I’m trying to focus and write a letter but there’s a huge TV next to us blasting the FIFA game!!!‏

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”The final judgement is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done.  It is an acknowledgement of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become.  It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions.  The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.”

(Elder Dallin H. Oaks)
Love that quote.

OK.

So I owe you all like the world’s hugest make up letter because I didn’t get to say like anything last week.

Things that I wanted to say:

  1. I don’t know if you guys heard about the 5.4 earthquake that we had on last Tuesday.  It was NUTS.  It was the strongest one yet that I’ve been in.  The epicenter was in Callao.  Almost at the same time, there was also a 5.0 one in Chilca which is super close too.  I happened to be leaning against this building when all of the sudden we just heard this huge groaning noise whoosh from behind us and the wall behind me gave this huge lurch.  H’Castillo and I just leaped away from the building and ran into the middle of the road.  Everyone just started pouring out of their houses, joining us in the ”safety circles.”  Man, we were just clutching each other like there was no tomorrow.  It only lasted for about 30 seconds after that one big lurch but if it would have been longer stuff would have fallen, I promise you that one.  There was also a teeny one that we felt on my birthday too.  Cool stuff.
  2. I think I mentioned last week that there’s this little old woman that we’re teaching named Aquilina and she’s super sweet.  She’s from the sierra and is always listening to the Huayno music and loves to dance to it.  You guys should google it, it’s kind of funny.  Anyway one time we were talking to her and she mentioned baptism and I asked her, ”Forgive me for asking, but what impedes you from getting baptized?” and she was like, ”Oh it’s because I want to party and dance!!”  We were not expecting that one.  Anyway we explained to her that you can still dance and everything in the church if you do it nicely and she seemed to be pleased and said she’ll think it over.  That was a new one.
  3. We also visited ANOTHER little old man named Vincente.  He’s really funny and is going a little senile.  We were talking to him and and he was like, ”I haven’t touched alcohol in 20-30 years… that stuff is sin…”  And right then this woman rapped on the door and was like, ”Señor!!  Take your soda!!!  The señora downstairs sent it to you!!” and she had this huge bag of a 2.5 liter Coca Cola and a 2 liter Sprite.  At the end of the lesson, Vincente was like, ”You guys are so great.  Here let me serve you some soda!”  We said ok, and he got out a few cups and started to pour us some Sprite.  But we noticed that it was kind of weird…. There weren’t any bubbles… I put the glass up to my nose to slyly smell it and WOAH I almost was knocked back out of my chair.  I think that my brain went funny for a minute there.  It was alco-HOL.  My companion told me that it was Cañaso, which is basically like Peruvian Vodka, the stuff for the hardcore alcoholics.  It’s the strongest stuff you can buy.  And the whole 2 liters of ”Sprite” was PURE CAÑASO.  ”Um… Brother Vincente?  This is alcohol.”  He was really confused but smelled it and got embarrassed.  He goes, ”Oh, the señora sent that to use to wash our bodies.”  Yeah suuuuure.  Who uses liquor to wash themselves?  My companion told me that it’s classic to mix it with Coca-Cola to soften it up.  That’s what they all do in the Sierra.  Yep. Anyway.  He was embarrassed.  We haven’t been back since.
  4. My birthday! It was last friday.  In the morning, I opened the package that you guys all sent me and it was SO FUN!!!  It was amazing, I loved everything that you sent!  From the incredible perfume to the soft pyjamas to the Virginia keychain and pen to the notes with the quail feathers glued on!  You guys are all so sweet and I can’t believe how thoughtful everything was.  The letters were my favorite.  It was kind of sad though because I’m new here and literally nobody knew that it was my birthday except my pensionista and the other missionaries.  But they still made it fun.  My pensionista Martha made me Olluco which I love and a soup called ‘sopa a la minuta’.  Then we went out for the day to teach and didn’t have a single lesson…….. just talked to people in the road for 6 hours and got yelled at by some Bible bashers.  Mission birthdays are usually normal days.  Nobody knows.  It’s always the same drill.  But it doesn’t matter because I have like 89494 more birthdays that I’m going to get to enjoy and be selfish about when I get back from the mission so I’m happy!  By the end of the day, H’Castillo and I were both really beat and pretty ”desanimadas.”  Then we went back to the pensionista’s house for dinner and SURPRISE!!  H’Brudnicki, H’Loayza, E’Adams and E’Nuñez (the zone leaders), E’ Martinez (our district leader) and E’Paredes were there with Martha. There were cute little balloons up, a cute little cake, and a few plates with chips and soda.  It totally made my day.  We got to joke around and yes, they shoved my face in the cake.  I have a video of it, I’ll get it to you soon.  They also broke raw eggs over my head and threw flour on me!  But I was really happy.  It was a great end to the day.  Those guys are just so nice.  Then last week after we finished writing you guys, we went over to the ward and the whole zone was there playing soccer (of course).  They snuck me a surprise cake that was the best Tres Leches that I have ever had in my life.  All of the Elders signed a little card and everything.  Even though birthdays here are not the same as back there, I still was just so happy and so humbled to be put in such an awesome zone which cares about little stuff like that for the Hermanas.  
Ok, I think that was all of the left-over stuff from last week.  This week has been pretty tranquil.  We had intercambios with our Sister Training Leaders H’Wardle and H’Gomez.  H’Wardle came up and stayed with me for a day and H’Castillo went to Callao with H’Gomez to stay in her area.  It was fun!  We bought cake to eat in the night with the other sisters and did Zumba in the morning together.
Today is not really P-day because tomorrow is cambios.  We’ll find out today who stays and who goes.  We know for sure that we’ll have a new zone leader, but outside of that, I’m betting that nobody will be changed.  Usually people stay here in Las Flores for a really long time… But yeah.  Nothing too new.  Oh man, there were like 5 million fiestas last night and all though the morning for Father’s day.  These city slickers sure know how to party.  I’m not kidding.  Every other night, the house on the corner is blasting salsa until 6 in the morning, just about when we have to get up.  On sunday as we were going to church at 8:30 in the morning, we saw the same inebriated people in the same park still drinking from the night before.  COOL

