Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 -- Month #7 - Week #33 - Day #226 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 30, 2015

Conversation of the day: "So, hermana, after hearing us teach this lesson about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is there anyone in your family or a friend that we could visit as well?"  "Uhm, no, actually, everyone I know goes to church."  Love it.

We also had a visit with a lady that supposedly had learned everything about the gospel from the previous set of missionaries in this area, and was ready for baptism (but isn't willing to get married) and everything, and just wants us to come and read the Bible with her. However, she had the burning question of why you can't find the names of the Book of Mormon prophets in the Bible. Yup, she knows everything.

Today was good, lots of walking, lots of teaching, lots of people who didn't quite understand what we were saying, I guess, so that was fun.  I'm getting to know Hna Escobar more, and she has some crazy stories! But she's a good little nut, I hope we're together for another change.
We found bamboo!
Really big stuff, Hna Escobar had never seen bamboo before and was very surprised!
But, some awesome news! Our water came back! Whoohoo! So we filled our pila back up and can take a normal shower now!  (as normal as our showers are here...) Yay! The house water is back, except the toilet doesn't want to work, so we have to pour water in to flush it. We fill up some of the buckets we keep in the bathroom for pila showers and pour that in, but it's nice because we can fill it up from our shower spigot, instead of hauling water in from the pila outside. Not that I shun exercise, but it's nice to have a break once in a while!

Today we had the opportunity to try anise avocados, which are these little avocados that taste like black licorice. Weird, right? But I liked them pretty well, everyone else thought they were too strange. They are definitely different, I wonder how the genetics of the plant were changed to produce the anise-tasting chemicals in the fruit. Someone with technology back home has gotta look that up for me, please!

I also just remembered the "Pictures of Christ" series that Mark Mabry produced, there's some pretty cool images if you want to check it out.  click: Reflections of Christ  I was going to show them to Hna Escobar on Monday, but ran out of time and forgot, whoops. One of my favorites is when Jesus is walking on the water,and when the Twelve ate the fish with Him on the beach. It feels good just to look at the pictures and think about the stories of Jesus, helps you calm down and refocus on your life and why we are here. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 -- Month #7 - Week #33 - Day #225 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 29, 2015

District Meeting and got some stuff from the Ruta, including a whole bunch more pamphlets and some letters from home (thanks for all my letters and updates, Mom!) and hopped back on the bus to go home. Went and did some visits, so that was fun. Normal day.

Our water went out yesterday, and it's stayed out, so guess who took a 2 gallon splash shower?  This girl! I'm getting really good at this. The pila and the house water aren't cooperating right now, so we're back on water saver mode. Really fun.

Fun fact: all 5 of the gringa hermanas wear sandals, 3 of us from Teva brand, good stuff. They are a life saver with all the rocks and they're just fun to have to walk around.
Texas flag!!! Hna Escobar likes it because it's colorful, and Guatemalans like colorful things!

Amalia (the Stake President's mom that lives next door) made us cocoa and toast because it was rainy... she's awesome!

Monday, September 28, 2015 -- Month #7 - Week #32 - Day #224 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 28, 2015

Pday! Yay! Went and played soccer with the elderes over on the church court and went and ate lunch together. Pretty fun, I watched and recorded and took pics and everything, as I honestly feel a little uncomfortable playing soccer as I have no idea of spatial strategy nor can kick a soccer ball. But I'm really good at sideline cheering! So everyone was happy.
Hna Escobar and I before heading out to play futbol with the elderes for Pday.
After shopping and writing and everything, we went over and visited Guadalupe, and then went over to a FHE / bday party for Wendy as she turned 17 today! Yay! Feliz cumple! Got some cake and Coke and we all enjoyed ourselves.
Happy Birthday to Wendy!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015 -- Month #7 - Week #32 - Day #223 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 27, 2015

Church!  Whoohoo! None of our investigators came! Even more awesome! Not really, I'm being totally sarcastic. People just really don't feel like going to church, which is a little frustrating. I feel like Sister Voyles from The District videos... "Just come to church!!"

We also ended up teaching lessons to completely different people than those we had planned for as no one was home or were busy, so that was fun. Nothing much else happened today, just a normal Sunday.
I figured out how bananas happen! Happy Day!!!!  Weird little plants, but really neat.

