We DID escape the airport in Dusseldorf for a few hours and experienced the tram ride and subway rides to the old part of town.
We saw the Rhein River and some incredible old historic buildings. we had about 2 hours in town before heading back to the airport.
standing on German soil!!! whoo hoo!!
A museum in Dusseldorf.
looking down one of the streets towards this old cathedral.
Upon arrival in Thessalonki we were greeted by Ryan and his dad Terry who is here visiting. the drive to Strumica was about 2 hours made longer by the border crossing into Macedonia. Not sure why it took so long to have the border patrol look at our passports and send us on in but it did. Ryan asked what the problem was. the answer? "it's a nice day, why the hurry?"
We made it to the hotel, checked in and showered and changed clothes and then went to dinner at a pizza place. good pizza good conversation, and thankful for safe travel and for just being here.
sleep was awesome although some folks woke up around 3 am because our bodies have not fully adjusted to time changes.
This morning we gathered in a sitting area of the hotel and had devotions. breakfast in the hotel dining room. some of us had a traditional Macedonian breakfast of beef soup. Bruce was one of the adventurous ones, and I did take a sip and found it very good! just not for breakfast however. I'm pretty much a toast and coffee gal. OH! the coffee! GOOD coffee!! I had a cappachino and I would very much like some more. " Nogoo Cafe Molam." that's more coffee please in Macedonian and spelled phonetically as the spelling here is cerilic and my computer doesn't have those keys.
After breakfast we toured the sports plex and then set in to demolish some locker rooms. the plan is to renovate 4 locker rooms while here which seems like a tall order once we saw what was ahead. but these guys are rough and ready and a lot was accomplished by end of day 1.
lunch was at a cafe where we enjoyed meat and cheese filled pastries made of phillo dough. there was also a liquid yogurt drink if you were so inclined. i love yogurt and this was a tangy variety. it was good! there was also gelato which was yummy especially on a such a warm day.
We met Jyl, Ruan's wife at lunch and she was sweet enough to take me shopping after lunch as i had not brought any tennies type shoes and it wasn't really safe or fun trying to work in my flip flops. ( not that i was able to participate much in the demolition due to my funky shoulders) I experienced the Macedonian Mall.... the bottom floor was like going to Pikes Place Market. more fancier shops were located above. I looked at Reeboks and not so Reeboks. :) and finally decided to skip this purchase. Then Jyl realized we wear the same size shoe and offered me the loan of some tennies for the week.
We caught a taxi and went to her apartment and got them then taxied back to the sports hall.
I did a lot a photography today. Then i stepped outside for some fresh air and a woman with her baby was sitting outside as her husband and her brother were loading up the scrap wood we had hauled out of the locker rooms. they were loading it in a horse drawn cart. The wife motioned for me to come sit with her so i did.
Mary managed to convey to me that she wanted me to go with her somewhere. i was thinking she was taking me to her house, maybe for cafe but she was very proud to take me to her back yard shed and see her pigs! It is a very big deal to own a cow or a pig in Strumica. Her pig has piglets and I imagine this will be an income for Mary and her family.
Mary was quite enamored of my jewelry and i understood she was asking me for a ring or a bracelet. Since the bracelet was a special gift and my wedding ring wasn't going anywhere!!, I offered her the ring I was wearing on my thumb which is a silver WWJD ring. I discovered she does understand some English -at least enough to nod yes or no. I explained the J in WWJD stands for Jesus -- or Esus and that was giving her this ring in the name of Esus.
She simply beamed from ear to ear and I knew this was why I was here in Strumica today.
We walked home from the sports plex-- about a 20 min walk and my feet are quite sore but I am sure I am feeling peachy compared to the rest of the crew who have been chipping old tile off the walls all day!
We are now planning to enjoy some cafe, maybe a nap and then a late dinner which is in line with the custom here.
Tomorrow while the others pound and demolish, I think I will get to meet Lavorka, the pastor's wife. Looking forward to connecting and whatever God has in store for all of us.