Holidays in all forms are now upon us. Truthfully, last April I wondered if I would ever really see Christmas, because it felt so far away. And now, 'tis the season! In the meantime, life has happened in a variety of ways over the past few weeks. Farewells to young missionaries is ongoing, as is Sunday Night Treats...
with whomever is left.
|Sisters Mascaro, Christensen, Austin, Me, Xia, Gong,and Martin|
|Brother and Sister Johansen, Elder Doelling, Me, Sister Martin|
|Elders Fu, Asenjo, Ng, and Huang|
|Love those matching ties! It's all about solidarity!|
|Elder Kron, Elder Fu, Elder Doelling, Elder Ng, Elder Asenjo, Elder Huang, and the lovely ladies in front. Oldies but Goodies. Sisters Martin, Mascaro, Me|
We then moved on in the season to the next event, Thanksgiving! That meant The Coming of The Waite's. And we stayed active from morning till night, playing and enjoying each day fully. We barely had enough time to sleep, but we seemed to have plenty of time to eat a lot!
Jaimie and Trever came Wednesday night before Thanksgiving Day. They brought a LOADED car, from bicycle to gifts, to treats,and then they also had to bring a few personal items to stay, like, say, a toothbrush.
We had a large group (17) in a small apartment, and oh, how
crazy cozy!! We enjoyed all the dinner trimmings, and our added bonus was Janessa and her companion, Sister Plum. Nessie had only been in the mission field since Tuesday, so she was ready for a familiar face or two. It was so great having her with us! We ended up setting a serving table right in the front entrance to have enough room at the tables for people to sit! But it was great fun. How much there is to be thankful for! This year as I realize the importance of family and a new-found respect for self reliance, I'm very grateful for so many blessings in my life that have probably been taken for granted before.
|My lovely guests, Trever, Janessa (Sister Ballard), Jaimie, and Sister Plum|
|Elders Ng, Pao, Fu, Huang, Jaimie and Trever, Me, Sister Xia|
Here's how it looks to mix 2 different "families" into one -- a Chinese family and a biological family. Great families to be thankful for. 'Tis the season.
The next days were filled with fun and warm sunshine. We began at the LA temple Visitors Center. It was the perfect way to begin these fast days!
We really enjoyed the Visitors Center and temple grounds. It never ceases to amaze me how massive the temple is! It's rare if we don't experience a backdrop of blue sky and plenty of sunshine coming down every time we're there. Beautiful LA days.
Then we headed on to Santa Monica Pier and the Pacific Ocean. The beach was very sparse on this cold, winter day in the mid-60's! That means we quite enjoyed the balmy, quieter beachfront. The Pier itself was more crowded, but lots of fun and colorful things to experience. The Waite's discovered the talented artist who drew the letters in their name in colorful sea pictures in about 10 minutes. It was quite fascinating.
The next days were filled with macademia nut pancakes, walks in Lacy and Almansor Parks, Hobbit Doors, rose gardens, Fosselman's hand-churned ice cream, and Auto Row. We took a gander into Hawaiian Asian Supermarket with fresh turtles to eat, goat heads, jellyfish heads, and octopus to purchase, went for a sobering visit to Skid Row, and on the other end, observed impressive, high-end, progressive neighborhoods with beautiful homes and landscaped yards in San Marino.
|Breakfast at Aloha Food Factory|
|Lacy Park's awesome rose garden|
|What's behind the Hobbit Door?|
We ate yummy hot pastrami sandwiches from The Hat, custom personal pizzas from Blaze Pizza, and heard Christmas music wafting from stores and radios, which didn't match the warm, sunny climate at all! We visited the Bunker's in their home and had wonderful pillow talk at nights laid out on the air mattress in the living room. These were the times we talked and laughed, and also tried to whisper, trying to make sure we didn't keep poor Sister Martin awake with our laughter and recounting of the fun day. She also had fun days spent with her family that came to visit for Thanksgiving.
A visit to Almansor Park revealed treasures like"The Neons," turtle heads poking up in the evening pond, geese in all their varieties, and many cute, bushy-tailed squirrels, one of which Trever befriended by using a stick, since we were a little short on peanuts!
|Whoops! Scampered away!|
So now, 'tis the season for Christmas preparation. When we discovered the fake tree in the closet had a broken stand and would no longer stand, we broke down and purchased a cute little live tree for our apartment. We used decorations from the closet from past tenants, and purchased a few additional hideous decorations from the dollar store, and WALLAH!! Christmas Apartment in full Christmas bloom. "Tis the season!
Two BEST season preparations came from family, to be enjoyed all through the season. One is from AJ's family as an advent chain, which is anticipated daily for its fun and special quips as I unhook a link each day to see what is written on it from someone in his family.
The other one is a box of wrapped gifts to be unwrapped as 12 Days of Christmas, beginning from December 13. I look so forward to that one also! What time and love are wrapped into these sweet remembrances. Thank you, dear family!
We decided to have a Twelve Days of Christmas at the Center throughout the month of December, with each of us sisters taking different days to bring a "little something" to share with the office. The First Day of Christmas was provided by Effy, with her "little something" -- a total spread of Cuban fare, which was spectacular. I guess my little fruit pizzas might have been a little too much of a "little something!"
|Sister Martin, Sister Mascaro, Sister Effy|
'Tis always the season for Menchies Frozen Yogurt! It takes very little to find a reason for celebration at this yummy little joint in central Alhambra. This particular occasion happened to be Elder Pao's Hump Day. So we took off right after English class for a delicious yogurt fix.
Ever ready to be missionaries about their work. "Totally and HenHau."
|Some more of my favorite people, the Bunker's|
'Tis the season!