Some more awesome cloud shots in Honduras 

Saturday, September 26, 2015 -- Month #7 - Week #32 - Day #222 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 26, 2015

Good day, it rained a whole lot.

In the morning we went over to visit Noemy again, as she's awesome, and we encountered her and the girl who helps in the house all in a tizzy with Camila and Sebastian running all over the place crazy. So Hna Escobar and I played with the kiddos as Noemy cooked lunch and the girl finished washing some clothes. So Hna Escobar braided Camila's hair while I played cars with Sebastian, and then we all played with this play sand and made castles and crabs and shells, so that was super fun. And then we got to eat lunch with them all, so that was also pretty awesome. I love Noemy, she's just so good. She also works in the temple over in Tegus, so some of my CCM district might have seen her when they are able to go to the temple. I miss going! 18 months is hard enough, I think 2 years would be even harder.

From there we went and helped Sandra clean the chapel, as the other 2 sisters that were assigned with her couldn't come, so we got to do some service there.  I'm really good at wiping down the benches and mopping classroom floors.

We then went over to Las Flores in bus (our area is seriously ginormous...) and did some more contacting. It started raining while we were there, and we sought refuge under a sheet metal roof for a while. But, good news, we got 5 REALLY HUGE lemons! Whoohoo!
We found a tree with these GINORMOUS lemons, so I climbed up it a few feet to reach these huge yellow beauties...we'll be feasting tonight! :P

The people said that they're limes, but they're actually lemons. Normally lemons don't exist here, so I was actually quite surprised. So there was this super long contacting story that I'll leave out, but we finally ended up getting permission to take some lemons. Problem is, they were all kinda hard to reach, due to a lovely barbed wire fence. So, I stood on Hna Escobar's knee and pulled myself partway up the tree and hung on with my arms, with my other foot against the tree and wire. That way I could reach a branch, twist off some lemons, and toss them to Hna Escobar, after which I hopped down from the tree totally fine. We got pretty much completely wet from the rain, but we were laughing the whole time and we got some crazy giant lemons out of it.
It actually got a little cold with all the rain, so I put on my sweater! Crazy!
So we continued on our way home, changed clothes in the house, and went to the church to watch the General Women's Session, which was wonderful.  I listened in Spanish, and understood everything. When the hymns were sung in English just Hna Escobar and I sang, as she truly wants to learn English and I already know it. So that was kinda funny. But I enjoyed it all, it was good.

Also, fun fact, somehow all our contacts today were members of the church of the 7th Day Adventists, I think it is in English. So that was interesting. Good people, very firm in their beliefs, just was odd that they were all over the place (and yes, I know that today is Saturday and is also the 7th day of the week, which is their day of worship, thank you for pointing that out).

More shots of Honduras
And, funny story of the day: Hna Escobar was reading the pamphlet about the Restoration in English to practice the words out loud, and she ran across a few that were unfamiliar to her. When that happened, she stopped, asked me what the word was, corrected herself, and continued reading. Sometimes she would look over in the Spanish version, or make a good guess of what the word was and ask me to verify. The later happened when she ran across the word "apply" in the English pamphlet and asked me (in Spanish) how you would say "aplicar" (apply) in English as that was what she thought the word was, and I responded that it was "apli-CAR" with a very gringo accent. In my head it made sense, as apply and aplicar are the same idea now, but it was really funny at the time. I then corrected myself and affirmed that she was right to assign aplicar to apply.  Gotta love learning languages, right?  I'm finding that it is hard to pray out loud in English, last Thursday I gave the closing prayer in Coordinacion Misional, and they wanted me to give it in English. Hard to force your brain back to using the old neuron trails after a while. Makes for funny stories!

Friday, September 25, 2015 -- Month #7 - Week #32 - Day #221 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 25, 2015

Today was good, I finally figured out after 7 months that the Jamaica drink is something like hibiscus tea... learn something new everyday! But it makes sense why I like it, as I like hibiscus tea as well. Although the stuff here tastes a little more like grape juice to me.  But it's all good, I like it.

Also learned that the "hang loose" sign (thumb and pinky sticking out of fist and shake) is actually bad here, as it means you're going to kill the person you do it to. So that was interesting.

