Where you go, I will go; where you live, I will live. Your people will be my people for your God is my God.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Haulin’ Bright Pink Suitcases

It was early.  Or late.   Either way it was the time of the day where you are not sure if you should call it morning or night. Sleepiness should have reigned over my body, but that was not the case. 

Bright pin suitcases filled the car.  My dad ducked in, seat down his cup of coffee, and started the engine.   As the street lights flew by we chatted about this and that, until he finally pulled up to a curb.  He took out my bags, gave a lady $10 to haul them for me, and told her to take care of me. We looked at each other, hugged tightly, saying “See ya later.” 

Several hours later, I looked out a square window unto one of the most populated cities in the world.  We landed.  A woman stamped my passport, and I hauled my suitcases through customs.  Within a few minutes I was hugging tightly to another man. He said he saw me coming cause he recognized the suitcases.  And he took those bright pink suitcases, because well, it was his job then to take care of me. 

After several more hours on a bus, we arrived in front of a big white door in a taxi.  A place I had not seen before.  The man I had hugged at the airport took my the bright pink suitcases, unlocked one door and then another.  He said,

“Bienvinida a casa amor.”

“Welcome home, love.” 

Today, two months have passed since that day. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011





Well, in my  last post I was wrong. Rafa did not end up working the whole week.  Because of lack of work, they got a day and a  half off.  So like thousands of other Mexicans, we, along with 14 of our closest family members,  packed up Friday afternoon and headed to Veracruz for the weekend.  Though there were some obstacles to overcome, we had a great weekend. I have been camping on the beach several times with different friends.  One time I went in North Carolina over Memorial Day weekend.  Another time I went was at the end of that same summer, to a National State Park in Florida.  In NC, things were crazy and there were hundreds of people in sight.  In Florida, to see one or two people a day was rare.  Completely different circumstances and atmosphere.  Let’s just say this weekend reminded me of North Carolina, not the peaceful park in Florida.  We enjoyed being together and being with family.  We came back crispy and tired.  While camping is fun for a couple of days, there is something wonderful about coming home.  I was happy to realize that the longing I had for home, was for an apartment in a city of 30, 000 in a valley in the middle of Mexico.  The apartment I share with my husband.  It’s good to be home. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Going Green.


This week is “Holy Week”.  For those who are a part of the prominent religion in this area, it is considered a sin to work from Thursday through the rest of the weekend.  In this country, the norm is a six-day work week, so people here are only working half a week.  The men who are working on our house, informed us that they would only be working half a week, because they would be partying it up for the long weekend.  So, it’s a sin to work, but to pass the weekend drunk and partying is a-ok?!   A bit ironic, don’t you think? 

Food prices have been on the rise all week because of the occasion.  When I got here just a few weeks ago, tomatoes where 7 pesos a kilo and yesterday they were 20.  Almost triple the price!  Out of principle, I have not bought any.  But seeing how I am in Mexico, married to a Mexican, salsa is pretty much a must in our house.  Normally I make once or twice a week and it will last through the week.  So, this week I have made salsa verde in the place of your normal red salsa. 

This time, this week,  is giving us a wonderful opportunity to talk about the true Life.  Just by our non-conformation to the practices and customs here, it is obvious that we are not part of the local religion.  For example, I made ribs yesterday, and this half of the week my husband is working.  People are in the mood to talk religion, and we are ready to talk truth.  God is working, and we are enjoying the salsa verde.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pollo de Coca Cola

My suegrIMG_0356a is a great lady.  And is known for her cooking abilities. She is one of those people that you cannot leave her house without at least eating *something*.  I like that.  I have learned much from her since I first met her, and especially over the past couple of months. 

Some of her recipes, while made the way they should be made, are a *bit* too unique for this American girl’s taste.  There have been a couple of interesting concoctions that have left me with raised eyebrows and hesitation to say yes to whatever I’m being offered.

For example, the other day I was at her house. We had been invited for lunch.    I  was on the computer (her house=my internet source), and in she walks with a giant bottle of Coca Cola.  We rarely have cokes at our house, so this was a treat indeed.  Mexican coke has more sugar too, which makes it all that much better.  On a hot afternoon, nothing refreshes quite like a coke. 

But instead of offering me a glass like she normally would, she opened the thing up and poured it into the pot where the chicken was cooking.  She then threw in some onions.  Up my eyebrows went.  She saw me, and knowing my eyebrow look, she smiled and explained that she had been wanting something sweet.  I smiled back.  

A little while later we were all around the table, with the chicken as the center piece.  I [hesitantly] took a piece.  It was marvelous! Towards the end of the meal, I was scrapping the bowl for the sauce to eat on a tortilla.  I mean seriously, d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s.

