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Published: March 19th 2005
An Interesting Building
We were walking along a major street. I looked up a short side street and sat this building. I think it is a most interestingly designed structure.
The weather didn’t cooperate with my plans today. Yesterday was a beautiful, warm day and I was looking forward to a similar day today. However, when I got up it was very gray, chilly and raining. My good plan of going downtown didn’t seem so good now. Dejan has been hoping for rain to wash away the sand that was used on the snowy sidewalks. If the sand is not washed away by rain, it will be his job, as part of his work scholarship, to sweep up the sand. It is a very gentle rain this morning and I am not sure much of the sand is going to be washed off the sidewalks today.
After breakfast we cleaned up the room. As we were cleaning the room we also had three loads of clothes washing in the laundry room. The laundry room is located in the basement. It is a large room with three dryers and 5 small washing machines. “Only put clothes in machine number two or eight,” Nancy told me as I was leaving to take the second load down. Nancy has been the washerwoman since we have been here while I have hardly been in the room. I have ironed a shirt or two there. The iron is temperamental, a small adjustment makes a big change in heat. I was ironing an all cotton shirt on high heat and suddenly the iron started sticking like the cotton was melting. “Strange,” I thought, cotton doesn’t melt.” I looked at the iron and realized it wasn’t my shirt, but that others had ironed with too high a heat and had melted their clothes on the iron. The iron needed cleaning. Nancy happened to be in the room at the time cleaning excess soap out of the drawer in one of the machines. She took the sharp knife that is always in the room and was able to clean off much of the melted material from the iron. I had no further problems with “melting” cotton after that. I decided to introduce Bill to the laundry room! It is a wild scene. The washing machines have instructions in German, French, ????? but no directions in English. I can read enough French to know a little about one of the machines which is a dryer but not enough to use any of the other machines. I have asked lots of questions and I have experimented and now I am a Master of the Machines. Well, at least I no longer have loads which take two hours and never wash. Just last week I was able to tell a new comer how to operate the washers and realized I had gone from total novice unable to get water in the machine to one who was able to pass on knowledge. We managed to wash three loads of clothes and have them in the dryers before patron #2 Cheryl appeared to wash her loads. With two young boys she is often needing to wash early in the morning. In fact, she taught me the one last piece of info I needed to get my MM (Master of Machines) degree. I had never figured out how to get the dryer which seems to speak German and French to operate. She told me and I used it to dry my clothes to Sahara dryness. Obviously it is a good idea to only let that machine have your clothes for about 15 minutes. It is a REAL hot machine. I was ironing when Tina came to do her wash and Cheryl’s clothes had just finished. The one laundry room works out pretty well for all of us residents since we seem to awaken at a variety of times. Me first. Now that it is spring, I wake up around 5:30. The younger folk here who stay up LATE like to sleep late on Saturday. So, if I go downstairs at 5:30 or 6:00, I have very little competition.
After completing our tasks, I went to the library to process books. If I couldn’t go downtown, I decided I might as well get some work done. The library is closed on Saturday, but we have access. When I went into the library, Linas was there working. He is the library director. Recently he and Mirka have spend a lot of time working on the bar code problem. Their supplier no longer produces bar codes and they have not found another supplier. I don’t know how many hours they have spent talking and worrying over this problem. Several days ago Linas found a shareware program that looked promising. Today he was working with a program, Labels, that they already own and found it will do exactly what he and Mirka need.
“I can’t believe I have spent so much time on this problem only to find we had what we needed all along,” he grumbled as he left the library. Linas is very conscientious about the library though by training he is not a librarian. He has learned so much about libraries since he was given this job. This is very pleasing to me personally. In the past in foreign countries when we have worked in libraries we have found most schools seem to appoint someone director who is not a librarian. In most instances these individuals resent having the library added to their responsibilities. They don’t know anything about libraries, have no idea what services a library should be providing, have no desire to learn and just drive everyone crazy instead of being an asset to the library. Linas has learned quite a lot in a short time and continues to be involved in learning more. His expertise as a skilled wood worker/cabinet maker has come into play in things he has made for the library itself. His interest in computers has made him willing to hunt for ways to improve our library software. I can only imagine how overwhelming the job is for him since I felt rather overwhelmed myself in the past with library director work. That was after I had been a trained librarian over 30 years. I hope our time here with him will help him for the future.