And that every time the English Bible says "Lord" in the Old Testament, in Spanish it says "Jehovah", which is also a very valid title, but it's just kinda weird to see it so much. There's a lot of things that are different here.
But other than that, we had a good day, went and contacted up a storm as we're still slowly building progressing investigators. Lots of walking and talking.

Lastly, people always pass by in the streets, yelling out their services or what they're selling (happened a lot more in SPS). So there was one guy that was going around "saquen la basura!" or take/bring out the trash, so that actually reminded me of the guy in Monty Python that was yelling "bring out your dead!".  Made me smile.

Thursday, September 24, 2015 -- Month #7 - Week #32 - Day #220 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 24, 2015

Weekly planning! Also visited Noemy and got fed lunch, went to the church for Coordinacion Misional, waited there for an hour, called our ward Mission Leader, he said he forgot but he'll be there right away, so we had our meeting, had a lesson, and had dinner with the Bishop's family. Good day overall.

I learned an easy way to make yummy rice from Noemy:
Tada! Gonna make rice like that from now on, good stuff.

Quote from Hna Escobar today: "Vamos a ganar la confianza necesaria." Or that we will win the confidence necessary to work with people here. We need to establish a relationship, but we're not here to be people's friends and talk with them all afternoon long, we're here to teach.  I like her, we're very happy together!

I've also been learning a few random words in Kaqchiquel, a native dialect from Guatemala, so I'm pretty excited about that. We have a ton of chapins and gringos in our zone, in our district each gringo is paired with a guatemalteco, and we all get along really well. So I know how to say:
horse - quiej "kegh"
death - ixcamich "eesh-kah-meek"
thank you - matio´x "mah-tee-oh-sh"
I love you - n´te wajo "nn-teh-wah-hoh"
I am a missionary - ajchiquib na´tat "agh-chee-keeb-nah-tahtgh"
Still a bit iffy on the proper rendering into the English alphabet, but I included how you would say all that if you sounded it out. Pretty neat, huh?

I also gave myself a haircut (nobody freak out, please!) and trimmed off an inch of my ends after my shower, so I feel a lot better about myself now.  It's been 7 months without a haircut, and I didn't really feel like dropping 80-100 lemps and trying to explain exactly what I wanted in Spanish. So I just got to work parting my hair a million ways and snipping for about 10 minutes, and it turned out beautifully. Freaked poor Hna Escobar out when she saw me holding scissors to my hair, but she relaxed when I explained that I actually wasn't completely crazy. So now my dead, dry ends are off, I'm happy, and 100 lemps richer.
A common expression (most common among the elders, as they think it's funny to say, they're total boys) is "alacran!" which literally is saying "scorpion"... you use it like "whoah!" or "wow!" But they like to exaggerate it and say it deep in their throats: "AGHLA-cran!"  Total goofballs. Then the hermanas all make jokes about them and imitate what they say, so we're all just sitting around saying "alacran!" over and over, and it's actually quite funny. Gotta love the mission!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 -- Month #7 - Week #32 - Day #219 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 23, 2015

Rained again today!
Some more streets of Honduras

We went with Karolhyna to do some lessons with a member, and we got rained on!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 -- Month #7 - Week #32 - Day #218 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 22, 2015

I made French toast for breakfast and was happy! Other splurge of the week: maple syrup! Tasted really good. 
Arm wrestling in District Meeting!  These elders are goofballs!
Haha, this was so fun... and guess who also went?  Me!  I beat Hna Phillips, and everyone had a good time.
Always a lady!  Ha!!
  Went to District Meeting in Potrerillos, had lunch, went to Las Flores, one of the parts of our areas we have to go in bus, about 15-20 mins or so, and did a whole lot of contacts over there. Came back to base camp and did some more lessons. Good day. Been raining a lot during the night and day, so we got caught in the rain again today. Thanks for my sandals!
Me by this bougainvillea plant/tree thing that was FULL of pretty flowers! Yay!
Food! YUM!

Monday, September 21, 2015 -- Month #7 - Week #31 - Day #217 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 21, 2015

I hate to break it to you, but I don't have all my entries typed up, I'll send them next week. This week was crazy busy with changes and ward activities and everything, I haven't had a chance to sit down and write. But I'll send some pics in the meantime!

