Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Feliz Año Nuevo!

We have returned from the chilly north with New Year's Greetings from our beautiful grandaughter, Isabelle!  Who could resist this face?   Here's another delightful image of her I took while we waited for our daughter, Wendy, to arrive at the Indianapolis Airport.  

As you can probably tell, I spent most of the time in Indiana taking pictures of Isabelle.  She spoke her first words while we were there ("Dada" to Eric's delight), and she seems, at nine months, to be on the verge of sprouting teeth and trying to walk.  We enjoyed doting on her, but we also had a family reunion of sorts, with Wendy and Cassie joining us for Christmas.  We also had the privelege of becoming reacclimated to the cold; wind chills were measuring -15F for the firstr day or so after we arrived.  As I sit typing this on the terrace back in Mexico, it doesn't seem so bad.  What we lacked in warm days we made up for with lots of warm memories.  Here is a photo of the kids with us (except Crystal, in this photo):

Eric and Crystal, like us, are diehard Unitarian Universalists.  UU's have a tradition of celebrating Christmas with very ecumenical services, sometimes a bit irreverent.  Theirs was no exception. As parents of a new baby, they were chosen to play the Holy Family in the pagent.  I never pictured Eric as the Joseph type, but he looked the part: 

Here are a few more photos of our Indiana visit, posted especially for Dad and Joy, including one of my soon-to-be 91 year old Aunt Alice, her son Rod, and Eric with Isabelle:

So now we're home in Mexico, and life is returning to normal. We are celebrating New Years with a quiet dinner with friends, and looking forward to 2009 with anticipation. We were at the Tianguis (market) this morning and noticed how the Lakeside area is much more crowded now. The snowbirds have arrived in force. The traffic is much slower, and we see many unfamiliar faces.

Our favorite vegetable and fruit vendors, Carmen and Aaron were glad to see us, and we found good looking mandarinas (tangerines), piňas(pineapples), and peras (pears) this week. Pixie found some three foot sparklers to shoot off, and uvas (grapes) for tonight. The Mexican custom is to eat 12 grapes at midnight for good luck. The other interesting custom is to wear red underwear on New Year's Eve for good luck. I don't know about Pixie but I'm wearing mine!

I have enrolled in a new advanced conversational Spanish class which starts at the end of the month. Pixie has found a teacher she loves from El Salvador who is teaching an introductory course at her home. She has been in this class for a couple of months and she is using Spanish more and is no longer as intimidated by learning a new language. We are able to practice everyday. I noticed on the plane that I could understand the Spanish announcements better than I used to. Poco a poco!

To all the loyal readers of Maine To Mexico, feliz año nuevo (happy new year)!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Feliz Navidad!

The holiday rush is in full swing in Mexico, as everyone is rushing around Christmas shopping, attending traditional Posadas and Christmas parties, and making travel plans to join their families for the holidays.  Above is our beautiful, pointsettia which has bloomed in time for the season.  We have been fighting some type of fungus on it, as you can see, but it is still representative of the large pointsettias trees which grow prolifically here.   

I have a few photos to share of the St. Andreas fiesta in Ajijic.  It lasts for 10 days or so every November in honor of Ajijics patron saint: Andrew.  Virtually the entire town shows up for the evening festivities.  Here are some evening shots of the plaza during the celebration:

Fireworks are a big part of the celbration, which are difficult to photograph, but I have included these two which consisted of a movable display.  Here is an angel which moved among the crowd, spewing sparks:

Below is a very lucky kid who was selected, at random, to wear the fire-spewing shark and run through the crowd for a once-in-a-lifetime experience:

Last night we invited our friends Carol and Ernie over for dinner.  Carol is fellow member of the Ajijic Writers' Group and administers the English language instruction program which offers free English instruction to over 300 Mexicans this year.  This is the program which provides the class that I teach, which I have written about before.  She does a wonderful job keeping a bunch of eccentric gringos in line, more or less.  And Ernie....well, just look at him!  He's an interesting character; you can tell this just by looking at the twinkle in his eye! 


We will be leaving to visit our son Eric, his wife Crystal, and grandaughter, Isabelle, in Muncie, Indiana next week.  Our daughters Wendy and Cassie will be joining us, so we'll have the entire family together for Christmas.  This will be the last blog entry until after we return December 29.  

Feliz Navitas a toto nuestros amigos y nuestra familia!