Friday, August 28, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #28 - Day #196 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 31, 2015

Quiet Pday, washed clothes for an hour and a half, cleaned house, wrote to families (hi family!), went shopping, and did our normal stuff.
Pila for washing laundry

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #28 - Day #195 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 30, 2015

Typical Sunday: go to church, no one is home or is busy, so we walk all over creation contacting and trying to find the few investigators we do have, with little luck. Good day.

Saturday, August 29, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #28 - Day #194 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 29, 2015

Soooo no one was home today! Whoohoo! Which means more walking than usual to find people to visit, which means really tired legs and footsies. But that's alright, we always manage to make it through to the end of the day!
And my poor little knee!  It's scabbed up and ok now, a little bruised.  Healing up nicely.
Today a lot of interesting things ended up happening, I would like to let the world know that I fell for the first time since I've been here, and have a small wound on my left knee. We were hiking up one of the numerous inclines here and my right foot slid up and to the side, while my left leg bent to compensate and I hit my knee on the rocks below, Hna Rosas immediately pulled me up and we kept on walking like nothing happened. I'm totally fine, it's just always interesting to have your brain realize that your body is no longer moving in a horizontally forward direction, but an immediate vertically downward way. My knee bled a little, so I have officially given all of blood, sweat, and tears to the mission so far. But it's nothing big, it's like if you pushed your thumbnail into your skin and it leaves an imprint, about that size and shape. It'll heal up nicely and I'll be fine!
I also ate M&M's for the first time in 6 months, I can't tell you how much the taste reminded me of home. It's amazing how your brain associates tastes and scents and sounds with such strong emotional reactions. I'd read and studied about that, of course, but it's interesting to experience that concept.  

So for a few moments during lunchtime I was in our kitchen back home, with the green walls, sitting at the table and looking out the window to the backyard, filled with oak and cedar trees, hearing the dishwasher run and cars pass by on the street, waiting for Lyndsey and Samuel to come home from school and go directly to the fridge to grab something to eat, and start talking about their day, and Mom would come in from the computer room where she'd been working on a project for one of her callings, and give them a hug and a kiss, and remind them that we'll eat dinner in an hour because there's mutual that night, and Dad has a meeting afterwards so Lyndsey has to drive there and back, and to check on the "homework situation", and later Dad would come home and get ready to leave again for Scouts, and then after mutual and everything it's homework time until late at night where we got ready for bed again to start another day. All in a second, and you experience a whole day's worth of memories. Weird!
In other news from Honduras, all the women here use skirts. Straight cut, not flowy, and extend to a little above the knee. And usually tank tops or camis, bras are optional. If you're over 25 years old you have your hair up in a clip or a bun, never down. Makeup is fairly uncommon, but sometimes there's some mascara and lipstick, usually for church. Guys usually are in jeans or some sort of pants, with a t-shirt. Also, school uniforms are in force, no matter what school you go to. And crocs are pretty popular as well, which surprised me, over in SPS there's a lot of them as well. Often used with socks. You never go around inside or outside barefoot or just in socks, you always have some kind of shoe or flip-flop on.

And, the members in whose house we're living got a puppy a few days ago! His name is Sultan "sool-TAHN" Paz Garcia, and I love him! I don't know what breed he is, but he's all soft and happy and sweet. He's gonna grow up into a very big dog, but he'll be treated well here, so there shouldn't be any problems. Hna Rosas of course isn't a fan of him, but I like him just fine. He has straight, very short white fur with tan colored splotches, blue eyes, and floppy ears. He likes to have his tummy rubbed and jump up and down. Cute little guy.

Friday, August 28, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #28 - Day #193 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 28, 2015

I finally met one of the investigators that Hna Rosas and Cruz had been teaching before I got to Santa Cruz, and she's pretty awesome. She was so confused because I'm white, but I speak really good Spanish, to the point where she thought I'd grown up with the two languages, so that was fun. I often wonder what my Spanish sounds like, as compared to someone who learned to speak English. But she's super friendly and we get along well. She kept commenting every few minutes on my Spanish and kept checking to see if I understood what she said, which I did, it just made it kinda funny. People here have a habit of talking/asking questions about a person even though they're sitting right by them, and especially when I'm around. Often they'll ask about me to Hna Rosas, so by now she definitely knows all the answers to questions about where I'm from, how old I am, how much time I've been in the mission, that I learned some Spanish before the mission, but definitely learned more in the mission, that I eat just about all the food here, and that yes, I do in fact have blue eyes and white skin. Then I get to surprise them by speaking in Spanish and they're amazed. It's always fun getting to know people.
We also went around the block and dropped a bunch of investigators, planning on doing much of the same tomorrow. We've had these people for a while, and there is zero progress, so we'll keep on looking. It still is sad, though, it's not something we love to do, and we wish we could keep teaching them, but honestly, they're not accepting it right now. We know that we're planting seeds at least, and their time of being prepared will come and there will be great results.
Streets in Santa Cruz

