Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saturday night on the town!

We had a fun evening on Saturday with Laura and Jose. Laura found out about this free concert in Ajijic, and since we're all about free we went. It was a youth string orchestra. They seemed very good, in my uneducated opinion, and the kids weren't too bored. Afterward, we ate dinner at this great taco stand. It was a sit down tent that served pork and beef tacos. We've had these at a few different places, but these were the best so far. I like pork with cilantro, mild salsa and lime juice. We also tried a drink made out of rice, flavored with sugar and cinnamon. Not my favorite.

After dinner we watched some Salsa Dancers from a local dance studio. They were all middle aged couples that probably would have preferred to wear less revealing costumes, but they also looked like they were having so much fun. We couldn't help but wonder if we would be willing to do the same in front of a big crowd at their age.

The kids all sat on this rock in front of the dancers, watching, playing and laughing. It was fun to watch. The next day, Milli and Jane wanted me to show them how to hold their hands to dance like the dancers. Charlie and Riley even got in on the act after a while. I'm so glad for this opportunity for them to see and experience things that they wouldn't otherwise.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

1st day of the second week of school?

As promised, I took my camera to get the pictures I missed on the first day of school. There was also an assembly so I stayed for that and got some pictures.

Here is the road leading up to the school. The school is at the top. About 1/4th done with cobblestones and they say 2 more weeks. Of course they say that about almost everything.

Riley with his class waiting for the assembly to start. You can see from the other kids around what the uniform looks like.

The color guard; they were very impressive marchers. Ask me someday and I'll show it to you.

They introduced all the teachers to the students. The two in the right, middle of the frame are Riley and Jane's. Very nice.

Last they had all of the new students and faculty come to the middle of the group and get a balloon. Then they sang a very jazzy and inspirational (I assume) song and let go of the balloons. Riley and Jane agreed that was the best part.

This next picture is so typical of Riley. Not paying attention and slow to realize that everyone else had left the middle of the quad and joined their classes. But at least he's cool about it.
Wednesday, I attended a parents meeting for the whole school and this morning I went to a 3rd and 4th grade meeting. (Remember they have the same teachers.) I didn't understand very much of it, but I hope the teachers can see I'm involved if not knowledgable. Some of the Spanish homework had been hard and time consuming trying to translate stories well enough to answer questions. But we learn a few more words everyday. I hope they do better at school than we do at home.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A special day is coming...September 7th, Riley's birthday

A few have asked how to get a card to Riley. Dave happens to be going on a trip the first few days in September, so an easy way to get a card to Riley is to send it to Dave in the hotel. Or just email Riley.

Dave's hotel address:

Courtyard Indianapolis Airport
c/o Dave Reed, guest arv 9/4
2602 Fortune Circle East
Indianapolis, IN 46241

I'd send it by August 29th.

Riley's email:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

After my walk, Dave picked me up and we went to an Amusement Park called Selva Magica in Guadalajara. It was about the size of Lagoon in Utah, but without the waterpark. It only cost 100 pesos each, plus we had coupons for 2-for-1, so it was very economical.

Here are some picture highlights:

These last pictures I thought were interesting because all over the amusement park, and in most places we've seen in Mexico, they sell fresh fruit and vegetables cut up into bite size pieces. Much more healthy than most amusement park snacks. Milli got watermelon and oranges.
Walk with Milli on Saturday morning.

I set out to walk into Ajijic to check out some shops, by myself, for some alone time. As usually happens, it turned into something else, a 5 block walk with Milli. We walked through a nearby neighborhood called La Floresta and took some pictures of things we see all the time that I want to remember.

Next to our house is a futbol field. I like this sign.

A lot of gringos live in La Floresta. They have big houses with big walls around them with glass or barbed wire at the top.

The street signs in La Floresta are bright orange.

Many of the walls have vines growing on them with purple flowers.

Almost all the houses have a tile with the address and/or name of the house on it.

Farther down the road, you can hire horses to ride.

As you get closer to Ajijic, the houses get smaller, but still pretty.

Milli decided she couldn't walk another step, so we called Dave to pick us up.
Even though some window shopping would have been nice, it was peaceful to spend some quiet time with Milli. That's a rare thing.

The first week of school is over and we've learned some things (as should be the goal in the first week of school).

  1. Don't assume that just because they say school starts at 8am that it does. It might be 8:10, 8:20. It's Mexico.
  2. Required uniforms are only suggested when the only source of uniform, the school, had no uniforms.
  3. The English teacher is from Canada and speaks no Spanish.
  4. Stock up on contact paper, everything is covered in it.
  5. Wait till after the first day of school to buy the supplies on the list, they may change or require colors not specified on the list.
  6. Take into consideration the work on the road leading up to the school when picking up kids. Instead of 2:15, pick up at 2:30.
  7. One hour of piano practice every day after school at the church will take 2 hrs with 5 kids (we've adopted Joce in the afternoons).
  8. Kids adapt quickly.
  9. Teachers are angels.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Telephone update!

The update is that there is no update. If you had our phone # in Utah, it will now reach us in Mexico. Technology is amazing. But please only call after 5pm Central Time. Dave uses the line for business during the day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I apologize for not posting lately.
Not a lot had been happening, so I was waiting for the first day of school to have something of consequence to post. Monday, the first day came. In all the rush, I forgot to take my camera in the morning. Went to pick them up and wasn't allowed to go up to the school to get them because they are doing construction on the road that leads up to the school and the kids were brought down to meet me. Then later that day, I got a 103 degree fever, chills and a massive headache, so I went to bed till noon the next day. So I missed the second day of school. Third, felt better, but still couldn't get the pictures. So I'm going to try for Monday again and pretend it's the first Monday. The kids didn't have their full uniforms on the first day anyway, but I do have a picture of them at home before school in part. (Fully clothed just not all the right clothes.)
School seems to be hard for them so far. They actually have the same teachers for 3rd (Jane) and 4th (Riley) grades. Maestra Barbara for the English half and Maestra Angie for the Spanish half. They just trade classrooms at half day. Neither of the kids understand anything in the Spanish half and don't even understand the assignment they write in their homework notebook. It makes it hard to remember to bring home the right notebooks and textbooks. Both are too shy to ask, too. I guess they'll have to get over it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Our trip to Mazamitla.

Saturday, we took a roadtrip to a town on the other side of Chapala Lago called Mazamitla. It is a mountain tourist town. Every part of the trip was an adventure. And a show of our incredibly bad luck.

First, on the way there, the mirror of another car hit our mirror. Dave stopped to check it out and the man came over and demanded money to pay for it. His mirror had fallen off. But Dave said that the other man was in the wrong because he should have gotten over more on the crowded, narrow street. The man threatened to stand in front of our car so we couldn't leave while we waited for the police -- unless we give him 600 pesos (about $60). If the police come they will impound both cars and wait until an agreement can be made till we get it back. Dave thinks the other man was drinking, but in order for the police to test him, we would have to make a complaint and pay for the test. Laura was with us and just told us to pay him, because a ticket, impound fee and sobriety test would cost us more than $60 and mean our whole day would be taken with this stuff. She said we should have just driven away before he came over, after we knew everything was alright. So Dave paid him and we went on with our trip.

We finally made it to Mazamitla, about 2 hours later. We were starving so we stopped for tacos. We're trying to get over our fear of small taco shops and restaurants because we have heard so much about them making gringos sick. This one looked fairly clean. It was good but I didn't want to eat too much, just in case. So I was hungry most of the day after.

After lunch we went to a tianguis market and looked around. The souveniors all looked the same as the stuff you see in every Mexican market we have ever been to. I wonder where they get thier merchandise. Seems like the same places. Nothing too impressive.

Next we decided to take a tour of the mountain road and another town nearby. It was very pretty and actually got rather chilly as we climbed the mountain. We passed by a house that apparently had been owned by an American druglord before he got carted off to prison by the FBI. It sits empty and falling apart because the Mexican government aren't organized enough to sell it.

The other pretty town had a reservoir and cute plaza that we got to see for about 5 minutes because we spent the other 15 minutes of the stop in a line at the pay toilet.

Then we were off again on the bus back to Mazamitla. Our next activity was supposed to be to rent some 4-wheelers for a few hours but by the time we got back to the car and on our way to the rental place it had started to rain. Then it started to sleet. We had to pull off the road several times and wait for it to let off a bit.

Overall, I think the kids will remember the 4 movies they got to watch in the car, not getting to buy anything at the market, and not getting to ride 4-wheelers. Not our best trip, but we're not giving up. And Dave did take a few good pictures.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I tried to exercise.

After more than a month with little or no exercise, I tried to run today. Dave's been very good, going 2 or 3 times a week for about 4 miles. I made maybe a mile. It was harder than I thought. Besides not really being a runner, it took me 4 blocks of walking to find a road with a sidewalk to actually run on. I wasn't about to run on the very uneven cobblestone streets for very long. Then, as I ran up the sidewalk to the main street, I was chased by a dog. There are thousands of stray and owned dogs roaming the streets here and most are harmless, but this one didn't want me in his territory. I stopped chasing me as soon as I stopped running. I finally made it to the carraterra, the main street through town that has a cyclopista that is fairly straight and safe on which to run. I went about 5 minutes before I realized I had used most of my allotted 30 minutes just to get there. (And I was already worn out!) So I went home. Although it wasn't what I had hoped, it did feel good to get out and move. Maybe I'll go again next week.

Hike to a waterfall!

Forgot to post about a hike we did to a really cool waterfall up in the hills near where we live.
The kids thought it was great and it was some much needed exercise for me. Charlie loved it too. He wanted to walk the whole way and would have loved to do it in water the whole way too. Jane slipped on a rock and got scared of the waterfall area, but overall had a great time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Jane's views:

I like the pool and I don't like the rocky roads because I can't ride my scooter.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Dave went to New York

Dave's been in New York since Thursday and though you'd think that would give me more time to blog, but I just haven't found a time away from the kids. Before he left he was constantly on the computer getting ready for a conference, so not much happened for me to blog about. I take that back, the night before he left, we decided to go into Guadalajara and do some shopping. There is a big mall there that is as good as any american mall and it's right by a Costco. So we left at about 3:30pm and shopped till about 8:30pm, but didn't get home till 12:30am. I think it was the worst traffic I've ever been in. We went about 15 miles in 3 hours. The main street that we needed to be on was backed up and we never did see an accident or any other cause. Just lots of cops and other cars. We didn't know enough about Guadalajara to find an alternate route, but we didn't see other cars peeling off to take other routes either. Anyway, made me not very excited to go to that mall again.

Thursday, didn't do much.

Friday went to a water park called Tobolandia within walking distance of our house. From far away, I was not too thrilled to go. It looked pretty shabby and not well maintained, but it was not bad. Sure the paint was peeling off most things and a few slides didn't have water, so we skipped those, but it wasn't very crowded on a Friday and the kids had lots of fun. Even nervous Jane went on all the slides.

Saturday, didn't do much.

Sunday, our friends from Utah, Clark and Juli, had a 7 hour layover in Guadalajara on their way to Acapulco. So I picked them up from the airport and took them to church with me. Clark was an LDS missionary in Ecuador, so he speaks Spanish and wanted to attend church here. They have another layover on Thursday, so we're going to pick them up again and go to dinner. Maybe they'll comment with an outsider's perspective of Ajijic and our crazy life.

Monday, laundry and cleaning day. Some things still have to be done.

Tuesday, Dave came home and I finally got a moment to blog.
Another picture of the facial hair, courtesy of Joe Heaps.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Riley's thoughts on Mexico so far:

mexico's cool. i have made one friend so far. she knows english.
i start school in one month. i won't understand most of it though.
there is a swimming pool right by our house so we swim a lot.
my favorite thing is the swimming pool. i don't like not understanding anything.