Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving in Belize...Why not?

¨Tropical the island breeze
All of nature wild and free
This is where I long to be
La isla bonita...¨

Madonna said she fell in love with San Pedro, Belize. That was silly because it turns out its neighboring island, Caye Caulker, is WAY more beautiful. (And cheaper too!) Someone should let her know.

When I first arrived, I was sure I´d found Heaven. Near the end, I realized it´s a long way from divinity, but still paradisaical in its own sense.

Snorkeling in the Caribbean! Say WHAAAAAAT??

Even better, our guide had an underwater camera and made good use of it. I can only get a couple up on here. Sorry!

Why yes, I did chase an eagle ray. I didn´t quite catch him, but hey, he´s got ¨eagle¨ in his name. How can I beat that?

There is nothing in the world that compares to the feeling you get when you take a deep breath, dive down, and fly over the coral in this turquoise water, just teaming with life.

And, of course, the Thanksgiving feast:

The Older Boys

Mis queridos hermanos!!! I can not come close to expressing how much I love each of them. So I´ll just talk a bit about ´em. Here we go....

Neta: My son. Also part monkey. (Don’t look into the relationship between those last two sentences.) You should see this fella jump! ... and run and climb and crawl – everything physical. He’s crazy limber. It’s impossible to get by him without getting jumped and pegged with a BIG ol’ kiss on the cheek.
Funny story about mi hijo: So Neta is a big fan of Michael Jackson. He also is a very intelligent, very imaginative hombre. I suppose for such as that, the line between what’s real and what’s fantasy is blurred (the intelligent are those who make fantasy real after all). Thus, Neta one day approached me with a contorted, pensive face and asked, “Is Michael Jackson dead?” To which I responded, “No, he’s still around.” Neta follows up with, “Well then how can he turn into so many things?” I stare dumbfounded. “HUH?” “Well,” he begins, “One minute he’s a man, then he becomes a jaguar…and ONE time he turned into a giant robot and there were these bad guys shooting at him and…..”

A conversation about the artificiality of cinematography ensued.
We clarified Michael Jackson’s mortality, emphasizing that he is not a ghost. Insert ill conceived punchline here: --------
(Poor MJ is an easy target these days.)

Mario: The teddy bear. Well here, this pretty much sums it up:

Me and my teddy bear
Have no worries, have no cares
Me and my teddy bear
Just play and play all day

…..and sometimes have spontaneous bouts of karate wars

He is such a helpful kid. And always so pleasant! I am beyond thrilled that he and his brother, Rene, are going to live in LOS ANGELES with their dad next year! And, oh how I love their father as well. (He already lives in L.A. but was down here a while to visit.) I’ll be able to visit them!

Rene: The smiler. Like his brother Mario, Rene is incredibly helpful. Rene wins the prize for most obedient. Not only that, he’s cheerfully obedient! Completely honest too. If something crazy goes down in the house and everybody’s sayin’ different things about what happened, the safest bet is to just ask Rene, “?Qué pasó?” He calmly gives a rundown and then goes on his merry way, perfectly content to entertain himself in simple pleasant ways.
I’ve become so accustomed to 24/7 hugs that sometimes I don’t even realize I’m being hugged until I look down and see little arms around my waist! Rene is an especially good embracer. However, occasionally, he finds it very entertaining to pretend just to be hugging me until I’m nice and complacent and then BAM!! He bites me! I don’t get it really, but it seems to be very fun, so hey. Have at ye, Rene!

Brian: The smarty pants. If I were to make a movie about any of the kids, it’d probably be about Brian (whose name is alternatively spelled “Brayan” or “Bryan.” I don’t think anyone really knows which ways right). There’s many reasons for that, really. Some good, some not so good (he has a sad hisory, but it all sorts of awesome despite it all). In any case, he’s a very interesting lad. He is VERY intelligent. Speaks a bit o’ English too. It’s always fun to see him in the morning and ask, “How are you?” His reply – very fast, very well rehearsed, albeit robotic – always goes like this, “Ve-ry-good-thank-you-and-you?” Kind of intimidating, but oh so cute!

