Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve Baptism

For our New Year's Eve activity, we attended a baptism in the University Park Ward.  Although the scheduling of the baptism caused some controversy in the ward, the service turned out well.  There were several families from the ward who attended.  The Sister Missionaries taught an investigator before the baptism who then stayed for the baptismal service.

We drove Bro. Bischoff back to his home following the service.  He is very excited about being a member of the Church and is looking forward to being confirmed a member and receiving the Holy Ghost on Sunday.  He specifically asked to be baptized on New Years Eve as he wanted it to symbolize the beginning of a new life.  He is a very solid new member and will make a significant contribution to the University Park Ward.

Bro. Bischoff and missionaries

Bro. Bischoff and Elders

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

No Interviews Today

I didn't have any interviews today.  My only appointment was to have the oil changed in our car.  We were overdue for the oil change as usual because we are driving so much.

Later in the afternoon, we drove to Costco to get gas and some groceries.  Three families came up to us because they recognized our nametags.  I guess we always need to be on our best behavior :-)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Busy Day

We started the day by attending the Sarasota North District Meeting in Bradenton.  The training topic was resilience, and they had a good meeting about how to become more resilient.  The district has been fasting each Sunday to help meet their baptism goal for the month.  I pointed out to one of the zone leaders a week or so ago that the Missionary Handbook states that the monthly Fast Sunday is normally sufficient with occasionally an additional fast.  We had a short discussion about whether a weekly fast was "occasional."

In their discussion, they attributed their meeting the monthly baptism goal to their fasting and to their commitment to talk with everyone.  They set a goal for January and suggested that they fast weekly again.  I was about to say something when the other zone leader reminded them of the Missionary Handbook policy on fasting.  So they decided they would all fast on this coming Fast Sunday and then each companionship would fast one additional Sunday during the month.  And they would continue talking with everyone.

In the afternoon, I had my hair cut.  I always have a good conversation with the barber who is Muslim.  I'm not sure he is likely to be interested in learning more about the Church, but I will continue to talk with him.

We attended a baptism service in Spanish in the Beneva Branch.  Obviously, we don't understand much of what is said but they seem to appreciate our attendance.  And they like that Renee can play the piano for them.

After baptism, I had another special considerations interview -- another brother who is making big changes in his life.

The Sarasota District A meeting

Monday, December 28, 2015

P-Day and an Interview

We had a normal preparation day with our typical cleaning.  I am getting to be fairly efficient at dusting and vacuuming.

We left in the afternoon to drive to Brandon so I could conduct a special considerations interview.  I enjoy these interviews because it means that people are trying to make changes in their lives.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Visit to Sarasota YSA Branch

We attended the Sarasota Young Single Adult Branch today.  Their meeting block begins at 3 pm, so we decided to go early to see if we could visit with the other missionaries.  Fortunately we were able to see all of the other missionaries.  We learned after we arrived at the building that they had cancelled their branch council because so many were out of town for the holidays.  That also seemed to affect their attendance with only 30 in sacrament meeting.

We have mixed feelings about the branch.  It clearly meets a need for at least some members who travel from Sebring and Port Charlotte.  But there doesn't seem to be a lot of strength in the branch.  Their Elders' Quorum President leaves for BYUI this week.  That will be good for him, but it will be big loss for the branch.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Baptism (and finances)

Today's personal assignment was to start getting our end of year financial records set so that we can file our tax forms punctually.  Even though we are serving as missionaries, some parts of our non-missionary lives unfortunately need to be attended to.

We were able to have a nice video chat with our grandchildren who told us about their Christmas.  They finally have enough snow in Minnesota that they could go sledding.  Each of them had purchased Christmas gifts for their siblings, and they told us about them.

We ended the day attending a baptism in the Palmetto Ward.  A mother was baptized and her daughter will probably be baptized in the next week or two.  The daughter has completed reading the Book of Mormon, and she did it in four days.  She is soon to be 13 years old so that is quite an accomplishment.  She offered the closing prayer at the baptism.  So far, the father has not shown much interest, but he did come to the baptism.  It made me, Renee, realize how important the concept of families can be together forever is!  I am so grateful that our family has been sealed in the temple!

