Monday, June 9, 2014

Our First Trip to the Beach

I AM THANKFUL FOR baking soda, vinegar, and the sunshine that we finally had this week, after a week of Seattle-type drizzly weather.  I made the mistake of trying to clean two areas of carpet in our room.  I had worked on the dirtiest parts of the carpet before and it dried just fine.  But with the extra humidity, the carpet was wet for several days.  And what is the next things that happens when carpet stays wet?  It starts to stink.  The smell was horrible.  I was finally able to get the carpet dry by using the blow dryer.  Then, I sprinkled baking soda and let that set overnight.  After vacuuming up the baking soda, I sprayed it lightly with a diluted solution of vinegar and water.   I am ever so thankful that I learned awhile ago that you can wash towels with a cup of vinegar and then rinse them with 1/2 cup of baking soda and it will get out the musty, mildewy smell that towels get.  I figured the same things would work with the carpet and it did!

And, since we had sunshine this week, we were able to get out and walk again.  The week before the rain, we had started doing a strenuous walk.  We had been able to see this house above us as we walked along.
            Elder Larsen decided that the white house at the top of the hill should be our destination.        
The leg muscles were screaming, but the views are worth it!

 You can see the ocean off in the distance.
This is looking straight down on the City of Santa Brígida where we live.

               This is a zoomed in view of the port of Las Palmas which is about a 45 minutes away.                                     At the end of this walk, we really feel like we have had our workout.                                           
                                                                                                                                                 .                                                                                                                                                                            Monday, we enjoyed a regular P-day.  We worked out, cleaned house, and watered plants. Elder Larsen even trimmed our bougainvillea hedge and dug a little in the garden area.  

After bending over while using a little pretend shovel, he decided to buy a few gardening tools.  He was surprised at what he did not find at the local AlCampo.
 Not the selection he is used to!

    We bought cucumber and zuchinni seeds.  He found a taller shovel and we are still looking for some                      tomato plants.          

Tuesday morning we went back to the government office in Santa Brígida to get our paperwork that we needed to take to Las Palmas for our residency cards.  The whole process is quite involved, but things went very smoothly this time and they had our certificates ready for us.  Then we did our usual planning and grocery shopping for the meals and refreshments for the week. 

I had to take a picture of the bread that they have here with the crust cut off, white or wheat.
Probably half of what is in the stores looks like this.
I guess this saves time for mom's who have picky eaters.  

We had piano lessons and English Class that night.  We planned a version of pictionary with new verbs and vocabulary that we have been working on and everyone really enjoyed it.  Elder Larsen had a good class as well.  They were discussing vocabulary you would use when going out to eat at a restaurant. While on this topic, he learned something that helped make sense to an experience we had had the day before.  When we were in Madrid, we had gone out to eat at VIPs.  The food was very good and we were excited when we had found that same restaurant in Las Palmas.  Monday, we decided to treat ourselves by going out to eat.  What a disappointing experience!  The yummy salad I had gotten in Madrid was not on this menu, the food we got was very small, and the meat was tough.  Our service was awful, even though the restaurant was not busy at the time we were there.  And we waited for our bill for almost 30 minutes.  Cody finally got someone's attention and they acted so shocked that we wanted our bill.  So at English Class, Elder Larsen shared this experience and he was informed that here, you must ask for your bill.  Even if they have cleared your table and you have already told them you don't want dessert, they will not bring your bill if you do not ask.  Who knew?

Wednesday was crazy as usual.  I made German-style Chicken, gravy, rice, green beans, homemade Jewish Sweet Bread, and a successful pan of lemon bars for the District meeting.  So glad they worked out better than last week's attempt.   The missionaries seemed to like the meal and were very appreciative.    I feel so inspired and energized by working with these great missionaries.             
 Hermana Grover, Hermana Irigoyen, and Hermana Caballero are in charge of a big ward activity this coming Saturday.
 Elder Beuden, Elder Brewer, Elder Shumway, and Elder McWhorter are listening intently to their assignments.

We hurried home to prepare the meal for the Vecindario group.  The hot dogs had been such a hit with the Las Palmas group that I decided to fix that meal.  
 Not a good idea!

This is a picture of all the leftover chili and baked beans.  
Most of them would not even try these items.  They might have had a bun and a dog, but some of them didn't eat at all.  Note to self, "Do not take hot dogs to Vecindario ever again."  We sent leftovers home with the missionaries.   I did make another successful pan of lemon bars and everyone liked them.

At Thursday's English class, we gave our students folders to put their papers in.  They were excited to have these, and hopefully it will help them to remember to bring their papers back to class with them. Elder Larsen and I definitely feel like we are building some rapport with our students.  They are more comfortable with us and seem to be less inhibited.