We went to el Lago de Yojoa as a zone! We hopped on the bus that goes to Siguatapeque and hopped off at the lake, about 20 mins or so, not too bad.
el Lago de Yojoa

Purple lily flowers in el Lago! So pretty! Match my shirt, too, right?!
Hna Escobar and Hna Mower
We then played touch football for a little over an hour, and then ate lunch! I ate a whole fried fish and traded my tajadas with Hna Phillips for her french fries, and drank ginger ale (it's been a VERY long time without ginger ale!) and was quite happy and full afterwards.
My fish! Very delicious!
We then hopped on a bus heading back to Santa Cruz and went to write our peeps back home, and had a lesson.

Good day, washed a TON of laundry, about 3 hours worth. Problem is that it's been raining everyday the past while, so it's a little hard to get everything to dry completely. But, you go outside and get all wet again, so it's not a huge deal. But I think we've officially, officially entered the rainy season. Lots of rain.

Oh, and I also found eggnog, of all things! So I bought myself a little carton and have been enjoying a few sips everyday. Actually tastes pretty good, it's called Rompopo in Spanish.  I don't think eggnog's available in the States in September, right?
Also, fun fact, there's an article in the September Liahona from a mother in Guatemala that tells about how her prayers for her son were answered... turns out that it's about my District Leader! Small world, huh?  We have some really good elders in our district this change, I'm happy to be serving with them.  click:  Prayer: A Mother's Gift

And, Hna Escobar prayed in English the other day! Whoohoo! She really wants to work on her language skills, and is doing marvelously. Has very good pronunciation and a good grip on comprehension, I think she'll pick it up fast.

Sunday, September 20, 2015 -- Month #7 - Week #31 - Day #216 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 20, 2015

More Stake Conference! This time in Portrerillos, so a little closer to home. More about families, the Priesthood, how women support families in callings, and missionary work. Good stuff.
E Bate, with a bunch of bananas in the church after Coordinacion Misional... he's a goofball, and companion of E Olivas. They're really good guys!
We then did some visits, and got back home again. Lots of walking today!  Gotta tell ya'll about my latest splurge: Yoplait strawberry yogurt! SO GOOD! Tastes like those little yogurt cream cups with the blue labels we always bought a few years ago. Dang those are good.
I also made some pancakes and put Nutella on top (other huge splurge!) and was VERY happy with myself.  It's been too long since I've had Nutella... that's punishment no one should have. I also had some apple slices with chile powder on top, and liked it! Kinda like mango verde with vineger-lime juice and chile. Apparently in Mexico EVERYTHING is with chile, all the fruits included.

Down here there's no lawnmowers, so you gotta use a weed-whacker or a machete to cut all the abundant grass. We have a guy that comes by every 2 weeks or so to clear up the forest we hike through every day to get to our house.  I like him, he's a good guy, very good with a machete.
A little river in our area! I wanted to swim soooooo bad! I miss it.

Saturday, September 19, 2015 -- Month #7 - Week #31 - Day #215 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 19, 2015

We went looking for a contact we made last Saturday, but she wasn't home, so we did a whole lot of contacting to other people!  I'm actually pretty happy when we contact, the cambio before I felt like we didn't do enough of it, so it's been really nice to have a "new start" with Hna Escobar. And she loves to talk, so I don't feel pressured to speak all the time, but we share everything well and are a good little team.

Turns out that she has an avocado tree growing in the middle of her house, so that's an interesting fun fact. They eat lots of the avocados that fall, and I just think it is super neat they have a tree in their house.

Today for breakfast I had oatmeal, a PBJ, a pear, and orange juice, and I was quite pleased with myself. Most of my breakfasts are still pretty American, lunch and dinner are kinda a mix of whatever with la comida catracha. Turns out pretty well, I'm still eating lots of avocados (yum!).
More food! (can you tell I like to document my eating habits?)
We were also teaching a lesson and a cowherd ran his cows by us, that was interesting. There's lots of animals here... dogs, cats, birds, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, horses... it's kinda like a foresty farm sort of thing we got going on here.  E-I-E-I-O!

We also went over and listened to Stake Conference in Villanueva, about a 40-50 min bus ride, so that was fun. Main themes: self-sufficiency, honoring the Priesthood, and ward council. Very instructive, the elders said that the Priesthood session was the exact same messages, guess they really needed to get everything across clearly.

We got rained on again! We sought shelter under a little tin roof to wait out the worst of the shower.