More secular note, I'm getting more tan lines on my feet (did I already mention that?) so I always giggle with I look at my toes without my shoes on every night... gotta love Honduras sun!
Foot tanlines!  Pretty fantabulous, huh?
Also, some sad news. In the member's house we're living in right now there's a mother cat, and she just had 3 babies a few weeks ago. Today we went out and discovered (I actually discovered) that one of the little kittens had died. So we called the lady and asked what she would like us to do about that as she wasn't home at the time, and I took care of it.  Hna Rosas couldn't bear to have anything to do with it, so I got some newspaper and wrapped it up so she didn't have to see it until we got things taken care of. Turns out that she has never seen a dead animal or person, and doesn't like dead things. She was also amazed that I could stomach doing everything. Though to be honest it wasn't that hard. After studying animal and human anatomy in school and labs, bodies aren't that hard to see like that. Naturally I don't particularly enjoy that sort of stuff, but it doesn't necessarily bother me. It's more sad, than anything. Poor little guy. So yeah, that made for an interesting afternoon.

Thursday, August 27, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #28 - Day #192 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 27, 2015

Well, today I actually felt better, so we carried on! I think I should be fine by tomorrow, just have some residual congestion that comes and goes, and my voice is a tad bit tired sounding, but nothing hurts anymore. Go modern medicine!

Today was good, walked around a lot, taught some lessons, got to know some more interesting people. We just keep on going over here in Santa Cruz, tomorrow we're planning on saying goodbye to a bunch of investigators because they aren't progressing, so that'll be interesting. We're on the hunt for new people, and we're slowly building our numbers. Very slowly, but surely. Gonna require some more effort on our part, I think, but I'm happy to be companions with Hna Rosas, we definitely learn something from every companion and area.

It's nice because we get home and grab something to eat, and then sit outside and talk about the day, our families, the investigators we're working with, all sorts of things. And it was interesting how we were discussing this one hermano that we got to know on Tuesday, we had a lesson with him today, and we were trying to understand why he could accept so much of the gospel but was so impeded by one little detail mentioned in the Book of Mormon and kept returning to it, again and again and again during the lesson, refusing to move on from it. And as we were talking about that, something clicked in my head and it felt like all the pieces had fallen together. I explained my thoughts to Hna Rosas, and she also was in agreement and a little surprised actually, at how much sense it made. So now we feel that we have a better understanding of how to go about teaching this hermano, because we kept explaining this concept to him and we weren't going anywhere. So we'll see where this goes, we hope for the better.  click:  Enos 1:10
I dreamed again last night, it's been a while! Granted, you always dream, you just remember all of what your subconscious was working out when you wake up. I think this one was in English, but as is more often now, there weren't a lot of words spoken, just kinda thoughts and feelings, like an understanding of the plot and what the characters were doing, as opposed to dialogue. Ha saber porque. Also, turned out to be a war dream, which surprised me, to be honest. Haven't had one of those since I started my mission. So that was interesting.

Also, the power went out again this morning, twice, and in the afternoon. And probably some more times, but we were out walking around by then (we had Weekly Planning in the morning so we stayed home until after lunchtime). Silly electricity. Makes it a little hard to make oatmeal for breakfast or cook an egg or warm up leftovers or anything. So oftentimes I have cereal, fruit, PBJ for bfast and lunch, depending on if the stove has the capacity to turn on or not. Ah, gotta love Honduras. I'm sure it's worse in other places, but it's still a little bit annoying.

So yeah, pretty good day, it didn't seem overly hot, which was nice, I'm getting better, and now we get to go to bed! Yay! Got another day tomorrow to get ready for.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #28 - Day #191 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 26, 2015

7:14 am
Just wanted to announce to the world that the electricity and water have been going out more often, and it's a little bit annoying. Usually they cut out around mealtimes, so that's even more frustrating. Kinda hard to cook when there's no power, as a lot of people have gas or a comal, and I would be happy cooking on a comal, except we don't have one. Anyways, just thought I'd let you know that we're often without electricity. Gah.
And that roosters crow all day long, and into the night, as well. At all hours of the day and everywhere you can hear roosters. Almost everyone has chickens and roosters here, in the yard, in the house, in the street. Just kinda live wherever. It's fun to hear a rooster at 11:00 pm. Good times.
9:37 pm
Today I still had my head cold, everyone thought I had Chikungunya this time, but it's just my nose that's the issue, none of my joints hurt, don't have a rash, I do have a slightly raised temperature, but other than that I'm pretty much fine. Walked a tiny bit slower today, but I've been taking Tabcin [decongestant] and lots of water and been alright. If I'm worse tomorrow I'll rest that day, but if I keep getting better we'll just keep on working and popping those pills. I hate being sick.

