My First El Salvadorian Christmas

“Hey hey everybody! So I want to start with that I have hit 100! 100 days in the mission! When did this happen? I still feel like it was yesterday my mom and I were attempting to pack 18 months in only three suitcases. Somehow I came out of that with a lifetime supply of cotton balls and Q-tips. Haha! Time flies when you´re having fun. This week we had a lot of fun. To start off the week we had a giant party with all of the mission! And somehow I ended up on stage dancing to Single Ladies… After that skit I am pretty sure I will forever be a Single Lady. Haha! Yikes! Hashtag I am Beyonce. Anyways, for this party we got to wear JEANS. What are jeans? It´s been so long! It felt so weird wearing pants. It turned out to be a super fun day/event/fiesta. And thank you mom for not sending embarrassing photos for the slideshow! 
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So Christmas here is celebrated on the 24th! Fireworks till 6 in the morning people! It´s a party! Thank goodness I can literally sleep through anything now. The other night I slept through another earthquake! This could be a problem. On the 25th I got to SKYPE! OH happy day! It was the best Christmas gift! Oh man. Mom, Dad, Cameron, Jay, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Jo, Uncle Peter! The whole crew really. I was so happy! I feel like I never left or I´ve skyped with them everyday since I´ve been here. It´s funny, after we finished skyping, everyone said, ¨You obviously don´t miss your family as much, you´re the only Hermana who still has make-up on.¨ Haha, ya not much of a crier. I was just so happy! What´s there to cry about? And let me add I miss my family like nobody can imagine, but hey, it´s all going to be okay, right? 

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So the skyping was super great. I was just so happy. I want to share my favorite part. My cute friend Hermana Peña jumped in with me about half way. She wanted me to translate what she said to my family. In total this is what she said, ¨Hello Hermana Patterson´s family! Yesterday was Christmas. Hermana Patterson made me act out the Nativity. I was the angel. I don´t like acting, but I did it for her because she really wanted to be Mary. She´s never gotten to be Mary she said. She has been the sheep, donkey, and even Joseph! (This is a true statement.) So this year she got to be Mary. She was a beautiful Mary. Your daughter is very special to me. I want to be her companion one day. She is so kind and always smiles. She has taught me a lot. She is also crazy. Always crazy. But I love her. She is one of my best friends.¨ Oh man. It was so tender to hear the words she had to say, see my dad cry, and be able to translate for my family. It made me realize, wow. I speak Spanish. I remember just three months ago when the only word I knew was queso. Ahhh, it was just such a special moment, loved it. Loved talking to my family! MISS YOU ALL. 

To finish my Christmas day we helped paint a house and the best part was they had their iPod going. I could´ve sworn it was my iPod. Imagine Dragons, Macklemore, and Mumford. That also was a very good gift for me and my ears. So seriously, best Christmas I´ve ever had! And yes I made the Hermanas act out the Nativity with me Christmas Eve. It´s tradition! Just didn´t have the chance to get bales of hay, have a boom box with animals sounds in the background, and have a complete backdrop of Bethlehem like my dad does. But we made it work. I made Hermana O the wise women. I made her bring my Mexican Peso to the manger. Ya. Haha!

And fun facts for the week!

Well one, Hermana Smith sleep talks in Spanish. I await for the day!
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Two, the volcano in San Miguel errupted. Like errupted errupted. Look up photos on google. It´s crazy!! Don´t worry I am far away enough.
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Three, someone said they know me because I am in a movie… wait what.
Four, I saw a picture of the Quaker Oatmeal man and for some reason it made me happy. Familiar face? America? Something about it just made me miss home a little and dino eggs oatmeal. Haha! Five, so I don´t want this to be true but it was mentioned to me Justin Bieber has decided to stop singing. Is that a cruel joke? Or is this a true statement. If so, it´s probably because I´m gone, so he has no reason to sing anymore right?
Six, I made my first pupusa.  This sweet Hermana has us over for dinner every Sunday.  She taught us how to make pupusas.  And they were so good!
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And lastly, today we got to go to the beach. It´s beautiful. Can´t swim, but can stare. Gorgeous!
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So Merry Navidad! Woo! So I hope you all had a great Christmas too. What a fun ime of the year! Family, friends, traditions, and all the joyful jazz. It definitely was a different feel that´s for sure, but I loved it. What I loved about being here is that there weren´t as many distractions as there are in the States. All the ads, stores, presents, Santas, you name it. I really had the opportunity to see a different side of Christmas. I love this quote by Anne Frank, ¨No-one has ever become poor by giving.¨ I live in a place where some people have everything and some people have close to nothing. I can´t even begin to explain to you the things I see everyday with my two very own eyes. I used to think things like this didn´t happen in the world, but they do. I remember very similar experiences in Tonga as well. I have been so humbled at the service, love, and food we have received from people I know have very little to share. It made me think of the story in the Bible Mark 12:41-44. What a humbling thought.

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Always be grateful for what you have in this life. Count your blessings! Everyone has them, big or small. And always serve others (Mosiah 2:17)! I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father and His son. I know he mindful of us. He loves us and wants to help us. We just need to come unto Him. This is why I am so grateful for the gift of prayer. The opportunity we have to, whenever we need to, pray to our father in Heaven. I have seen the blessings of prayer on the mission, and I testify to you God lives. I love you all and hope you have a super great week! 

Hermana P”

We had a great Christmas!  It was so fun to talk to Tori.  She really does speak Spanish!  She and Hermana O gave us a lesson and everything.  It was quite amazing actually.  We did get to say hi to all the hermanas she lives with right now.  It was so fun to see her!  She showed us a little bit of the outside where they were.  It is a jungle, even in the city, you can tell it is a jungle.  She is doing so well!  I was surprised at myself that I did not cry when we hung up.  Unlike Tori, I am a bit of a cryer.  But it was just so good to see her and hear her.  She is so happy and she just looks really good.

So we have a bit of a tradition going at the Patterson house.  Every Christmas Eve we act out the nativity scene.  It started out small.  But it has escalated over the years.  Because we often have lots of people over, they are many more roles available.  Such as sheep, donkeys, tax collectors, innkeepers, Samuel the Lamanite, 3rd Nephi, etc. For some reason, we have never had many boys who have wanted to play Joseph, so in fact, Tori was Joseph one year, it is true.  So now that she is out on her own, she can be Mary again.  I will include a few pictures of our nativity scene from our backyard this year. (photo creds to Uncle Dave)

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And here is the baby picture I sent in for the slide show she mentioned.  Just for fun #throwbackthursday even though it is Monday.

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Have a very Happy New Year!

Love,

Momma P

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2 thoughts on “My First El Salvadorian Christmas

  1. judyandritchie

    Love these weekly updates! We were so happy to be there for the Skyping – some tense moments while Tori moved from house to house to make it happen! It was so fun to see you, and how happy you looked! Love you Tori!

    Reply
  2. Adair patterson

    Hi Tori I told Garry you didn’t feel the earthquake and he said he didn’t feel it as well I laughed and told him it was in El Salvador and he laughed too. Vancouver can have earthquakes as well but as yet nothing to speak of. my goodness a volcano too you are in a zone of earth moving. It makes me think of when I lived in London in the 70’s and it wasn’t earth quakes it was bombs going off the IRA were very active and I do remember hearing and feeling the bombs, but life went on and we continued to pray for the safety and well being of everyone.
    I’m so glad you had a great Christmas and I to know what it is like to see life that is different to what we are use too and it is what gives us a sense of humanity that some people never have the opportunity to experience so we are the lucky ones to know how good our life is in Canada and US. Love you lots and your stories make my heart singing. LA

    Reply

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