Elder Schwartz wrote us a short note on Christmas eve, which I mentioned in the last post. He had sent some great pics, which we enjoyed. He mentioned to us that he would be trying to "Skype" us at around 2 or 3pm our time (PST) on Christmas day. Fortunately, I had left my laptop on from early in the morning with Skype opened up -- Phil had gone in my bedroom and noticed the laptop beeping (ringing) as we were preparing to have some breakfast later in the morning, long before we were expecting to hear from him. Elder Schwartz was trying to contact us! It turns out that Elder Garcia was trying to skype his family and they live in Spain (where it was already quite late in the evening). So they had arranged to both make their calls at the same time -- for us earlier in the day, and for Elder Garcia's family quite late at night. It all worked out.... During the skype session, at first we only heard his voice (no video of him) and he was able to see us, but after some maneuvering on his end we could see him. He was using an iPad, loaned to him by some members in his ward, on their wifi network. The only problem was, that he could only get the back facing camera to work on the iPad. When he had the camera facing him (so we could see his face), he couldn't see us, since his face was to the back side of the iPad. He brilliantly solved this dilemma by going into the bathroom and using a mirror -- so he could see us and we could see him. It worked great, and we spent the better part of a couple of hours visiting and laughing, and having a wonderful time with seeing him and talking to him. The first thing we noticed is that Elder Schwartz has a slight accent to his speech now, when he speaks in English. He thought that was absurd when we mentioned it to him -- but it is true, nevertheless.
Below are some pics from our visit...
Here is a short video clip of some of our skype session. Do you hear any accent?
Click here for a short video of part of our "Skype" session.
In addition to sharing with us what he has been doing, Elder Schwartz, recounted how Christmas is different in Chile. He said that instead of Santa, in Chile there is the "Little Old Man of Easter" (literal translation of the Spanish), who visits the children on Christmas Eve. Kids leave their homes for a short time on Christmas Eve, and when they return, gifts have been left for them. Then they stay up all night playing with them outside in the streets. Hard for some elders to get a good night's sleep.
He also mentioned that one of his favorite parts of Christmas was sharing the Schwartz family Christmas video that we made last year while we were all together. He said that the families in Chile that he told about it (and then they watched it on YouTube) really got a kick out of it. Here is the link for that fun video (again):
Link to Christmas video
Elder Schwartz asked me to thank you all for the letters and packages and your love and support that he feels all the way down in Chile. His family thanks you all as well. Muchas Gracias!