We actually only ended up teaching 1 lesson today, as no one was home, so that was fun. Did a LOT of walking today. Met some interesting people, the good and the bad thing here is that almost anyone will talk to you. Sometimes they don't really want to listen to what you say back to them, but they sure love talking. It's a little hard to extricate yourself from those situations gracefully while trying to figure out if they could actually be interested in the gospel or if you should just move on. But still be amicable and inviting. Interesting. If it was just me, I would probably leave in a lot shorter of time, but with a companion that also talks, makes it a little longer of an experience. And I admit I was a little short of patience because I was trying to find my tissues and the sun was in my eyes and my hips hurt and the guy just wouldn't stop talking in circles. Anyways, that was fun. I've learned well that there is a difference between talking TO someone and talking WITH someone.
Some streets of Santa Cruz... uphill!

And full of rocks...
So, after not finding anyone, we went and gave some service to a ward member who's building his house (yes, one person can actually build a house. I actually probably could build a house, Honduran-style) with the help of his brother, so we went over and helped paint the inside walls. Thank you, Momma, for teaching me how to paint houses and color theory! He had selected a very vibrant green, like the little flowers on my sheets, kinda appley green, and a very dark foresty sort of green for the interior, originally he was going to have the front room be the lighter green, the kitchen area in the dark, and the bedroom in the lighter, but I talked him into just doing 1 wall of the kitchen in the dark with the bathroom hallway as well, and most of the kitchen in the lighter. That way the corners helps separate the colors, and there wasn't so much of the dark green that would make everything feel a lot smaller. There seems to be only the full-on strong colors of paint available, like the 12 pack of Crayola crayons... bright orange, bright teal, bright green, bright yellow, bright white, bright everything. I remembered that my Mom taught me that if you like a color on the paint chip, you gotta pick a shade or two lighter on the color strip so that it all turns out like what you actually want. Colors are important! Choose them with care! I miss my house back home with all the lovely colors there, much softer and warmer than all the shouting colors we have here.
So anyways, we got our liner brushes and started cutting in the ceiling and corners and borders of the walls and outlet plates so we can go back and use the rollers to do the walls. All without tape and floor plastic, of course, just kinda free-handing it all. And, we used latex paint, I think?  Some spots didn't really want to stick, but we'll go over them again when we do the walls, so it should turn out ok. They'll paint the bathroom with the paint they use for pools, so the humidity and stuff is fine. But yeah, just kinda straight color paint on rough concrete walls. Little different than in the states, huh, Dad?  So it should turn out very, very green, but the guy seems happy, so that's good.  I'll keep ya updated on the painting process.
Painting adventures!

Very green, right??
Hna Rosas
Outside the green house
Another Honduras thing, we don't use salt shakers. I know that's random, but it's true. You just put your salt in a container (lid is optional) and scoop it out with your fingers if you want salt. It's also not the fine-grained stuff we got back home, it's bigger, chunky stuff that sticks to your fingers, but it's not sea salt. Not quite sure how to describe it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #28 - Day #190 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 25, 2015

So, I don't know what happened to my AlphaSmart (my little key-boardy device that I use to write my journal-blog entries).  It didn't want to work yesterday, so I got a whole lot of catching up to do! But we'll start with today and backtrack. Anyways. Today was good, had our District Meeting and them went to the baptism of Edwin, his wife has been member for about 20 years, I think, and about 2 years ago he started investigating the Church. And happy day!  He'll be confirmed this coming Sunday.
And from there we basically didn't follow our original plans, but we met some cool new people and taught some really good lessons, finally, so I think it all worked out in the end.  And then ran by the church for a minute to say hi to some investigators that were playing futbol, and I ended up talking to Wuendy (a convert of 1.5 years, her dad is in the Stake Presidency, super awesome family... we have dinner with them on Wednesdays and Fridays) about boys, marriage, and missions, so that was fun.  I'm actually getting pretty good at Spanish to be able to talk about all that stuff! So I was proud of myself. And it was nice to talk to a girl about my age again, and just have a relaxed few minutes. We run and run and run, and sometimes it's good to have a little break. So that was nice.

In other news, me pego la gripe! Or I got that weird postnasal drip, congestion, sore throat, sneezing thing that I get twice a year, so I'm a little sad about that. I woke up with a sore throat and everything and thought, oh no, hopefully it goes away during the day, and it stayed sort of on the back burner, but then at about 5:00 pm or so, it got serious. So I'm taking my meds and drinking water and everything, just gotta give it a few days to cycle through. I think it might be caused by allergies or the whole weather change thing, so it's probably a combination of a whole lot of things. So I'm dealing with that right now, whoohoo. I gotta work on my sarcasm, though, as I scared an investigator into thinking that I was actually gonna die from my head cold thing, so she started giving me all her advice on sicknesses and such.

