Sunday, October 26, 2008

Busy Sunday

Our congregation at church is very small, and being a unpaid clergy, all of the members have to pitch in to help. So Sundays are very busy for Dave and I.

Today, both Dave and I spoke in the main meeting. I spoke on Covenants and Dave spoke on Salvation vs. Exaltation. Before church Dave had to arrive early to help prepare the sacrament. He then blessed the sacrament. Then I said the opening prayer in Sunday School and Dave was given an assignment to help with the lesson. During the third hour, I taught a lesson from the Book of Mormon to the older kids in Primary.

It's been a long time since I have had such a busy Sunday. Probably since I was a missionary. But I love it. It makes me tired at the end of the day, and puts purpose in my prayers. I knew it would be like this when we came here and I don't regret it for a minute.
The Mexican Circus

For a week or more we've been seeing trucks driving around from the circus that's in town. Not just trucks...trucks pulling cages with a lion, or tiger, or kangaroo inside. And with speakers blaring announcements and playing music. And the tickets were only 10 pesos each! How could we not go?

So Friday night we headed over to the circus grounds for the 6pm show. It was a one-ring circus. The big top only held about 500 people and we paid an extra 50 pesos (not each, that was for the family) to be seated in the 4th row.

Dave filmed some of the highlights with his new video camera.
He urges me to tell you that the shots aren't his best because technically video wasn't allowed and he had to film on the sly. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Food in Mexico Part 1

I have some bad news. After my last photo shoot with the girls on the swings, I put the camera down on the kitchen table and Curious Charlie pulled it down onto the tile floor. We lucked out and only the lens cap was broken, but the edge of the lens was also dented, so we couldn't put a new cap on. So I've been pretty much banned from using the camera for the last week and thus, no new pictures or posts. Dave is in Denver right now and is going to try to get the lens fixed while he's there, so I might be allowed to use it again when he gets back.

But I have been meaning to do a post on some of the new food that we've tried thus far in Mexico and happen to already have a few pictures. I figure every few months I'll do a new food segment.

First, eating here has not been as hard as it might be for us in some other foreign countries, but we have had to make a few adjustments. The time schedule for Mexican eating is not like ours. Breakfast (Desayuno) is customarily at about 10am. Since kids go to school at about 8am, I don't really know how this works for them, but adults usually eat breakfast at work.

I haven't actually figured out the proper word for lunch, but on menus it usually says Comida (the word for food). This is the Mexican main meal and is eaten between 2-5pm. Some Mexicans still observe the siesta after lunch and I frequently see construction or landscaping crews napping under trees. During this time most small shops are also closed and it reminds me of BYU on Tuesdays during Devotional. I never did get the hang of it there and probably won't here. At about 5pm some of the shops reopen and work recommences.

Dinner or Cena is sometime after 7:30 or 8pm, later in the summer. It is a small meal or snack.

We have adopted a later lunch time, about 2:30, after the kids get home from school, but it's still a normal lunch. And our dinner we put off till about 7 or 7:30pm, but any later and bedtime gets messed up.

Here are a few of the foods we've tried and liked. Come to think of it, there hasn't been much we haven't liked, but these we especially do.

This is tamarindo. We first tried a tamarindo ice cream, and didn't care for it much, but picked up some of these pods at the grocery store and I like them. Only drawback; a lot of work. You have to take off the outer husk and then there is a thin layer of the fruit before you hit the seed pod inside. I think they taste like a sour apricot fruit leather.

This is a soup that they sell occasionally at various restaurants and taco stands. It's called pozole. It tastes somewhat like a tortilla soup, but no tortillas. There is pork (including bones) and bloated corn. Apparently they clean the corn with lye, and then soak it for days before cooking it in this soup for another day. Muy bueno!

This is a yogurt drink that the kids love. It comes in several brands, this one is Yakult (pronounce jakool). The kids favorite is LaLaKult. It tastes like key lime pie and supposedly has millions of yogurt cultures. Good for the tummy.

This is one of our newest finds. This is fresh squeezed naranja verde (green orange). It is very good and inexpensive. I get about 7 lbs of oranges for a little over $1 at the tianguis. Luckily the house we rented came with an electric juicer.

Well, I'll continue to take more pictures of the food we love here (provided I get my camera privileges back) and you can look forward to seeing Chocoflan, tacos pastaur, roast chicken and more in another post.

By the way, found a few more of the songs I like from the radio and put them on my playlist, take a listen.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hallelujah! Amelia has learned to pump a swing.

Thanks to Jane and a few thousand lessons, Amelia has finally learned how to pump her legs on a swing. It's a great day when mom doesn't have to stand behind a swing and push while the kid complains that it's not high enough, hard enough or long enough.
Amelia and Jane are both proud of themselves.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Conference Weekend and Copa Loyola

This weekend had been a long one for us. Saturday was Copa Loyola, a daylong sports event at the kid's school. We dropped the kids off at 8am to start getting ready for the event and showed up at 9am for the kick-off. Various events were scheduled for the different ages. Their school is from ages 18 months to pre-college, so there is a wide range of ages. First the Kindergarten, three grades from age 3 to 5, competed first while everyone else watched. Then the older kids split up to compete on the nearby fields. The whole school was split in half between the blue and red teams. They even had t-shirts. Jane was Roja, Riley, Azul. Parents were all in attendance and we split up our family - boys, blue and girls, red - so they both would have a cheering section.

Here are some favorite pictures from the day.

Jane running a sprint:

Riley doing the shotput:

Azules won the most events in the school, so they got a gold medal to take home and Rojos got the silver. After the winner was announced the school director told everyone that school was canceled for Monday as a reward for all of their hard work. Needless to say, more cheering.

My kids are not very competitive in sports, but it turns out Mexicans are. All day long there were cheers and whistles for one team or another. The parents got more excited than the kids. But it was a happy, encouraging excited that I liked. We finished at about 3pm and we were all exhausted.

On Sunday, Riley and I traveled on a bus to Guadalajara to watch a broadcast of our church's leaders from Salt Lake City, called General Conference. This conference occurs every 6 months and it's something I look forward to. It used to be that, growing up in California, my family would watch the broadcast at a nearby church building, but after going to college in Utah and ending up staying there, I got lazy watching it on TV. I was glad that Riley was willing to go with me and Dave was willing to stay home with the younger children who make it hard to watch. Even though Riley didn't watch it all, it was the most he's ever paid attention, and I hope he got something out of it.

It's always overwhelming for me when I enter a room filled with members of the church and it made me doubly happy to be there with so many Mexican members. I didn't sit in the same room to watch, because there was a separate room with the conference in English for us Americans, but I loved being around them.

One of the talks I appreciated most was from Carlos A Godoy. He talked about testimony and the fact that a testimony of Jesus Christ does not always come from some spectacular event but usually by small and simple steps and little by little. I've always felt strongly about my testimony, but had a hard time expressing it and why. And sometimes let my testimony be unspoken because of this. I will try to share it more.