The ward made a big fuss over us since it was our last week here, and you know they are sincere, because we're taking one of the only families and a third of the Primary with us on that plane!
And we heard The Longest Prayer In The History Of The World. Ever. I kept thinking "I didn't understand and she's giving a talk. I'll open my eyes and everyone else will be listening . . ." But, no, it was a prayer. Partway through Sebastian said to Rob "Wir steigen aus hier?" which is what he always says on the bus or train ("are we getting off here?"). A few minutes later he said "Papa, Ich will steigen aus!" ("Papa, I want to get off!") I think perhaps Sister Scheffield didn't pray for absolutely everything, but I'd be hard-pressed to think of something she forgot.
OK, she didn't pray for the goose thawing in our sink. That's right, it's not enough to celebrate in a foreign land, Rob wanted a culinary challenge and decided to fix a goose. It turned out well, though I don't have any other geese to compare it with. Dinner was nice and easy; the Christmas program was short; the kids were in bed early because they were worried that Santa would pass them by and it had been dark for hours by seven 'o clock.
This meant that Maddie and Will were up at 5:30am, frisking around and waiting for Sebastian to wake up. He didn't until almost 7:00, but then we went out and saw what Santa had brought. He did well this year by both children and parents (who have only packing on the brain now).
We went through most of the presents and had a good time. Maddie got a doll from Santa and books and clothes from parents. Will got more LeapPad books and ExoForce Legos that have japanime hair. Sebastian got a fun red dragon, two Trabant cars to play with, and a zuffy zapper (a flashlight that my brother, John, used to check under beds and in closets to scare away monsters that were 'big and zuffy all over'). Sebastian calls it his shoot gun and proceeded to scare away any cookie monsters in our house, and stick it in everyone's faces too.
Then the missionaries came over. We had Sister Nelson, Sister Ellsworth, Elder Merritt and Elder Hurd. We had breakfast, took naps, got shot with the shoot gun, and sat around the ruins of Christmas morning.
Then we brought out all of the strange things that we've acquired while we've been here, and let the elders and sisters go shopping. They got everything from our mixer and bakeware to towels, duct tape and immodium. It was a great load off for us, and hopefully it will help them too. For anyone who hasn't seen the inside of a missionary apartment recently, they are not well-stocked. No one ever puts any love into them because they don't have time and don't have money. Though the apartments Rob had sound pretty good compared to mine, and mine were great compared to Jeff's . . .
In the afternoon the McFarlands went to the Nutcracker at the State Opera House. It was a lavish production with incredible costumes and some interesting takes on the plot. Rob and I agreed that we'd never seen so many people performing it and the music was never better (they actually had the live voices during the snowflake dance -- I've never heard those except on a Balanchine video). It was a very memorable Christmas.