Monday, December 23, 2013

Vietnam is hoppin' and poppin'

This year I literally will be dreaming of a white Christmas.
It's like 85 degrees here in Vietnam so I guess I shouldn't expect to wake up to snow on Christmas morning, right?
Christmas here is a really weird feeling for me. There are Christmas decorations everywhere and everyone is wearing green or red around, but without the snow it just doesn't feel right. The Vietnamese really go all out for Christmas though! 
Hey, my cousin Anh Hoang is the best and got me this shirt for Christmas. Being here with my family gets better and better all the time.
There are insane, huge decorations everywhere and they're gorgeous. Every business has lights, all the people that sell things on the streets are also selling Santa suits and the members and investigators have made us the cutest cards. Ahh I love it! For the most part the holidays haven't made me miss home, but I did have a little run in with something people called "emotions" last week. Last p-day the four sisters went to District 1 to look at Christmas decorations. I have a love hate relationship with District 1 because it has amazing shopping (even a Marc Jacobs store), but it's so westernized that it throws me off and I don't feel like I'm in Vietnam anymore. So we rode for about 45 minutes to get there and the streets were completely lined with amazing decorations! The weather wasn't that great though, so I wasn't really feeling the impromptu photo shoot the other sisters were having. We pulled up to a small mall to go inside and see their Christmas arrangement. Outside of the mall the Michael Buble Christmas album was playing and we all know that good music just means trouble for a missionary. The minute we stepped into the mall I started bawling! Seriously, there were tears everywhere! And you wanna know the reason why I started crying? Because the mall smelled like an actual mall and it reminded me of being at City Creek mall! #FirstWorldProblems I was seriously crying because I felt like I was at home with the overbearing scent of perfume! It was the worst. To top it off the security guy was laughing at me and kept asking me why I was at a mall where you're supposed to be having fun and I was crying. #GetOffMyCase I know you all think I'm an idiot after hearing about that, but how about you try and not go to the mall for three months! Family and friends, I know you all too well, you would have done the same thing if you were me. Haha.
Friday was our branch Christmas party but it ended up being a party for all of Sai Gon!
Awko-taco Christmas party pics.
The party was hoppin' and poppin' with tons of people that we had contacted and the friends and family of members and investigators. For me, the party was literally a miracle! Hundreds of people showed up and we could barely fit all of them! Lately the work has been progressing very slowly, so to have this night when so many people showed up was amazing! We took tons of pictures so I'll attach them for you. One of the photos is of me, Vivi and Truc Ly. We're actually a girl band named LyLyVi. It's like not a huge deal or anything but we're going to remix the hymns in 14 months when I'm not a missionary anymore, and that's how I'm going to continue my missionary work - through making super sweet tunes that speak to the soul.
The girl band LyLyVi!
Anh Ca Hieu getting the transfer call.
Last night the Thao Dien district went to a member families house for dinner. This family is Korean but have been living in Vietnam for the past 12 years. We had a joyous one hour bike ride to their apartment, then had the best meal I have had in a very very long time!! We all took a seat at the table and you know what they pulled out of the oven? A TURKEY. A straight up, full size, delicious turkey. I could not believe my eyes! All the things that are normal at home are like little miracles here. I mean, I didn't even know you could buy a turkey like that here. Mind = Blown. So that was a straight up 10 in my book! While riding back home we got the transfer call! Can you believe that I have already been in Vietnam for one whole transfer?! I'm staying put for at least another six week but Anh ca Hieu who has been serving here for about 8 months is going up to Hanoi, and his companion Anh Ca Tri is going to the other branch. They aren't bringing in any new Elders to our branch though, so it's just going to be four missionaries for our branch instead of six. I'm a little scared of that because Chi Van and I now have to take the investigators of Tri and Hieu and we already had our plates full with our own people. Challenge accepted though! Getting the transfer call was hilarious though. Elder Hieu picked up the phone and we all pulled over on the side of the street. He got off his bike and sat on the ground with his head against a wall while still wearing his bike helmet. It was so loud and we couldn't here what he was saying, but for anyone driving by they would have thought the poor kid was dying. Haha What's cool though is that Chi Van's mom and sister just got baptized in Hanoi so Elder Hieu is going to be the one who teachers the recent convert lessons to them!
This morning we did service for a tearing down her entire home. She lives in a home about the size of your average living room and the house is made of scavenged wood, tarp and metal. You would think that this home (shack) would be easy to take down, but the fun thing about shacks is that they're like four layers of junk that is just nailed together. It took about five hours and 12 missionaries, and it's still not all done...Oh Vietnam, it just gets better and better every day.
My investigators are the cutest of cute.
So that's a recap of this week. I hope Christmas is fresh to death for all of you! I'm fully expecting you all to have one of those cardboard cutouts of me that you take everywhere. Not joking.
Love you all!
-Chi Ca Ly/Trinh/Fat/Egelund

Just another photo with the fambam.

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