Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas at the DC Visitors Center

This was such a fun week for us.
     Sunday evening we were invited to dinner at Bishop Vance's home.   They live right around the corner from us.. They have 4 children and it was fun to spend the evening with them.  Sister Haleigh Vance is a very talented on the violin. She got her degree in Viola Performance at BYU and Bishop Vance got his music degree from BYU.  He now plays professionally in the Army concert band full time, and she teaches violin  They both sang a song that Bishop Vance had written and it was beautiful. 

     We started working at the Washington DC Temple Visitors Center "Festival of Lights".  They not only have beautiful display of lights outside with 500,000 lights on the trees and bushes, and a life size nativity scene. They start decorating the outside in August to make sure every tree and bush is covered with beautiful colored lights. On the inside there are huge trees throughout the building decorated from all over the world. Many of trees have ornaments and dolls from the embassy's in DC from their country.  Each one is so special and amazing.    There is a large room featuring  over 100 nativity sets from different countries.  The Ambassador from Brazil was the featured guest of honor this year that got to push the button and turn on the lights for the festival, so there is a large display of several nativity sets and a large tree honoring Brazil set up in the room.  The tree is decorated with orchids, glitter fish and sea life.. since it is summer in South America the tree represents summer in Brazil.  Each evening free performances are featured in the large theater that seats around 550. Musical talent from all over the area come and perform each night at 7 & 8 & 9.  There are choirs from the local high schools, individual professional entertainers, and various groups.  Some have been performing at the festival for many years.  On Friday night we saw the "Bells of Mt. Vernon".. it is a bells choir of 11 that use 37 bells to create beautiful holiday music.  The theater was packed on all three performances and the music was so beautiful and fun to listen to. Bishop Vance and two of his friends play at the festival in a group called "Trifecta"  they are a jazz group and word is one of the hottest performances of the season.. We were told that it is a do not miss event.. I have posted last years performance on my facebook page. 
      On Wednesday we drove up to the temple in a raging rain storm.. wow, something about Wednesday's and rain.  It has rained every Wednesday since we have been here except "3"..  Thank goodness Sister Brown doesn't mind driving at night in the rain.. so she agreed to drive on Weds.  It takes us about 1 1/2 hours to drive up to the temple, traffic going up at 11:00 am was very good and instead of the usual drivers that think it is the Indianapolis 500 and that they have to dart in and out of traffic going 80 they were great and going 40 to 45 miles an hour. Our day in the temple was great.. we love the people we get to serve with and have such a wonderful time with them.. our shift is from 1 to 7.. and so upon leaving we were told that one of the roads we take back to the freeway was closed due to flooding.. So we got sketchy alternate directions from a couple people.. each had a different idea of which way we should go.. so we decided on one and headed out.. It took us a little while and a couple of detours, but made it to our entrance of the right freeway and started home.. It was raining so hard and for some reason here in DC they don't have lights along the roads or freeways.. so it was black and raining and there was standing water on the roads. The traffic was very cautious and we drove slow as well.  The raindrops were the size of quarters and on the news it said it was raining 3 to 4 inches an hour.. We were very excited to see our apartment and get inside where it was warm and dry..  We awoke on Thursday morning to a beautiful day, sunshine and blue, blue sky. 
     Thursday, we took it easy in the morning and just worked around the apartment, I got my gifts all packed and ready to send out on Friday.  I also baked chocolate chip, coconut, walnut cookies for the 1st wards RS Christmas cookie exchange & Christmas party.  We headed out early afternoon for our scheduled hair appointments.. yeah. We are so happy with the salon we found..  Then at 7 we headed to the party.  Everyone brought 3 dozen cookies and a white elephant gift to exchange.  The party was really fun, a great attendance and lots of laughs as we chose and opened the gifts..  They had a hot chocolate bar to go with our cookie tasting.. We are making such great friends and loving it here. 
     Saturday is our day off, so we are getting last minute things ready for the holidays.. I miss you all, and would love to hear from each of you.. just e-mail me or write or even call.. if I am busy leave a message and I will call you back.. we have a lot of free time and I love to talk to my family and friends..

Have a good week. 

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