Merry Christmas! I’m glad to hear that everyone is still alive and that you all had fun. I guess I will start by telling you all about my Christmas experience here in Ecuador. First off, I did get the other package from mom Wednesday, so I had three packages to open on Christmas, which was pretty exciting. For dinner Christmas Eve, I had a delicious meal of Easy Mac and peanut M&Ms (thank you grandma), and then Christmas morning I opened up my packages under the Christmas tree. It was a bit nippy out but luckily I had a nice warm fire to sit next to, anyway, everything was awesome. The CD from gammy is great and she made some very nice contributions to my food storage. The Gist’s plan of salvation chart is really nice too. I wanted one of those before but I couldn’t find one in Spanish so it’s pretty awesome. I have to say, though, the best things in my packages were the calendar and the tape. The pictures you used are awesome! I really needed one to. The tape was great because when I woke up everything was just way too quiet, but when I popped that tape in it was like having everyone here for Christmas. I loved Andrea’s songs; it was funny listening to mom trying to get her to understand what the tape was for.
I’m sorry to say that I have no idea what sound an iguana makes because I have only seen one once, and he ran away from me. I can tell you that they are pretty fast runners though. Every time I have my camera with me I keep an eye out for iguanas and hopefully I can get Andrea a picture soon. They do have pink piggies here and I’m going to try and get a picture of one for Andrea. I loved her rendition of 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed. That is good advice–I will make sure and stop jumping on my bed just for you bugaboo. I also didn’t know that Andrea is bilingual; she has that counting in Spanish thing down. Did you know that they have Dora the Explorer here too? I want to watch an episode to see if she teaches English here. I think it would be strange if she taught basic Spanish to people that already speak Spanish.
It was fun to hear from the Stolts and Singers. How serious was Rob about making another attempt at Mt. Snuffles? He must have a death wish if he wants to do that mountain again. Tell Bro Singer that I have not eaten any guinea pigs…yet. If I ever do get the chance I will be sure to get the recipe, and when I get back we can try it out on Rufio. I’m sad to hear that Josh went off the deep end like that–a nose ring and tattoos? The tattoos I can believe but he never seemed like a nose ring kind of guy to me. I will have to write him a stern letter and tell him to shape up for you. I like that Nathan made fun of his dad because he says that same kind of stuff all the time, “be excellent to each other” is a classic Nathan phrase–what a goof. And for the record I think Nathan would look like Sid [in the movie Toy Story] with his head buzzed too. So did Nathan get a response from BYU yet? You will have to let me know what schools all those guys end up going to.
The music that the girls played for the tape is pretty good. They are all quite talented on their respective instruments. I noticed a big difference in both Allison’s and Olivia’s skill levels. Oh and Andrea is pretty good on the piano as well. She is truly a toddler of many talents.
Well that covers the tape so back to Christmas. Like I predicted all of the members wanted to feed us and, I’m sad to say, that for the first time ever I didn’t finish lunch. I just couldn’t do it. It was physically impossible for me to eat all of my lunch after having the other members of the ward cram so much other food into me. I have eaten more fruit cake than you can shake a stick at. They love fruit cake here and, as it turns out, I hate fruit cake. Luckily Christmas is over now so I don’t have to eat nearly as much. I’m proud to say that, after lunch on Christmas, I made an apple pie! I took pictures of the whole process and uploaded them to Todd’s site along with a picture of another “man bag” that I got from one of the other missionaries for Christmas, and a picture of the calendar on my wall. It was hard for me to find a place to put it up because I live in a concrete box, but I managed to wedge a thumb tack in between a crack running along the wall above my desk. My pie turned out pretty well. It was a big pain in the rear because I have never tried to cook anything more complicated than scrambled eggs before, but it turned out well in the end. The taste was a little off because the apples here are not as good as the ones in the States, but it was still really good, and I even had the foresight to buy vanilla ice cream, so it was very close to perfect. I wasn’t hungry enough to eat it until later that night but it made an excellent Christmas dinner.
So that was my Christmas experience. Not much else has happened this week. We have a baptism on the 3rd that seems pretty solid. So far I haven’t had the best luck getting people to the font, but I’m fairly confident about this guy. He is smart and he just drinks everything in that we are teaching him. Yes, I did know that Elder Mitton is a swimmer. I guess I forgot to tell you though. The fact that Olivia beats you down the mountain so easily will never stop making me laugh. Maybe you should stop snowplowing all the way down; it might help.
Yeah, New Year’s is supposed to be pretty wild around here. Pretty much everyone is already drunk in preparation so we don’t have much to do these days. We don’t get to stay out late so I don’t think I will see anything too exciting because our house is kind of on the outskirts of town. But Elder Mitton and Elder Elwood live right in the middle of the city, so I will be sure to relate any interesting experiences they have back to you. We have not had too much rain so far. It rains about every other night but we have not had a good “Texas rain”, just the regular kind. Well that’s all for this week, hope you all have a great New Year’s and I will talk to you again soon.