Soft Warm Hearts

Why do we celebrate Christmas?  Mary a virgin carrying the Savior of all, riding on a donkey going door to door, until they found a manger to lay their head.

Here in Mexico, although I speak the language, I know nothing.  One day they asked me to bring engrudo to Elaina’s school, I asked “what is that” and they told me “glue”.  The next day, I told the teacher I’m going to buy the glue and I will bring it back to you.  She said no it’s not glue you buy its just flour but you have to cook it.

They were making a piñata, which I thought it was just an arts and craft, until a mother explained that it had seven cones which represent the seven deadly sins. Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride.

star

Once you BREAK yourself away from those sins you will be showered with blessings from above.

We were invited to a PASTORELA  at Elaina’s school “El Jardin de Ninos”.  Her class was dressed as Angels and the other class as devils.  Parents played out the story of Mary and Joseph, and the children played out the fight between good and evil.

Elaina Ready for her Pastorela

Elaina Ready for her Pastorela

A Patorela is a play, always comic, where the shepherds follow the Star of Bethlehem to find baby Jesus and confront the Devil, who will do everything possible to prevent them from arriving. It is at that moment that the Angel Gabriel intervenes to defend the shepherds where good always triumphs over evil.

We had another PASTORELA in the Town Plaza named EL JARDIN on the 19th.  I only wish I had thought to record it all.  It was very comic, had plenty of music, and singing.  Meet the Devil:

Bushy Eye browed, gun toting, boot wearing, Mariachi

Bushy Eye browed, gun toting, boot wearing, Mariachi

POSADAS, are more serious business, except to the children.  I was invited, but because I am not catholic a bit standoffish.  I am glad we decided to attend.  Day one started in the Church, there was the Rosary Prayer, then right after we formed two lines one of boys and the other of girls in order of height.  We walked singing a few choice songs, the boys favorite is “Los Peces en el Rio”.  We walked the longest route to the house hosting that days POSADA.  Once we arrived they sing at the door “Os Pido Posada”

Verses sung by the people asking     for PosadaEn nombre del cielo
os pido posada,
pues no puede andar
mi esposa amada.No seas inhumano,
tenos caridad,
que el Dios de los cielos
te lo premiará.Venimos rendidos
desde Nazaret,
yo soy carpintero
de nombre José.Posada te pide,
amado casero
por sólo una noche
la Reina del Cielo.Mi esposa es María.
es Reina del Cielo,
y madre va a ser
del Divino Verbo.Dios pague señores
vuestra caridad,
y así os colme el cielo
de felicidad.
Verses sung by the people giving PosadaAquí no es mesón
sigan adelante:
yo no puedo abrir
no sea algún tunante.Ya se pueden ir
y no molestar
porque si me enfado
los voy a apalear.No me importa el nombre,
déjenme dormir,
pues ya les digo
que no hemos de abrir.Pues si es una Reina
quien lo solicita
¿Cómo es que de noche,
anda tan solita?¿Eres tu José?
¿Tu esposa María?
Entren, peregrinos,
no los conocía.Dichosa la casa
que abriga este día
a la Virgen Pura
la hermosa María.

When the doors finally open, everybody sings:

Entren santos peregrinos, peregrinos, reciban este rincón no de esta pobre morada sino de mi corazón. Esta noche es de alegría de gusto y de regocijo porque hospedaremos aquí a la Madre de Dios Hijo.

Then the kids’ favorite part, every single child is given a goody bag, and depending on the family you could get more, a fruit, a drink and/or something to eat.

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Day two starts with a rosary prayer at the house who opened their doors to us, we then form lines and walk the longest route to the next house so fourth and so on until day 9.

They said a Pastor once showed children a nativity scene and asked them what the baby’s bed looked like, they said “Hard”, Then they asked the mothers present, “How do you fix your babies beds?” We all answered “Soft & warm”.  The nine days of Posadas is to soften our hard hearts, so we can be ready to receive baby Jesus.

May you all have soft and warm hearts this Christmas.

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Come and Eat

Since I was a little girl, for as long as I can remember we have always had pecan trees. Sadly, the house we are renting here in Mexico has none, but still I love it.

We can sit in the front porch on a cold morning have some hot coffee & listen to the roosters crow through the town.

I sit in front of the computer.

I sit in front of the computer.

Wait until the sun is out for a glass of Ice Cold lemon-aid, picked straight from the Lemon Tree or you may prefer Micheladas.

We have four.

We have four.

Elaina & J enjoy guayaba right of the tree. He also likes the alcoholic drink made from the punch. I don’t like it either way.

