I hope you guys are all enjoying the snow!! I may or may not be slightly jealous that I’m down here living with cockroaches and spiders (when it gets hot, they come inside. Nightmares.) in about 500% humidity while you guys are playing in the snowstorms that I’ve heard about.
Here, the 24th is a lot bigger of a holiday than the 25th, which is really interesting! The Peruvians celebrate Christmas kind of in the same way that we celebrate New Years, where you stay up all night until midnight and then you have a party! It’s actually pretty stressful for us missionaries because the whole ward has been trying to get us to come to each of their family Christmas Dinners on the 24th. We are literally attending 5, I just looked at my planner for tomorrow. Oh boy. But I’m happy because we will be kept really busy. I love getting to visit families in the Christmas season because we get to watch videos and Mormon Messages and read the about the birth of Christ in the Bible and the signs of his coming in the Book of Mormon.
As for decorations, our house has a little pine-branch stuck into a box for a Christmas tree. I put some ribbon around it and made some little puff-ball ornaments out of yarn. It looks a little Dr. Seuss quality but it’s got personality! (Mom sent this pine-branch clear down to Peru from the tree in our yard!)
It’s really cute because there are a ton of Christmas lights here in the night and a ton of little light-up snowflakes put everywhere, but it makes me laugh because a lot of people just think that they’re stars, not snowflakes! Duh, snow doesn’t exist down here!
Christmas party in the mission: At the Christmas party we all had skits, each zone. The whole mission can meet together fairly easily because our mission is the smallest in the world, only like 10 miles wide. You know how if you blow on a glass bottle rim, you can have it make a little sound? Our zone played two songs like that — Jingle Bells and Rudolph. Everyone of us 18 missionaries in the Magdalena zone had to play different notes as each bottle had different measures of water. It was really really fun, and it turned out literally perfect! We did it in the same way Carolyn has the chimes tradition.
Crazy story of the week — on weekends, we have lunch with members. So we went to this little old woman’s house on Sunday who has 5 cats and it was so funny. There was cat hair in all of the food. And in the herbal tea she gave us. And in the sugar. Hahahaha bless her little heart. For a drink, she gave us this bright orange and transparent water that we thought was Kool-Aid or something… at first. Then we saw this white sludge at the bottom of the cup. The woman’s grandchild leaned over to me and said ”Sì, es gelatina.” The woman literally made Jell-O, didn’t cook it or freeze it, and gave it to us to drink. We laughed really hard about it afterwards. You just have to get used to that kind of stuff in Perù. I think I would have been really spooked by that before I came here, but now…. Nope!
Hey, if you guys want to hear a Christmas song that we hear EVERY DAY here, please search on YouTube for Mi Burrito Sabanero. It’s the cutest and weirdest song and I think it will make you all laugh. I think it’s a Mexican song but Perù has adopted it.
Anyway, things are mostly just work as usual. I’m so excited to talk to you guys on Wednesday!!! Thank you, Skype.
Oh I almost forgot, shout out to Dad, Lizzie, RJ, Rusti, Tom Romney, Oliver and Isabelle! The letters this week were AWESOME!
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. One of the many blessings of a mission is that you really come to know what really matters and what doesn’t. Something that I learned this month is that you can’t feel the true Spirit of Christmas without also feeling the Spirit of Christ. What a wonderful opportunity for us to remember the Savior’s birth and life here on the earth, and study how we can better follow his example in word and in action in 2014.
FELIZ NAVIDAD from Lima, Peru!
¡Que nuestro Padre Celestial les bendiga!
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Hannah Hollberg
P.S. I bought a new camera!! I will send you whatever pictures I can off the old one first.
Going to the temple with Esther (new member), Rafaela (little girl), and Jose.
There is a building next door to the temple that is a cafeteria and reception desk on the ground floor, a hotel on the top two floors that gives rooms to members traveling to visit the temple from the other ends of Peru for only 15 soles a night! And then the basement floor is the tiny distribution center and the family history libraries and stuff. We just walked around the grounds and the stores and everything, we didn’t go in the actual temple because Esther is just a new member and is looking forward to going in a year.
This is Sabina. She was my first friend here in the ward. She speaks English. We are skyping at her house, spending Christmas there!
And this is Hermana Antonio from Bolivia, who is in our ward. She is just like a Latina Caroline!
Baptism of Julia:
Going to the hill San Cristobel (highest point in Lima). When we were there, we were like ”oh wow look at all of these birds flying so high!” and then we realized that they were plastic grocery bags just flying around. Trash everywhere!
Plaza de Armas take 2
SWELTERING HEATTTTTTT that day was so hot