OK! Finally I will finish this Christmas story! I don´t know how these last couple of days have gotten away from me. So... on with Christmas!
After having stayed up late with my family I took part of the morning to sleep in. My teams interns (3 of them), another longer-term missionary, and I had planned to have a Christmas brunch together. For all of us this was our first Christmas away from our families in the States. So they all went grocery shopping and bought all the items needed for a very north american breakfast. We all gathered in my friends tiny apartment and attempted to cook this meal together. As you can see in the picture below it was a tight fit when all 5 of us were trying to work in the kitchen! I was standing in the doorway when I took this picture!
When all was said and done, we had a great brunch together of French Toast, Fruit Salad, and fresh squeezed OJ. There were hash browns on the menu but they didn´t quite make it out of the frying pan! Then we all just rested for a while and enjoyed each others company while listening to Christmas music.
Christmas Day ended with a traditional US dinner at the home of my team leaders. there were 16 of us gathered together there for dinner and a gift exchange. There was sooooo much food! We all had a good time just talking with each other. We then had the traditional gift exchange game where you draw numbers and pick a gift or you can ´steal´ a gift that has already been opened. Always good for a laugh! By the time that party came to an end I was really tired and ready to head back to my own home. All in all, it was a wonderful first Christmas in Bolivia, the first of many to come.
In addition to these things, I also attended a Ladies Christmas Tea put on by the International church, I saw a play called ¨Haven of Hope Hotel¨ (the inn that had the manger, ect), and also 2 different Childrens programs. I sang Christmas songs in both English and Spanish and discovered that even Bolivia´s Concha (market) gets insanely busy the week before Christmas. It got to the point that I was having to take taxi´s around simply because I could NOT find a trufi with room for me on it (I generally try not to hang out the doorways!). There is still a ton of fruit cake hanging around (sounds pretty north american huh?) but everything else seems to have returned to normal. This is a picture of the play.
Bolivia does celebrate the New Year in the traditional way, with parties! I´m not sure at this point where I will be partying or with whom but I will be with friends or family. Next week begining Jan 2nd, I will be taking a short trip to La Paz, Bolivia with a friend of mine. La Paz is the biggest city in Bolivia and is at an altitude of nearly 14,000 ft. My friend and I will travel there by bus (about 8 hours) and stay 3 days and return on the 5th. Please pray for safety during this time.
Tune in soon for a year in review entry as well as thoughts, dreams, and wishes for the coming year. Happy New Years!