Anyway, things are going well.  I’m happy now.  I realized that I’ve accepted the missionary life in all of it’s ups and downs.  I’m cool with Perú.  I’m cool with the sketchy stuff even.  It’s just normal life.  After all, I’ve been a missionary for almost a year!  I can’t believe where I was just one year ago from today.  Everything was so different.

Well, time is beating me, as always… I have to go.  But I love you all!  Take care!  You’re the best!!!

Love,
Hermana Hollberg

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Yep.  It happened.

Yep. It happened.

 

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surprise birthday cake that I got from the zone right after I finished writing last week!!!

 

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The Zone

The Zone

 

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With Betty Guiño, a sweet little old member.  We went to visit her yesterday and she looked really sick and sad and we asked her what was wrong and she told us that the lady who was supposed to bring her her food didn’t come, so she only had had a glass of milk the whole day.  We went at about 5 30 in the afternoon.  She’s old and she’s really shaky so she can’t cook.  We ran back to the house and I found a box of Macaroni and Cheese, and we made it as fast as we could.  We ran it over with some bread and crackers and milk.  It was all we had.  She was so happy.  We sang happy hymns with her and told her little jokes and she was smiling so big when we left.  When we said the closing prayer, she started crying. Poor thing… It’s heartbreaking to see.  We’re going to go visit her today too.

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Going to San Cristobal last week

Going to San Cristobal last week

 

Me and Brud

Me and Brud

 

Ahhhh!

Ahhhh!

 

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Note from Mom:  GET AWAY FROM THE EDGE!!!!!!!

Random areas of trees in the poorest part of Lima. Our sector is a little bit more over there in the background.

Random areas of trees in the poorest part of Lima. Our sector is a little bit more over there in the background.

 

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Some people doing brujería (witchcraft) on top of San Cristobal.  literally.  We thought they were drunk at first but we kept watching and it was totally a ritual.  Also this guy who works there told us and confirmed it to us.  There’s a lot of this stuff down here.

 

Picture of Grandma and Grandpa Romney finally in my necklace!  I got the picture off of Family Search.

Picture of Grandma and Grandpa Romney finally in my necklace! I got the picture off of Family Search.

 

A purple potato.  Literally.

A purple potato. Literally.

 

That's it, peeled. Did I mention that in Peru there are more than 3000 different types of potatoes but only about 200 are known?

That’s it, peeled.
Did I mention that in Peru there are more than 3000 different types of potatoes but only about 200 are known?

 

With some sweet members.

Our Pensionista, Martha

 

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the smelliest, itchiest dog ever

the smelliest, itchiest dog ever

 

Wearing my skirt!

Wearing my skirt!

 

Intercambios.  Spent the whole day with Hermana Wardle as my companion!  Clash of the blogs!!!!

Intercambios. Spent the whole day with Hermana Wardle as my companion! Clash of the blogs!!!!

 

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LOVE YA!  BYE!!

 

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