Just gotta love all the rain!

Friday, September 18, 2015 -- Month #7 - Week #31 - Day #214 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 18, 2015

Today I got 7 months, and Hna Escobar has 6!  It's actually really neat to be with her, we get along really well. She came in my arrival group, but is Latina, so has a month less than me, I'll go home a change before her, I think. But she's a really hard worker, and has some tips and tricks I hadn't heard of before, so I've been learning a lot as well.
March 31, 2015 Arrived at Honduras Airport (from Guatemala MTC) Hna Escobar is two sisters on the left from Hna Mower
April 1, 2015 Arrival group leaving President Desters home - heading out to their areas! (Hna Escobar is directly in front of Hna Mower)
Hna Escobar is from Guatemala, is 23 years old, and is the youngest of 4 kids in her family. Has been in Copan all this time, Santa Cruz is her second area and I'm her 3rd companion.
Hermana Escobar!
Went around today and showed her some of our area, we actually have a lot of ground to cover. Our area in Santa Cruz is way bigger than Smith or El Dorado, where she was at. So we got some work to do just getting to know the area.
And, more good news, we finally got water in the house!  The sinks in the kitchen and bathroom work, the toilet flushes, there's water in the shower, and the pila spouts out water normally again. Pretty awesome, right?!  In the shower the water comes out of a spigot about waist height, so you gotta crouch down to get wet, and it's still really cold, but we're just happy that it works!  (Note to Dad:  I've been wanting to try out those shower bags you gave me, but it's been cloudy and rainy a lot lately, so we'll keep trying!)

Also, as we were teaching a lesson outdoors (which is completely normal, a lot of times standing up outside their gate thing the entire time... we're really happy when we can go inside the porch or house to sit for a minute) some neighbor up the street (remember I mean rock path when I say street) decided that 4:00 pm is the perfect time to burn all their trash, so we were totally filled with smoke for a while as we were teaching... gotta take a shower and wash out my hair again.  I'm pretty sure that we just always smell like smoke, add that to the Eternal Girl's Camp list.

Thursday, September 17, 2015 -- Month #6 - Week #31 - Day #213 - Santa Cruz de Yojoa

September 17, 2015

Today was good, we went back to SPS to see a doctor for Hna Escobar, as she wasn't feeling so good for assorted reasons, and I got some more meds for my tummy, so that was a fun day to travel and go hospitaling and travel again... I love public transportation. We seriously cram in sooooo many people into a bus, and it's amazing how we all fit. I honestly think they would have us sit on laps if they could fit more people in. Crazy. But, we got there and back well, and it was fun to see Hna's Robles and Estacuy again. Hna Estacuy is playing a more major role in the things of the enfermera, as Hna Robles is finishing her mission this change, the end of October. Hna Escobar hasn't left Copan since she got here with me back in April, so it was good that I knew how to talk to the taxis and get us to where we needed to go and navigate the hospital to the doctor's office and everything... she also saw how my life was like, and thought it was a little crazy.  It's hard to be a normal missionary when you're the mission nurse. Now that I'm in the "actual" field, I can definitely see that. But, I'm happy either way, although it was nice to go and be so hands-off, gives a break from so much responsibility.
Hna Escobar and I!

Fun picture of my name tag plaque in some flowers.
We went and saw Dra. Fasquelle, who is awesome, and she kept asking me if my eyebrows are tattoos or natural, and said that Hna Escobar should drink water in industrial quantities, which was kinda funny. But she also recommended gargling with hydrogen peroxide when your tonsils and throat are inflamed. Tastes super not delicious, but works really, really well. I recommend it as well.

I'll also let you know that I've switched over to powdered milk. The milk here just goes bad really fast, and just doesn't taste right.  Ech. So I'm making a batch of milk in a water bottle every few days with my milk powder and water and some vanilla extract to cut the chalky taste of the milk. Actually turns out pretty well, reminds me of the little cartons of vanilla milk from Costco that we always bought for school lunches. First time in my life that I remember ever drinking powdered milk. Interesting stuff.
My breakfast, little bread thingy and some milk.
So that was our day, we had Weekly Planning in the morning, went and bought some food, partied in SPS, got home too late to go teach, so we basically didn't leave to give lessons today, which wasn't super fun. But, we should be good to go tomorrow, so hopefully we just go up from here!