Friday, September 23, 2011

John Paul II returns to Mexico

Well today is a very exciting day here. The ex-Pope, John Paul II, or rather the relics of the Pope are here in Puebla today.

This morning there was a parade down 16 de septiembre, followed by a Mass. This afternoon at 2:30, you could barely walk through the central part of the city where the Cathedral is. The lines to enter the Cathedral last for blocks in every direction. I was told by my guide, Gabby that the crowds I could see were nothing compared to what it would be like this evening. This gives you an idea of how much the people of Mexico loved this Pope. It is quite astonishing to be here and witness this.

He was known as the "Mexican Pope". He visited mexico 5 times. His relics are on a tour through Mexico, which will encompass 93 cities.

Now about me.......

I love Puebla. I love the People. I love the school, SI Puebla. This has been an amazing experience for me here. I am coming home a different person. Everyone here is so kind and helpful. I wish everyone could have the perspective that I have of Mexico and the people here.

I return home with mixed emotions. I will be happy to be reunited with my family and friends but I am also leaving a family and friends here too.

I hope I have the opportunity to return.

I have checked in for my flight on line. Tomorrow I will begin my journey home via bus at 11:00 AM from Puebla to Mexico City, followed by a flight to Atlanta, a 3 hour layover and then one more flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake.

Thank You Mexico!!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Independence Day 16th of Septiembre

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This is one big pot of Mole Poblano. 
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Leni is my guide for this week.  We went out for a beer to jump start the holiday.

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The streets are lined with vendors for blocks and blocks all around the Zocalo
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On the right, you can see the metal detector and if you look close a man is taking his scooter through the detector.  There were metal detectors at all the different access spots and probably a thousand cops in the city.
I spent the afternoon in town and then I spent the evening at home with my family.  We watched, "La Grita" on TV, both in Puebla and in Mexico City too.  It was awesome to watch it and to see the fireworks.
On the 16th, I spent the morning cooking with Maria Elena and her friend Diciembre.
Some of the teachers at my school had invited me to go out with them the night of the 16th.  There were 6 of us.  Me pase bien.  I danced and had a great time!!! I was the only non-Mexican in the bar.  I knew I was NOT in Utah when we ordered a bucket of 10 beers.  Our glasses had salted rims and lime juice in them.  There was a table of 4 people next to us and they ordered a box of 20 beers.  It was a perfect way to celebrate Independence Day Mexico Style.
Today I walked in to town to 6 Oriente which is also know as "Calle de Dulces".  I wanted to buy a specific type of Mexican Chocolate for gifts for my teachers and the staff at the school.  El Centro was packed with people that came to town to celebrate the holiday.  It was kind of sad walking around knowing that this is my last weekend here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I just had to post the replies to my last post from my family

This one is from my son, Nick:

You are a spaz. I am glad that you have enjoyed yourself. You really deserved it. But honestly, it is time to bring your brown ass home. I will be honored to ease your transition back to the land of obesity and excess.

I will show you how to do America when you get back. 

Proudly made in the U.S.A.


Since I am homeless and without a job, my parents are gracious enough to let me stay there, however my mom is not going to let me get away with ANYTHING!!

So this one from my mom:


1.  You can wake up anytime you want until you find a job or a rich man.

2.  Exercise is available here and the bathroom is open most all the time.

3.  When you arrive in the kitchen in the morning you can fix what ever we have, probably not quesadillas.

4.  We also have decaf but not many cookies (not on weight watchers program).

5.  Lunch (see # 3)

6.  Dinner is usually between 6 and 7 pm, we have lots of tea no pan de duice, no arroz con leche.  You will love chatting with your family.

7.  We have some spanish channels that you can watch after 10:30, that is when we go to bed.

8.  Feel free to make fresh fruit popsicles any time you want.

9.  Bonus!!!!  You won't have to walk as far to do your laundry.

10.  Sounds to me like you have lots of new things to cook for us.

We are looking forward to your return, I guess we can pamper you a little.   

Love Mom


MY Mom is so Funny!!!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Re-entry in 9 more days


In order to help me with my re-entry, I wanted to empower you with the knowledge of my current life.

