Monday, September 23, 2013

¡Hoy es mi cumpleaños!

from: Rosemary Baratta 
date: Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 3:36 PM
subject: Week 2: ¡Hoy es mi cumpleaños!

Hola familia!

It´s been another wonderful week at the Mexico CCM. A little harder than last week, but nothing that´s worth writing home about. And I am continuing to love my companions, which is what I was, to be honest, most worried about.
So I found Mom´s wrapped birthday presents and 3 cards (I don´t know how that happened, since they are all from Mom and Dad, but I´m not complaining! I like cards :D), pretty much the first day, and I knew what they were, since she told me about them before hand. But I was getting a little impatient to open them, so one day, and I think this was last Thursday, I finally cracked and opened one of the cards. A compromise--not a full present, but then at least I wouldn´t have to wait a WHOLE WEEK MORE without anything! 

Inside the card was the funniest thing ever, I had to read it to my companions--Mom had written a note explaining what the presents were for and something along the lines of: "Now that you´re not a teenager anymore, you have the patience to wait to open your presents, and obviously you wouldn´t open these cards early since they are clearly labeled."

 I love my district! Someone wrote this on the whiteboard
- so when I went to grab my stuff- I had to snap a photo!

Anyway, so September 15th is Mexico´s independence day, and since we are at a church place, we celebrated one night early, on Saturday instead of Sunday. We saw it on our schedule about a week before and were so intrigued what on earth "Mexico Night" was supposed to be! Eventually we pieced together that it had something to do with their independence day (fun fact, I think that´s why they served us cow tongue--because they were serving traditional Mexican food to help give us uneducated Americans some culture :D), but beyond that we had no idea. So, super excited, we showed up at the gym about a half hour early only to have to wait an hour in the rain because nothing here runs on time :) . Luckily we had our paraguas (umbrellas) and, in good spirits, spent most of that time singing hymns!
When we finally got in, Mexico night turned out to be a cultural event sort of. They showed us a video (with insanely epic music and almost cheesy slow motion people turning to face the camera), then there was some traditional Mexican dancing, including, of course, the BEAUTIFUL bright colored skirts, and a singer. 
Oh, also, we sang the Mexican national anthem, a confusing but exhilirating experience. (We´d spent 20 minutes "practicing" before a devotional that week, but in reality, all they did was have the auditorium, including about 20% native Mexicans, sing it over and over with really loud background music without slowing down to help the rest of us figure it out.) I definitely recommend looking it up!
Then, during the singers´s last song, actual fireworks went off. Inside the building! it was insane. But I loved it. Porque no? Estamos in Mexico! After a night of insane excitement, cultural enrichment, and good clean entertainment, they pulled it back into the spiritual by having the dancers (who we later found out were youth from the nearby stakes or something) sing the EFY medley in Spanish. I didn´t realize this before (or maybe we were just listening to a special version) but it starts off with a very military sounding drumming bit. Anyway, it was very powerful, and I loved that ending :)

Lest you think that Mexico night was over after we returned to our casas that night, let me assure you, it was NOT! Presidente Pratt (CCM president) adores Latin American culture, so he deemed it an appropriate Sabbath Day activity for us to participate in a traditional Mexican activity called the "grito" which, since I don´t have time to explain, involves a lot of yelling "VIVA!" in response to different statements. It was fun, but it started at 11 and we were all EXHAUSTED when we got back to our casas 2 hours later than usual that night.

Okay, one last detail about this, and I will move onto the spiritual aspect of this week (since, in addition to being super fun and my birthday week, it has been a time of incredible spiritual growth!). The last detail being this: Mexicans LOVE fireworks! They have been setting them off at all times of the day over the past few weeks, in honor of the holiday! The most, of course, being on Sunday night, but it has been pretty exciting to hear the pop-popping sound and know that it´s more likely to be fireworks than gunshots.

We got a new teacher this week, and, even though the Elders think she is too strict, I LOVE her. Just like Hermano M., Hermana N. does an incredible job of both teaching us Spanish and teaching us spiritual stuff. One of the things she said that I loved was, "Do you think you´d hear the Savior telling someone to shut up?" It made me stop and think--I am supposed to be a representative of Jesus Christ, and am I living up to this example? 

We are the one that limits our friendship with Jesus (I don´t know why I wrote that, but I love it)

I don´t know where Hermana N found this talk, but it is by President Eyring about the gift of charity (She actually showed it to our class because she and I had been discussing how I wanted to develop more charity, which I thought was pretty awesome), and I love the example he gives, of this guy who had messed up BIG TIME, and came to talk to him as a bishop, and President Eyring, who was starting to get angry (just like I get when people do stuff that I think is wrong), suddenly had this feeling sweep over him and heard the words, in his heart: "The person before you is my child. I love him." God sees people so much differently than we see them. Compassion, and true charity are gifts from him, and they are gifts that I really want to be able to be worthy of and earnestly seek on my mission.

Aight, that´s all for this week!

Love you all!!

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