She saw that I wasn't looking so good and I said "Ah, si hermana, voy a morir" and she said "En serio!  Que tiene!  Hay un monton de personas con enfermedades ahora, mire, ve, conozco a muchas personas que estan muertos por cancer en el estomago, y infartos (heart attacks), y la azucar (diabetes) tambien!"  "Ah, es que, estoy con la gripe" "Anda con gripe! Ay hermana, tiene que tomar un jugito de limon y comer un diente (clove) de ajo, picado, porque es un antibiotico, va. El limon es buenissimo por la gripe. Y descansar! Porque si vaya andando en la calle asi, va estar peor por el polvo y sol y todo. Hmf! Ay, esta gripe bendita, tiene que cuidarle, hermanita."

Translation: [She saw that I wasn't looking so good and I said "Ah, yes Sister, I will die" and she said, “really!?” What is wrong?  There are a lot of people suffering from diseases, now, look, see, I know of many people who have died from stomach cancer, heart attacks, and diabetes too! “Ah, I have the flu”  “You have the flu!  Oh my, Sister, you have to drink lime juice and eat a chopped garlic clove because this is an antibiotic, eh.  Lime is great for the flu. And rest!  If you keep walking on the street like this, you will get worse due to the dust, sun and everything else.  Hmf!  Oh my, the flu, you have to take care, Sister.”]

She's awesome, I like her. I've gotta come home and do all my impressions for ya'll, the people have such a funny cadence of speech and everything. Everything's exaggerated and dramatic, it's great. I think I taught fairly flat, sometimes, because if I talked like everyone else I think I might just be laughing the whole time. But yeah, she's the same lady that launched into her soliloquy on why Coke is bad for you. She's a great lady.
I also got to eat chicken liver for the first time in my life today, and I don't like it. Ech. We got invited to lunch and we got a plate full of rice, spaghetti, and 2 chicken livers, each. I did manage to eat almost all of mine, and all my rice and spaghetti, although I honestly was trying not to throw up the entire time. I know liver is good for you and stuff, but it tastes like iron and blood and I do not like the texture. Plus, I kept remembering from my classes when we studied shark and fish livers, and also from my anatomy stuff up in BYU of all those wonderful cadavers, so that made it an interesting time as well. So yeah, can't say I'm in love with liver, but I'll eat it if I have to. Sorry to any liver-lovers out there. Ech.

Also met a lady who had her first child at age 10, and has 5 kids, the youngest is 14, oldest is 18. So that was kinda crazy, didn't know you could do that. People here have kids really young, and unmarried, but usually it's not until about 13-16 years old or so. Also met another lady who has been with her "esposo" since she was 14, he was 22, and started having kids when she was 16. Been together ever since, but don't have plans to get married. Crazy. Can't begin thinking what my life would be like, I could very well have 6 or 7 kids by now, unmarried, staying at home and making tortillas.

But yeah, overall good day, my Tabcin capsules [decongestant] are making me sleepy, so I'm gonna head to bed. Goodnight.

Monday, August 24, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #27 - Day #189 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 24, 2015

Pday! Whoo! Quote of the day:  "Los amigos son como las estrellas, no siempre hablas con ellas, pero tu sabes que siempre estan alli." or "Friends are like the stars, you don't always talk to them, but you know that they're always there."  Very true, as I have a limited window of communication, but I know you guys are there. Love ya!
Had a chill day, washed clothes for about 2 hours, then when they were mostly dry I sprayed them with permethrin, so hopefully that will help protect me from all the icky zancudos [mosquitoes].  Gotta love Honduras, right?

But, good news, I bought a bag of lychee! Whoohoo! They go for 1 lemp each, or a bag for 20 lemps and you get more like 26 or so, thought that was a better deal. So I brought them home and washed them and now I'm enjoying eating lychee. Also bought a ton of fruits and veggies (including the lychee) for about 80 lemps, or roughly $4, so that's pretty neat. I tell everyone about price conversions, and that everything really is very expensive in the states. They couldn't believe that $4 wouldn't get you half of what I bought. And apparently it's all much cheaper in Guatemala as well.
My harvest! Super delicious!
I also made some chamomile tea from a bunch of chamomile (now that I'm writing from back to the future, that may have been what set me off on my gripe thing, will do further investigation on the subject), like, here's a chamomile plant, you dry it out, and then boil it in the water to make tea. Add sugar, and drink! It tasted fantastic, kinda fun to use whole chamomile instead of the little tea bags. Definitely tasted like chamomile. It's interesting to learn all the plant names in Spanish, I've been hearing about "manzanilla" since I got to Honduras, and recently figured out that it meant the chamomile plant because Hna Rosas bought some manzanilla eye-drops or something and there was a picture of chamomile. The tea episode also confirmed the fact. I know most of the spices in Spanish, and basic fruits and veggies, so I'm learning! Also cooking terms are important to know as well. Basically I just gotta learn Spanish.
Also me, I don't know how well that
turned out, but it's my face, at least!
But I gotta make sure that I plant myself a little garden in the future, and grow some chamomile, basil, mint and lavender, along with some other plants, but I like to use those guys primarily, so I look forward to that day!
And most women here have really long fingernails that they all take care of, most people actually had short fingernails over in SPS. They're rarely painted here, but all the women have their long fingernails. Some of the guys, as well, but I don't like that as much. Sometimes it's just the thumb or pinky, or all of them. Interesting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #27 - Day #188 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 23, 2015