I am accustomed to being pampered (me miman = they pamper me)

I am accustomed to waking up about 7:00 AM and doing some exercise, or not. 

The bathroom is always available to me about 8:00 AM.

At around 8:20 when I arrive in the kitchen, there is generally a bowl of fruit, yogurt, and granola waiting for me. Sometimes there is toast, or quesadillas with ham and cheese, or sometimes scrambled eggs.

I drink decaf coffee in the morning and I am accustomed to instant coffee now.

After finishing my breakfast, I generally have a cookie with the rest of my coffee.

Maria Elena sends me to school with a piece of small fruit or a cookie for my 11:00 AM break.

At lunch, I exert myself by walking 3 blocks to the restaurant where there is a large buffet Mon-Fri.

I generally arrive home from school about 5:00. I generally work on my homework in my room at this time.

I eat dinner between 6:00 & 6:45 PM. After dinner I am served tea since I am sensitive to caffeine, oh and my tea is served with cookies or pan de dulce. Last night I had ice cream with my cookie and tonight arroz con leche. I enjoy chatting with the family during this time.

After an hour or thereabouts I retreat back to my room to finish my homework, check my email, and just have quiet time in general.

Before bed I like to watch a program on-line in Spanish. I should finish the last episode of the 6th season of Weeds tonight. If I do not finish the 7th season while I am here, I may be grouchy.

I like to have the fresh fruit paletas (popsicles) a minimum of twice per week. I know we won’t have the same flavors at home but I bet you can find some at Wild Oats or another specialty store.

My sheets are changed at least once per week. This seems to average about every 5 days.

My room is dusted and swept several times per week.

I have washed my own laundry twice in 7 weeks and hung it outside to dry. The rest of the time, I carry my laundry a tedious 7-8 blocks to school in my laundry bag where it is picked up and delivered back to school by 4:30. This costs me about 30 pesos a week.

Times were a bit harder for me before I arrived at this house with Maria Elena and Jorge. I used to have to do all my own laundry, clean my room, change and wash my sheets, and fix my own breakfast.

Years ago my dad told me if you do anything for 4 weeks, it becomes a habit. I have been here for 7 weeks (minus my 11 days in Merida where I was just as pampered). My point is that all of these things are now habit.

I do the dishes whenever I can get away with it, but often it is a struggle with Maria Elena. On the other hand, she has gotten accustomed to let me win at this one thing.

I feel very loved all the time here. This family is the perfect example of love and kindness. Their son Andres is living back at home now since he is going to school here in Puebla. He is 25 years old.

I am sure I am forgetting some important things. Just know that I will not return in the same state that I left. I may need a little time to adjust so please be gentle with me.

I have loved my experiences here and look forward to coming home too. It would be easy to stay here if I didn’t need to find a job, etc.

Oh yeah, I love Jamaica and look we can make it too. It is made from the Hibiscus Flower. And just look at the health benefits.

Hibiscus flower tea: Agua de jamaica


Dried hibiscus flowers, known in Mexico as jamaica (pronounced "ha-ma-ike-ah", rather than like the name of the Carribbean island country) have long been available in health food stores in the U.S. for making a tea that is high in vitamin C. With the advent of interest in south-of-the-border cuisine, hibiscus flowers are now sold in bulk in most large supermarkets. This drink is particularly good for people who have a tendency, temporary or otherwise, toward water retention: it is a mild and completely natural diuretic. I drink a lot of it, so I use sugar substitute in this recipe.


  • 2 cups dried hibiscus flowers
  • 8 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar or equivalent amount of sugar substitute

Rinse and drain the hibiscus flowers in a colander.

Put them in a saucepan with 4 cups of the water and the sugar.

Stir and bring to a slow boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

The flowers will have lost their color into the water, which will be a deep red color. Let the liquid cool, then strain it into a pitcher.

Discard the flowers.

Add the rest of the water and stir.

