Important Lessons


I learned two very important lessons this week. First, if you delete pictures from your icloud account it also deletes them from your phone. Yes, this lesson was learned from experience. I backup the photos on my phone to my google photos, so normally this would not be a problem. However, on Friday, when I learned this lesson, I had not backed up my phone since Sunday. That meant that all the pictures I took this week were gone—all of them! Noooooooooo! Then I learned the second lesson—when you delete photos from your icloud, you have thirty days to change your mind and restore them. I’m so glad I learned that second lesson, or there wouldn’t be any photos to accompany this blog post, and I know the pictures are the best part.

             With Christmas coming so soon, we are seeing decorations everywhere. Mostly the decorations are poinsettias (which they call nochebuenas), Christmas trees, lights, and pinatas. We see occasional Santas and reindeer, but they are far outnumbered by poinsettias and pinatas. Most of the pinatas are in the traditional shape, but we do see a few cartoon characters too. I saw one that was shaped like the COVID virus, and I thought who wouldn’t want to beat that with a stick. My favorite pinata by far was one we saw strapped to the top of a car.

               A few blocks to the west of us is a very nice neighborhood Bob Alsop introduced us to. Ron and I like to walk there sometimes. It has cute boutique shops and restaurants. We don’t buy a lot there, because things are quite high end, but we have found a cute French bakery we like and a natural food store, which has awesome sugar free dark chocolate covered almonds. This week there were little stalls set up there selling Christmas stuff. It was fun to go see what they had. We bought a wreath for our front door and a couple of cute little Christmas stockings so Santa will have

The cute neighborhood with sidewalk
cafes and boutique shops
something to put our candy in. We also saw, you guessed it, lots of pinatas and poinsettias. The stalls were set up along the sidewalk in front of a large indoor market area which has permanent stalls. The first few rows of stalls sell produce. Behind them are stalls selling flower arrangements. