Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Scenes in Downtown Madrid

Madrid is a wonderful place to spend Christmas. On the evening of December 17 we took the Metro to downtown Madrid to see the street lights and Belenes ("Bethlehems" or Nativity scenes). Here we ascend the escalator to ground level at Puerta del Sol:

Our first stop was at the Belén of of the Community of Madrid near the Puerta del Sol. As you see from the next three photos, a Belén depicts life and events surrounding the birth of the Savior. Here Beverly stand in front of a scene of Bethlehem:

 This part of the Belén shows typical home and family life at the time of Christ's birth:

We loved the the figurines of the wise men and others who traveled with them:

Our next stop was the Plaza Mayor, the main square of historic Madrid. A carousel was set up in the plaza:

Many booths sold figurines for home Belenes and other Christmas decorations:

Beverly poses with a "matador" in the Plaza Mayor:

We stopped at a restaurant and enjoyed hot chocolate with churros, a great treat on a cold wintry night, as we waited for nightfall and the city Christmas lights to be turned on:

Christmas lights adorn the Calle de los Preciados between the Puerta del Sol and Gran Vía:

The baroque Belén located in the Church of San Ginés:

Christmas decorations in the Calle de Arenal near Puerta del Sol:

The Plaza Mayor with Christmas lights and booths:

Beverly poses by the fountain in the Puerta del Sol:

The fountain and Christmas tree of the Puerta del Sol

Christmas lights near the Hotel Liabeny:

The Christmas tree (and moon!) over Plaza Callao on the Gran Vía:

The fountain and Christmas tree on the Plaza de España:

We enjoyed our evening walking around the city center, doing a little shopping, viewing the Belenes and the lights, and feeling the Christmas spirit.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Madrid 6th Ward Primary Christmas Service Project

As the pianist for the Madrid 6th Ward Primary, Beverly was asked to accompany the Primary children in a musical performance for the residents of Centro Domus Moratalaz, an assisted-care facility for the elderly, located near the Madrid Temple.

The elderly residents and their families congregated in the multi-purpose room for the program:

Beverly brought a keyboard and played for the children while Sister Eva Zacarías led the music:

Closeup of the two Primary girls dressed in cute Papa Noel outfits:

The big baskets, prepared by the ward Single Adults, held gifts that the children passed out to the residents after the performance:

 The Single Adults sang three Christmas numbers (also accompanied by Beverly):

The performers pose for a final picture at the end of the program:

The residents of the assisted care center seemed to enjoy the singing and expressed appreciation for the efforts of the children.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Temple Missionary Christmas Dinners

Our monthly Temple Missionary Conference was held on December 17, and as usual, we were in charge of the table decorations and dinner. We had a Christmas theme. Here Beverly finishes setting the last of the tables:

A close up of the Christmas table settings:

We had a great selection of food, including these salads:

... and desserts:

Seated at one of the tables were, from left to right, Brother and Sister Lloyd, Brother and Sister Duarte, and Brother and Sister Blesa:

And at another table, Sister Hernández, Brother and Sister Eby, and Brother and Sister Salas:

This is a picture of the entire group of temple missionaries at the dinner on December 17, 2012:

1 Sister de Schweinitz (California); 2-3 Sister and President Somoza (1st Counselor in the Temple Presidency; Spain), 4-5 President and Sister Tenney (Temple President and matron, Utah); 6-7 President and Sister Paya (2nd Counselor Temple, France), 8 Sister Rol (Holland); 9-10 Scott and Beverly (Utah); 11-12 Brother and Sister Alfonso (Spain); 13-14 Brother and Sister Conesa (France); 15-16 Brother and Sister Eastman (Idaho); 17-18 Brother and Sister Duarte (Spain); 19 Sister Hernández (Spain); 20-21  Brother and Sister Pérez (Spain); 22 Sister López (Spain); 23-24 Brother and Sister Eby (Utah); 25-26 Brother and Sister Salas (Spain); 27-28 Brother and Sister Blesa (Spain); 29-31 Daniel Gutiérrez y Brother and Sister Gutiérrez (Spain); and 32-33 Brother and Sister Lloyd (Arizona and Italy)

President Tenney prepares the ham for serving:

The Duartes brought this interesting and good-tasting mussel-on-the-half-shell:

President Tenney begins the dinner with a few words (to the right of him are Sister Rol and Sister Hernández and Brother Gutiérrez:

Beverly and Sister Eby pose in their look-alike outfits (a coincident):

The wonderful selection of food:

Scott's plate of food (he was daring and tried nearly everything):

A group of temple missionaries at one of the tables:

Scott and Beverly pose for a picture in their apartment on Christmas Day:

It was special a Christmas with our adopted "family" of fellow temple missionaries.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Peruvian Christmas in Madrd

A wonderful couple, Jorge Zegarra and Giovana Aguero, friends and fellow ward members, invited us and Sister de Schweinitz to have Christmas dinner with them. (Their son, Thedius Zegarra, is one of Beverly's piano students). We loved the opportunity to be with them and several other Peruvian families living here in Madrid.

The evening started around 8:30 pm when we visited members' homes, being greeted with the traditional Spanish/Latin American hugging and double cheek-to-cheek air kissing, giving gifts to them (Scott and Beverly gave each family a print of four pictures of the temple), being served a snack, and singing Christmas carols. For some of the visits we were joined by Papa Noel (Santa Claus), played by Manuel Niñán:

All of the families lived in nearby apartment buildings:

Even at night, people have their clothing hanging to dry outside their apartment windows:

One of the members of our group, Hermano Morales, wore his Santa cap and lighted glasses:

Even Scott and Beverly wore Santa Caps, lent to us by Jorge (smiling at left)

The first stop was a visit to the Monasterio family:

The second stop was to the Diestra family. The two older children in the center are Beverly's piano students, Ángel and Mari:

Next we visited the Cuéllar family (they are from Bolivia):

We visited Sister Virginia, who was very surprised by our visit:

We then visited the Vélez family:

Finally, we visited the Pacheco family. The youngest of the children, Samuel, is also Beverly's piano student:

Here Jorge (far left) and Giovana (far right) are shown with their friends, los Morales, who also went caroling with us:

Scott and Beverly relax before dinner in Jorge and Giovana's apartment, decorated with Christmas decorations and Church photos:

Like many families in Madrid, Jorge, Giovana, and Thedius had a "Belén" (meaning Bethlehem or Nativity scene):

Jorge pops the cork of the "champín" (a non-alcoholic drink):

Right at midnight, we all gave a Christmas ''toast'' to each other:

We gave another toast sitting at the table getting ready to eat:

Our first course was a very Peruvian salad with lettuce, ham, and potatoes:

Our second course was turkey with a delicious pine-nut sauce:

Scott's plate with pieces of turkey (with pine-nut sauce on top) and potato (boiled and cold, just like Peruvians like them) with a hot (picante) sauce made wtih Peruvian ají:

The third course was dessert (made by Miriam):

Peruvians (and Spaniards) consider fruit salad to be dessert (this one was made by Beverly):

We really enjoyed spending Christmas Eve with our friends in Madrid. It was one of the most memorable Christmases of our life.