Whoa whoa whoa, two major holidays have already passed since I last e-mailed you. Weird.
This week was nuts!! I got to talk to you guys a bit. That was way fun!! Let's see what I can pull out of my memory to tell you about this week...
Well, first of all, after I e-mailed you guys on Christmas Eve, the six of us office guys got permission from President Risso to go to Real Plaza for lunch. I bought a whole ton of McDonald's! Gotta celebrate Christmas right! First McFlurry I've had in a very long time. So delicious... Later that night Elder Perea and I headed on over to Hermana Yataco's house so that Elder Perea could Skype his fam. Because I guess in Guat (and here) December 24th is the bigger celebration day. The 25th is basically just the day to rest that hangover off. Ha. The Yataco family had left for a short Christmas trip to Piura, and so it was just us two in the house and I had nothing to do at all. But under the Christmas tree were two presents. One for Elder Perea, and one for me, from the Yataco fam! While Perea was talking to his family I decided I might as well continue our Christmas tradition of always opening one present on Christmas Eve, so I sat down by myself and opened the gift from the Yatacos. A soccer jersey from Columbia! With my name on it! Haha. So awesome! Hermana Yataco is from Columbia, so that's why the Columbia jersey. The Yatacos are some of the most loving people I've ever met in my life. One of my favorite families in the world! So, that was kinda fun. After Elder Perea finished Skyping his fam, we headed on over to our apartment building to eat dinner with a member family who lives a few floors down from us (and owns the building, which is why we live there). Hermana Eda, and her two sons José, and Omar. Recent converts, except for Omar who isn't a member. They're a super nice and super fun family, and it was fun to spend the evening with them. What I didn't know, was that the Goicochea family was also invited. So they all showed up too! Way fun for me. I felt sad for them, just imagining what they're probably feeling this first Christmas time after the death of their mother. But they all seemed happy and we had a nice calm night together. It was fun.
The next day was CHRISTMAS!! Us office guys had to get up early to go to the institute to get things all ready for the big mission Christmas party. We were very tired. It turned out great though! Way fun, like last year. President and Hermana Risso gave all the elders soccer jerseys from Uruguay, and all the sisters a different t-shirt. I swear I'm gonna come home with a million soccer jerseys. I already have like six I think. We got to set up, help out, and clean up after the party. It was really fun to just see and hang out with a bunch of other missionaries and my friends. We played games, we ate food, each zone performed a skit. It was a lot of fun. Really tiring too. Before the party started I gave all the office missionaries those etch-a-sketches that you sent! They all love them and they all say thank you! Haha. After the party I went back to the apartment, showered, and I think after that is when I went to go call you guys! The first computer I tried to use wasn't working (well, the microphone didn't work) so I had to head on over to the office and wait for Elder Cabrera to finish talking with his parents to get to finally call you! Sorry if the connection wasn't that good! I'm in Peru! From my experience, high-speed internet doesn't exist. Although, actually I'm pretty sure it does exist. Or, at least they have lots of internet cafes that claim to be high-speed. Who knows if it’s true. But it was so fun to talk to you guys! Even if the picture was really choppy, or frozen at some times. I think I could at least hear you guys the entire time. I don't know how well I was coming through. I can't even believe how freaking humongous my little brother is!!!!! What the heck happened?!?!?!?!! I don't even have a little brother anymore :( Not fair. I wasn't expecting to see Grandma and Grandpa either, so that was a fun surprise! I was so excited to hear that they turned in their mission papers!!! I can't wait to find out where they're going!! I'm really excited, I've basically had to tell everybody here that my grandparents are going to be missionaries too! So fun! Looks like I won't be the only Elder Hemsley for much longer. Not a problem with me! And I got to meet Falco!! I'm surprised you actually named him Falco. Even though that was the name I was most serious about in my list of names. Although I still think Butthole would have been a good name. All of the names were good. Ha. Falco! When I get home I'm going to teach him how to play Starfox. And I got the photos of him that you sent me! He looks like a weird version of Rocket. I miss Rocket :( And I think I died a little when you told me that my Xbox broke. Grrr...
