Saturday, October 21, 2006


I'm looking for a camera.

Today was a day for doing chores; deep cleaning the bathroom, touching up in the kitchen, vacuuming the living room and stairs, folding laundry, and getting rid of the gigantic DI pile in the bedroom. I'm not a cleaning person. I avoid it. But today just felt like a good day to get things respectable. It gave me quiet time, time to get some thinking in. Alone-time with La, shall we say.

Recently I was looking through my box of pictures, and I came across one of me, my brother, and my mom in the airport, returning from Argentina. So while I was busy scrubbing the bathroom floor today, my thoughts drifted back to that particular trip.

My parents took me there when my brother (Montgomery Q) was done with his 2 yr. LDS mission. It was the kind of vacation that I like: part relaxed interaction with natives, and part site-seeing. Montgomery Q took us to meet many of the Mormon families he knew in the area. These people were humble and gracious and fed us until we couldn't walk. We were greeted with kisses, we parted with kisses, they hugged us over and over again. I was 16 years old, and I knew I was in love with this country.

At one house (I believe their name was Jouinsse), we had a game night with some of their friends and other missionaries. I remember a young girl, about my age, who vied to be on my team. She couldn't speak English very well, maybe just a few words. Her name was Celeste. She had beautiful blue eyes with long eyelashes, and short, straight brown hair which she curled under. I didn't know who she was, really, but I was aware that she didn't live at that house. Maybe a friend of the Jouinsse's daughter, Anna? I'm not sure. She and I laughed awkwardly and enjoyed the game (Pictionary en Español) without understanding each other's comments.

The next day was Sunday and my family attended Sacrament meeting there in Libertad. Celeste came and sat by me, holding my hand. We Utah Mormons were a novelty for the ward, so they asked us to stand and bear our testimonies, while my brother translated for us. I bawled my eyes out. The "spirit" was strong that day.

Afterwards, we said our goodbyes in the lobby of the church, hugging our host family and shaking the hands of, yep, I think everyone in the ward. I remember a large person stepping out of the way, and there behind him I saw Celeste. She was looking at me with her blue eyes and they were welling up with tears. She approached me, threw her arms around my neck, and we hugged while her tears spilled. I wiped a tear from her cheek with my thumb. She shyly giggled and broke her gaze at last. We held hands and gave each other knowing looks. (But what were we knowing? That's what I'd like to know.)

And then we left. I've never exchanged letters with her, I've never seen her since.

Now I'm looking for a camera, because remembering that experience makes me never want to be without a camera.


Rebecca said...

Aw. What a great spiritual experience. Next time I need a great missionary story I'm going to whip out this post. It is truly proof the The Church is True.

I still want ice cream. And Mexican food. WHY ARE YOU IN UTAH AND NOT HERE EATING MEXICAN FOOD WITH ME!?!?! *sigh* My life is SOOOOO hard. I'm going to go cry a river and drown myself in it.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Interesting memory. Wonder where Celeste is now....?

Montgomery Q said...

I dont remember Celeste at all. Did you make her up? I vaguely remember eating lunch at the Joinnssee's...but I dont have a good memory. I'm glad you liked Argentina. The people are very cool. I havent written any of them. Thats because I'm an asshole.

La said...

Nope, I did not make her up. Remember how we played the game with the Frazier's, and Josh scared me with the hamster in a cup? That was the same night.

I wrote about it in my journal, so that's partly why I remember it. But I would've remembered it in part anyway.

Someday I'm going to blog about my absolute favorite part of that trip, the Cologne Theater.

Montgomery Q said...

I hope that was a joke. It's called the Colón theater.

La said...

Is that the Ascending, Transverse, or Descending Colon?


Anonymous said...

You won´t believe me but i am Celeste´s husband, she remembers you, she knows about your blog and about your sweet words for her.
We have two childrens a boy of 6 y.o and a little girl 4 month
sorry about my english my name is ruben and i´m from argentina
Celeste´s eyes can´t be forgotten...