Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 35 Feliz Cumpleaños! September 22, 2014

Monday, after writing home, we headed to the Ayala Family’s house for some of Maria’s famous pozole. She had a HUGE pot of Pozole sitting on the stove and a bucket of cooked meat which included just about every part of a pig, head, ears, snout, brain, tongue, organs, etc. My comp. was practically dry heaving at the sight of it. But we ate it! I told her that the only difference about eating this pozole was that we saw beforehand the meat that went into it. I reminded her that it has always been there...we just weren’t as aware! Tip for those of you planning to travel to Mexico: NEVER ask what it is you’re eating. Trust’s better not to know.

Later Monday night we headed to the Lopez’s house to celebrate independence. They hung up a huge sign that said “Welcome to My Casa” in honor of us four Americans. We ate food and then went outside and had a huge foam fight. I actually didn’t want to get involved until I got surprised attacked from behind and completely covered. Game on.

They also were setting off fireworks and kept trying to make me set some off. I kept telling them no and that I couldn’t (fireworks are against mission rules) but they kept replying “trust us!”. (They didn’t understand that I literally wasn’t allowed to.) It was so tempting...but obedience is more important to me right now. We walked home dodging firework missiles and homemade bombs along the way and made it to our house in one piece. It felt like we were in a war zone or something. We slept to the sound of bombs going off until almost 4:00 in the morning. And it wasn’t just a few here and there, rather a constant explosion. I’ve never heard anything like it.

little boy at family Lopez house dressed up like a Mexican for independence day...super cute

We woke up the day after Independence day to a DEAD Mexico City. There wasn’t a single soul in the street. Literally. The streets were COVERED in firework ash and garbage. I felt like I was in a ghost town. The few people who we did see in the streets were either passed out drunk guys or little kids setting off leftover fireworks. My comp. and I were knocking doors when we noticed a group of about 10 little 8 year-old boys gathered around a hole in the street. As we got close, they all took off running as fast as they could with their hands over their ears and left my comp and I two feet away from the hole. I immediately did the same, knowing that at any second I was going to hear an explosion. I thought the kids would stop running after a few hundred feet but they just kept on going which let me know that this wasn’t your ordinary firecracker. You can imagine the sight: two American sister missionaries sprinting down the streets, ears covered, along with about 10 little Mexican boys. About a minute later I turned around to see a HUGE explosion which sent pieces of the road flying in every direction. It was so loud that even with my ears plugged my ears were left ringing. I could literally feel the explosion shake my insides...THAT’S how big it was. Another know the joy you feel when you go to a firework show and see the fireworks get shot into the sky followed by an explosion of sparkling colors?? Well that feeling quickly changes to fear when that same firework is shot HORIZONTALLY at you down the streets of Mexico. The things that happen here..

While walking through the street on Wednesday, I got stopped by a Marimba band on the street. They stopped me and asked me what song I wanted them to play. Normally you have to pay them to play but they were offering it to me for free. I told them to play me their best and they sang me some sort of romantic love song…benefits of being a tall white girl I guess. Thursday I ran into them again...this time they took it to a whole new level. The lead man gave me 2 of his band’s CDs and I took a picture with him in front of his Volkswagen bus. It was pretty awesome. He then continued by indiscreetly asking me to marry him...he’s probably in his 60s... It was worth the 2 CDs though! I won’t be able to listen to them for another 9 months but I can wait:)

Well folks...I’m 20...I’m officially a viejita.... But glad to start a new chapter of my life…full of adventures and new opportunities. THE DECADE OF DECISIONS! I woke up to a great surprise on Friday morning. Hermana Bennett had set out a bunch of balloons and candy on my desk. Each balloon had a letter of my last name with words that described me. She also spelled out a big 20 in candy.
It was a great surprise and made me feel better about being away from home during my birthday. During study she also surprised me with a homemade cheesecake she had made in the night with “20”candles and sang Happy Birthday. I got a bunch of calls from our converts and some of the other Sister missionaries.