Elders Ware (l) and Treanor and Bro. Bungard with Sister Roberto and her husband.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day

We invited the three Elders who live in our apartment complex to come to our apartment to make their Christmas internet calls home.  They can walk to our apartment rather than drive a half hour to the church building.  After having a Christmas brunch of bacon and waffles (served with fresh FL strawberries, bananas, and homemade buttermilk syrup - Renee's comment) they made their calls.

Elder Bowden was so excited and nervous about calling home he could hardly eat.  This was his first call home since he just arrived on his mission about 4 months ago.  He said that he was as nervous as before a football game or wrestling match in high school.  However, he was fine after the call.

We received a brief FaceTime call from our grandson, Grady, who modeled his new BYU football helmet for us.  We miss being with family for Christmas so the missionaries become our family!  And, we are so grateful for Skype and FaceTime options!  (Renee)

The Elders told us that Brother Igarta, University Park Ward mission leader, took them shopping yesterday and purchased $400 worth of food for them as a Christmas gift!  I love it when people help our missionaries!  (Renee's comments)

The Elders invited us to go with them to a teaching appointment following their calls.  They had an appointment with a single woman.  They are not allowed to teach a single woman without another man being present.  This woman lives in sort of a care center.  One of the employees is a member, and he had spoken with her about the Church.  The lesson was about the Book of Mormon.

Following the lesson, we didn't have anything scheduled.  So I suggested we go to the beach.  I was curious about how many people would go to the beach for Christmas.  We went to Lido Beach, which we like and is more of a locals beach.  We learned there are a lot of people who go to the beach on Christmas Day.

On the way back from the beach, we stopped at a neighborhood restaurant, the Lazy Lobster, where we had eaten Thanksgiving Dinner.  We didn't have a reservation, but they said we could sit in their outside dining area.  We discovered why that area was available -- mosquitoes.  They put an electronic insect zapper on our table, but we still were swatting while we ate.

The Christmas wreath inside our front door with pictures of our grandkids on ornaments sent to us

Our Christmas card display

Our festive Christmas tablecloth from Maile and David

Our Christmas tree, presents, and "decorated" apartment

Elder Bowden calling home

Elder Casperson calling home

Elder Gardner calling home

Elders Casperson, Bowden, and Gardner, aka the Three Nephites

The missionaries took off their shoes when they came to our apartment.

The Nativity figurine given to us by Elder Casperson, our only nativity 

Busy Lido Beach

Look what we found - Sand men!  Someone had a sense of humor - one is "nice" and the other is "naughty".  Brent took this with his camera and did a little editing of the background - very nice.

Another picture taken with my iPhone and is Florida's version of a "white" Christmas.  We may not have the white snow of Provo but we have the white sand of Florida.  Temperature was 84 degrees and felt like 90 degrees due to the humidity - can't complain about that!  (Renee's comments)

A beach Christmas greeting
The use of "Xmas" used to bother me (Renee) until I discovered that the abbreviation is at least 1,000 years old and was not meant to be disrespectful.  What appears to be an X in our modern Roman alphabet is actually the Greek letter chi, the first letter of the word Christos meaning Christ.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

We drove to Tampa this afternoon to meet with the other senior missionaries for a Christmas Eve dinner at President and Sister Healey's apartment.  It was an enjoyable meal.  Elder and Sister Hardy were not with us because they have returned west for their youngest daughter's wedding.

Toward the end of the dinner, some Sister Missionaries who live in the same apartment complex arrived followed by some Elders.  They were going to go Christmas caroling in the complex.  We decided to join them.  While we were caroling, a woman who lives in the complex heard us singing and came to meet with us.  She said she had not heard caroling for years, and she accepted our invitation to join us.  At one apartment, a woman said that she regularly watches Church programs on TV.  So hopefully we were able to make some contacts for the missionaries.

Decorating cookies with the Sister Missionaries

Renee, Sister Smith, and Sister Tollerton, our mission secretary

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

More Inspections

We drove to St. Petersburg to conduct two more apartment inspections.  This inspection process is generating some challenges because some of the missionaries are not maintaining their apartments the way Pres. Cusick expects.  It is mostly clutter, but in some cases they are just not very clean.  Part of the challenge is that although Renee leaves a note explaining what to do, there is not follow-up process.  So now we are working on a process of having the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders follow up on the to-do items.  However, the ZLs and STLs apartments have not been exemplary.