Nancy was not feeling well today. Occasionally she has what feel like a gall bladder attack, but it isn’t. She went through all kinds of medical tests last year and the doctors have said after seeing the results of the tests, “It definitely is not your gall bladder.” They know what it is not, but so far the doctors cannot figure out what it is. She has had this problem once or twice a year for many years. Yesterday and today have been one of those times. A few sips of a carbonated drink helps, but not for long. If this episode is like previous ones she will feel better tomorrow. All I can say is, I realize an attack is coming about 4 or 5 hours before the pain hits. I feel sort of ‘off’. Then the pain begins. It is almost intolerable. My upper right quadrant of the abdomen under my ribs goes wild. I am just about on the ground with pain part of the time and can’t sit or lay down. I walk around moaning and feeling so very very ill. The pain almost always continues for about 48 hours. During that time I eat either nothing or as Bill has said, sip some carbonated beverages, take some medications with simethocone to ease the gas and continue to moan. Bill thinks the moaning part is unnecessary. I contend it is almost the best cure. I now know it is not my gall bladder nor is it an appendix attack so I am not afraid. I am merely miserable. The pains in my upper back and my abdomen are quite amazing and then they are over. I feel a little wobbly for a day or two and then I am back to normal for 6 months or a year and then Whammy!!! back they come. I think my last attack was in Oct. or Nov. when a new doctor sent me to see a gastroenterologist who was 99%!s(MISSING)ure it was my gallbladder (just as my other family practice doctor and this new doctor thought). He had a much more definite test run and ZERO problem with the gallbladder. So, I just deal with the pain by moaning and groaning and if possible keeping busy so I can ignore the worst of the pain. Today, Sunday as I proofread Bill’s writing, I would say I am 85%!o(MISSING)k. I had a lot of bread and bananas the last three days. Mash a banana and eat dry or toasted bread, drink tea and/or a Sprite wait and all will be well.
This evening we went to the dedication of the new Prague offices of the European Baptist Union. They are centralizing their offices here at IBTS. On the program were people from England, Norway, the Czech Republic, the U.S. and Estonia. Nancy was a member of the small choir put together here at the seminary for the program. Tina, the young woman from Macedonian sang a solo. Tina has a low, strong, amazing voice. This song tune was Gaelic in origin. We are trying to ‘type’ her voice. Jean Redpath? Someone who used to be on Garrison Keeler’s radio show who sang Irish or Scottish music had a similar clear lovely voice. She also sounds like she could sing the BEST of bluegrass music with her styling of the Gaelic tune. Another solo was done by Anna. She has a very bell like soprano. Reminded me of a young woman at our church at home whose name is Ashley. I told Anna I would like for her to sing a song I also want Ashley to sing. It is a Fish Jubilee Singers regular rendition. I think it is called “Here’s one”. The words are something like ‘do you want to know a child of God? Here’s one, Here’s one or I am one, I am one.” Does anyone know that song? It would fit her voice so perfectly and I would love to find the words and music and offer them to someone for use in a service here.
After the program there was a reception. I met an English man from the Baptist World Alliance who lives in Vienna, Virginia and attends the Vienna Baptist Church.
“Do you know Larry Matthews?” I asked him.
“Oh yes,” he replied, “he was the pastor there when I first moved to the States.”
It is a small world. Larry was the pastor of the Front Royal Virginia Baptist church we attended when we were first married. Larry is retired now, but is very active in a number of activities including training programs for pastors
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