Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Arriving in Larnaca, Cyprus

Today we received some pictures of us taken when we arrived at the Larnaca Airport from London. The pictures were taken by Sister Smith. She and her husband were there at the airport along with two other missionary couples on the day we arrived. We were so happy they were there to greet us.
Even though Cyprus is a small country - and an island, we were grateful for the three couples who came to greet us. We were "strangers in a strange land", but not for long we were greeted so warmly by all of them. And Elder and Sister Smith drove up to Larnaca all the way from Paphos, which is on the far western side of the island, a great distance just to say, "Hello".
As I've said before, Elder and Sister Niebuhr (we replaced them in the mission) then drove us from the airport to the car rental agency to have Elder (Tony) Vargas sign his name on the rental agreement so he could drive once the Niebuhr's left the mission. We didn't know when we were preparing to leave that in Cyprus one drives on the left side of the road, as do the British. Since Cyprus was a British protectorate from 1878-1960 that custom remains.
It is so hard to get used to at first. Plus our car is a 'stick-shift', which makes driving even more difficult. But Elder Vargas has mastered it now and we do okay. We remark all the time while on the road how we see signs stating, "Attention! Drive on the Left!" Many people come here on holiday/vacation and drive and have a hard time because they forget to drive on the left side of the road.
After we left the car rental agency we drove to Elder and Sister Christianson's flat and had some lovely desserts and rested. We talked a bit and Elder Smith, who is also the Branch President in Paphos asked us lots of questions about our knowledge of Cyprus and the missionary work. Then we prepared to leave with the Niebuhr's for Nicosia, which is about a 40-45 minute drive from Larnaca, to settled into our flat.
The Niebuhr's had taken a hotel room, right across the street, so we could move into our flat immediately. They were very kind and helpful to us for the few days they remained on the island. It was important for us to learn about how to do things here in Cyprus. How to shop for food, how to pay the rent and utilities. How to find where everything is located (we're still working on that one!)

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