So good in fact, that I asked for a couple more details about the part I had not seen, and made it myself today.  It was simple, and turned out great.  More bowl scrapping occurred.  I mentioned to Rafa that it will probably become one of my “go-to” recipes when I do not know what else to do, or when I am short on time.   He whole heartily concurred.  Pollo de Coca Cola is here to stay. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Picture.


*Photography credit goes to Rafa.*

Saturday, April 16, 2011


We live in an apartment complex that only has three apartments, side by side.  We are the ones in the middle.   We all share a front patio that leads out to the front gate, and each has its own back patio.  To the one side lives a bachelor that we hardly ever see, but to the side live a couple in their mid-50’s (I ‘m guessing, but have never asked!)  with their working daughter.  They have a son who lives nearby with his wife and three kids. 

La senora checks on me, brings me different things, and anytime I step next door, I end up leaving with something in my stomach.  They also make wonderful tamales, mole, Jell-O, and many other things to sell….and I’m a willing buyer!  

El senor, I do not know as well, but he is a kind man.  A couple od days ago, I looked out and he was cleaning the patio, including our part.  I made a mental note to thank him the next time I was over at their house. 

The grandkids are there a lot two, and always pound on my door to let me know when they arrive.  This past week their spring break started, and that night the kids were out playing with their ball in the front patio.  Most of the time when they come, my front door is left open, and they come and go as they please.  The other night after exploring our apartment, we decided to color, followed by [part] of a movie.  Their grandmother told me that the next morning they would have mole, if I was interested. 

The next morning the kids pounded on the door early.  I remembered that it was their vacation.  Most of the time, the come, knock, and run away.  Apparently this is very entertaining to a four and five year old.  I was busy, so I did not answer the door.  After a while I left to go to my suegra’s house.   As I left the door, I noticed that their was a van in the front patio and a couple men that I had seen at the neighbor’s before, but do not personally know.  The little girl came running to me, “Kaaaaaaaaaaat!”  and jumped in my arms.  We talked.  She asked when we would finish watching the movie, I promised when I returned.  It was agreed, and I left the front gate.  I saw her brothers in the street, coming back from one of the little stores nearby.  He said hey, they moved on and so did I.  When I came back, no one was there, as is normal during the day.  We all come and go. 

I started some chores, when someone rang the doorbell.  I went to answer at the front gate.  It was the daughter of our landlord.  We chatted about a couple of business things, and then she said, “And of course you know what happened last night.” 

Me: “What happened last night?!” 

Her: “Your neighbor, el senor,  had a heart attach.  Se murio.” 

Me:  “He died?!” 

Her:  “Si. Late last night.  They took him to the hospital and he died there. They left today to bury him their hometown.  Y’all did not hear anything?” 

And then I really did not hear that much more….

He died.  Just like that.  The man who had been cleaning my patio the day before.  Gone.  Into eternity. 

Errand Boy


As I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband is sometimes sent to run errands for his work.  He is a welder and many times the parts they need can only be  found in other places.  Many times that he is asked to go, he swings by the apartment to pick me up.  I enjoy being the assistant.  It is always a nice surprise to my day. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011



A staple of the Mexican diet. The can be used for a number of things…

* as a spoon.   most people do not use utensils (like Americans would, the do have and use utensils), but fold a portion of the tortilla over to make a a scoop to pick up rice, beans, or what have you.  

*a napkin.  likewise having salsa wrapped up in tortillas, keeps the fingers fairly clean.  (again, napkins are used, but not as frequently as your average American would use them) 

* the price.  corn s everywhere here, so tortillas are inexpensive.  They also make a meal go a lot further.  For example, most tortillas hold less meat than the portion we would serve for the main course of the meal. 

In the mountains where Rafa and I first met, the woman make tortillas by hand.  Every.single.day.  Sometimes two or three times a day.  I learned how to do this as well, simply because I was there, and wanted to pass time with those ladies.  So pounding away we went.   There they also say that once a girl learns how to make tortillas she is then ready to get married….little did they know ;) 

Where we live now, there are machines that make tortillas everyday and people buy them.  They are better than most corn tortillas I have had in the States, but still it is just not the same as the handmade ones in the mountains.  Being there we both got pretty spoiled.  But handmade tortillas are a TON of work, starting with the corn, cooking it with cal, grinding it, and more, just to make the dough.  I just could not see spending all that time to make them everyday, when we can buy a kilo for 7 pesos (over two pounds for under 60 cents). 

Enter the lady a few doors down.  IMG_0339

She has lost her sight, but you will not find her on the street corner asking for money.  Oh no.  She makes handmade tortillas everyday  and sells them for 9 pesos a kilo (about 8 cents more a pound)  Her tortillas are bigger, taste SO much better, and last better too if we have some leftover.  I carry my napkin to her door everyday, knock, buy my freshly made 1/2 kilo of tortilla and walk back to our apartment.  After arriving, I take the top tortilla, add a pinch of salt, roll it up, and enjoy the handmade goodness. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our street.