Today was Sunday! None of our investigators came to church, and our dinner appointment got canceled. But, we did manage to teach some lessons, so that was good. Sunday's are interesting because they are totally awesome and totally hard at the same time. Church is great, and it just gets 10 times harder from there. But, tomorrow is Pday and we're not doing anything activity-wise, so we get to catch up on all our laundry and cleaning and shopping and stuff, as we didn't get the chance to do that last Pday, whoops. 

And during church E Pocock had to pass the Sacrament to the middle rows by himself, not quite sure how that ended up happening, but he did a good job and kept calm. I imagine it's a little stressful to remember all the routes of passing, so kudos to the young men of everywhere.  click:  The Sacrament
Anyways, we got to visit with Guadalupe, and her little baby boy of 1 year, Wilmer, is walking! He started yesterday and enjoys walking all over the place now, he's so cute! I think he's a fine-looking little kiddo, gonna be handsome when he grows up.

And there's these tiny little songbirds, black and grey and I think a little bit of yellow, they're a little bit bigger than my thumb, but there's this one that almost every morning comes and sings in our window, and even though these guys are itsy bitsy, they sing so loud!  I'll have to get a video one of these days and identify them when I get home. Neat little birds.

Not much else happened that's noteworthy, it rained again tonight and we had our dinner outside after planning and everything. I made myself a potato and a cup of avena, very happy with myself. I boiled my potato earlier this afternoon during lunch, and then let it cool in the fridge while we were out and about, and then fried it up a little with some oil and salt, and ate it and was happy. I like potatoes, they're yummy.

Saturday, August 22, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #27 - Day #187 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 22, 2015

I saw Hna Robles again! She is so beautiful, and was super excited to see me again, too! I realized just how busy it is to be enfermera, we only had a minute or two together and she had to go to a hospital cita.  But she's doing great, Hna Estacuy is wonderful, I love her, and I was able to give Hna Robles a note I wrote with the little package from my family to her before she took off (thanks family, that was super thoughtful! I used some of my new pretty sticky notes to write the translation of what the little tags said and everything, so don't worry about that) and she was happily surprised to receive that. She later texted (as they were in the hospital) and said that my note made her cry and that she loves the gifts from my family. Puchica, I miss her, she's awesome.
Hermana Robles!

In exchange, I got a bag of meds that I then proceded to hand out to various missionaries so they didn't have to wait until Tuesday for them to come in the Ruta (the mission's inter-area stuff exchange system, kinda like what we use for mailing) and also because she couldn't stay to hand them out herself. So that was fun, got to visit with all the enfermitos again! Good times. 

But yeah, we woke up kinda early (5:45 am) to get ready and hop on a bus to head up to SPS to get to the conference on time, we got to the Terminal (which is a few minutes outside SPS, it's like an airport for buses, basically, even got a security scanner that you walk through and they X-ray your bags... although we pick up people on the side of the road while on the way to the destination, so it's a good thought, at least) and then took a taxi up to the Benque, getting there literally on the dot. So that was pretty impressive. Found some seats and listened to the conference, talked to a bunch of people afterwards, and took a taxi back to the Terminal, paid for our tickets, hopped back on the bus to Santa Cruz, rode for a wonderful 2 hours, and had lunch in el Parque and ate a hamburger and fries and had a little strawberry ice cream popsicle. Then did some visits, had dinner, and came back home. Busy day.
The conference was broadcast from Tegus, so we were able to watch it. The Comayaguela and Tegucigalpa Missions were there in attendance with their Mission Presidents and their wives, also Elder Cordon of the Seventy, President Duncan and his wife, and President Nelson. They all spoke, and it was wonderful to listen to all that they had to say. I loved hearing President Nelson, he has a good sense of humor, and made some very good points that I will learn more about in Personal Study time this coming week. I also saw some buddies from the Guatemala CCM! E High gave the opening prayer, and I saw E Ang and Hna Blanchard in the sea of missionaries over there. That was pretty darn cool.  I don't have anyone from my CCM district with me in my mission, so I was happy to see them again, even though they couldn't see me.  E High's Spanish is much improved, still can't shake his accent, but he seems to be doing great. I still have the little card that Hna Blanchard made for me, and E Ang seemed to be his wonderfully funny self.  It's fun to see us being actual missionaries, and not just in training as little fledglings in the CCM. Made me smile.