Rather than driving back immediately, we visited the Florida Botanical Garden in Largo.  They have some of the garden decorated with Christmas lights.  It was nice but pales in comparison to Temple Square in Salt Lake.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Missionary Devotional

We drove to the mission office for a special Christmas Devotional.  We held the mission Christmas party last week.  However, Pres. Cusick thought it was a great party, but there wasn't much Christmas to it.  So he decided to bring all of the missionaries together for a special Christmas Devotional.  The devotional included some talks about our Savior and a lot of music, mostly all of us singing Christmas carols.  That was followed by a catering Chick-Fil-A meal which everyone enjoyed.

The instructions were that everyone was to be back to their apartments by 9:30 pm.  Some with long drives left quickly, but others lingered until finally Pres. Cusick told them they had to leave.  The missionaries enjoy the oppontunity to get together and visit.

Missionaries visiting after the Christmas Devotional.

Monday, December 21, 2015

P-Day, sort of

We had a typical preparation day in the morning with our apartment cleaning chores.  Then in the afternoon, Renee took two Sister Missionaries shopping for some clothes.  I stayed in our apartment and completed some assignments including looking for missionary service opportunities on the Church's Just Serve website.  Unfortunately, I didn't find anything that made sense for our missionaries.

The day was successful in that Renee was able to help the Sister Missionary find some new clothes that fit better.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

University Park Ward

We started the day by attending the baptism of a young girl in the Beneva Branch.  This is the daughter of an inactive member who the missionaries recently found.  Hopefully the mother will continue to return to activity.

Although it is a Spanish-speaking branch, the girl prefers speaking English.  This is the case for all of the youth in the Spanish-speaking branches.  The adults prefer to speak Spanish, but the youth prefer English.

We then attended the University Park Ward.  Since we have started attending there more regularly, we are beginning to become acquainted with some of the ward members.  As is typical, there are a few strong families who do much of the work in the ward.

Bishop Leedom asked us to visit an inactive sister to give her some Christmas gifts from the ward, some gift cards.  The sister was active at one time but has not been involved with the Church for about 10 years.  She has two children living at home, neither of whom have been baptized.  She is in the process of divorcing her husband (they were married in the temple) and has just recently started working after being out of work for several weeks.  It has been a challenge for her.  We will continue to visit her periodically.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Baptism in Port Charlotte

This morning we drove to Port Charlotte to attend a baptism.  Three children were baptized; their father was baptized a few months ago.  Somewhat surprisingly the mother is not very interested in the Church, though she did come to her husband's baptism and her children's baptism today.

It was a special day for one of our AP's, Elder Morris.  He had served in this area for much of his mission before becoming an assistant to the president.  He was invited back to attend the baptism and was asked to help perform them.  He had initially been involved in teaching this family so it was a sweet and tender experience for him.

The speaker on baptism was a priest from the ward.  He gave a nice talk.  In it he noted that he and the eldest son have been friends for years.  And now they will be coming to church together.  There won't be a problem of fellowshipping for this family.

We had planned on attending two other baptismal services today.  However, one was cancelled, at least for now, and the other postponed until tomorrow.

Elder Morris and me

Friday, December 18, 2015

Another Apartment Inspection

We are getting caught up with the apartment inspections and did another inspection today.  This apartment has sisters, and it was in better shape than the recent inspections of Elders' apartments.  But that is generally the case that the sisters are better at maintaining their apartments.

We have a few decorations for Christmas in our apartment.

Our Christmas Tree

Christmas wreath sent by my brother and sister-in-law

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Trip to "A Night In Bethlehem"

Yesterday while taking the sisters shoe shopping, the rear view mirror fell off the windshield in my car.  I was able to find all of the parts.  We went to the Subaru dealer to see if it could be reinstalled.  Unfortunately, one of the parts is broken, so a new part needed to be ordered.  I guess I will be driving without a rear view mirror for a few days.