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Would you like a banana? Shake?

It has more of these. Banana Palm.

It has more of these. Banana Palm.

I don’t know how many have tried or like cactus. In the 16 years I have been married I never ate anything green. That’s until Manuel was born and J got tired of me acting like a spoiled little girl. He made me try everything including cactus with egg. I suggest if you haven’t tried cactus, don’t unless J makes it for you FIRST. Then you will know the difference between the good stuff and the bad stuff. We trimmed it because it was over powering the yard; we were frightened for our kids. You don’t eat the big brown tusks just the small new green ones.

It used to take up a quarter of the yard but we trimmed.

It used to take up a quarter of the yard but we trimmed.

We also have mandarins, easy to peal great for mommies who hate pealing; just pull and toss at the kids.

Easy Cheesy

Easy Cheesy

Someone get me a fig Newton recipe, please.

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J wanted us to make it here in time to try the Pitaya, but we were just weeks to late. I’m looking forward to see them grow on these!

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Confession, we do have pitayo for growing pitayas but my neighbor’s is much prettier to look at. I did take the picture from my yard, but we only have one with arms.
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Helloooo Papaya.

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Okay, one more confession, I took this picture from my yard too, but it’s so close to the fence that some hang over into our yard and I do plan on having some and if you visit so will you.

this one is ours.

this one is ours.

This is your invitation.

13 Pesos equals 1 dollar

As a teen I was a major pain in the butt to my family, & my education, I was born with smarts and landed really great jobs where I was able to make a pretty penny.  Making good money is partially why I had not made the move to Mexico in the first place. 

God had to put me in a financial situation, where I had nothing to lose except my family in order to drop everything and move.  Six months ago we were not hurting for money, YET but I wasn’t making any. 

My kids did not care about financial responsibility.  Everything they wanted they got, no matter how they behaved or what their report card showed.  They would charge us if we asked them to pick up a piece of paper.  Okay they still do this but now its because we have made them responsible, in other words they pay for that candy habit.  They know what everything costs, including the cooking oil I use to make their meals.

Johnny understands the currant peso to dollar and is accurate in his conversions.  I cheat.  I just add a zero and know I’m in the vicinity when it comes to small amounts.  Example:  100 dollars is about 1000 pesos or 50 pesos is about 5 dollars. (use my title for the current conversion)

I understand why so many Mexican’s go “al Norte”.  Most of them are making 1200.00 Pesos a week working more than 8 hour days and a 6 day work week.  Besides no taxes and most owning their home, and practically free water, nothing else cost less in Mexico.  Actually, for some reason all these huge companies, sell me a much smaller bag of chips or coca cola bottle for a few pesos more than I would pay back home.

As far as me understanding why they go North, doesn’t mean I agree with them going illegally, but realistically speaking no one could pay all the fees there is to pay to get paperwork, do the leg work and there is still no guarantee you will be able to go.  Feeding their family now is more important than doing time later.

To my facebook family, I said I was blessed and I would blog today.  This is why.

We are Christian, not good ones.  As a matter of fact, we set a terrible example of Christians.  I do know J has a relationship with God I do not understand and I am quite jealous of because God has never spoken to me the way I believe he has spoken to him.  (I hope he will some day share with you like he has with me)

At the end of December, the truck and my visitor’s pass expires.  I have to either drive to the border and renew my pass for another six months or pay the fees to change why I am here, the same applies to the truck the border or get it legalized.  Financially, we are more than comfortable, we have spending money (mostly thanks to Dad), if I saved that spending money I could afford to pay these fees.  A week ago we decided it would be cheaper just to drive to the border, for two reasons, we don’t want to be on a budget, and we love road trips.  Still, we would look at this driving to the border situation again six months later.

Sunday, we were going to Guadalajara for some shopping at the gas station I realized I forgot our shopping money at home.  We decided to try again on Monday.  While in Costco we met an American couple Roberto y Roberta, who asked about our English speaking kids.  Not an I need money conversation, it was a pleasant conversation, we were shopping!  This couple said God told them to give us a little something.  Today, I paid the amount needed to start the paperwork so I can maybe soon be a Mexican Citizen. 

I apologize if I rambled, I typed, and I didn’t proofread. 

No Sombrero, No Pancho, No Service

When I packed to come to Mexico, I totally stereotyped what I was going to need.
Mexico is supposed to be hot. RIGHT? Who told me this? Why would I think this? I didn’t bring myself a sweater; although I did bring the kids sweaters, I left their jackets. Every morning, it is sweater wearing weather, EVERY SINGLE MORNING. One of J’s first questions when we started to unpack clothes was “did you bring me a sweater”, to which I responded “why would you need a sweater”? Some nights, especially, nights when it has rained it gets way too cold for just a sweater. Keep in mind its rain season here. I wear a Pancho to beat the cold and I haven’t seen another Pancho. Not one, not even for sale. We are cold.