The President made the trip out to my area and brought me the birthday package my mom had sent. He was so nice to go out of his way to bring that to me. He is the greatest mission president ever. We are lucky here in Mexico City Southeast! I was SUPER excited to open my package. It had everything to make my birthday one to remember...I especially loved the hand written letters from my family! You all mean the world to me! We headed back out to work and then headed to the Lopez Family’s house to eat. We sat down and ate a delicious dinner, and they brought out a GINORMOUS cake. They sang, I blew out the candles, and cut the first piece. As part of tradition I had to get my face stuffed into my piece. They then brought me a bag with a few gifts. They are seriously my family away from home.

Mom sent me some party supplies...we studied in style this week

Yesterday night I got a call from the Ayala family wondering why we were late to their appointment...we were about 5 minutes late...and it was odd. (Here in Mexico NO ONE is on time for ANYTHING. When you make an appointment for 4:00 that’s actually code for getting that call was pretty weird.) We ran over there really quickly and when I got there they all started talking to me in the hallway...they NEVER do that. I started to walk towards the kitchen and they quickly stopped me and said to wait because they were cleaning the table (which has never mattered). That’s when I knew that something was up. They made me close my eyes and sit down at the table...that’s when music started up and they started singing. I opened my eyes to see a cake in front of me. Best surprise ever! That family is the best. Of course the two 7 and 8 year-old girls insisted on stuffing my face into the cake and they got a big kick out of it. We ate cake and they brought out drawings they had made and a little stuffed animal. It’s amazing how you can grow to love people in such little time. I know for a fact that buying that cake was a HUGE sacrifice for them. They don’t have anything...they barely have enough money to eat. It meant a lot to me. I absolutely love the people here.

Saturday we ate lunch with a lady named Nelly. She’s a bigger lady in a wheel chair and she’s SUPER nice and has turned out to be one of my favorite members here. I was helping her dish out the food in her kitchen when I noticed a little Rubbermaid container full of little black specks sitting on the table. Curiosity got the best of me and I lifted the lid to get a better look...thousands of little black beetles. It was GROSS! I asked her what they were for...she eats them! She told me that they have healing powers and that she eats 6 beetles a day...she offered me some but I politely told her that I didn’t need any “healing powers” at the moment.

Later Saturday night the ward put on an activity at the church. We brought all of our investigators and got permission to stay for a bit. It was a blast! We played volleyball and soccer and they set up a dance floor. Of course we didn’t dance but I LOVE watching Mexicans dance. Our investigators LOVED it.

Woke up on Sunday, got ready, and headed over the Mariscal Family’s house to take them to church. When we got there, Vidal (the dad) was standing outside the house. I shook his hand and with a disappointed look on his face he told me that he wasn’t going to be able to go to church, and that he had to work. Typical Sunday be honest I almost started crying... Things like that ALWAYS happen! I had to stand there and talk to him 20 minutes about his decision. He was absolutely torn. Go to work and eat, or go to church and risk going hungry as a family. FINALLY he decided to come to church...PHEW! That was a close one! All went well and Perla and Vidal got baptized. Afterwards Vidal pulled me aside and thanked me for not letting him go to work. He was very sincere. It was really sweet. Vidal actually ended up getting baptized 5 times because his feet kept coming out of the water. Elder Hunsaker ended up having to get in with them and hold Vidal’s feet down while the bishop dunked him. You do whatever it takes! It’s amazing to see the sacrifices the people make here to change their lives around. We can all take that as a HUGE example!

We taught the Mariscal family the other day and as we were ending I asked if they knew anyone that would benefit from having the gospel in their lives. She mentioned her brother Rafael (long-haired, crooked-eyed, heavy metal head banger) We’ve taught him before and it’s pretty hard because you don’t know which eye to look at. She paused and said, ¨You like him don’t you!¨! Now she’s convinced that I have a crush on her brother....
The sunset on my birthday
Well, until next week...
Hermana Ingram

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