Sister Rounds

Sister Rounds
California Arcadia

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Made in China

Sometimes, so many happenings in my life revolve around Asian culture anymore. Just in one week alone, a lot of Chinese happened. And I wish that involved speaking and understanding the language, but I still only communicate with my dear Chinese friends with my heart. Alas!

Mid-autumn Chinese Festival is a large occasion that centers around a legend about the moon. A huge part of the holiday is little moon cakes, usually purchased. They have eggs in the center of these individual cakes, and different types of fruit. They remind me of Christmas fruitcake, minus the yucky egg in the center. 

We had a big festival at the church with beautiful decorations, gobs of traditional Chinese food, and tons of red everywhere!

Mid-autumn festival at the church

It was a unique, cultural, and joyful event with missionaries, Chinese Ward Family, and English class friends.

Friendly table at the festival

Me and my English class friend, Molly
Me and my best cheezy grin, and Beautiful Lola

There were also very cool cultural talents shared and displayed, all made in China. 
Traditional Chinese dance at the talent show

Family singing and instruments
Daughter, Mom, Me, Fanny Zhang
...and many great photo opportunities to share with Chinese friends, like beautiful Fanny Zhang, with an equally beautiful singing voice, and her family. All made in China.

We also take family photos before our Chinese family members have to leave Alhambra on transfers. Each one, whether made in China or not, we miss. They each offer their own piece of themselves to weave into my heart.
Crazy family!

Our next "Made-in-China" experience was an adventure to Chinatown with Eddy Marroquin. We drove to her home, walked to the bus station, hopped on a bus, and rode the 15 minutes (amazingly short!) to Chinatown. My first bus experience since coming to LA, and I survived just fine!

On the bus to Chinatown!
We browsed through unusual stores with cultural items, and listened to musicians on the street play culturally rich music with equally unusual instruments. We ate VERY Asian food in a restaurant for lunch, gazed at impressive architectural features on shops and businesses, and enjoyed a fun day in this culturally rich environment. Though it wasn't ALL made in China, we felt like we were in a foreign land, nevertheless.

Inside a store in Chinatown

Chinatown Bank architectural feature
Though these individuals are NOT all "Made in China," they are all very Chinese at heart. And they are some of the people who have impacted my life in etching a few little Chinese symbols of love on my own "Made in America" heart.
Chinese-speaking missionaries in Alhambra
Elders Kemsley, Chang Sam, Lutz, and Sisters Mann and Huang
Half-and-half:  Chinese and American

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Is it Autumn yet?

Lola and Thanh
Vietnamese friends, Thanh and Mei
I'm trying to talk myself into the truth that it really is autumn here. There's just not a lot of change between seasons. I know what season of the year it is because I turn the calendar page over. It seems to be beautiful, whatever the season.

I DO know that this is a season for treasured friends of different countries and cultures. I need to have a ready camera for any single day, any candid moment that arises.

Autumn time, or any time, for that matter, are perfect times to celebrate some excuse for frozen yogurt. This celebration was welcoming new English-speaking missionaries to Alhambra. We are now graced with the talents of Elders Veridiano and Mitchell.
One early autumn Sunday morning, we decided to take Thanh and another little Vietnamese friend, Mei, to a Vietnamese set of meetings for them to experience LDS church meetings in their own language and culture. It was a location near Irvine, outside of our mission boundaries, and it was an all-day affair, since we also stayed after church for a baptism. But how these little Vietnamese sisters loved it! It was a privilege watching them relate so excitedly with other Vietnamese saints and also to meet the missionaries in person, who had been teaching Thanh all this time via Skype. A truly special autumn Sabbath.

Vietnamese Elders, Sister Martin, Me, Thanh, Branch President Huong, Mei
Autumn flowers, trees, and dropping acorns are all part of Alhambra Autumn -- minus falling leaves. The trees have pretty much the same, beautiful look all year-round!

Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer trees
Autumn time also brought another temple visit with Eddy Marroquin. She's such a great friend and loves going to the temple.

Eddy and I

Sister Ballard, Sister Cook, Sister Austin and us had our seasonal dinner out. They are situated in a trio until Sister Cook's leaving, and they are having way too much fun! It was a great night together! These times with Janessa are sweet, special times that I look forward to.

We can't forget the autumn outing with the Bunker's for dinner at Los Gringos and theatre musical of "Anything Goes." They invite us each season with their seasonal tickets to these wonderful productions. These are such fun times!
Eating at Los Gringos before the play, where we are served fresh guacamole
and handmade tortilla chips. YUUUUMMMM!

This autumn brought about a very special visit from Austin's and Kylie's family for Labor Day. They also brought Sierra with them because they had extra space. What a blast! They enjoyed the apartment pool ( I know, it's autumn, right?)

and we spent significant time after the children were in bed, talking poolside in the quiet of the autumn evenings.


Such fun to have little ones around again! Their little noises and ways were just what was needed in this missionary's life! And to see how they are growing! Since Alex was born while I have been on my mission, it was great making friends with him. He has no idea who I am or why I'm supposed to be important to him.

It's easy to see...

who enjoyed swimming soooooooooooo much!

The animal visors live on...
One tired girl

We spent a significant amount of time at Almansor Park watching the cute turtles, looking for evasive squirrels, and chasing after ducks, birds, and geese.
Two little girls glorying in autumn time. Sierra with the big bag of peanuts for squirrels,
Gentry chasing after ducks
Austin, Kylie, and little Alex
We also enjoyed some time at the LA Temple Visitors' Center. It was quiet and uncrowded, truly a rare occurrence ANYWHERE in Los Angeles! 

Austin & Kylie Rounds Family Photo, including the Eldest Brother
We loved seeing the size of the temple outside and walking around the temple grounds.

And we also spent an autumn afternoon at a VERY BUSY Santa Monica Pier for lunch, browsing, and catching a bit of ocean feel. The event reflected a stark contrast to the serenity of the temple grounds.  
We had a grand day! And a grand weekend!

One of my favorite moments of this beautiful autumn visit occurred in the bright seaside room with the Christus. Alex was captured in this photo pointing to the key figure at the Visitors' Center...

and in our lives.
A treasure that even The Ensign editors would love!