Speaking of rain season, J asked me to bring the kids plastic rain boots. Did I listen? No. I thought, Mexico was HOT and DRY. Daily, Elaina has her feet wet from playing in water. I am sick and tired of washing shoes, tennis, & sandals for all three of them because of mud. Even the shoes are sick and tired of being washed; they have now started to disintegrate.

When it came to shoes, I only packed sandals for myself. To think I left my heels in clear plastic boxes and I have a little bit more than a few. I didn’t bring one pair because I thought there would be no where to wear them. This is definitely what bothers me most because at every Quincenera, women are dressed up, in heels and I show up, real classy, in sandals.

I now understand, why they say tourist stand out like sore thumbs.

I look more Mexican than J does!

I look more Mexican than J does!

Remember after J got picked up, I immediately stopped combing Elaina’s hair and it looked like a birds nest? Remember that I also stop putting shoes on her feet? I would tell friends and family “she better get used to it because that is going to be her life from now on”.

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Naïve.

The ladies wearing prom dresses at Wal-Mart on a Tuesday night should have given me a clue.

Houston We Have A Problem… In Mexico!

The school Lauro Montenegro started Monday the 17th, at 8 AM. They were not frightened but I felt teary eyed with a knot in my throat as I walked away. I just thought how my kids would have such a difficult time understanding, how they had no table or chairs to sit at for lunch.

We dropped off Elaina at Emiliano Zapata the Kinder School a block away around 9 AM. We ran into some six graders who were sent out from Montenegro to notify parents that there was a meeting and we had to return to the school. I immediately interrogated the kids: Who was sent out of the school? Was Johnny sent out? I went to the school and J went looking for Johnny at home. Gladly Johnny was not sent out, and the meeting was about making the school “Tiempo Completo”. We were explained the kids would be at school from 8 AM to 4 PM instead of 8 AM to 1 PM. If we agreed the government would in turn make a kitchen and possibly a lunch room! Most of us were in.

After the meeting I rushed home to make the boys lunch, and walked right back to get their soup to them by 11 AM through the gate. Kids then went and scattered all over the school grounds and found spots on the floor or ate standing up. The boys and their group of friends sat on a cement floor near some steps.

I then got to go home and relax for a few minutes, okay half an hour. Then walked back to the school at 12 AM because Johnny’s teacher had to leave early and he was being released as well.

We went home and walked yet again to the school for Manuel’s release at 1 PM. Yes 5 times in 1 day. That’s a problem.

Let’s back track a bit. Elaina was excited she was going to school, we used to walk by daily and she always wanted to be picked up to look inside her school. She would ask when she was going to go there. She would ask why it wasn’t open. She had a hop in her step as we walked to school on Monday, that’s until she heard the screams from inside the school. She was wide eyed and second guessing as to why she wanted to go there so bad. Then the teacher pulled her in and I heard her yells and saw her little hand trying to reach out as the teacher closed the Iron Gate.

After school J asked her if she was going to cry the next day. She answered a simple “YES”. The next day as I dressed her I asked her again if she was going to cry, she was much braver and told me “Mommy I not going to cry”. Unfortunately, when we arrived they told us not to take her back until Friday because there were 45 children and only one teacher.

Now the real problem lies here. I came here promising to be good but I have broken that promise. I have now gotten in a dispute with the director and another mother from the school. Why? Well because apparently me asking for our 50 kids to be watched during lunch and recess time was too much for me to ask from the 5 teachers. When I volunteered to watch them during the allotted time the director was insulted. I miss MORALES ELEMENTRY in Pasadena, Texas.

Lastly, yes Manuel has been stung by a bee twice on different days, once on the finger and the other on the lip. Yes, Elaina has been bitten by a rodent. We can now add Scorpion to Elaina’s list. Big Surprise and the bigger surprise is that she took it better than a MAN. I love these kids!!!!

Today….. I ache all over and I am not even sick….

Down Right Truth

People ask if I am ready to go home. They ask if the kids are ready to go home. I ask the kids if they are ready to go home. The answer is the same every single time. No. We want to be here with Daddy.

It’s not all peaches and cream. Yes we are happy to be together and I keep telling myself that’s what matters. I whole heartedly believe we will get this right.

