to be strange to have good clean air. As we were coming off the plane a lady swooped down on us with one of the electric carts and whisked us to the down escalators. Truly a tender mercy because it was a long walk and something that we did not need at the time.

As we walked towards the escalators Krista came running over to us and gave us a big welcoming hug. The rest of the group – Bob and Cindy’s families were at the bottom of the escalators with a big sign saying “Selamat Datang Rumah” – “Welcome Home” – at least close enough that we knew what it meant.

There was a lot of excitement, hugs, smiles, and of course rapid talking. It was the first time that I really felt like we were actually off our mission and home. All the bags made it so we were soon heading to Bob’s house for some pie and conversation. Taylor drove our car and we rode with Bob in the Suburban. They left their Mustang so our old friend Ugh could pick it up some 2 hours later.

What struck me most was the clear blue skies, the snow topped mountains (it snowed just a couple of days ago) and the lack of traffic. The traffic was light and it was not yet 7:30 when we drove out of the parking lot.

Bob’s yard looks great and they have a new-used-free hot tub sitting on their patio. We sat around and talked some about our mission and caught up on a few things that were going on. Mary and I commented that it felt like we were coming home from a two week vacation rather than a 17 ½ month mission. I guess it will take some time to set in.

The pie tasted delicious – we had been eating airplane food or fast foods for the last 30 hours. I had two pieces of berry pie. After about 45 minutes, Bob and I moved all the luggage into the Maxima and we headed home. Other than needing to stop for a moment and decide which was the right side of the street to drive on, everything went fine. The mountains continued to keep me in awe. I guess I had to be away from them for a long time before I appreciated them. I now know what Jim felt when he landed after his mission.

Brian was home when we got there and the house was in pretty good shape. A few plants had died but that was expected. What was unexpected was the three cats that had not been trained to go outside. I quickly remedied that problem and they will either learn to be outside cats or they will not be able to stay. I imagine it will take at least 3 weeks before we know they are safe to let in at all.

We spent part of the night cleaning out some of our luggage. Tom and Marilyn came over bringing delicious soup and bread sticks. We had a nice talk about what had been going on in the ward. Most Marilyn had told us about while we were gone, but some were new. While they were still here I called president Jackson so we could have our release interview but he was not home. So I then called president Esplin and he was not home but was down at the stake center so we said goodbye to our dear friends and to the Stake Center.

It turned out that President Jackson was out of town but Presidnt Esplin and President Day was there. We said hello to Bishop Peterson – he did not remember that he moved in before we went on our mission. President Esplin interviewed us and then extended our release. We will speak to the High Council on the 15th.

By the time we got home, Mary was beat so she heated up some of the soup and after eating that she went to bed. For some reason I was not really tired so I stayed up long enough to get on line through an unsecured wireless system and caught up on the e-mail. Finally at about 1:30 I went to bed. I thought I would read but after one paragraph I turned off the light and went to sleep.

It was a long, long Thursday, but it was also a good one. We traveled safely, had no problem with luggage, and we had a part of our wonderful family to greet us at the gate. The Lord continued to watch over us and bless us.