Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hermana Pacheco

Neat thing about my birthday is that it fell on my mission Hump day as well as a P-day.  Talk about three birds with one stone.  Anyways, a slightly embarrassing tradition that the sister missionaries have here is that at the 9 month mark of the mish (or halfway point) they take a "pregnancy shot".  It's slightly clever, but more than slightly awkward.  Now don't start scrolling down to try and find my pregnancy shot because it's not there.  I was saved from taking this possible blackmail picture by actually giving birth to my first daughter!  Yep, at nine months I started training Hna. Pacheco.  Pretty cool how the timing works out.  At the same time, my trainer, Hna. Torres, gave birth a second time.  So I have a sister and Hna. Torres has a nieta!  We took a cute little family photo together.
Hermana Torres' Companion, Hermana Torres, Hermana Lance and Hermana Pacheco

So my time is short, but here are a couple fun facts about my tranie:

19 years old. Birthday: primero de Diciembre 
Hermana Pacheco
Is from Oaxaca Mexico
Has no idea how to ride a bike.
She joined the church with her younger brothers when she turned 12 years old.
Her parents aren't members, but since she's been out in the mish they have started attending church.
She drinks more milk than a baby calf
Eats more bananas than King Kong
And if she had a choice, she would eat frosted flakes all day e're day
She carries a small hand towel in her bag to wipe of the sweat from the heat.

Tired in her first week.

Tijuana Temple being built.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Guess what day it is...

Our refrigerator is filled with cake.  It's like a dream come true.  The best time to celebrate a birthday is during the mission.

I didnt expect anything special to happen on my birthday, other than it would be a P'day and I would be able to relax a little bit.  but Thursday we received a message from Miguel (who was baptized in July) asking if we could stop by Sunday night.  That was normal.  We nearly always visit him and his family Saturdays or Sundays to help him and his progress in the church as a resent convert.  He has the best of questions too!  Curiosity about patriarchal blessings, the 12 tribe of Israel, organization of the church authorities and other juicy church doctrine.  However, this night, instead of walking into a Spanish, doctrinal discussion, I found myself waking into a fiesta!  Miguel strumming on the guitar, Hna. Beatriz and Hna. Sobeida cooking gorditos in the kitchen, cake and presents on the table.
Miguel's Family

Best birthday ever.  The Elders even stopped by to join in the fun.  Laughing, talking, sharing stories, and food is always a great combination... no wonder they always have refreshments at ward activities.  Anyways, after eating gortitos it was time for the cake.  It was pastel de tres leches, my new favorite.  And they even had all 21 candles lit while they sang the Spanish version of Happy Birthday (a song that, to me, makes no sense what so ever.  It talks about king David and monkeys Im fairly sure).  After blowing out the candles (all in one breath I might add) everyone began to chant "Que lo muerde! Que lo muerde!"  And as I went in to bite the cake, Roberto, son of Hna. Sobeida, foolishly followed the counsel of the Elders and shoved my head further in.  They use the excuse that its another birthday tradition of Mexico...

Roberto in action!
Regardless, it was a fabulous night.  Even though I was in a completely different country than my blood family, I got to spend my birthday with other family.  I felt very loved and happy.  This is what the gospel is all about.  Bringing people together and uniting our spiritual family. The Paredes family is very close to my heart and it will be horrible when I have to leave Las Fuentes for another area, but that is the joy that the gospel brings.  That we will be able to see all of our friends and family again.

The next day, Monday, my actual birthday was quite simple but delightful as well.  After finishing our daily chores we had permission to visit the Macro Plaza and roam about.  Browsing the merchandise, but typical Hna. Lance, never having enough guts to buy anything but food.  What can I say?  You can never go wrong with food.  

When it was time to start working again in the afternoon we stopped by to visit Lupe and Rosalio, two investigators.  And guess what, they had scrambled together enough to have a cake there waiting for me as well!  It was a Hello Kitty cake, which I personally found quite humorous. 

The only downside to celebrating a birthday as a sister missionary is that all the men want to "felicitarle" with a hug.... sorry bro, but the mission rules say no.  Thats always a toughfy to explain.

Reached my Half Way mark on August 6th!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

That one time I got sick in Mexico, Part Dos

It came out from the top.  You know, just in case you were curious.  I got to taste all that delicious chicken and salsa a second time, and when I was done, felt a new strength fill me.  I left that bathroom with a skip in my step, we said our Gracias for the meal, and headed back out to the street to work.  

About 5 minutes into our walk we passed by our favorite Senora de Raspados.  We're pretty tight with her.  She lets us sit and chill in her shade as we snack on our Raspados.  This time only Hna. Bautista got to enjoy the sweet goodness of those homemade snow cones.  I'm not so stupid as to eat a sugar-bomb only 5 minutes after emptying everything in my stomach, as she ate, we began to contact everyone else who passed by.  With each minute that passed by I felt someone turning up the bubble notch in my Jacuzzi stomach.  Bit by bit I began to talk less and slump lower and lower in my bucket seat by the side of the dusty road.  Within 10 minutes, my companion was the only one talking and others had begun to tell me how white I looked.  Now considering that I am significantly whiter than 99% of the people here, that's saying a lot.  So ending the contact we began looking for a place that could possibly sell that heavenly pink thing called Peptobismal.  
 Something that I love about Mexico is that the people here are very self reliant.  If they cant find a job, they make one up.  Selling, candy, tamales, tacos, ice-cream in the street, or creating their own tienda.  There are tiendas in literally every street.  Tiendas are like mini gas-stations... without the gas.  They have everything.  Potato chips, candy, soda, eggs, fruit about to go bad, toilet paper, and any other random thing that you think someone might need to by in an emergency.  Now think of that one time when your family went on a road trip.  To save time, they stopped by a Sonic for lunch and you ordered an extra large slushy.  Remember how about an hour later you were desperately pleading for your parents to stop at the nearest gas station to use the bathroom.  Coincidentally that happened to be the most nasty gas-station you have ever seen in your life but you had to do what you had to do and afterward did your best to erase that moment from your memory.  Okay, well now that you remember it, times that disgustingness about a hundred fold and you've got a typical Mexican tienda.

About 6 steps away from our last contact we came across a tienda.  Entering, my companion asked if they sold meds and I asked if they had a bathroom.  At this moment, the people began to move incredibly slow.  It was as though they weren't familiar with the word "bano" and didn't know where to turn.  But I couldn't wait for them.  Things were becoming urgent.  That sourer taste had become quite potent in the back of my throat and I knew I didn't have much time.  I kept telling my companion "ahora! bano ahora!"  hoping that hearing it with her Mexican accent would help them move faster.  I guess it worked because some guy in a yellow shirt emerged from a mound of tortilla chips and started guiding us through a maze of towers formed of paper-towels, dog food, cooking oil, and beans.  

But he couldn't walk fast enough!  I felt it coming up and there was no stopping it.  My hands flew to my mouth.  No not yet!  We havent even made it past the pile of pineapples!  My companion must have seen my body reflex and began to push me from behind as well.  But the yellow shirt was still in my way!  It started to come up again. No!  My hands pressed even harder against my mouth but even still, a few squirts came out through the fingers. Why wont he walk faster!  Does he not like his yellow shirt?  I guess I can make it ty-dye. Finally he moved, the doorway appeared, and I threw myself into the darkness once more.

To be continued...