Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cuatro Cienegas y Monclova

Check out this beauty!  Valentine’s weekend we went up to this cool place in the city of Cuatro Cienegas (The 4 Marshes).  What makes this place so dang amazing is that it’s in the middle of a UT-like desert. 


Even in this picture you can’t see how really cool and bizarre it is.  The water is a crystal clear turquoise.  We were all bummed that we couldn’t swim in it.


We could, however, swim in the rivers that connect all the little pools, which we did.  This is me checking out the view.




See what I mean about the UT like desert??  So strange.  There weren’t any park rangers around to ask how this happened.  Even if there were, I wouldn’t have understood.






It was a perfect day and the water was warm.  This is Ben checking out his feet. 



On Sunday we had dinner with a family in Monclova, the Gonzales’.  This is a family that Ben taught and baptized way back when.  This is Ben 10 years ago…


…and this is Ben 10 years later with 2 missionaries, 2 temple marriages, and 2 – almost 3 – grandchildren.  It was very cool to say the least.



Everyone is still doing great.  Luke tells me he understands what the teachers say sometimes and that he doesn’t talk a lot.  His friends at school, so he tells me, are Diego and Patricio.  I have no idea if they talk to each other or just use signals.  Either way, he doesn’t seem to be bothered.

Luke went to the Bishop’s son’s birthday party last week.  The Bishop and his wife speak really good English and their kids can speak, but don’t usually choose to.  Anyhow, the Bishop said that all the boys went downstairs to play the Wii and Luke finally got his turn to use one of the controllers.  He said after that he kind of owned that controller because none of the other kids would ask “the American boy” for a turn.  They just took turns with the 2nd controller.  The Bishop said that even though most of them can speak English they are usually to intimidated to talk.  I guess Luke took the opportunity to play dumb and keep the controller.  Nice.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm stupid!

You know those moments you have when you leave a situation and think, "dangit, I should have said...." All those times at the mechanic's shop when you think you are being taken advantage of, or at the doctor's office when you think you are being treated like an unintelligent, overprotective mother. You just can't think of the right thing to say. Or even, those times when in a social setting your mouth gets blabbing and when you leave you think, "I sure hope they didn't think this, when I said that that because what I was really trying to say was this. What I should have said was..."

I have this regretful feeling very regularly here and for yet another reason. After having a...well, lets call it an interaction because it's definitely not a conversation...in Spanish where I disjointingly throw some words together with terrible pronunciation and lots of pointing I often walk away thinking, "you idiot, you totally know how to say what you meant with much more clarity" and then I say what I should have said in my head.

For instance, this morning Caleb was suppose to bring a change of clothes to school because they were going to be playing with water. As the teachers were getting the boys out of the car I said to Caleb, "here are your clothes" and the teacher looked up and said, "Perdon?" I just smiled and sort of ignored the question although I know exactly what perdon means. I was just caught off guard. As I was driving home, I had the aforementioned head conversation. I should have said something like, "la ropa de Caleb para jugar con agua." This, I'm sure isn't the way a native would explain the clothes but she would have gotten the picture. My brain just cannot translate fast enough particularly when being stared at by someone with perfect understanding.

Aye carrumba!! There's nothing like a foreign language to make you feel stupid, all the time!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Exploring Mexico's 3rd Largest City

Here are a few places we've visited.
Grutas de Garcia...or the Garcia Caves.  You take a tram up to a massive cave – there is even a chapel inside dedicated to La Virgen de Gaudalupe.
This is in the village of Villa de Garcia where Ben spent a couple months as a missionary. Its an old Colonial town with a cute little city center.
…Yellow shirt, yellow wall, yellow ice-cream.  Happy Boy
This is Cola de Cabello...or Horsetail falls. We plan on going back here when my parents come because the drive up to the falls is really fun, the little tourist area around the trail is really cute, and because Ben didn't get to bungee jump (120 feet drop for $30). It closed by the time we got over there.
La Parque Estanzuela - Its a little walk in the woods that costs 5 pesos. A fun little building is there that teaches kids about the environment – it also made for a cool picture.
…make sure to bring a stroller on long walks.

Monterrey’s MacroPlaza.  The building is now a museum – which are very hard to do with children.



100_0615 The entire family loved this plaza because the boys could run around and the place was so big that they never ran into a single person.

Mexican Food Rocks!

Some of the things I'm loving include this,

and this,

and definitely this. My body is loving all this great food, but I may not be loving my body so much in another month or so without the Y here to counter balance.
Also, at home we ate beans, rice and Mission tortillas rather regularly but they will never satisfy again after having beans, rice and fresh tortillas here. Remeber the picture I posted of Ben cooking the tortilla on the iron?? Those tortillas are the best. Way better than anything I've bought in the states. Wegman's has got to get on providing them to their customers.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Did you know??

Did you know that you can go to the grocery store and not speak a single word?? Yep, it's true. This, however, does not help me learn Spanish and I know it. Shame on me.

Also, did you know that I am terribly allergic to Mexico?? No lie! I would have posted a picture of my red nose and eyes that have been rubbed raw, but I figured I'd save myself the embarrassment. I'm beginning to count myself lucky when I don't have to take Benadryl until the afternoon or evening. Claritin doesn't work dangit. I keep thinking it will pass. I'm still hopeful!