In other news, I can testify of conditioning training! Or whatever it's called in psychology, I honestly think I've forgotten a good portion of everything I've learned in my education up to this point, whoops. Hna Robles and I took so many taxis and always contacted the drivers, so as soon as we hopped in to go back the Terminal, I started talking to the driver and everything, kinda funny how it started to flow out so smoothly from all that practice, it had become muscle memory. Weird! And so cool. All of it just as a normal routine, wait on the corner, hail, haggle over the price, hop in, start talking, boom. You just did a contact, my friend. Invite them to church, leave them with a pamphlet to read or a little pass-along card with a link to watch a Church video, all part of it. I had an awesome trainer, and I have been taught well. And, of course, it was nice to have such a familiar experience again in the midst of adjusting to Santa Cruz, I was happily surprised.

Anyways, last bit of fun and excitement: I made tortillas! Well, I actually flipped them, as the masa was already made and Estefani was forming them. But it's hard to flip those little guys, because they were cooking on a comal (coh-MAHL), or a sheet of metal over a fire, and you have to use your fingers, and it's really hot. So I burnt my fingertips a little, but I should be fine. Everyone was totally confused as to why we don't normally make tortillas at my home and why I wasn't a pro already at flipping super hot tortillas on this big metal stove thing. But, I think I did pretty well, definitely need some more practice. I think it would be a little easier if I had a knife or spatula or twig or something to lift up the edge, then I could use my fingers to flip it all over, or just use a spatula, period. Less health hazards. But that's how we roll here in Honduras!

So yup, good day, excited for Sunday! Good night!

Friday, August 21, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #27 - Day #186 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 21, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAMUEL!!! Whoo! I love you, buddy, and hope you have a wonderful time on your special day.
Samuel's Birthday Wishes from Andrea!
Birthdays are always fun, right? I love special days and holidays and all that fun stuff. 

Today was actually a pretty good day, walked around in abundance, as usual, but we actually were able to find almost everyone we had planned for and taught some good lessons, so I'm pretty happy about that. The members here think the elders are better because they have more baptisms, but since we're working hard and seriously don't have many progressing investigators, I think we're doing fine. Water off a duck's back, nothing more.

But, in other news, we have a mission-wide conference to listen to Elder Nelson from over in Tegucigalpa tomorrow in the Benque in SPS, so I'm going home, baby! Whoo! I actually hope it's hot tomorrow so Hna Rosas can know what it feels like over there, gonna be a little different from Santa Cruz being so cool. And even here everyone complains of it being too hot. Kinda fun to listen to.  I'm usually thinking "Oh, if only you knew...", which makes me smile. Aaaaand, I'll see Hna Robles!!! Yay! I gotta give her her little package from my family and I wrote her a note as well. I'm excited to see her! Only been 3 weeks, but still. I did call her once when I got my stomach bug a few Thursdays back, that was weird to hear her voice on the phone as opposed to in real life. Anyways, that should be pretty awesome to see everyone again from El Carmen and the office and Pres and Hna Dester again (even though we just had Multi-zone Conference, it's always fun to see people, no matter how long it's been!)

And, from personal study, the couple whose house we're living in have a giant Bible (in Spanish), like, 10 x 12 inches big, extra large print, and it was lying on the table this morning, so I thought it would be fun to read through with the font being so huge, so I flipped it open and started reading in Numbers, and got to chapter 16 where these 3 guys from the camp of Israel felt like they wanted to rebel against Moses and everyone, so they got 250 men together, but then the Lord directed Moses to tell all the people to move their things away from the tents of these 3 guys with all their men, and then the earth opened up under them, swallowed the 250 men with all their families and belongings, and buried them alive. Kinda freaked out the Israelites. Also, the Lord sent a plague among them shortly afterward because of their continued disobedience and murmurings, and 14,700 more people died just from that. Makes you realize that the Israelites wandering around in the wilderness were actually a very, very large group of people, and it's little wonder that Moses needed good men to help him keep order. And that the Lord had to be hard with them because they were a hard people. They had a prophet, the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day to guide and manifest the glory of God, the priesthood, the tabernacle, food, water, everything provided for them, and they still had such terrible problems with belief that led to a lot of people dying all over the place. Interesting to think about for a little bit. I was just surprised mostly at how many people died just in that one chapter. Crazy.  So yeah, other than that it's been good.

Thursday, August 20, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #27 - Day #185 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 20, 2015

I will just say that I don't like microwaved egg. Blegh. We ran by a member's house to have dinner, and they had already eaten, so they pulled out our dinners from the fridge and microwaved everything to warm it back up, and usually that's fine, but with eggs you just can't do that, at least for me. But it was all really good and I did manage to eat all my eggs. We had rice, beans, platano, chorizo, mantequilla, huevo, and the ever-present fresco (soda). La comida catracha!