Jimmy: The Comedian. He’s only been here a couple weeks now, but Jimmy’s already the life of the house in many ways. When he’s not cracking jokes, asking to use the ukulele, or pretending he’s a rabid dog, he’s running around imitating the chicken bus callers (dudes who ride along with the bus and shout out the name of the place where they’re headed). Of course, the caller’s bark (and Jimmy’s) is almost as loud and alerting as that of a rabid dog: “GUA-TE!! GUA-TE! GUATEMALA!!” (The VERY common siren’s song heard beckoning visitors and ciudadanos alike to Guatemala City.) Jimmy does it exceedingly well. Makes me wanna just jump up on his bike and speed of to Guate! Much more fun spending time at home with him and the others though. Even just thinking about the jokes he tells and the rise he gets out of the other kids makes me laugh.

Oscar: The sensitive one. One minute, he’s the sweetest, most soft spoken, tender boy you’ve ever met; the next he’s a raging fierce cyclone of screams and violence. It’s a grab-bag of emotions! Never a boring moment with this one. Well he is, after all, brothers with Jimmy. When all is said in done, you just gotta love him!

His lack of front teeth could possibly be one of the most adorable things in the entire world.

Tune in next week when I introduce you to my sisters and the babies. So much to look forward to!!

The Obligatory Linguistic Duel

Alejandra: ¿Por qué?
Mary: ¿Por qué qué?
Alejandra: ¿Por QUE?
Mary: Porque.

Alejandra: Ahhhhh, va.

(For those who don’t know, “Por qué” means “why,” whereas “Porque” means “because.” The fun part is that they sound the same.)

Well, I think it´s funny...

Me encanta ver el templo

Marissa and I made it out to the temple in ¨Guat City¨ a while back. Temple was amazing. The city, on the other hand, turned out to be quite an adventure that made me very grateful for guardian angels. More on that some other day...
Guatemala City Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Dedicated 14–16 December 1984by Gordon B. Hinckley
Excerpts from the dedicatory prayer:
¨Hallowed be Thy holy name, our Father. Thou art the great Elohim to whom we lift our voices in thanksgiving and prayer on this day when we dedicate Thy house...
¨Thou hast sent Thy prophet Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, that the purposes of the Earth may be fulfilled, and that those who have passed beyond the veil of death may partake of the blessings of Thine everlasting gospel and move forward on the way of eternal life...
¨May love for Thee and Thy Son grow in our hearts, and may it be expressed in our love one for another as Thy covenant sons and daughters...
¨We thank Thee for the wondrous light of the gospel, restored in this dispensation through the instrumentality of Thy servant Joseph Smith, whom Thou didst ordain a prophet to the nations. We thank Thee for the glorious vision given him in the opening of this dispensation...
¨We thank Thee for listening ears and believing hearts, that Thou hast touched us by the power of Thy spirit to recognize divine truth when it was brought to us by Thine ordained servants...
¨Please accept this house as the gift of Thy children. We have built it according to Thy will, that Thou, our Father, and Thy Son, our resurrected Lord, might have a place to manifest Thyself to Thy people. We consecrate it with love. Let Thy mighty blessings rest upon it and Thy Holy Spirit sanctify it....¨Bless our land, O Father, this nation of Guatemala where stands Thy holy house. May those who govern do so in righteousness. Bless them as they act to preserve the liberties and enhance the prosperity of the people. May there be peace in the land. May it be preserved from revolution and war. May there be freedom and equity under the law. May there be education and opportunity for all. May the forces of oppression and darkness be stayed by Thy power, and may the light of truth shine over this Republic. So bless, Father, its neighbor nations that they may be preserved in independence and freedom.

Prosper Thy faithful sons and daughters as they serve Thee in righteousness and walk in obedience to Thy commandments...¨