We have loved getting your emails and talking to you on Skype and/or FaceTime! Thanks for thinking of us and keeping us in your prayers.
You might be interesting to know that Jen took up the challenge to send us mail to see what works. We were told that she sent us (a) a normal letter through the USPO (b) a small package via USPO and (c) a letter [with no envelope as instructed] via the church pouch. We have a winner!! Any guesses on what has arrived? One one of the three made it after only 17 days. Welllllllll, the one pager with no envelope via the pouch is the winner!
We aren't sure how they celebrate Christmas here but we wonder if last night was an example. Right over the chest high cement fence next to us is a play ground of sorts and we have wondered when it gets used. There's a gazebo, climbing toy like in a park, an enclosed trampoline, and they advertise that they have a huge blow up slide. It is quite a large area. We came home from the temple about 7 p.m. and the air toy was up and there were kids there having a great time. They were laughing and loud and we were happy for them. These kids were ages about 8 to 12 years or so. We thought it nice they were having fun. About 8 p.m. we wondered how long this fun time would go. About 9 p.m. we wondered and at 10 p.m. we wondered. That's about when they got out the bull horn and the music was turned up higher. Truly we didn't go out to see if it was the same kids there but there was some kind of kid party still going at 2:30 a.m. when Dad woke up for a few minutes.
Let's see....we have one "party" coming that I know about on the 16th [Monday and our day off] but it is with all of the temple workers. We are to meet at the temple for a 9 a.m. session and then a photo. So we are to wear [what else?] white tops with dark skirts/slacks. Then we bring food and there will be pot luck. Dad and I looked all over the place for Rick Krispies that are only available in one store-- H.E.B, marshmallows and M&M's. You might think M&M's are expensive there but they are REALLY expensive here. Anyway, we are making Krispie Treats and I doubt some of these people will know what they are. I doubt I will know what half the food they will bring to the party is as well so I guess we are even. They asked what we could do to help with the entertainment. The former North Americans could (a) play wonderfully on the piano (b) play the violin (c) sing beautiful music--like Traci does. We opted for (d) none of the above. Rather a step down for them to have a non-entertaining couple here but I think they will adjust.
Our life is getting into a routine at the temple. I have finally memorized all of the ordinances in Spanish though I can't say them as fast as the natives and probably never will. I feel totally comfortable and happy in my "happy place" doing the ordinances that I love. I don't feel totally comfortable when someone looks at me and begins to talk. They say their thing once and get a "deer in the headlight" look from me and then they say it again slower and more simply and in a good moment, I will be able to figure out what they are saying and can respond. They are patient so that's good. One of the temple presidency Hermano Briones likes to laugh so we get along ok. Dad, Brother Day and Brother Briones were all working together putting the keyboard back into its box. I watched for a minute and then said in my best Spanish "How many men does it take to get a keyboard into a box?" Hermano Briones had a good laugh about that.
Dad, of course, with his wonderful Spanish is doing great on that end. He has officiated now in several sessions and has performed initiatories so often that he has those memorized. He and I have been across from one another at the veil at least twice nice and that's special. Yesterday was our usual 3 bus load of people Saturday, and on one session, Dad was the only officiator and I was the only follower so they know they can trust us with responsibilities.
Today while I listened to some General Conference talks, I worked on making a wire contraption where I can hang more family photos. It is hard getting a nail into a cement wall but we have many wire hangers. So I managed to make a place where I can hang more photos from an already existing nail in the wall. I'll send you a picture after I get the photos to hang on it. Life isn't simple. Holly emailed me photos of most of her kids since Tyler didn't feel like cooperating at picture time. <sigh> Niki reminded me of a family photo we took of them before we came down. We remembered photos of Jim's family and Marian and Damon at their wedding that we could get our hands on. I put some of them on a thumb drive. Tomorrow we will walk a mile to the grocery store where they print photos [we hear] to get them printed [we hope]. Only the biggest they can print is a 6x8 and not 8x10 but oh well. Then we will walk back home to hang them up [we hope]. Good thing we walked a lot to get ourselves ready for this walking mission!
Well, it is after 10:30 p.m.! How did that happen??? We loved watching the Christmas Devotional tonight and hearing the uplifting talks and testimonies about our Savior and the beautiful music. Hope you got to watch it as well. It was done differently and wasn't the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional as in the past and it wasn't the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional for Church Employees as was in the past past --like 20 years ago. So things keep changing but it was still good.
We love you. We pray for you. Thanks for your prayers for us.
Mom and Dad