Dec 28, 2012

Our last birthday in Mexico and Thanksgiving festivities!

Amanda was the last birthday girl we had in Mexico. Unfortunately, her birthday and Thanksgiving kind of came together. Her birthday was on Wednesday, and Thanksgiving of course was on Thursday.  We were having dinner with our coordinator Rachael, her family, and 14 missionaries. That's right, 14! Our entire zone was coming, so, we had some preparations to do, which we did on Amanda's birthday. We were in charge of desserts and a veggie tray. We decided to make a giant pan of apple crisp and my grandma's delicious cheesecake! It wasn't the best it could have been, but it definitely wasn't bad!
Look at the apple crisp! Ain't it a beauty?
crushin up some cookies!
Litte Mary was our DJ :)
Amigas :)
We combined all of our cheesecake leftovers to make a big cheesecake for Amanda's birthday cake. Turns out, the jello (this isn't your regular cheesecake) had already started to settle a bit, so we ended up with something that had a consistency similar to flan. It still tasted good though!
The kids made posters to decorate and tell Miss Amanda how much they love her. We left them up the whole rest of the semester :)
The next day we made the final preparations! Presentation is everything.
We always had fun when we were together :)

Janessa and I headed over to the church to put the food in the oven to warm up. It was a gas oven, which I'd never personally used before, but I'd seen it done. We turned it on, smelled the gas, and lit it to warm up. We left to get the food. As we left, we joked that we were going to blow up the church. When we came back just 5 minutes later, then entire church smelled like gas. Apparently, the oven didn't light completely, so the gas was just running the whole time. Yeah, we almost blew up the church. 
We ended up having to eat pretty quick because we had to rush off to teach, but dinner was wonderful. We sat at one of the table, all the elders sat at the other, with a family in the middle to buffer. It was kind of funny. Thanks to Rachael for all of our amazing meal!

Monte Alban... Where I'd have lived if I were a Book of Mormon character

Our last day in Oaxaca took us to Monte Alban. I think these were my favorite ruins we visited! Up in the mountains, beautiful view... You can't get much better than that! Unfortunately, we didn't time things very well, so we didn't have nearly as much time as we would have like, but something was better than nothing!
Wouldn't you like this view out your front door? I definitely wouldn't mind it.
A mini city layout of the place!
Climbing up these kinds of stairs with a giant, heavy backpack nearly tipping me over? There may or may not have been several near death experiences. 
Nothing to make you feel tiny like being in the middle of a giant courtyard surrounded by ancient ruins!
Seriously, how cool is this place??
Oh ya know, just relaxing on another day in paradise (AKA Mexico!)
Sideways. Taking planking to a whole new level.
Coming back to the gray and the dead and the ugly makes me seriously miss beautiful flowers like this...
Hurray for people who actually know how to take good pictures! Apparently picking the guys with the big, fancy, expensive camera is a good idea. Who'da thunk?
Road to El Dorado, anyone?
Angry birds! Madi had her Angry Birds shirt on, and is it just me or does that tree look like a sling-shot? Yeah, it does. That's what I thought. Hence, this picture, my brain child :) 

Sadly, this picture marks the end of our trip to Oaxaca, but the adventure did not stop there! We also missed our bus, had to return a key that we accidentally stole from our hostel, suffered through an incredibly hot bus, then an incredibly freezing bus, and finally made it back to our lovely home of Tehuacán.

Dec 15, 2012

a tour bus, some awesome stuff, and a lot of catch phrase

For our full day in Oaxaca, our priority was the Hierve del Agua. The easiest way to get there was on a tour bus, so, tour bus we did. We had no idea how long of a day we were in for...
Arbol del Tule
This tree is the widest tree in the world. I could not believe how big it was!
It has a diameter of 14 meters!
I can not tell you how bad I wanted to hug this tree. Unfortunately, you had to pay to get in, and you still couldn't touch it. So, I found another way :)
Next stop... was this place that I don't know what it's called. It's this little community a little ways outside of Oaxaca, where everyone is taught how to weave starting at the age of 6. All that practice pays off, because these rugs were incredible.
Everything is made completely naturally. They get the different colors using things like bugs, lemon juice, and lime stone. 
Wool making 101
They use their feet and their hands!
Beautiful, is it not? It is.
Hierve del Agua
AKA: petrified waterfall. Is that not the coolest thing you've ever heard of?? I really wish we had more time at this place. I think we only had about 45 minutes, which was not enough time, especially after long, windy bus ride that was endured to get there. C'est la vie, verdad?
It all started with a pool... and a Lewis and Clark picture! No matter where I go, I never forget my roots :)
Do you SEE how beautiful it is here?? (read Chandler Bing style)
And then we saw where the real party was at...
I've seen a petrified waterfall. Have you? There's only 2 in the world!
This beauty was my brainchild. And I'm very proud.
I've walked on a petrified waterfall.
I've sat on a petrified waterfall...
And I've danced and done yoga on a petrified waterfall!
This reminds me of las grutas in Taxco
Honestly, not my favorite ruins. Of course, they're all cool and historical, but the most interesting and cool part of these were the ingenuity and the details!
Seriously. Do you see that? These guys were good...
We even got to go inside!
And this is what we saw. The entrance into this hall was so small, the people that lived here must have been midgets. I'm guessing they also didn't have a very good sense of smell, because it was so damp and musty in here that it kind of smelled like pee. It was nasty. 

After here, we were taken somewhere to get dinner. We like cheap food, so we didn't eat at the restaurant they took us to. Instead, we played on the playground and played Catch Phrase (it's one of our favorites :))! I'm pretty sure we got some weird looks, but who cares? We were having fun! Next we were taken to a distillery that specialized in agave. The place smelled awful, and I already had a headache, so Madi and I played more Catch Phrase on the bus. Once again, I became suspicious that the white drink my host parents had given me was alcoholic... but more on that later.