Everyone and I mean everyone; family, friends, and their friends, Strangers we meet who somehow know he has been kicked out without us telling them all tell us to go, or come back to USA. To go anywhere and not tell anyone we are there.

Yes, I am frustrated although we are treated kindly and feel welcome it’s just not home when it isn’t your own. J is ready to go HOME. He says he didn’t think he would miss his brothers as much as he does. He misses how he was able to spend foolishly on us. Then there is the honest truth.

Ask me what I miss.

1. HOT water. They say you have to let it run a little. I let it run a lot and still I have to prepare myself, then count 1, 2, 3 and force myself in. BRRR! Some people do have water heaters, we don’t. He BETTER get me one before winter.

2. MY Washing Machine. The one here doesn’t do a dry spin cycle to get excess water out. I hang mine out to dry soaking wet or get his aunt to put it in her washer for that last spin.

3. Dryer. Johnny put on a pair of underwear I washed & hanged dried. He said “Mommy this underwear is hard”. I told him “I know baby, get used to it, they will all be hard”.

4. Air conditioning. Not a big deal. It’s just that hour right before we fall asleep. HOT. You sleep in underwear only to wake up trembling and searching for the blanket. A fan would have done nicely. I should have brought one we have 3 at home and a window unit. We tried to go buy a fan here. Except a used one is 450 pesos, almost $50.00. (Not to mention half a week’s pay) for most. Luckily J makes a bit more but not by much.

5. Food. Everything Fattening.

6. Cement. Its rain season here, perfect for crops and a disaster for shoes. Especially kids shoes. Mostly Elaina’s Shoes.

7. Family Movie Time. We live with his grandparents. Across from his Tia Rafa and next door to his Aunt Angelita. A boat load of cousins, uncles, aunts, minutes away in every direction! Alone time is non-existent.

8. The boys say they miss Hot Cocoa Packets, the movies I forgot to bring and the candy they don’t sell here. They all miss Katfish, Grandpa, & Grandma. Elaina misses Tina and the guls.

The things I could live without.

1. Bugs. I have seen more critters here in one month then I have seen in my whole life time. Papa Angel kills flies for fun and makes a funeral line out of them. (now the kids do too, and feed them to the chicks) We have come across “Alacranes”, and snakes eating upon lizards. There are so many lizards.

2. Poop. Well there is the poop of our pets, dogs, cats, chickens, and bunny. Cows are walked on our street daily in the morning then on their way home at night. Horses. Goats. Pigs. It’s all too common on the street and sidewalks.

3. Pet Rodents. J has always told me they don’t climb walls and they don’t get on people. WRONG. I seen them climb the wall up to the ceiling here & and a little girl told me she saw one on her “Papa”. I wrote this at midnight 8/4/2013 because I am afraid to go to sleep Elaina was bitten by a baby rat the morning of 8/5/2013.

Still we like it San Miguel del Zapote, we are with daddy. We have everything we need, and more.

One Down & She Can’t Get Up

Remember how I prepared before we came? I took them all to the doctor. I told the doctor we were coming to Mexico and that they would initially need diarrhea, pain, and mosquito medicine. I got plenty of it & I forgot it all in South Houston.

I know, Super Mom, I am on top of things.

We did better than I expected. I think I have the weakest immune system of all and I have been sick to my stomach a bit, it hasn’t taken me completely out of commission. I remember I used to get knocked out when I visited Mexico with my mom as a child.

Elaina got sick. She cried and cried the night LOBO died without knowing he died. She didn’t actually cry for him as she was sick the days after too. I don’t know who gave her the bad news or why, but she had not seen him and days and was probably so sick to even ask.

The good news non-emergency medical care is free here. We have a clinic here in town right in “La Plaza” called Seguro Popular. The only thing is that I have to wake up early go wait in line only to get an appointment later the same day. There is no calling for an appointment. You have to physically be there and if they fill up they start filling in for the next day. I was the second one there, as I got there right at 8 am. I got the 10:30 appointment. Turns out she has “Maldelorin”. Well when they say it, it sounds like one word. In reality it’s three. Mal del Orin (sick of urine). She had some sort of bladder infection. Good News: Free Doctors visit and free medicine.

My entire fault she was sick. I was giving her baths every day. The tub would fill up with clean water and she would sit in it. Apparently, in Mexico the P trap does not exist. Even though it would be filling up with clean water the dirty water used by all the previous bathers does not go away it sits right under the drain. I was bathing her in dirty water. I know disgusting. I mean really someone could have told me.

Johnny and Manuel Healthy as an OX! Hope it lasts.