We do activities with two wards -- the regular Alhambra Ward (English) and the Valley Branch (Chinese). So between stuff with 2 wards, we're busy most nights. This past week we had 2 fun activities in the Alhambra Ward, one the RS Birthday dinner, and the other a cute little missionary activity with activity girls on Tuesday night. Many times special activities require our picking up various people, and so for this activity, we picked up the 2 English sisters from a neighboring community. One was from Ogden (Sister Baker) and the other from Tonga (Sis. Talinoa). The little girls received "mission calls" and learned a phrase about the church in that language. They also had a bag of items that they had to determine how those items related to a mission like a pan, watch, shoes, etc. They each pointed to where they were going on a map
Wednesday through Friday is English class, interspersed with bicycle riding lessons still. I'm getting cross-trained with weight-lifting with that activity!
This week was my first car-washing-in-LA experience! You take your car to the auto "spa", leave it in the lane, and they vacuum and detail it, run it through the wash, dry it, do the windows inside and out, and dry down the car, then shine the tires in about 15 minutes while you wait. They have little men on each car, so it provides lots of work for many. We went on a quiet night, but there are still people lined up to have this done! What a riot! Can you recognize my highly visible Buick, unlike any other cars in this part of the continent?
Speaking of waiting, you will never believe the gas lines at Costco at any given time! Sis Thurgood has a Costco card and can get gas for a better price there, but it comes at a price!
The other night around 11 pm, suddenly a helicopter came right in our neighborhood and hovered in the air for around 15-20 minutes, while all the while there were sirens going on. Must have been some kind of extreme activity, but there was no possible way to pretend like you were going to sleep! It gave me a new appreciation for the air raids during WWII. Crazy!
Last night we had four single sisters from our Alhambra Ward over for dinner. They were a little older, 60-70ish,but we had a good time. It must have been quite comical to look into our dining room for the after-dinner view! We were all visiting, when one of the little sisters brought out her face cards and we all played a fun card game. Yes, the rules for senior missionaries leave us quite a bit of latitude, I'm afraid.
We had a needed, heavy rainstorm yesterday and it brings out all the special creatures on the sidewalks outside our apartment. Careful where you step!
Yesterday, we also had a stake service project to gather in donated food for the local food pantry. It was a good activity and allowed us the opportunity to wear my jeans for the first time since coming here. I had forgotten what they feel like! We also got to wear the famed yellow "Mormon Helping Hands" t-shirts. Brand new pj selection for the grandkids!
Also, on our way home from the service activity, we HAD to stop at The Hat famed for hot pastrami sandwiches, which are to die for, and Sister Thurgood and I shared one for the road. They are kind of messy, but oh, so yummy!!
Once each transfer, there is a missionary farewell meeting that we hear the testimonies of the outgoing missionaries who are leaving to go home. It is called a "Despedida" I'm sure I don't know the correct spelling of this Spanish word, but some of you do. It's a huge event, for any members in the mission to attend, the missionaries and current companions, and any other missionaries who have an investigator who wants to tell these missionaries goodbye. So just for journal's sake, here are a few photos of outgoing missionaries from these meetings. You get a good look at my dear Sister Thurgood.
And lastly, here are a few tidbits from the past that I thought I'd throw in for good measure. Jaimie will appreciate how my room looks like bright daylight both day and night because of the lights that stream in through my blinded windows. I finally broke out my sewing machine for the first time and created a blocking curtain so I can have a dark night. . .
but it comes down first thing in the morning! It's quite a science to clothespin this heavy curtain to a flimsy blinds valance, hoping it won't fall on me during the night!
And when we went to the Newport Beach temple . . .
and Balboa Island when we had a famous Balboa ice cream bar. . .
and frozen yogurt night with all the missionaries when Sister Callaway came to visit last week. These are the times when a large group of missionaries get plenty of stares, but we are also getting to know the employees at the yogurt place very intimately for all the times we go there these days. . .
And we also met up with a past companion of Sister Thurgood's the first week I was here at a location outside our mission. While we were eating there, two cute little girls came up to us and thanked us for our missionary service and asked to take pictures with us. How cute is that?!?!
Lastly, also the first week I was here, our landlady and her husband, the Bunker's, also members of Alhambra Ward, take all the missionaries out once month for hamburgers and fries. The Bunker's are so wonderful! We will be doing that again this week. I have actually been here that long! Here is from that first dreaded week. . .
And there it is, from the beginning till now, all in photos and a little bit of dialogue. What an adventure I never dreamed of having! This is NOT what I ever thought MY mission would look like! But there it is.