Here everybody says "va, pues" as a shortened version of "vaya, pues", which basically means "alright" or "go on, then", kinda of like a closing statement of a conversation or a goodbye.  So that's a little different than in SPS where they use the long version. Hna Fidelina always says "vaya, pues, hermanita, que le vaya bien."  She's awesome. I miss her. 

And I got to hold a 3 day old baby girl, so that was pretty awesome.  Everyone's having babies all of a sudden. Hna Rosas gets uncomfortable around newborns and is afraid to hold babies, as she thinks she'll break them. So usually I'm the one that holds the baby during the lesson, which I'm fine with, they're all soft and warm and snuggly. And so tiny! This little girl was 6 lbs, and itsy bitsy. But that's the interesting thing about perspective. You look at a newborn and think, wow, they're so small! But then you think, that little person was inside their mother, and then they're actually quite big. The Miracle of Life, right?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #27 - Day #184 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 19, 2015

Today I got to help a 5 year old with her English homework, so that was fun. You have to color a picture with things related to the letter of the alphabet you're studying, then mark the things that start with that letter with an X, and then practice writing the letter below... I wish that was my homework! So I enjoyed that immensely.

We also found an umbrella for Hna Rosas, so that's good. She's been having headaches from not having one and walking around all day, but she borrowed my other one a few times until we found one for her.

I think I also saw a dead coral or king snake on the road, smooshed, of course. Nothing here dies normally, it's always smashed flat. I actually couldn't make out very well what kind of snake it was, but it had some red and some black on the skin, so I'm assuming that's what it was. First snake sighting in Honduras

Also, there seems to be some various foot defects around here. I now know a lady with 2 big toes in one on each foot, and a girl with 6 toes on each foot. Interesting. They're not related by the way, in case you were wondering.

Overall good day, did our thing, taught some lessons, walked a lot. Bought myself a little bag of chips for 2 lemps was very happy.
And a pic of me before getting ready for the day completely, missing my tag! But I wanted to show you how my hair's growing, I'm excited!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #27 - Day #183 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 18, 2015

Happy 6 months to me! Pretty crazy, but yes, in a year I'll be home again. Weird.
Today we had our Multi-zone Conference, so I really enjoyed that. We got to travel by bus about 1.5 hrs there, and another 1.5 hrs back, and 6 hrs of conferencing, but it was great. We all met up in Merendon, which with Chamelecon, are the most dangerous areas of the mission. So we made sure to stick together with the elderes, and we were fine.
Hna Dester had to leave in the beginning of the meeting after her talk, and didn't come back as she had to do some hospitaling trips as Hna Robles was busy as well. So I missed talking to her again, but Pres sat with our group for lunch, so that was nice. The Dester's are seriously awesome people.

Hey, good news! We somehow found a bottle of Pyrethrum (which is illegal in Honduras) so now we have access to that! Yay!  [Pyrethrumis a contact insecticide made from a formulation of the natural occurring botanical pesticide pyrethrum. It is a powerful organic pesticide and works extremely well to kill insects rapidly at very low concentrations].  We're all pretty much thrilled to have some serious insect repellent. So we'll be treating our clothes and curtains and sheets and everything over the next few days. We still gotta use the normal insect repellent, but hopefully the Pyrethrum will help lower the amount of mosquito bites and Chikungunya. That would be fantastic.

And I saw stars for the first time in forever, so I was thrilled. I love looking at the stars, I feel like I saw them more back home than I do here. Probably because it gets cloudy at night because it rains. Always makes me think of when we were in the CCM, and Hna Brady and Kleinman and I would sing the "Stars" song from Les Miserable's so terribly and burst out laughing. "Stahz! Inyumultituuuuuude!"  Good times.  click:  Russell Crowe: STARS from Les miserables

[reference from Saturday, February 28, 2015 -- Week #2, Day #12 Guatemala MTC]

Monday, August 17, 2015 -- Week #26 - Day #182 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 17, 2015

Today we went to Joya Grande as a zone, it's like a zoo with a bunch of stuff you can do if you want to pay a lot more money. Pretty neat, we walked around and saw all the animals, got to touch a lot of them, so that was pretty neat.

And bought an ice cream and went through some man-made caves, and went back to Santa Cruz and had wings and fries for lunch, then wrote out families. Pretty good day, all in all, it was nice to be outside and pet some ponies and water buffalo.

Highlight of the day, I saw fireflies in the nighttime! I can't remember the last time I saw fireflies, so I thought that was pretty special. Reminds me of home, somehow, so that was kinda neat, made me happy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015 -- Week #26 - Day #181 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 16, 2015

Soooo all our citas fell through today... I honestly don't want to have you read all my complaints from this week, as that's not the purpose of this journal, but today was a bit of a hard day. And it also rained as we were walking around, so that was fun to share my umbrella with Hna Rosas, but I had my handy-dandy sandals on (thanks again, Dad!), so I was happy.

