Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Holidays from El Salvador

I wanted to share with you all our most recent experiences here in El Salvador. Delena has posted a great blog post to our family blog with photos:

This is my third Christmas I have spent out of the country. This was Delena's first. I had forgotten how much people do here for Christmas. Fireworks, parties, dancing, you name it. Take the fourth of July and times it by 10 and then give those fireworks to every house in town and that is what we saw on Christmas Eve. Stockings and Going to bed early are not in the cards. Instead they stay up until midnight, open presents and party till 5 am.

Buying presents was a challenge, either we couldn't find what we wanted, had to make it or it cost 5 times what it does in the States. Either way, we had an amazing Christmas. Delena got my a guitar, the kids got amazing games and toys and Delena received a new sewing machine. Sears played a big part in my christmas shopping here, even if it does cost twice as much.

Our Call Center is doing amazing. We have nearly 70 employees now with 4 accounts. We have been doing small overflow call work for a call center in the Philippines but last week we won a huge account and are adding 35 more agents and eventually we will be a 24 hour operation. We are excited to be running a full campaign here in the country. We are handling calls from all over the US and the UK. We are being told our agents have amazing English skills and some of the best quality. We had a great employee Christmas party full with Karaoke, dancing and food. We even had a Focus Band that played and El Salvadorans know how to party. We are starting two new campaigns in the coming weeks and hope to be to 125 agents by March.

The people here have been amazing and we have been very blessed to be welcomed into their homes and to meet so many amazing people. We have been inviting a family at my work to attend church with us and they have been a few times and we hope they will except the missionaries soon.

We will be visiting the states in January and hope to see many of you when we come back. Until then Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Nuevo

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Silent Night Holy Night... yeah right!!

  Our Christmas in El Salvador was Great!  Christmas Eve was very loud.  The locals feel that Our traditional Christmas Eve is quite boring.  And compared to theirs, I must agree.   After dinner they light fireworks, for HOURS!   This fireworks every night thing has been going on for a Month, but they save the best for last, so at midnight WOW! what a show!  Santa comes at midnight and its an all night party.  But we are boring and went to bed after the fireworks died down. Can you imagine how wonderful that could be as kid! Fireworks and no bedtime and presents AND Candy!!  (I'll keep my parental opinion to myself.)

The Figuroa Family invited us over for a traditional El Salvador  feast and It  was so  yummy!  There was  Turkey and  we provided funeral potatoes,  (what else screams Utah cuisine like funeral potatoes? Jello does not count because El Salvador  just might be a close tie to Utah in Jello consumption.)   There was an amazing shrimp dish that I am excited to get a recipe for, Christmas Tamales, dulce de leche bread pudding.  I have yet to meet an El Salvador dish I don't like.  We had such a great evening with great people! Thank you!
Our cute little tree with the homemade ornaments.
Stockings are not really a tradition here so we made our own.
                          Santa visited us at our house!
  He wanted to let us know that he had
 found us in El Salvador and had a early
gift for each of us.    

Joseph watched the Santa tracker ALL DAY!  Classic! 
And the moment we've all been waiting for! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Brunch

  I hosted the Christmas Brunch for the North American women in our ward today.   What a great group of women!   2 months ago these women put their arms around me and have been so instrumental in helping me adjust to life here.   I am so thankful for them!  We celebrated Christmas together today and I had the honor of hosting!

Sunday, December 04, 2011


Our first visit to the ruins of Tazumal!  The Name, Tazumal, means "The Place where the victims were Burned."  

 The Boys were excited to see where Nephi may have lived. 
 It was a beautiful day!

 The part they are still uncovering, so cool to see it in progress.
 Repent Ye! Repent!!
 Dallin will not be outdone!

 Just amazing!

10 years later...

