Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 49 Skype! December 29, 2014


Family pic 2014
Tuesday everyone was preparing for Christmas day. Here they have "posadas" which is a Catholic/Mexican tradition at Christmas time where families throw parties outside of their homes and invite friends, family, and neighbors. What makes it different from any other party is that they brake a bunch of piñatas in the street and the kids go home with bags of candy. They also make "ponche" which is like a Mexican version of apple cider but made with fruit like apples, guavas, peaches, pears, and sugar cane. The market at this time is absolutely filled with all sorts of piñatas. Christmas just isn't Christmas without hundreds of piñatas!
Piñatas in the market
Tuesday as we were walking to an appointment we passed a truck full of live turkeys. Turkey dinner doesn't get any fresher than that! Also, the streets are filled with poinsettia trees (called "noche buenas" in Spanish which is also the phrase they use here for Christmas Eve). Turns out the trees have always been there but I hadn't ever noticed because it isn't until December that the leaves turn a vibrant red. They make this concrete jungle I live in just a tad prettier!

Wednesday....Feliz Noche Buena!! (Christmas Eve) It rained all day Christmas Eve and it was FREEZING! But, while everyone else here was dying, I was loving it! The cold made it feel a little more like the Christmas I know. Here in Mexico Christmas, like every other holiday, starts the beginning of an all night party which means lots of music, dancing, and "borrachos" (drunks). For that reason, we had to be in the house at 6:30 PM. Our neighbors are definite partiers...they were partying ALL NIGHT. Women, children, men, old people, everyone!
Humble Christmas 
Thursday....Feliz Navidad!! There isn't anything quite like waking up to the angelic voices of your drunk Mexican neighbors singing love songs...Merry Christmas to us! We got invited over to the Ayala Family's (my converts) for lunch and they fed us all sorts of traditional christmas Mexican food. First: Romeros.
Romeros
Romeros is basically grass in "mole" with potatoes. The only part I'm a fan of is the mole...the grass? Not so much. But, if any of you would like to relive Christmas Mexican style...buy some mole from the Mexican market, add some freshly picked grass from your front yard, and you're set! Second: pozole. I've talked about pozole before but it's basically a sort of corn kernel soup. (pork and hominy stew) I'm a big fan of it! Third: pierna (leg). Pig leg...it's like Mexican version of baked ham in the states. Fourth: Bacalao. Bacalao is a mixture of who knows what. I do know however that it has green olives and shrimp...the rest is a mystery.
Bacalao
After being fed by a few other families (I felt like I was going to explode) we headed over to the Lopez family's house to Skype our families. Talking to your family after so long is the best! I first introduced them to the Lopez family and for some reason I got really emotional and started crying. My family is doing great! I brought my guitar and we sang some Christmas carols which was a blast! Unfortunately we were interrupted some 20 times because the electricity kept going out on our street....but it was amazing nonetheless. I love my family! Only 4 more months until I get to Skype them again! And only 5 more months until I see them in person!
(note from mom: "Meeting" Hermana Lopez made me cry too. It's nice to know someone in Mexico loves her so much)
Friday we were able to find a few new investigators one of which is a 15 year-old boy named Abraham. He's not the typical teenager though...he's actually one of the most respectful and sweet kids I've met here. His prayers are hilarious sometimes because he talks to God as if he were giving a speech. For example: "Please allow me to overcome any temptation that may come my way. Temptations can be spiritually and physically endangering and could cause harm that could be lethal." It's pretty funny but in a sweet way because since he's never prayed before he tries to talk to God in the most formal and respectful way possible.

Culture note: One of about every American missionary´s pet peeves about being here...sidewalk/street washing. Let me explain. The people here wash everything with a broom: windows, walls, cars, and worst of all...the streets and sidewalks. About once a week the people here fill up a bucket with soapy water, scoop handfuls of water out onto the street, and sweep the water around with a broom to "clean" the street. It's been so long that I don't even remember what we clean with in the States!! When I get home and you see me washing the street with a broom...well you'll understand why.

Culture note: public transportation....you wouldn't believe it here! There are a few types... There are taxis from both the state of Mexico and the District. State taxis don't have a meter so you're able to bargain (or what I do...wait until we arrive, speak in broken Spanish, hand him the amount of money I want to pay, and with a big smile say "Gracias!" in the most American accent I can pull off...works every time!) District taxis have meters so there's no bargaining. There are "combis". Combis are normally white Volkswagen buses that drive back and forth between destinations. They put a sign in the front window so that we know where they're headed. When you flag them down they stop and the door flies open. You get in and pass 7 pesos to the front where it's put through a little hole in a wall separating us form the driver. When you want to get off you have to yell that you're getting off, the door opens, and out you go. There are "micros". Micros are like giant milk man trucks but with windows. They work almost like combis but they're bigger, slower, and they only cost 5 pesos. People say they're also a little more dangerous...there are stories of men that get on, and, holding the driver at gun point, change the route and kidnap everyone on board... But no worries! We're safe! When you want to get off of a micro you simply push a button on the ceiling, the doors open, and you hop off as it comes to a rolling stop. There are "mototaxis". Mototaxis are little 'people trailers' pulled by a motorcycle. We usually take them for short distances and if we're in a hurry. There are also "bicitaxis" which is about the same but the driver is using a pedal bike. Bus stops don't exist here! You simply have to flag down any passing bus and you're good to go!

Sunday Bryan got confirmed! His mom couldn't come so he came all by himself! He also saved up and bought me a small gift...he said it was in case I got changed from the area. Coming from the kid who can barely save enough money to put food on the table...THAT meant a lot to me! In sacrament meeting we had sweet bread in place of normal bread for sacrament...that's the 5th Sunday in a row! Maybe that's why we're having so many people at church! Hermana Lopez (my convert) gave the class in Relief Society and did a better job than the RS President herself! But shhhh! haha For only having a few months as a member...she did AMAZING!

1 comment:

  1. I just tried Pozole too. A friend from work made it for me. I loved it!

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