We had a wonderful Ward Christmas party with a yummy dinner, a nativity play by the Primary, and Santa visited with his “elder” reindeer pulling a sleigh (magically transformed from a wheelchair). By the way, adult “onesies” (footed/hooded pajamas) are the rage here and you can get them in all sorts of personas!
The Primary nativity play was so precious, and the costumes were even better than mine! I hope you can see the details on the baby lamb (she is the hot pink arm at the front) and the star. Orient is on his dad’s shoulders with his gold lame star costume. You can’t quite see the five points but you can see his sweet face poking through!
On Christmas Eve we had a district lunch at our flat, where we cooked foods that the elders had been missing while on their mission (the sisters make whatever they miss!). We ended up having “bacon baps” which are English bacon wrapped around a sausage on a dinner roll with butter and barbecue sauce. Elder Young like them, Sister Young refused to try them. We also had waffles — not very good waffles because they are sold in the bread aisle. No one here has heard of making your own with a waffle cooker, but we did have strawberries to go on top. This is Sister Finch helping cook the sausages. And the elders found some A&W root beer to top off the meal!
We had reserved Christmas Day for the missionaries to skype their families and our own hangout video session. It turned out that the missionaries were able to skype at the homes where they were invited for lunch or dinner that day. So we had a wonderfully quiet day. In England you don’t go on vacation, you go on holiday. So we didn’t have a stay-cation, we had a holi-stay! We were able to video chat with all the kids and grandkids except Doug in Germany, and then we called and talked to him on the phone. All are doing well!
In other news, we met a daughter-in-law of a ward member whose parents were the mission president in Guam when we lived there. We didn’t ever know them but it was a cool connection. Another goalpost for the year was that Elder Young has passed the theory test for an English drivers license. They honor your US license for one year, and then you have to get an English one. It is a very long, very difficult and very expensive process. He has been studying and taking online practice tests for the last month. Now he can begin driving lessons, not officially required but socially expected before you take the actual driving test. Your instructor has to say you are ready to take the test before you will pass.
We have had two weeks off with no missionary meetings or Institute classes. However, our young single adults have been busy with dances and conventions all over. The traditional New Years Eve dance at Hyde Park Chapel is always a smash hit with YSA attending from all over England. They then walk over to see the fireworks at the river.
We hope everyone had a marvelous holiday season and are ready for a fabulous new year. As of 8 January 2014 we will have completed six of 23 months on our mission — just over one quarter of our time. It has gone so fast and we have learned so much! We love you all!