It is indeed a strange feeling. For the first time in my life, we are going through a winter season in a climate which never freezes. The flowers are out, the days are sunny and warm, the skies are bright blue, and there is ne'er a wisp of frost in the air, let alone the white stuff. We hear Christmas music in the air; in fact, we're going to a Christmas concert on Monday, yet it hardly seems like the holiday season. Of course we are going to see all of our children and their partners over the next few weeks, so that will seem more like Christmas. We do have our house decorated, pictured here, a Mexican pine, and Pixie's nutcrackers on the mantle:
We had a very interesting trip to a 130 year-old hacienda in the mountains near Mazamitla. We have a small dinner club with our good friends Paul and Jeanne and Steve and Sue, who accompanied us on this trip for two days. We hiked a bit in the mountains and ate authenic rural Mexican food on a Mexican schedule: Breakfast (desayuno) at 10:00 AM, lunch (comida, the large meal of the day) at 3:00 PM, and a smaller dinner (cena) at 8:00 PM. Since the hacienda is a working farm, we enjoyed butter, cheese, and "crema" made on the premesis. Paul and I, awaking early one morning, had a unique "hot chocolate" made from chocolate, corn alcohol, and warm milk directly from the cow's udder into the glass, a traditional Mexican eye opener!
My English students are making great progress, and we are continuing to have a wonderful time. We laugh and I have my usual good time hamming it up. Next Thursday, our last day of class before the Christmas break, they told me they wanted to have a "Posada" with me. Now, this seemed a very strange request to my gringo mind. A posada, you see, is the Spanish word for hotel. It also refers to the ritualistic reenactment of the nativity scenes which are popular around this time of year in Mexico. Puzzled, I replied, "Una posada? Con Virgin Maria y Christo?" They thought my ignorant response was hilarious. "No teacher, a fiesta por Navidad!" I had images of them wanting me to play Joseph or something. I was greatly relieved. So on Thursday, we are all bringing food and small gifts. I tried suggesting a Chinese auction, but gave up. They were looking at me like I was crazy, so we'll do a simple gift swap. I'll try to remember to add photos to this blog entry after the party, in this space. [Here are a couple of photos of the party, with at least some of my students. Notice the guy in the back row with the Yankees' cap. That's Jose Antonio, and he loves to wear that cap to tease me.]
Tomorrow we go to our first Quinceneara, for the 15 year old girlfriend the son of our Mexican friends. After the church service at 6:00, I guess there is quite a fiesta....we'll see. I'll take some photos, and add them here. [OK. Below are the photos of the church service and the Banda band at the fiesta. It was a great event. By my count, there were over 250 people at the fiesta, and we were the only gringos. But we felt most welcome and had a good time. We had goat stew and beans for dinner, and enjoyed the music and dancing, lubricated by cerveza and tequila!]
Next week life gets a bit hectic for us as the kids start to arrive. I may not post much over the holidays, but I'll post photos after.
Feliz Navidad to everyone!