Friday, December 28


I'm horrible at taking photos. Not the actual snapping a photo but the I-should-take-a-photo-because-I'll-wish-I-had-photo-later. Oh how I hope that God sends me a man who likes taking pictures all the time because I don't, even though I do very much appreciate photos afterwards. I share this little "rant" with you because I wanted to share, with photos, some things I knew I'd be experiencing but ended up only snapping about 4 worthwhile ones, and none of them are of the celebrations.

My parents were here as I previously mentioned. They just left at 5am this morning since they have a long drive ahead of them today. We enjoyed a nice 5 days together. It was so great to introduce them to all my friends down here, the ministries I participate in and love, and to share many things with them. They got to meet my Oasis boys and dear friends there...that was worth the trip alone. If anybody else wants to visit, I would love to take you out to they just had a baby calf born!

On Christmas Eve, my parents and I had two parties to attend. I didn't take into account the Mexican culture that while being told to arrive at one time, things may not start happening until an hour (or two) later. First up was the party at Oasis. We arrived at 5pm and got to see the boys. Around 7pm, we were moved into the main room for the program and food. They started with singing and then from what I understand, there was a drama, a short talk, and then the dinner. My parents and I left after the singing, at 7:45pm, because of the next engagement I had committed to.

So around 8:10pm we arrived to Pastor Reynerio's church. I thought we had been invited to dinner: my family and his family. Turned out to be a mis-understanding on my part because there was a church service going on and the whole church participated in the dinner afterwards. Dinner was served about 9:45pm.  After dinner, around 10:30pm, it was time for pinatas...they had one for the girls and one for the boys. At first, when we arrived to the church service, I was a bit regretful that I had committed to coming and wished I had just remained at Oasis. However, we ended up having a really nice time at Reynerio's and I'm glad we went.

On Christmas day, we had a simple but yummy breakfast together, watched a movie (Christmas in Connecticut (from 1945), a bit of baking and food preparation for dinner, before going to my friend's house for Christmas dinner. Our dinner consisted of Carne Asada tacos. Oh my...were these good!!! I brought a green salad and a jello salad and it was ended up being a great meal. For dessert, I made this Chocolate Pecan Pie (yum!):
We had a good time talking and laughing. Ooh...let me go take a picture of one great gift I received from my friends, Brian and Erin:
I have a "small" Starbuck mug collection. Brian and Erin just went to Mexico City about two weeks ago. When I saw their own mug, I hoped and hoped they had purchased one for me. Hooray!
Then the day after Christmas, my parents and I were invited over to my landlords/friends, Sammy and Leyda's house, for a breakfast of tamales! So so good! I then took my parents to a couple local sights where I snapped these pictures:
And this has been my Christmas 2012!

Saturday, December 22


Hello! Yes, I'm still here in Mexico. Haven't been kidnapped by the cartel, imprisoned by the federales, or buried under a pile of work. In truth, I have just largely forgotten my blog or when I have remembered my blog, I just shrug and say (because I talk to myself often) "I have nothing new to write."

But in looking back over the last month, I realise that I do have things to share. Side tangent: I love how my three years in Canada still to this impacts me. About 90% of the time, I write realise with an "s" instead of a "z", unless I am realizing something. I think it's great that I am now part-Canadian, part-German, and now am learning how to be part-Mexican...oh, I shouldn't forget my mostly American side of me. Side tangent over.