  Yesterday we took a drive out to Santa Ana.  Ben served 12 months of his mission there.  It is a very special place to him.  We went to the home he lived in for 6 months.  And it was our lucky day, we were able to go inside!!  The woman who shared her house with the missionary's was lovingly called Abuela (Grandma).
  Ben asked one of the neighbors if she knew if Abuela still lived there.  The nieghbor he asked just happened to be Abuela's  Daughter-in Law. Abuela passed away several years ago.  But her and her husband still owned the house Ben Lived in.   Abuela's Son recognized Ben right away as the Missionary who played the guitar at his fathers funeral. (a song Ben had written for the occasion) He still had the recording of it and everything!
  They were so kind to let us see the house. Ben was very emotional a few times.  I can only imagine the flood of emotions, he said the place looked exactly the same.
  This is something I have been looking forward to in moving here.  Seeing the Mission I have heard so much about.  Ben's Mission really did shape who he is today and I am so blessed to get this opportunity for him to share this with me, and our boys.  Because we talked so much about Daddy's Mission, Joseph wanted to wear his "future missionary" name tag to church today.  That's precious.

 The kitchen he was electrocuted in.

The scene of the infamous "cockroach story". 
If you haven't heard it, you are missing out there is a fireball involved.

Many a gospel discussion happened at this very table. 

 This is the very pavement "Elder Markland" Pounded. 

They gave us some fresh Bananas and peppers from their garden!  I love it! 
The kids ate like 5 bananas each Muy rico!  (very yummy) 
Abuela's rocking chair.
 Elder Markland's  room.
"The soccer field"
The Late Abuela and Jose Gustavo Reyes.
10 years, a wife and 2 kids later... and at the front door again.
 (The kids just wanted more Bananas.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011


   This years thanksgiving was different ya know because of the different country and all. And there were things that were just not available here.  Like pumpkin for pumpkin pie.   We had a beautiful Turkey that Ben Cooked perfectly! So yummy!   And some homemade stuffing.  I made a pecan pie for the first time however, the closest thing to corn syrup here is maple syrup so it had a maple flavor to it.   It was actually pretty good.

    We invited some friends over.  They are from the states as well.  We both had our maids there and introduced them to a traditional (kinda) Thanksgiving dinner.  And then they cleaned up after us and watched the kids while we visited.   That part was very surreal, but totally the way to go!  hahaha!  Let the holiday
season begin!  

Eighteen minutes of fame

    When we first told everyone that we were moving to a foreign country,  friends asked us if we watched the T.V. show "House Hunters International".   Needless to say we started watching the show,  and then I applied! All I did was send and E-mail with our info and then I got a reply!  They were interested in our story and wanted us to make an audition video.  Well it was crunch time for us, so we made our audition video like and hour before we were leaving for the airport.   I thought well, that was fun but no way are we getting on the show.  I was so wrong!   They came and filmed us for 3 days last week!!
    Here is how it works, they come film for one day at your origanal home and 3 days in the new country, but you are already living in your house.So it's two days of touring houses and then they do a day of your family visiting sites in your new country.  They move all the furniture out so you can take the tour and then they move it all back in, (they hire locals to help with this process.) Sorry to burst your bubble if you thought reality T.V. was in real time.
    In our case It was even harder for them because our apartment complex would not let them film here so they  had to find a house for us to pretend to live in. (Just so ya know they were not happy about this) They really do try to keep things as real as possible under the circumstances.  We had not seen the houses before we toured them with the camera, so we were genuinely surprised, with what we saw.  I loved that they really let us tell our story,  It was not fed to us.   How cool is it that! Our experience professionally documented and edited!!

 The cameraman
 Delena's OTF  (on the fly interview)
 If you said something they liked you knew it, because they had to get you saying it over and over so they can film you saying it from every angle. I must be HGTV's brand of corny because I did that a lot!
This is Carla and Dallin. She was the driver and also helped us out with our kids.  She was Awesome!
Ben's OTF.  They were fascinated by my multi-talented husband. 
Cameraman and the director, they wanted some footage of me freaking out in the car I hope I delivered.
He can dish it out but he can't take it.

 They took us to the beach.
 we were serenaded
 When you walk down the street with a film crew, people either get out of  the way, or they look at you like  dang I was hoping for Julia Roberts. 
 Does this camera make make my head look big?
 Joseph quite liked the director, or maybe he had a little to much lemonade.
 Bright and early getting ready to head out for the day.  We shot from 9am to 6pm.
 This was our real estate agent we really liked her !

Ben telling the director how to do his job. 

That's a wrap!