Nov 28, 2012

Día de los Muertos!

The day before Halloween, I went home early with my family to go get the things they needed to set up their Día de los Muertos table (AKA Day of the Dead table). After walking through the pouring rain and river streets for at least half an hour, we ducked into some tents, and this is what I saw...
Chocolate and candy skulls, candy, mugs, candles, flowers, and special foods. Everywhere!
Look at the ground. That's a river of water comin' at me. Yeah. 
Mexicans get pretty fancy with their candles.
This market was huge! Tents filled several streets and a nearby warehouse was FILLED with all kinds of flowers. It was pure madness. And, by the time we got home, all of our clothes were soaked clear through. It was a little ridiculous. 

This is what our table looked like when it was all finished. To be honest, it made me kind of sad to see all that good food and bread and candy go to waste. Especially the bread. Day of the Dead bread is delicious.But, I guess some traditions are a little crazy. They don't always make sense to other people, but that's half the fun of it! I was so grateful I was able to experience so much of this part of Mexican culture that is so important to them. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, they set out the special foods for their loved ones that have passed on, and they believe that during the night their spirits come by and smell the food to enjoy it. At least that's what my 9 year old brother told me :)

Nov 14, 2012

It's the random things

Vacations in Mexico are wonderful. I really do love them, don't get me wrong, but it's the little day to day things that have really made my experience is Mexico amazing. Here's a little snippet of some of those things....
One night I had to stay late and played balloon volleyball with some of my kids :)
One day I was teaching and Roberto thought it would be funny to stick googly eyes to his face... and it was :)
Guess who surprised our class with a visit? Captain America! The older kids know how much I love Captain America, and so they tried telling me I needed to kiss Hector... (AKA Captain America)... No. Little bit inappropriate. He is super cute though!
Just some cuties :) Christian!
Amanda and Alan
The above picture is what we used to have for tokens... desperation at it's finest. Yes, that is play money. Come mid-semester time... we had REAL tokens brought to us from America. And it was wonderful!
Our little indian Carlitos... I love this little boy so much :)
So this one time... we didn't know it was Stake Conference... so we all showed up 2 hours early- at 8 a.m., the time we usually have church. The upside though was that we got to talk to the mission president, his wife, and the missionaries for an hour and a half. Yay!
Our pathetic attempts at picture taking...
We finally got everyone!
So there's this panaderia that we really love to go to... What is a panaderia you Americans may ask? It's a bread shop! And they love us. And we love them. Sometimes, they give us free desserts... sometimes we devour them in about 2 minutes... It almost took everything out of us to save a bite for Janessa and to stop and take a picture.
Emilio and Valentina dressed up to go trick or treating! Can you tell they really love zombies here?
Chillens! Victor, Josef, Marko, Zida, Aradid, and Alejandro :)
Marko! Don't let that adorable face and cute smile fool you... He used to be AWFUL! He's not too bad anymore though :)
Zida, Alejandro and Victor. I LOVE Alejandro. He's one of my favorites :) And Zida too.
Trying so hard to be good!
Little Jonathan! He's Alejandro's little brother, and so cute!
Valentina saw me do 2 thumbs up while I let Emilio take a picture of me.. So she wanted to do it. So cute! :)

I love the little things that make every day here enjoyable :)

Where man met the Gods... Otherwise known as Teotihuacan.

Sunday marked the last day of our vacation, and it did NOT disappoint! We got up nice and early, earlier than I like to admit even exists, and headed to the bus station for our tour bus that would take us up north to the long-awaited, famous pyramids of Teotihuacan. *Please prepare yourself for a ridiculous amount of awesome pictures*
We started out by going to this little gift shop place and learned about all the different stones that are found in the area, and agave. Apparently this plant is good for all sorts of things, mostly relating to sex and tequilla. Our guide thought it was hilarious.
The entrance
Temple of Cuetzalcoatl
Date.... Nephites, anyone? Lamanites maybe? 
The avenue of the Dead.  
Look who we ran into! 
I like to plank in places that relate to dead people... like Lenin! 
 crawling through the tunnels...
 This is Kate. My story with her is one of my favorites. I saw an older Mexican gentlemen with a Russia t-shirt on, and asked him if he'd been there before. He said, no and directed me to Kate. We tried to talk in Spanish for a minute, and then decided English was better. She's in Mexico studying, and living with a host family (hence the guy with the Russia shirt), but she's from Voronezh. That set off a flag in my brain, because that's a place with an ILP school. We asked how she learned English and she said in school growing up. We got slightly excited and asked if she was in ILP. It took a minute, but eventually she confirmed that she had been, and her English was wonderful! ILP teachers, one who taught in Russia, meet former Russian ILP student, in Mexico. Sweet!
 Temple of the Sun!
 Our friends :)
 My Samuel the Lamanite picture :)
 So excited!
 Gettin ready to climb! Will we be smiling that big when we get to the top?
 Halfway there!
 Those stairs were too steep for this little guy, so his dad walked behind him on the rail thing. It was so cute!
We were still happy!
 At the top! Or at least as far as they'd let us go...
 Look at all the wee little people down there!
 We found the rest of the white girls at the Temple of the Moon!
Why not climb another mountain??
 I love this picture. Right as we were taking it, a bee flew in the middle of us, and the freaking out commenced.
 Temple of the Sun
 Moon.... or Sun. Whatever. 
 White girls!
 We made more friends. We traded English and Spanish the whole time. It was fun. 
A maze? definitely.  
 Then, we left, and went to an Ex-convent!
 Overall, it was a really good day... and we were all a little tan/sunburned by the time we were done! 80* felt wonderful :)