Friday, January 10, 2014

New Year Resolutions

You'll have to forgive me if this email isn't quite as long as the previous one- because, much to my surprise, I opened my email inbox to discover that I had FORTY emails filled with pictures from my adventurous little family in the Dominican Republic, and it took me an hour to go through them. You all look like you're having so much fun!!! That's so special that you got to share that with some of the other cousins and with grandma and grandpa. And I'm not even that jealous. Well, maybe I am a little. Or a lot. But that's okay, because I should learn how to develop more Christlike attributes while I'm out here, and getting over jealousy of an awesome family vacation is all part of the process.

Some of the things mom said made me laugh- like about the trash, and the traffic, and the living conditions of some of the people, and about how the market opened up your eyes, and, although Peru is different from the DR- just imagine similar conditions here, and brace yourself for when ya´ll come, because that's more or less what its like here. Just be prepared.

Well, New Years was this past Wednesday, and the people here have some cool traditions and some weird ones. Ive already decided that I'm going to do an American Christmas with my future family, and then go ALL PERUVIAN for new years. a few traditions:
-You wear all yellow (and I mean all yellow, like people were selling yellow underwear in the street) all day on New Years Eve, to have good luck the next year. Or you can wear red, for love. Or green for money. And the yellow isn't just a mellow yellow, but like, a blinding yellow that hurts your eyes.
-There are more fireworks than at Christmas, and people ignore fire safety more than any other day of the year.
-They make these huge stuffed dolls (like they sew jeans together and stuff them with cotton) and then they hang them out of their windows, and it looks like all these people are falling out of windows during the day, and then at night, they put them out in the middle of the street and burn them. I'm not sure why.
- People take their suitcases, and then run through the main square, which signifies that they're hoping to travel all year long.
-You  peel three potatoes. One all the way, one halfway, and one you just leave alone. Then you put them in something and turn off the lights and then pick one. I think if you get the unskinned one, you are supposed to have a lot of luck that year.
-They have 12 grapes, for 12 months, and you go around, eating one by one, and make a wish for that corresponding month.

There's a whole bunch more, but Ill stop there. Pretty cool, huh? I'm doing them all when I'm back.

Ive been kind of getting over a stomach bug for the past month, and so I was feeling really tired, so on NYE we went to bed at 10:30, then woke up at 11:50 to go up to the roof to see the fireworks. There were no chairs or anything to sit on, so we sat in this sink. I was so tired that I don't think I said anything the whole time. Then all these people were hugging on the rooftops next to us, and Hna Pug was like " Do you want a hug?" and I said "No. I want to go to bed." (Tell that to Kelsi- think shell really get a kick out of it. Really, anyone who knows what I'm like when I'm tired will understand. Then, the next day we went to the office, and all of Arqp was like a Ghost Town. They all have really big meals at 12 and stay up really late, so I think the whole country was sleeping. Traffic was really calm. Then, after we worked in the office,Pres y Hna invited us over to the mission home, where we ate like kings, and played a ton of games with them and all the office elders. It was so much fun, and a great bonding time as an office.

This year, so the first time in my life, I'm going to make resolutions that I'm actually going to work on and complete during this next year! I have 10, here they are:
1)Improve my Spanish so I sound as Peruvian as possible
2) Read the Book of Mormon, D&C, Pearl of Great Price, and the New Testament in Spanish, and then start in Quechua
3)Write my family and Chase a physical letter at least once a month
4) Use up at least half of all the camera memory I have
5) Write in my journal at least 5 times a week
6)Don't use any heat products on my hair (exceptions- special occasions, like Elder C. Scott Grow, who is visiting us next week, but I can only use heat once a week, and I have to use a heat protectant when I do)
7)Learn how to play the pan flute
8)End on good terms with all my companions
9)Return with honor from serving a full time mission
10)Go to Machu Picchu

And, there you are. I wrote down in my journal how I plan on completing with these goals, but I'm pretty satisfied with them, and I know that they are doable. If you have any more ideas, or would like to tell me what your resolutions are, then send me an email. I have a ton for 2015 too, because I got on a resolution kick, and its a list full of things like- get married, take a family name to the temple, etc, etc, But I think Ill just send you my 2014 ones for now, so I don't get too trunkie.

Hey, can you send out some thank yous for me? I got a package from Sister Peters, on behalf of Jerome 1st ward RS, and it was so great and appreciated! I also got a Christmas card from the Halls and from Stacy Boer. Tell them thanks will you?

Well, my adventurous travelers, its time for me to head out, but I hope you know how much I love you. You're all the best in the west. And the east. and the north. I love you all so much!!!

Hna Leavitt

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