Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just pictures of the boys.......

More of our Moscow visit.....

We had an opportunity to meet all of the team here in Moscow on Sunday morning. There was a great time of singing, study, fellowship and food. It was great to meet the group that J&M will be working with during their time here in Moscow. They all made Sue and I feel very welcomed! Luke had a BLAST playing with his friends.

Here is an Noah unwrapped (he liked being bundled).

Jonas and Luke took us on the Metro for a visit on Saturday to Red Square.
Look at these two studs with a stroller!

Sue and I took a tour of the historic St. Basil's Cathedral (background). This is probably the most recognizable building in Moscow.

Luke is an excellent traveler and enjoyed his ride on the subway system.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Luke happy faces!

More Pictures - less words.

What can I say?

Jonas and I outside a Metro station in north Moscow.

Sue and Jonas frozen together at Red Square.

Sue and Jonas pretending not to know each other on the Metro!

Sue and Noah
This could have two captions:
"A heavenly Grandmother"
"A Grandmother in heaven"

The Williams in Moscow?

That's right! We came over to visit with Jonas, Melissa & Luke AND to see our newest grandson, Noah. This kid is priceless and will melt your heart. Just look at that face!

The trip: Fortunately Delta flies direct from Atlanta to Moscow. It's about a 9 hour flight that would turn into an entire day of travel if you added layovers. Jonas & Luke picked us up on arrival and they looked great. It had been 10 months since my last visit with Luke and he sure has grown. He is a smart, funny & playful boy just full of energy and is a joy to hang with. He will be 2 in November. We brought lots of toys for him, clothes for Noah and quite a few items for J&M.

Where we are: J&M live in a 16 story apartment building in southern Moscow. We are staying with them for the week. Thank goodness they live on the second floor. Their apartment is quite nice and very comfortable for a family of 4 (adding the two of us does crowd the place a little). Melissa (if you know her, this is what you'd expect) has done a GREAT job decorating and organizing the household and had made it quite a beautiful home for her boys. In addition to taking care of her newborn, she's made sure we have a place to sleep and plenty to eat. We just adore her and feel so blessed to have her part of our family. She and Jonas make quite a team.

Time: I really didn't think jet lag would affect Sue and I so much. At midnight here, I'm wide awake because it's only 4pm at home. So we've been taking turn with naps. We are trying to help with Luke so J&M can get some rest after being up a good part of the night with a newborn. Luke wakes up early and is ready to play. Sue and I tag-teamed this morning and we both had a great time playing with blocks, trains, balls, watching videos & reading books.

Language: Visiting Russia is definitely a challenge for any American much less a naive non-linguist like me. I learned enough Russian (I thought) to get me out of trouble. I was wrong. The Russian language uses an entirely different alphabet so the written word sounds nothing like you think it would. So reading signs, labels, instructions & directions is almost impossible for me. Most of the time we've been outside the apartment, we've been with Jonas. He's learned enough Russian to get him (and us) by. He ordered for us at Subway (yes, they have Subway here) which was amazing to me. He seemed to have no problem communicating at all. I went to the store (on my own) to buy Coke Light (Diet Coke) and, after paying 94 rubles, I grabbed a bag for my purchase. The cashier went off on me about something and all I could tell him was that I didn't understand Russian. After a minute or so, he waved me on shaking his head. After I got back and told Jonas what had happened. It seems I stole the bag. They charge for bags here. Go figure, but lesson learned. Oh yes, tonight at dinner I told the waitress that "I want you" when she asked if we were ready to order. She was very confused and I slowly pulled both feet out of my mouth.

Sights: Moscow is a very contemporary city of over 10 million. It is very much like visiting New York. Most people are nice but they basically ignore you. Doesn't matter. Sue and I can't speak to them anyway. Most people don't know much, if any, English. We've been using the Metro (subway) to get around. Even with the language problems, it is very easy to navigate the system. There is not a lot of "touristy" places to visit here with one exception: Red Square. We had to go nearby to finalize our visa issues so we stopped off for a quick visit (we are taking Jonas & Luke for a real visit tomorrow). There are lots of street vendors and a place called GUM (a mall) right at Red Square. Capitalism at it's finest! For a fee, you can have your picture taken with Stalin and Lenin (look-alikes).

People & Weather: From my perspective, younger Russians seem to be trendy while older Russians look pretty much like you'd expect (a lot of hats here). A large majority of Russians smoke and it seems we get behind a smoker everywhere we walk. As I said earlier, there's so many people moving here and there, they are pretty much indifferent toward each other. There is a lot of pushing and shoving on the crowded Metro trains and most everyone is listening to their iPod or reading. Nobody talks.
It's October and it's been pretty cold here. We've yet to have any snow, but plenty of cold temperatures, wind and rain. As a result, we've had to stay in more than we thought. Melissa's mom is coming for a visit in November. We are hoping that she will have some great weather for her visit.

Jonas & Melissa: We have been rejuvenated. I told Jonas tonight that I felt good about being able to see and experience where they live. When they are this far away, it makes it easier to see that your children are happy and makes us proud of their choices and the direction of their Calling.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

RS Annual Meeting - Day Three!

Day three they finally opened up the exibit hall with the vendors. This is why we are here. We had the entire day to get to see the new products and displays for the upcoming year. This expo focused mostly on wireless phones and the accessories that go with them.

Okay, I'm not sure what AT&T was trying to accomplish here.

Ed "too tall" Jones was here signing autographs with his big 'ole Super Bowl ring.

You can see how big the expo is with all the different vendors.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

RS Annual Meeting - Day Two

Day two was very tiring. We started the day around 8:30 this morning with presentations from the CEO, CFO, CMO, etcetera, etcetera. As the day went on more jibber jabber, oops, presentations from AT&T, T-Mobile, Apple, Sandisk, HTC, Cisco and others about how great their products are. They showed us slides of endless numbers and marketing research that made the whole day very confusing and mundane. Our CEO painted a pretty good picture of the "state of the economy" of RadioShack and I feel more confident.

I had dinner tonight with some very good friends from North Carolina. They are Boyd and Lynda Sosserman from Sylva and Tony and Monica Curtis from Franklin. These are some seriously good people and they were good company for the evening. We had a really nice dinner but, of course, we talked RS all night. I'm the guy with hair.

Lance Armstrong was our guest speaker. I took this picture of the screen since we were pretty far back. He explained the details of the Livestrong foundation for cancer research. It was very interesting and all the women swooned. (Some of you may have to Google "swooned").

They are having a silent auction for merchandise to benefit the Livestrong foundation. One of the items up for auction, believe it or not, is two tickets to the Final Four in Houston in 2011. I just told Sue last week that I wanted to go. I am high bidder at the moment. I'll remain silent about how much I am willing to spend. That would be awesome to win and is the highest priced item on the tables. They are also auctioning a brick from the old Yankee stadium, a jersey signed by Lance, tickets to a Dallas Cowboys home game, two iPads, high end cell phones & a Tony Stewart autographed NASCAR drivers helmet. But, I'm after the Final Four tickets.