My beloved companion, Hermana Clawson, left me yesterday and will be going home tomorrow! Poor thing, she has to start classes they day after she gets home. But hey, gotta follow that personal revelation.
(Sent Jan 8)
You don’t know New Years until you’ve done New Years in Chile. Let’s just say they had a branch activity that started at 3 in the morning. We had permission to eat dinner with a family and return to the house by 12:30am. Everyone assumed that someone had already invited us, so we almost didn’t celebrate New Years. A less active family that we don’t really know invited us… not going to lie I was skeptical, but it was really fun and a very Chilean experience. They had dinner together at 11:00. Worst idea ever. I couldn’t even think about eating again until 2:00pm the next day. I love that their fancy dinner is exactly what they eat every day for almuerzo. Rice and chicken. But gourmet. And ALWAYS with potatoes and corn bathed in mayo. And a tomato and onion salad. Oh Chile, so beautifully predictable. All of them wear their most elegant clothes for the dinner. They have all sorts of superstitions that they do. If you want to find love in the next year, you have to wear yellow underwear. If you want to travel, you have to take a suitcase and walk around the block when the clock changes to 12. If you want to always have food on the table you have to eat three spoons of lentils. I don’t remember why, but they eat one grape for every second of the count down. At 12:00 they all leave their houses and go out in the street to watch the fireworks that are everywhere and hug everyone. They take their old clothes and make fake people and burn them in the street. Then they go visit all of their family to hug them and at 1am all the parties start. When we woke up at 7am, we could still hear the music from some of the parties.
(sent Jan 2)
I don’t know if I already said something about it, but a few weeks ago 2 Haitianos showed up at church all by themselves with Books of Mormon in hand and said that they were learning about the church in Haiti. They are so sweet, they don’t speak English or Spanish and don’t have internet, so we just have to communicate through the Book of Mormon. I love it. They other day we had an appointment with Nosias, and he left us this little note in the gate. So precious! They disappeared this week, but I think it’s just because they are working on harvesting lemons, so there’s a lot of work. So humble and faithful!
Speaking of which, there’s a member in one of the branches that teaches free Spanish classes for the Haitianos. She has over 80 that attend. Most all of them come alone to Chile, so she organized a big Christmas celebration with them and we went to sing them carols. They all wanted pictures with us after. I love these people so much! If some one wants to look up how to speak Creol, I would love you forever.
On Tuesday we went to La Serena, about 2 hours north to the next closest zones for a Christmas activity. The first and probably last time I will be playing with water balloons for Christmas. That Santa would be President Diaz.
Hey ya’ll! A week of lots of work and joy and disappointments. But gosh darn it, I’m going to help these people whether they like it or not!
I’m pretty sure every week I learn some new form of Chilean slang. My favorite lately is that they say “re” to express really. It is so hard to not speak like a Chilena. Sigh, one day.