We then drove to do another apartment inspection.  The apartment condition was better than the two yesterday but still not great.

We then drove to the Tampa Stake Center for their annual presentation of "A Night In Bethlehem."  This is a live Nativity presentation.  They will do it for four nights and expect over a thousand people to come.  It is a presentation with actors and live animals. It was very well done, and we quite enjoyed it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Inspections and Purchasing

We met two sisters today to take them shoe shopping.  We were able to successfully find shoes for them.  We followed that by doing two apartment inspections and were really disappointed.  Lately we have found the apartments to be in better shape.  However, these two apartments were a step back.  Both were not very clean and were quite cluttered.  Expected better.

We then met Elder and Sister Smith for dinner at Johnny Leverocks Restaurant.  At least we ended the day on a good note.

Elder and Sister Smith

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mission Christmas Party

We had our mission Christmas party today at Fort DeSoto Park.  This is a nice state park on a barrier island.  It has a nice beach and some large pavilions.  We can't fit all of the missionaries under one pavilion, so we hope for no rain.  The only downside was the insects!  Proof that there are over 500 varieties of insects in Florida.  Several of the missionaries, including Renee, got many bites!  These are not your typical mosquito bites as some sting, and the itching goes on for days!

We went a bit early so I could try taking pictures of some of the many birds on the island.  We went to a fishing pier where we had gone before.  There weren't as many birds as the last time, but there were some.  I am finding it more difficult to take pictures of flying birds than I had anticipated.  Here is my best attempt.

A brown pelican looking for lunch.

I am better at bird portraits when the birds aren't moving.

A snowy egret

We finished my photo endeavors in time for the beginning of the party.  President Cusick spoke a bit about the need for the missionaries to have faith as did Nephi.  We took a picture of all of the missionaries, and then held an ugly sweater contest.  Following that, the missionaries played football and soccer on the beach and worked on sand sculptures by zones.

The FTM Missionaries

The Ugly Sweater Contest winners, Elder Bishop, Sister Packer, and Elder Ohlau.

These are the sand sculptures

The Nativity sculpted by Renee and Sis. Healey

The winning sand sculpture - SL Temple Square

The missionaries returning from the beach to eat dinner - Army of Helaman

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Preparation Day

We finished our Christmas preparations today.  We had to finish wrapping presents, putting them into mailing boxes, and then wait in line at the post office to mail them.  But we were able to get everything completed.

In the evening, we attended an Empty Nesters FHE in the University Park Ward.  It was held at Bishop Leedom's home, which is about 10 minutes from us.  Sis. Leedom is a gracious hostess and had everything well organized.  The lesson was taught by Bro. Kinkead, a counselor in the bishopric.  He is a volunteer with the addiction recovery program and taught a bit about the Church's 12-step program.  We were asked to teach a lesson on sharing the gospel in the January meeting.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Stake Conference

We attended the Sarasota Stake Conference today.  The chapel and cultural hall were completely full.  I understand they were parking cars on the grass around the building to fit everyone it.  (That would not have any adverse impact on the grass that grows here.)  With no visiting authority, the speakers were all stake members, except for the counselor, and wife, from the temple presidency, Pres. and Sister Allen.  They of course spoke about the temple, as did President Clover, the stake president.  Other speakers spoke on families and ward councils.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sarasota Stake Conference

We participated in the Sarasota Stake Conference today.  I attended the priesthood leadership session in the afternoon.  Renee dropped me off at the Sarasota building, and then she went shopping.  (She was looking for a sweater to wear as the temperature is now dropping.  And she was successful.)

The priesthood leadership session was conducted differently.  We were divided into three groups.  A member of the stake presidency met with each group for 30 minutes, and then we rotated.  The training was on increasing our devotion during sacrament meeting, missionary work, and training those who receive callings.

I met Renee in the parking lot after the meeting, and we dashed to the food court in a nearby mall for dinner.  A number of other leaders did the same, including the stake presidency.

The Saturday evening adult member session was not well attended.  Maybe that is understandable because the members have to travel long distances.  We did not have a visiting authority, so all of the speakers were stake members.  The topic for the meeting was ward councils, and the training was excellent.

