Christmas, New Years, and everything in between…

17 Jan
About Christmas…
It was quite an unusual Christmas…warm, sunny, and quiet.
Our tree was a whopping 9 inches high (including the angel).

It took about 5 hours of crafting the “Arrbol Navidad” at a church Enrichment class where a few Mexican sisters taught the Gringos in Spanish. None of us speak Spanish, but we managed! This Mexican Paper Mache craft is unlike anything I have ever seen before! I actually really enjoyed it! I realized that nowadays it is rare for me to do crafts that are unrelated to the business and don’t fall under Jared’s scrutiny…hahaa!

On Christmas Day, Ella didn’t know it was a special day. That is, until we sat down with her and explained to her the Christmas Bible story, baby Jesus, and how the Wise Men brought Jesus gifts. We then pulled out her single gift and explained to her that it was a reminder of when the wise men visited Jesus. Of course, she was thrilled to get a present!

She got a cute little mini doll chair and table set that we bought at a little tienda for less than $2.50. Simple, and yet…well…isn’t that what Christmas should be? I have to admit that as a retailer I am quite cycnical about what Christmas has been “made into.” Of course I desperately want my customers to “buy buy buy!”, but our celebration of Christmas is quite different in reality. I think it is easy to miss the whole point, nowadays!

The following week we went to Chapala with some friends that we randomly made in church on Sunday. Carla & Greg were visiting from Texas for their 10th wedding Anniversary (left the kids at home), and were without transportation or plans. We chimed and asked, “Do you want to go to the Chapala market with us, tomorrow?” They accepted, and on Monday it turned into an all day affair. We thoroughly enjoyed their company, and even got some family photos (a rarity)!

The chapel in Chapala had set up a huge nativity with corn husk characters (perhaps 2-3 feet tall each). I was really impressed, as I’ve always loved the corn husk doll craft. I especially enjoyed the Satan character standing in the corner. Hmm…that’s a new twist on the nativity scene that I have never seen before!

Ella made buddies with Carla & Greg immediately. The next day we offered to take them to Tonala, an outskirt community in Guadalajara where many of the products sold in Mexico are made. There is an outdoor market, and there is always some great shopping to be done. I think they ended up buying 4 or 5 nativity sets while we were there!! And all for ridiculously inexpensive prices!

We had a business mission to custom order some metal embossed artwork for our store. We knew what we wanted, and were returning to ask some artists to make images of wildlife that they don’t see down here…such as moose, bears, etc. As it turned out, Carla & Greg speak great Spanish (Greg is a Spanish teacher), and they translated for us as we made our custom orders. Looking back, I’m not quite sure how we would have done it without them! They were a HUGE blessing, and we hope to stay in touch and remain friends! Too bad they don’t live down here!

On Jared’s birthday we dropped the girls off at a friend’s house and scurried over to the movie theater to enjoy our first movie in town (and our first break from the kids!). We were disappointed to learn that the theater was closed for the New Year’s Eve! Argh! What luck!! So, we went to Walmart, instead. Yes, SOOOO exciting!

While there, we ran into some friends who invited us to their house that evening. They were having a small get-together. We accepted, and I baked a birthday cake to take to the party for Jared. The party was great, intimate, and included just a small number of other Mexican couples. Two of the husbands (including our host, Mark) are Canadian (married to Mexican women), so they helped to translate! We learned a bit about the Mexican New Year traditions.

We enjoyed yummy food, sat outside on Mark and Martha’s veranda, and enjoyed the beautiful weather all night as the kids played in the yard and inside. Mark and Martha’s property is right on the lake, and is SUPERB. Here’s a photo of their backyard in the daylight:

We talked about American and Mexican New Year’s traditions. One of the Mexican men was laughing about how he was once in the US, and was shocked when his hosts turned on the TV to watch the ball drop…he couldn’t believe it. He thought that was so funny!

In Mexico, they count down according to their own watches, and when the clock strikes midnight, they eat a grape for every clock chime (you know…12 chimes means it is 12 o’clock). They say it is for good luck for each of the months of the coming year! Truly, 12 grapes is a LOT to eat in 12 seconds…and I don’t think everyone quite did it…but I suppose it is the intention that counts!! Everyone also went around the room and gave each other a hug.

We left “early,” around 1am. We were told that Mexicans often go to 2am or 3am. Maiya was a wreck, and needed to be put to bed…but Ella could have gone all night playing with her new best friend from preschool, Pablo. Pablo is the child of Martha and Mark, and is clearly Ella’s new beau (to rival Nico in Alaska). They have been inseperable at school, lately (which has caused a bit of trouble). Oh…isn’t it funny that Ella’s two boyfriends have both been half-Mexican?!! 🙂

Oh…and a few more photos to end my post…

Maiya is developing quite the personality. She thinks everything is SOOO funny. She makes this sly face when she is up to something goofy (like climbing or lounging on the stairs…her favorite). Her giggle and toothy smile is just priceless!

She also likes to bite Mommy, Daddy, and Ella…just because she thinks it is funny. It’s so cute right now…but hopefully it won’t become a habit! She just giggles and giggles…until you loudly scream “Ouch!”…and then she cries!
Jared has also decided that he wants to spend more time outside. So, for a week straight we would move an extra couch outside every day so he could relax out there. I don’t think I ever took the time to enjoy it. It was jsut a bit too too warm and sunny for my taste 🙂 Oh, Mexican living is hard…
Congrats…you survived another dreadfully long blog post (or perhaps you just skimmed past the photos, to the bottom?)!! Oh well…either way…

Happy New Year!

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4 Responses to “Christmas, New Years, and everything in between…”

  1. Cara January 17, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    What awesome stories! Yes, nice to see pictures of all of you together! When are you going to head back up to AK?

  2. Stacey January 17, 2009 at 3:30 pm #

    no skimming here! I loved every minute! It's like I'm on vacation everytime I read through your posts- I love it!

  3. Vanessa January 18, 2009 at 4:04 am #

    wow, that couch outside thing looks like a great idea! And I'm not sure that any place could possibly be too warm and/or sunny for me! Looks like you guys are having a great time in Mexico!

  4. Jenny Clinton January 18, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    Holy Man! when we were talking at Brian's wedding I thought you were saying NEW Mexico, not Mexico! That is so Crazy awesome!

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