This past week Chile celebrated its independence day, the 18th of September. But if you were thinking it was anything like the, you're a little bit off. There are parades and barbecues and everyone flies Chilean flags (in fact it is against the law NOT to fly a flag outside your house that week). But you know how in the states we just celebrate on one day, or maybe two if you live in Logan and your fireworks are a day early? Well in Chile, Dieciocho is a huge event. This year it fell on a , so the kids were out of school the WHOLE WEEK and , , and were state holidays so nothing was open and everyone got paid to stay home from work. Also everyone leaves town so missionary work is a little slow.
The ward always plans a ton of stuff for dieciocho.morning there was a flag raising ceremony, where they sang the national anthem (haven't had a chance to learn that yet - kind of a bummer) and then danced a little cueca, which is the national dance. We went in our awesome Chilean dresses that we had bought and I even danced a little cueca. (It is basically walking in a circle while you hold a handkerchief.) Then the ward had a giant activity the 19th, which went from in the morning until about the following morning! In the morning it was just the Relief Society sisters cooking lunch. They made TONS of pot roast and boiled potatoes and a bunch of green salad and pebre, which is kind of a fresh salsa. Then at (well, a little bit after) we came over for lunch, seeing as none of the members were home to give us lunch that day. It didn't get started for another hour or so (Chilean standard time), so we greeted all the members and took pictures in our traditional vestidos de huasa (cowgirl dresses) while we waited. And after that we still had some free time, so we made a "missionary" out of our unoccupied clothing and some plastic bags. The Primary kids got a kick out of that, especially when one of them hid under the bench and was making the foot move. They kept going out in the hall and trying to find other people to scare. It was so funny. Then we ate lunch, changed our clothes, and snuck out to work. Then we were able to go back to the activity for two hours at the end of the working day. At that point they had contests with a bunch of traditional games, gave out pajaritos (like kind of a hard orange roll without the filling and topped with merengue) and mote con huesillo (They take a whole dried peach, re-hydrate it overnight in water with sugar, clove, cinammon, orange peel, and a bunch of other great stuff, and then serve the peaches in the juice with cooked wheat kernels. It's delicious!). Right before we had to leave to go home for the night, the Primary did a traditional dance and after we left the whole ward had a baile for the rest of the night, with lots of cueca and other traditional dances. I was sad to miss this part, as I would have liked to have seen the other dances they do. But it was fun nonetheless.
That samemorning they told us about transfers. The transfers were supposed to happen today and , but the MTC was too full so they kicked the missionaries out early and so our transfer got moved up a few days. It was weird. But nothing changed in our house! I have another six weeks with Hermana Lyons and Hermana Frandsen and Hermana Alvarez, hooray!!!!! So you can all look forward to hearing more crazy tales of the Hualqui hermanas. :)
How are you all doing with your Book of Mormon reading? I am so excited to be reading with all of you. If you got a little behind this week, I challenge you to get caught up and let's stay together until the end! I would love to hear about the things you learn as you read! This week I liked the part in 1 Nephi 15:8, where Nephi says to his brothers, "Have ye inquired of the Lord?" I was thinking about how whenever we have a problem or a question and we don't know what to do, the first thing we should ask ourselves is, "Have ye inquired of the Lord?" So this week, your challenge (besides staying on schedule with the reading) is to inquire of the Lord the things that you want to know! I know that He will answer you and help you if you will turn to Him.
Well, that is all for now. Love you all a lot and hope you have a most fantastic week.
Keep in touch!