After having visited all of the units in the stake a few times, we have become acquainted with some of the stake members.  It was good to see them, and they seemed pleased to see us.  And of course it as good to see the missionaries from the stake.  Renee commented that she felt she knew more stake members here than when attending stake conference in Provo.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Mission Leadership Council

We participated in the monthly Mission Leadership Council today.  It was held at the mission office.  It was an excellent meeting.  I believe the missionary leaders are becoming more comfortable sharing their thoughts in the council.  There was training by three missionaries on commitments, language, and teaching followed by discussion.  Following lunch, there was a good discussion about whether to raise the "standards of excellence," particularly the standard of teaching 20 lessons each week.  Many, but not all, missionaries are significantly exceeding this standard.  The concern was that those missionaries who are not meeting the standard will be even more depressed if the standard is raised.  We were impressed by the insights offered by the missionaries during the discussion.  They are wise beyond their years.  Pres. Cusick will issue new standards for 2016, but we will have some training in district meetings to hopefully prepare the missionaries for the change.

After the meeting, we helped Sis. Healey wrap Christmas presents for missionaries who are not likely to receive much from home, particularly the missionaries from some economically depressed countries.  Hopefully this will help them feel more upbeat about Christmas.  The presents will be distributed at the mission Christmas party next week.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Inspection and Relief Society Dinner

We completed another apartment inspection today.  The condition was about the same as those we inspected yesterday.

Then we returned to our apartment so Renee could prepare "funeral potatoes" for the University Park Ward Relief Society Christmas Dinner.  I dropped her off for the dinner and spent the time in Costco.  When I returned, they were just finishing the dinner and the "25 minute" program hadn't started.  An hour later, the program ended.  I guess their program was like my talks -- they go on forever.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Apartment Inspections

This was not a very exciting day.  We did some apartment inspections.  We are a little behind on our rotation of inspections, so we are trying to catch up.  The apartments we inspected today were in OK condition.  We have seen better.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

District Meeting

As is usual on Tuesdays, we attend a district meeting.  Today we drove to St. Petersburg to participate in the St. Petersburg South District Meeting.  The training topics were developing faith in our Savior and developing a personal testimony of the Book of Mormon.  The meeting essentially became a testimony meeting as everyone first bore a short testimony of Jesus Christ and then later in the meeting again bore testimonies of how they learned of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.  It was an excellent meeting.

We then inspected the apartments of the two sets of missionaries who live in St. Petersburg.  They were both very clean and tidy.

We met Elder and Sister Smith for a late lunch.  They suggested a funky cafe with only outdoor seating in St. Petersburg.  The hamburgers were great and so was the conversation.

Sister and Elder Smith

Sister Gafa

Elders DeVore and Marsden

Elders Bishop and Ohlau who chose to wear that sweater

Monday, December 7, 2015


We had our typical preparation day -- laundry, vacuuming, dusting, etc.  After finishing all of that, we drove to Clearwater where I had a special considerations interview.  As it turned out, I need not have conducted the interview.  However, I didn't mind as I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the brother.  He is engaged to a sister who is returning to activity.  They are planning on waiting for a year to be married so they can be married in the temple.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Visit to University Park Ward

We attended the University Park Ward today, as we will be doing on the first and third Sundays of each month.  They have a new ward mission leader, Bro. Igarta, who has been a member for about 2 years.  The ward is working on a ward mission plan.  Following the ward council meeting, we gave Bp. Leedom some sample ward mission plans and suggested to Bro. Igarta to work toward definite, measurable goals with deadlines, such as each ward council member providing one name each month to the missionaries.

Following those meetings, we drove to Bradenton for a baptism in the Cortez Branch.  We aren't sure why they scheduled the baptism following their three hour meeting block, but the time probably helped with the attendance.  The sister who was baptized is married to an inactive member.  We were told that she was hoping he would be able to baptize her.  However, he isn't ready for that, so the branch president baptized her.  She was primarily taught by Elders Laguna and Alarcon, and they were excited to have the baptism. 