Elder Beuden and Elder Shumway gave a good lesson for Family Night.  They had us tie yarn to each of our wrists, but the yarn overlapped with the yarn of your partner.  Then without breaking the yarn or taking it off our wrists, we were supposed to get free from each other.  

Santiago and Andres tried.

Elder McWhorter, Elder Brewer, and Victor tried.

Hermana and Elder Larsen tried and even though Elder Larsen had done this at a team-building event once-upon-a-time, he could not remember the secret. 

Then the elders, who were wiser than we were, told us the clue.  You actually thread the yarn of one persons through the handcuffed part of the other persons and voila!  It's that easy.  They taught the principle that God is wiser that we are and knows so much more than we do.  He is there to guide and direct us if we turn to Him for help.  

Afterwards, you guessed it.  We planned silly group games.  In this game, you had to move your hand quickly to the right, left, or up, while making a swooshing sound and this would determine the direction that the sound would travel around the circle.  Pushing up skips a person.  Whoever messes up is eliminated from the circle.  

Then we played another game where you go around in the circle saying pollo, pollo, taco, taco, bang, and after each pattern another bang is added.  It was very fun to see everyone else eliminated and just the four elders left. 
Elder McWhorter was the Champion!!

Friday morning, we headed to Las Palmas to apply for our residency cards.  After reading some nightmare stories on line, we were a little nervous as to what our experience would be.  We had walked quite a distance and I mentioned to Elder Larsen that I thought we were headed the wrong direction. When we got where he thought we were going, it was a Military Museum.  But we did see a very pretty park with an unusual old building that is now an ice cream shop.  There is a big shopping area down there as well.  We will have to visit that another time.  

We asked for directions, and headed back several blocks to where we needed to be.  While we were waiting our turn, in walked Joán Peña.  He is one of our young adults and he was there to get his papers to allow him to go back to the Dominican Republic.  His family lives in Las Palmas, but they are from the Dominican Republic.  He heads back on Wednesday to finish school and get married.  He will probably be back here with his bride in January.  He is a great young man.  We are really going to miss having him in our group.  He got his paperwork quickly, but waited for us.  We were very blessed to have a very friendly, female policeman.  She was so nice and helpful, definitely an answer to our prayers.  We had all the papers, photos, and certificates that we needed and supposedly, we come back in thirty days for our residency cards. No money is exchanged with the police, so we had to go to a nearby bank to pay our fees and return with our receipts.  Because of having to pay for parking, we were getting too close to our time running out, so we walked back to the car, then to the bank, and back to the government building.  Joán went with us and we enjoyed his company.  It was a perfect day on the island, so we enjoyed our excursion.
 Joán Peña and Elder Larsen

We headed home to prepare the dinner for the young adults.  I decided to make some chocolate cupcakes for our activity on Saturday.  I used the recipe for the cake that I made that worked last week, but as cupcakes, it was a total flop.  The cupcakes didn't rise, the centers were a gooey mush and the tops overcooked.  Disaster!  I have got to get this flour figured out here.  It is just not the same.  

Joán gave our lesson for the young adults.  It was excellent.  He is such a good teacher.  I am sure he was a wonderful missionary as well.  He has a great love for the Lord and a desire to serve him.  He talked about service and how we should follow Christ's example.  Afterwards, Elder Larsen led a discussion about service and the young adults are going to look for opportunities for us to serve in the community.  I fixed German-style chicken, rice, green beans, homemade Jewish Sweet Bread, and lemon bars for the young adults.  It's nice to fix the same thing for both groups.  They loved it.

Here is our group all making the sign they used for our game.  What great young adults!
Sara, Josué, Omar, Aida, Joán, Andres (an investigator), Fran, Elder Larsen

Saturday, we made our first trip to the beach.  The young adults from Vecindario were going to go to the beach to celebrate Ricardo's birthday and they invited us to come.  We went to Playa Ingles, which is about 45 minutes from our house.  The area right before you get to the city is totally brown, volcanic mountains.  But once you reach the city, you have entered the land of the tourists.  Palm trees, bougainvilleas, hotels, condos, shopping, and a very beautiful beach.  It was actually cloudy in the mountains, but the further south we drove, there were no clouds.  That is the typical weather pattern here.  Just gorgeous blue sky.  This is the sea wall that is about 150 ft above the beach.

We are not sure what happened, but while we were there, only three of the young adults showed up.
Martin, Fran, Inzo
We had a nice visit with them.

 My camera did not pick up the turquoise color of the water near the sand.  So pretty!

 Elder Larsen, the Beach Bum
I just love the bougainvilleas.

We were only at the beach for about two hours.  We had a baptism Saturday night and had refreshments to do for that.  We served kiwi, orange slices, and snickerdoodles.  I was going to try a new recipe, but just didn't have the time for something else to fail.  The baptism was for Solange.  She is twelve years old and a very sweet young lady.  Her family has just recently started attending church again and they are very nice people.

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