When we first arrived to our apartment several weeks ago, it was full of piles of gravel and dirt.  I was told that they were redoing the road.  We joked that they would finish it the week we moved to our house.  Well, we are still in the apartment and the street is finished.  And I think it’s quite pretty.  

Friday Lunch

Everyday Rafa comes home from work for lunchIMG_0322.  It has become one of my favorite times of the day, as his break is almost two hours long.  Because of some  errands that we needed to run on Friday, we decided that we would pick something up in the middle of town for lunch.   Lunchtime came, and so did Rafa.   He was not too hungry and neither was I because of a late breakfast.  We knew we should eat something, so we decided on a fruit salad.  This lovely things are made by little ladies selling on the street, and they cut up all the fruit in front of you.  Add some cream, sweetened condensed milk, granola, and you have you have your salad.  We ended people watching as we finished it all off. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Paperwork and a Lesson on Patience.

It is said, “Patience is a virtue”, but it is not a virtue of mine.  I have always thought however, that it would be a good thing to learn, even from the young age of nine. 

At this point in my life there were five kids in my family, four of them girls.  I am not sure how it worked out, but I somehow had my own room.  This was a rare thing indeed, and not a thing I remember experiencing until that point.  Within a few weeks I was “convicted” about my lack of patience and made the decision to learn to have it.  So I invited my younger sister to share my lovely room  and thus double bed with me.  Let’s just say when you put a seven-year-old free spirited why-do-something-today-if-you-can-do-it-next-week child with a nine-year-old bossy perfectionist spirit child, patience was *not* the theme of that chapter of our lives.  If it had a title it would be more like “World War III”.  Not even duct tape to divide the room and the bed, did nothing ease the tension. 

In the following 13 years of my life, many people have come across my path who have given me the opportunity to learn patience.  And I would have thought that it was a thing that was slowly but surely becoming a part of my character.  I finally thought that I would be  able to say “Patience is a virtue, of mine!”  But alas I have realized that it is still not to be….

Oh, I have plenty of patience with little kids or old people or a dear friend or the poor person who just doesn’t know any better, but I am finding that I have absolutely no patience for the people who should know better.  Like the lady who screamed at her daughter in the bakery, “Um excuse me?! You are a mother.  Its your job to do it right!”  Or the bookkeeper who did not get me my tax form from a job I worked at last year until after the deadline.   “Um, hello?!?  You are the bookkeeper!  You should keep the books right!”

And then the most recent. Our marriage license.  We got married January 3rd and still do not have a correct marriage license.  They gave us one back in February, but has a lot of mistakes.  Mistakes that prevent me from being able to use it to send need paperwork for both of our visas.  {One for me in Mexico, so that I can stay longer than 180 days, and the other one for a visa for Rafa so he go to the US. Both are pretty straight forward processes when all the paperwork is in order.}  

I have gone at least once a week, if not several times since returning at the end of February to got a corrected copy of our marriage license.   Many times they lady who does the marriage paperwork is not there, as she does the same work in other towns.  “Come on Tuesday, and it will be here.”  I am told, but come Tuesday, and the lady is not even there.  And then I’m told that when I come the next time I will have to bring money because it is a certified copy.  “What?!” I think, “I’m not the one who  made the mistake in the first place, why should I have to give out more money!?”   [It is beside the point that it is less than 5 dollars, it’s the principle that counts!] 

I went in today a bit more tranquilla. Still no [correct] marriage license, but progress was made and a promise that I’ll have it next week.  As I walked home, I thought about the people I rub shoulders with while I am there and how they watch my reactions.  How God has put me there for a reason, seeing, waiting, and chatting with the same people every week.  When I thought about it like that, my disgust with the whole thing seemed a bit ridiculous.  And then I thought about the lack of patience I have…..and back to sharing a room with my sister.  God is concerned with my character, and I should be more concerned about it, and the people around me, than with a little ol’ piece of paper.

Patience is a virtue, and hopefully, one day, it will be a virtue of mine.  No matter what the circumstances. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Handmade loveliness.

I love a good blanket.  Having several around alwaysIMG_0314 seems to make things more comfortable and homey.  The handmade ones I have are my favorite.  Not only because of their unique beauty, but because of the person who poured the hours, details, and love into making it.




[I was going through pictures the other day and found a couple that I love.  From May 2010.] 


Spring is here. And from what I have heard, that normally means warm sunny days for these parts.  The best time of the year before the rainy season. 

But it seems the rainy season has come early.  And with it hail.  We love watching the storms roll down from the mountains and have had some interesting experiences being caught in the mess!