Elders Alarcon and Laguna and Sisters Phillips, Jahnel, and De Jesus

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Busy Day

We started the day by attending the University Park Ward Christmas breakfast.  They had it nicely decorated.  About 90 people attended, and they were excited about the turnout.  No investigators came but there was one returning member.

We then drove to St. Petersburg for a baptism.  The brother who was baptized actually is in the Gulfport Branch.  However, there isn't a baptismal font in the Gulfport building, so they use the font in the St. Petersburg Ward building.  It was a nice baptismal service, and the brother is excited about joining the Church.

Following the service, I was talking with President Stretch of the Gulfport Branch.  He said they have had 20 baptisms in the last year or so.  I asked how many are still active, and he reply about 15.  I restrained myself from asking what had happened to the other 5 when he told me how they are working to get new members involved in family history right away and going to the temple to do baptisms for the dead.  That is exactly what should be happening.

Us at the ward Christmas breakfast

Elders Casperson, Gardner, and Bowden who live in our apartment complex

A Nativity centerpiece at the breakfast

Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas Card Day

We didn't have any assignments today, so our time was devoted to preparing to send Christmas Cards.  We had 100 cards printed with out picture, and we prepared our annual Christmas letter to include.  The challenge was addressing the envelopes and folding the letter to fit into the envelopes. We are trying to send out our Christmas cards early this year, so the recipients will know our address.  Hopefully we will not send as many cards next year because we are sending cards to many ward members this year.

The picture on our card was taken at the Orlando Temple on one of our temple trips with the missionaries.

Our Christmas Card

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Another Missionary Shopping Day

This was a long shopping day.  We drove for 90+ minutes to meet two Elders at a small shopping mall in Hudson.  Unfortuately, the stores in the mall didn't have much.  So we drove 30 minutes to a very large mall in Clearwater.  We only went into one store, JC Penney, and were able to find what we needed; a suit and some slacks.  We then drove 30 minutes north back to where they had left their car at the first shopping mall.  Since we were driving back during rush hour, it took us about 2 hours to return to Sarasota.

A lot of driving, but we were successful.  Hopefully the Elder now has enough clothes for the remainder of his mission.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Zone Conference - Mission Office

We met at the mission office, which is also a church building for two wards, with the two remaining zones, Tampa and St. Petersburg.  President Cusick was with Sister Cusick for her wrist surgery, so we conducted the morning training without him.  The format was the same as yesterday, although different missionaries presented.  President Cusick joined us following lunch and spoke to the missionaries.  Even though the sequencing of presentations were different from yesterday, I thought the training was just as effective.

Following the zone conference, Renee went with Sister Healey and two Sister Missionaries to buy some missionary clothes. I just waited at the mission office and visited with Sister Tollerton, the mission secretary, and some missionaries who came by.

After Renee returned, we drove to a missionary apartment in Bradenton to accompany a missionary whose companion is returning home.  Then back to our apartment.  Another long day.

The missionaries from the Tampa and St. Petersburg zones.

Missionaries at lunch -- us, Sisters Olson and Huber, Elders Taylor, Malcomb, Robertson, and Brossa

Sister Tollerton, Sister (our mission nurse) and Elder Alexander

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Zone Conference - Brandon

We drove to the Brandon Stake Center for a zone conference with three zones, Sarasota, Brandon, and Lakeland.  These zone conferences are held quarterly.  For the training, President Cusick spoke, I spoke about the recent Church policy changes regarding same-gender marriages, President Healey trained on safety, and several missionaries spoke on first impressions, ward councils, teaching the restoration lesson, diligence, obedience, and extending invitations.  The missionaries did an excellent job of presenting.

The unfortunate part was that Sister Cusick, who normally participates, was not able to do so.  Over the weekend, she fell at the mission home and broke her wrist.  She will have surgery tomorrow.

Following the zone conference, we had a short appointment with the oral surgeon in Brandon to check on how Renee's implant is healing.  All seems to be going well.

We then drove to Gulfport where I had a special considerations interview.  We met up with another senior missionary couple, the Smith's, for dinner prior to the interview.  They took us to the artsy part of Gulfport and we ate outdoors at the top of a restaurant overlooking the harbor.  Following the interview, we returned to our apartment after a long, but productive, day.