So, since I last wrote on December 7th, I had my end-of-the-term spanish exam, we had a team come to visit, I had a 48 hour excursion out to the boy's home, and have been knee-deep in cleaning and Christmas baking. Overall, things have been busy. And since I'm sure you're interested in more details on each, here you go!
  • Spanish exam: Both funny and frustrating. So since my last exam at the beginning of November, I have learned oh-so-much...she threw a bucket load at me. In one class she gave me 250 words to memorize...and she did that a few times. So I studied and studied and studied...literally hours...only for her to give me something completely unrelated to all the "new" material, as my final exam. I had to read 5 short stories and answer 10 questions on each. Her reasoning: she knew that I knew all that class stuff and she wanted to see how my reading comprehension was. So in some ways, I'm sure I got off easier than if she had quizzed me on the classroom stuff (I didn't go feeling completely ready) but it was still frustrating. Anyhow, the good news, I am now moving up to the "advanced" stage of my learning when I return in January. Hoorah! (Just don't ask me to say anything...I still panic and tell people I don't speak spanish.)
  • The visiting team: They are from Southern California and came just for a day to give out shoeboxes to 200 kids and to help serve a Christmas dinner to the three churches that we support. We planned to serve about 200 people at this dinner. I don't have any clue how many actually came but we ran out of food. We had two dinner times: 5pm and 7pm. For the second group, none of the kids got vegetables because they were all being saved for the adults. And we had to postpone dinner for a good 30 minutes while my coworkers ran out and bought rotisserie chicken to compensate for the 100 lbs of turkey that had been gobbled up. There were people everywhere. But God provided. The kids were delighted with their shoeboxes of gifts. The food was obviously good and eaten. And we all went home exhausted. (I just realized that this happened only one week like it happened longer ago than that.)
  • 48 hour excursion: I have probably mentioned this before but the more I go out to the Boy's Home, the more I want to go out again and again. At one point this month, I was invited by the directors (who live there) to come out and stay in their home for however long I want to: one night, two nights, a week, etc. Well, in light of my teaching-English classes and my spanish class all wrapping up between Dec 10-14, I had this past week completely open. So why not! I went out there Monday and came back home on Wednesday. I had a great time! I got some cuddles in with a baby chihuahua, I got to go on a walk to collect firewood, I did a couple school pick-ups/drop-offs and even got to watch an end-of-the-school-term presentation, I made them one dinner and one breakfast and one batch of tortillas, I got to celebrate over the return of one boy who had ran away, I was taught how to play marbles (may need more lessons/practice), and I achieved the three things I desired:
    • To have a good time...easily achieved.
    • To learn how they flush a toilet (they have no running water...have I mentioned this before?). This turned out to be very easy!
    • To learn how the two females take a shower. While I did not take a shower there (yes, I went home very grimy feeling) I learned that it too is fairly easy and I think I could handle it, if per say, a house was built for me out there.
  • Mad cleaning and baking: Well, as I mentioned, we had a team come plus over 200 people to our center last Saturday. My coworkers were previously engaged the week before in meetings in Mexico City, only returning Friday night and then leaving again on Sunday. That meant I needed to clean the center, prepare some beds, get the kitchen ready, etc, before Satuday. This also meant that I needed to clean the center after everyone left on Sunday, which I'll admit I only did a portion of. I am heading out there today to do a bit more cleaning. Plus, I've been cleaning my house and have a bit more to do today because MY PARENTS ARE COMING!! My parents are coming tomorrow (EEK!!!) and will be here for approximately 4 days. As for the baking, I decided to make Cranberry Orange Scones for the pastors that we work with, as a small but tasty Christmas gift...finished those last night and will distribute them in the next hour or two. I also plan to make fudge final Christmas treat!
There's so much more that will be happening in the next few days...I won't share now because that will force me to get back on within the next week to write again. Hope you have enjoyed this long-ish snapshot of my month (really, just the last two wonder I've been tired).

Merry Christmas to you all. I pray that in the year ahead Emmanuel (God with us) will be very near and real in your lives. God bless you and with love.

Friday, December 7

An English Exam

On Thursday, we finished up our English class with the boy's home, for the Christmas season. To wrap up a term requires the administration of a well-written test, which I thoroughly enjoyed putting together. It was creative, it was varied, I was proud of the end result. 40 questions covering material from September to December.

One of the topics we studied this term were things of the house. They did quite well when we studied the house so I had hopes that listing any 10 things or rooms would be a relatively easy feat. But as it turned out, only a couple students remembered 10 and the rest only gave me about 3 items/rooms, before calling it quits. I used the below picture for my test:

One young man, upon completion, handed me his test and I looked it over to see briefly how he had done. He was one who only came up with 3 labels of the house. I burst out laughing when I saw that one of the things he labeled was the dog sitting at the end of the bed. He started laughing when I told him what I had just spotted and that a "dog," while it could be arguably good answer, was not something we had studied and therefore could not be counted, despite the fact that the entertainment was well appreciated.

Oh my goodness, I love this English class and I love this kid.
I have such enjoyable moments out there.

Wednesday, December 5

That awkward moment

That awkward moment when you suggest (and watch) a movie with a group of people, and you recall that movie to be very funny and would be highly enjoyed by teenage boys only to realize, once watching, that there are a few "inappropriate" parts and a few dozen swear words throughout. *Blush*

At one point, I apologized to the main leader and told him that there were more swear words throughout the movie. He said "not to wasn't anything the boys hadn't used in their past."

Once I apologized, I was able to relax a bit more and loved hearing the boys laugh, as I thought they would, at the various antics.

Gotta love The Goonies.