We walked all over creation, and no one was home or they were all busy with visitors, as it usually is on Sundays, so we felt kinda useless today. And our dinner appointment got canceled, so that was awesome as well.

Anyways, enough sad stuff, I got some interesting news for ya! Apparently you can have a raccoon as a pet, as we saw it going on a walk with the owner this afternoon... I have honestly forgotten that raccoons existed, as I haven't seen one in forever it feels like. So that really surprised me, Hna Rosas doesn't know what it's called in Spanish, so I'm guessing she hasn't seen very many in her lifetime, she was very, very surprised to see a raccoon.
Racoon (mapache)
Today also felt like an autumn day, which was bizarre, reminded me a lot of home all throughout the afternoon. It was the angle of the sun and the way the air felt and smelled, kinda cool and clean, and the sun was still really warm on you when you're in the light, but the shadows are cool... it seriously felt like an early Texas autumn. Totally weird.

Also, it's interesting to move areas and find people with the same names as those in your previous areas, you have to learn to assign them to the same name, even though they're totally different people. Naturally, that's how the world works, but it's still tricky sometimes because you associate so strongly with the name that person, and then to have to tell yourself that someone else is that name as well is interesting because that name is so much that person. All part of adjusting, you know.

Aaaaand tomorrow's Pday again! Whoohoo! Apparently our zone is going to some kind of wildlife park called "Joya Grande," so I'll see how that all turns out tomorrow.  Goodnight!

Saturday, August 15, 2015 -- Week #26 - Day #180 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 15, 2015

The date is symmetric! [15-8-15]  I love it when that happens. Today was good, pretty much walked all over creation, looking for people that were never home, did manage to teach some lessons, though, so that's good. But my legs and ankles got incredibly achy today, so a big thank you to Momma for sending me "Icy Hot" stuff for my poor little body, I will sleep well tonight! 
 We went to one house and asked to use the bathroom, and the sink is one of those pushy ones where you push on the button thing, and a predetermined amount of water comes out, then you have to push it again to get more water... it was actually kind of neat. Reminded me of the bathrooms in stores or movie theaters, and so I thought that was kinda funny that it was in a house. You just gotta roll with whatever in Honduras, if it works, it works, we're just happy there's water that day.

Friday, August 14, 2015 -- Week #26 - Day #179 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

August 14, 2015

So cars (and mototaxis, buses and motorcycles) pass by really, really close to pedestrians, you gotta be careful here. Sometimes they almost brush up against you, so that's a little startling. There's only so much edge of the road you can walk on, and they still hug the edge, even when there's no one else on the road. Little bit different than SPS.

There's also a lot of younger girls with babies already, we're teaching a couple where the guy's 23 years old, the girl's about to turn 18 years old in November, and they have a little girl who'll also turn 2 years old in November, they've been together since a little before they got pregnant. Makes you sit back and think a minute about how your life's going. It's still hard to get people married, and I would venture to say that most people are in an (union libre), or are just living together, having kids whenever. A little bit different than the way I was raised, and I'm glad that I've had the gospel in my life to help give me some direction. Anyways, we're happy to teach them, we'll discuss the importance of families as a part of the "Plan of Salvation," and see what needs to happen to get them married so they can be baptized. Gonna be interesting. The whole public breastfeeding thing is still very much a thing, by the way, still haven't gotten quite used to that. And every one lives with all the family, so sometimes we end up teaching a group of 8 people, although it's really hard to have seriously progressing investigators here. To be honest I sometimes feel like I'm talking to a wall, because there is absolutely zero expression or commitment from the said parties... just kinda the culture here I guess. It's also very hard to find and teach males, as they're usually working and it's just the women in the house with the kids. And if the guy's not on board with everything (aka, we haven't been able to teach him), it is really hard to have the women be strong in their decisions. Plus you've got the grandparents and all they have to say about whatever it is they think, and a whole lot of babies and toddlers all over the place... it's really interesting. Plus a lot of people can't / don't know how to read, so that adds another layer of interestingness to the whole equation. All in all, the mission is just really interesting right now! We've gotta find more people to teach, but there seems to be very little results right now, so the whole process is quite draining to be honest, and also that we have to walk 20-30 minutes to wherever they are uphill, both ways, on all those blessed rocks, it's a little physically draining as well. But, it's what we do here, so we'll just keep on rolling with it! We've made a goal to increase our contacts this week, so we'll see how that turns out.
And, as the crowning event, Hna Rosas's umbrella broke! So that's pretty sad, as she uses it every afternoon as we're walking around to block the sun, as she really doesn't like being hot (I've also taken to using my umbrella in the early afternoon, as the sun is a bit strong, although I'm not quite as religious in my usage as she is) and now she misses carrying it around. Plus, it was a nice umbrella. So now we have to go find a new umbrella for her. Ah, la mision!