Chill thoroughly before serving.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Viva Mexico

The celebration will begin tomorrow Afternoon September 15

Mexico's Independence Day - September 16

In the early nineteenth century, Mexico, with a little influence from the US and France, began talking about a revolt against Spain. Father Miguel Hidalgo from Dolores, Mexico, was a leader of one of the rallying groups. Hidalgo and his officers were planning a revolt for late fall of 1810. The Spanish people found out about the revolt which led the Spanish Government to order the arrest of Hidalgo and his officers. When Hidalgo found out, he called a meeting at his church. He rang the church bell on the night of September 15, 1810 to call his congregation to mass. Here Father Hidalgo rallied the people to fight. He gave the speech which is now known as 'Grito de Delores', saying "Viva Mexico" and "Viva la independencia!" These famous words have been remembered and are said each year at the Independence Day celebrations.
Everyone fought together, including the Criollos (wealthy Mexicans of Spanish descent), Mesizos (children born from the marriage of a Spaniard and an Indian), and Indians. Armed with clubs, knives, stone slings, and ancient guns, they fought as they marched to Mexico City. A battle took place in Guanajuato between the Spanish soldiers and Hidalgo's followers. The army sacked the town, killing the Spaniards. They continued to fight on their way to the capital. When they finally reached Mexico City, the army hesitated before going in to fight and some of them even disserted the army. Before the year was over Father Hidalgo was captured and executed. Some people continued to fight for the cause and Father Hidalgo's Grito de Delores (Cry of Delores) became the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence. The people fought for eleven years before they finally won their freedom.
Today Mexican Independence Day is a major celebration in Mexico and is bigger than Cinco de Mayo. It is celebrated with a fiesta (party). The celebrating begins on September 15 (the eve of Independence Day) where crowds of people gather in the zocalos (town meeting place) of cities, towns, and villages. In Mexico City a huge square is decorated with flags, flowers and lights of red, white, and green. People sell confetti, whistles, horns, paper-machete helmets, and toys in the colors of red, white and green. There is also plenty of feasting! When the clock strikes eleven o'clock the crowd gets silent. On the last strike of eleven the president of Mexico steps out on the palace balcony, and rings the historic liberty bell that Father Hidalgo rang to call the people. Then the president gives the Grito de Delores. He shouts "Viva Mexico" "Viva la independencia" and the crowd echoes back. People do this at the same time all across Mexico. While the crowd says this they fill the air with confetti, streamers and hoopla. Castillos explode in showers of red, white, and green.
The actual day of September 16 is similar to July Fourth in the US. There are rodeos, parades, bullfights, horseback rider performances and grand feasts. The statues in memory of Father Hidalgo are decorated with red, white, and green flowers. The Mexican Flag is made up of green, white, and red. The green is on the left side of the flag and symbolizes independence. White is the color in the middle of the flag and symbolizes religion. The red is on the right side of the flag and symbolizes union. These colors are used often in decorating for the Mexican Independence Day fiesta.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Everything is beautiful

I returned to Puebla yesterday and was able to return to my same house which was awesome.

Last night I slept with my sheet AND the blanket.  It felt so nice.  I wore a sweater to school this morning and this afternoon walked around comfortably in jeans and a T-shirt.

I arrived at school to get a big hug from Rosalie and then one from Antonio.  The other teachers greeted me just like I was family.

I am so happy!!! I am giddy and silly.  I feel like someone slipped something into my drink at lunch.  Even Antonio was giddy and laughing all through lunch.  Something must be in the air here.

I have a great teacher.  I had not seen her before.  Her name is Margarita.  She asked what I wanted to study, then she made a list and said that is just what we will do.  She could not understand why the other school would not do the same.  My experience at the school in Merida was not good.

She had me write a story and read another story out loud.  She told me that I had only a few minor errors.  Happy Happy Happy!!  I felt like I was loosing my ability to speak in Merida since I did not have much of an opportunity in class in Merida but now I feel on top of the world.  I absolutely love my guide.  I had not seen her before.  She was on vacation while I was here before.

Would you believe that tomorrow night is the next graduation party and I am invited.  I am excited. 

Pepe Grillos our restaurant for lunch, was delicious today.  Everything had so much flavor.

Tonight at the house, Maria Elena made Mole for me and Jaimaica.  Then I had tea and cookies but I was so full I could only eat a small piece of the cookie.  You know I am full when that happens since cookies are my favorite food group.

Life is good.