Thursday, December 16, 2010

"These Are a Few of My Favorite Things"

These December days are flying by. Only two days on the calendar are not filled in. That's OK. Something picture worthy will happen for sure. In the meantime, these are a few pictures from early to mid December.

Dad had time to accompany me and the North American missionaries on their excursion to Old Lima by way of the coast. Instead of stopping on the beach, the bus driver took us to a scenic spot on the cliffs overlooking the sea. I love my role as the official tour guide for the missionaries who have three more weeks in the CCM. The Latins have only three weeks.

At a stoplight we watched this mime artist. The acrobats and jugglers are out in full force now. All the schools are out for the holidays and the summer vacation which began this week and will end in March.

Just below the cliff where the Elders are is the surfers' monument, a three sided, surfboard-like structure.

The views are particularly beautiful from this vantage point. We are looking down onto the surfers' monument and park which has been under development since we came 16 months ago. All along the coast parks, playgrounds, and sandy developments are under construction to make the coast a destination for families.

The Christmas tree on the Plaza de Armas/Main Square is under construction--a tree-shaped wooden structure over the fountain. The large brass nativity is in on the balcony of the Governor's Palace, and the traffic policewomen are in festive costume.

We are sitting on the steps of the Basilica waiting for our tourbus which was nearly an hour late. However, we enjoyed people watching and visiting with strangers who were quite taken by the sight of all the Elders in their white shirts and ties and the Hermanas and me. We had some strange and interesting encounters. The downside to the long wait was that I had invited the Armstrongs for dinner at 6:30pm. We didn't get back to the apartment until 6:00pm. Dad set the table while I put together the Lion House Chicken Salad dinner. I had made the salad earlier so it was just a matter of putting the dinner together.

The Area office grounds are just spectacular--the colorful gardens and lightposts are decorated with garlands, pinecones, and lights.

The artist of this multicolored nativity lives in Lima. The only place one can purchase his art is at Larco Mar in Mireflores or at the Lima Airport. I have his phone number and email. It might have to be the last nativity we buy here.

The North American wives lunch was such fun. We played Christmas songs on the bells, ate scrumptious food and visited. The young mother in the blue t-shirt just had her first boy. She has two little girls. She is one of 15 children who has written a fascinating book about growing up in a large, well organized family. Her little girl is under the table in the next picture. Her husband works for the US Embassy.

Kennedy was fun to watch. I took several pictures of her in different positions.
What child doesn't like to play under a table. I remember when we had a quilt on in the living room that one or two of our "people" played under the quilt.

More of the CCM plaza is lighted now. When we came out of the auditorio after the despedida on Sunday night, I took pictures. It's magical at night.

The La Molina Ward party was a kick. Santa had a present for every Primary aged child. He called their names, one at a time. The nativity presentation was so fun. The little sheep refused to keep his headdress on. Little Mary (Graciela's daughter Camila) was very big with child--she could hardly move from the many balloons stuffed under her robes. I sang three Christmas songs with a group of Relief Society sisters. For not practicing at all, we sounded really good. Dad said the harmony was balanced. I love how they do things here--no pressure!

With 151 missionaries, the auditorio is nearly filled. This is the group which sang for the US Embassy's top people a couple of weeks ago. President Whetten gave me permission to shoot some pictures Sunday night. Cameras are allowed only the P-day before they go into the field and on the day they are boarding buses for the airport or meeting their Lima mission presidents.

The despedida--the farewell gathering before the missionaries go to their missions--is our favorite event at the CCM. All the districts present a theme and scripture and then sing a hymn. We are amazed at the creativity of some of the districts.

Since I had my camera with me, I asked the Hermanas if I could take their pictures. Teaching Relief Society to the North Americans is one of my favorite "things" of our mission. The sister on the far left is going to one of the northern missions to serve as the mission nurse. Dad is so grateful for their presence--only three missions have nurses and they are invaluable.

Barbra Brasher, Cheryl Whitaker, Betty Ann Armstrong, and I had to have a "farewell" picture together. The Whitakers are returning to Las Vegas at the end of the month, the Armstrongs are going home for the holidays, Betty Ann and her daughter are staying until the end of February, and we are leaving on the 25th of February.

A perfect picture to end with is this young juggler who could juggle three balls in one hand or five in his two hands while standing out in the middle of the road where five lanes of traffic merged into an ovallo wide enough for three lanes of cars. What a way to make a few centavos!