After I talked to you guys we went back to the office to get some sleep. Except, I couldn't go to sleep before I opened my presents! They were so awesome!! Basically perfect presents for a missionary. And TACO BELL HOT SAUCE!!! I can't believe you actually sent me that!! By total coincidence, the next day we got to eat tacos for dinner, and I totally put the T-bell sauce on it, AND IT WAS SO GOOD!! For a second it seemed like I was actually eating some real Taco Bell. Oh, how I miss it. I've already shared many packets with a bunch of other North American missionaries. I can't keep all this goodness to myself. However, I'm now running out. Maybe I should have been more selfish. I loved all of the presents! Thank you so much! And the ones that are waiting for me at home! I can't wait to listen to the Yellowcard discography on vinyl! Although contrary to popular belief, I don't think music sounds any better (or different at all) on vinyl. It depends on the speakers, not the format of the music. Still, records are way cooler than CDs. And CDs are way cooler than buying digital copies of music. If I'm gonna pay for it, I want to be able to hold it in my hand. Otherwise I might as well just download it for free. That goes with movies and books and video games as well. Digital copies are the worst. Random tangent. Anyway, that was my Christmas experience. It was lots of fun! I can't believe that next time I'm gonna be back at home!
Let’s see... Believe it or not (you probably believe it by now...) I spent a whole heck of a lot of the week in the office. Basically, the whole week. Except Christmas day. Mostly. Because I was in the office when I talked to you guys. On Wednesday a new missionary came to the mission. Elder Rosales. He's actually been a missionary for like six months, but he was serving in the Dominican Republic. He had a lot of health problems out there, and so he got transferred to a new mission, so now here he is! He stayed with us office elders for a few days before an area opened up for him to go to. On Saturday he went off to his first area in Chiclayo, and later that day, another new missionary arrived. Elder Lattin! He's from LA, and he also came from another mission. He was serving for about three months in Independence Missouri, because he was waiting for his visa so he could come to Peru. I assume Independence would probably be one of the hardest, and most apostasy filled missions in the entire world (I dunno, I don't really know that much about Independence. I've just heard some stuff. Full of "mormon" churches other than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Hatch one time went to the Community of Christ "Mormon" Temple there. Hehe.). But he's awesome! Already speaks español like a pro (though he doesn't think so). He's been with us ever since Saturday, and tomorrow he'll probably get to go to his new area. He's a lot of fun.
At one point this week I gave some of those little candy canes that were in my stocking to las hermanas Yataco. I gave one to little Tamara, and she didn't even know what it was! I didn't know people existed who don't know what candy canes are!! It wasn't until that moment that I realized that I've never seen candy canes here in Peru. How strange. But she liked it a lot. Hermana Yataco asked me where I got them, and then was sad to learn that they came from the United States, and I didn't actually buy them anywhere close by. Haha. Candy canes!
This week I had to close the mission bank account. Or... gosh darn I don't even know financial language in English. Only in Spanish. Basically, I don't even know what I was doing (I do know, but not in English). I had to make sure our account had zero soles in it. We are currently still without money, patiently waiting for the Church to refill our account. Also, this is random, but both Elder Rosales and Elder Lattin told us that it's weird that we're secretaries in the mission, because in both of their past missions all the secretaries were senior missionaries. In Peru the secretaries are always normal missionaries. In all the missions in Peru. But I guess it makes sense that usually the ones in charge of the money for the entire mission aren't 19 year old kids. I don't know if I should say that I guess I got really lucky, or that I guess I got really unlucky. Haha. I think I'll go with lucky, because I've had a lot of fun here. But anyway, stuff like that took up most of my week. Had to make some calls to Lima to get help from the financial guys down there with a few things. I'm going to enjoy never having to make phone calls when I get transferred to a new area. I don't enjoy it. I've never really like phone calls. Text messages saved me. My journal said this:
12/28/12. The day I have to close the mission bank account. Interesting. Not too difficult, but did run into a few problems here and there. Had to end up calling a lady in Lima for help. Left the office at like 10:00. I keep thinking "well, tomorrow is going to be a calmer day." I'm never right. One thing's for sure though: January is going to be a lot calmer than December. However, if things go as expected, I'm gonna get transferred in like a week and a half, and so I'm gonna have to train the new guy. Though it is also very possible that Perea will get transferred, and not me. We'll see... I'd like to be a normal missionary again...
On Saturday one of my favorite things happened: we had no members signed up to feed us!! And so the four of us secretaries went out to eat at a place called Roky's. Which is basically the exact same as this other place called Norky's that I think I've told you about. Ate chicken and fries. Mmmm... Very yummy. A little expensive (well, compared to back home, really cheap) but worth it. I'd rather spend the extra money each weekend at Roky's than get sick with the members.
Sunday was a little ridiculous. Well, church was. The rest of the day was good. Here's what happened:
Sunday! No office at all!! Spent the day with Elder Lattin in a trio. He's way fun. I forgot that when two gringos are together the people in the street like to annoy us about 500% more than when its just me.
Church was dumb today. They asked us at the last second to give a talk in sacrament meeting, and they asked us at the last second to teach Sunday school, and they asked us at the last second to teach the third class for the 5th Sunday. Are you kidding me?! There are like 100 members here! Ask them! And plus, why are none of the teachers or speakers here, and why did they not get replacements ahead of time?!? Stupid.
Today we got really lucky and were invited to eat lunch at the mission home with President and Hermana Risso. We ate homemade tacos and pizza! So delicious!! So awesome. Its really fun to do stuff with the Rissos. Something I'll miss about the office. President Risso started showing me his collection of really awesome books he has about all kinds of different church topics. Biographies, histories, etc... Really cool books that I want to read! He was excited to show me them. Probably because I was the only one who could understand them because they were in English. President Risso also told us that today the exact same thing happened to him at church, and he and Hermana Risso were asked at the last second to speak in sacrament meeting [Actually, not even asked, he was just called up the pulpit in the middle of the meeting to give a talk.] and to teach Sunday School. What a bunch of lazies the members here are!!
Anyway, today I finally got to go out and do some teaching. That felt good. Had four lessons. Well, three, because one of them was just us listening to this lady talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and never giving us a chance to open our mouths. But the other three were legit lessons. Elder Lattin helped us. Everyone is shocked at how well he knows Spanish. He's a pro! It's fun to talk to him. I really want to have a North American companion. Being comps with Elder Lattin would be a lot of fun. I want to be comps with Elder Marker!! That would be the funnest.
Anyway, P-day got changed to Tuesday because Peru is going to have way too much of a hangover on Tuesday for us to be able to get anything done. Ha.
Then, yesterday was New Year's Eve!! Pretty normal office day for the most part. At one point Elder Samamé and Elder Cabrera brought us more chicken and fries from Roky's. That was fun. Last night we were all real tired. At about 9:00 we were basically ready to go to sleep. It was New Year’s Eve and we were in our apartment, and there was nothing to do, other than wait until 12:00 when things got exciting! But we put on our best normal-person clothing to celebrate. Wow, I forgot how comfortable it is to not wear a white shirt and tie! So comfy! Basically from 9:00 to... after I went to sleep at like 1:00, it was non-stop fireworks. However, it was more like the occasional firework here and there, nothing too fancy or exciting. But, at from like 11:40 to like 12:30 it was nuts!! Fireworks all over the place in every direction. And we have by far the greatest apartment of all the missionaries in the mission for a night like that. Up on the fifth floor on top of a building, looking out over basically all of Chiclayo. I've never seen anything like I saw last night. I've seen really cool fireworks shows in the past, but concentrated all in a certain spot. This was different. In every direction, the entire city was lit up, launching a million fireworks into the sky. It was so crazy! So cool!!! I tried to get some videos but they don't do it much justice. The city got so smoky. I probably developed lung cancer. It was way fun though! One New Year's Eve I won't forget! Now, we are tired.
That was pretty much my week in a nutshell. Pretty fun! Sounds like you guys have been having a good winter break too. I miss having winter breaks! Cool that you got to go up to Portland where it actually feels Christmasy, unlike Eugene, where I swear the people are out to destroy Christmas. I don't even get it. I wrote a song about that once. I never recorded it well, but I think a real rough demo of it is on my Soundcloud page. It's stupid. You don't have to be Christian to enjoy Christmas. You could take out the whole Christ aspect and still have an incredibly fun and happy holiday spending time with your family and drinkin' hot chocolate. Anyway, here that's not a problem, because everyone is Catholic. Though it’s still way different than the kind of Christmas that I know and love. Anyone against Christmas is just an angry person.
Well, I can't really believe that it's 2013!! Are you kidding me, I'm going to be in my house in 2013. That is so weird!! My one full year as a missionary is over. See ya 2012! Now I'm just excited about 2015. Back to the Future 2 is so close to becoming a reality!!!
Alright, I love you guyz! I hope you had a great New Years too! Next week it’s possible that I'll have a transfer. Though I'll stick around here a little longer to train the new guy. Or, I might get another six weeks here. We'll see!
Victor sent a bunch of new pictures that you can see by clicking the slideshow at the top of this blog. Here are just a few of them:
Victor sent a bunch of new pictures that you can see by clicking the slideshow at the top of this blog. Here are just a few of them:
"Christmas Eve lunch! Mmm mmm mmm."
"Christmas lunch with the missionaries!"
"Basically we played real-life Mario Kart balloon battle on Christmas."
Skyping with the family on Christmas day!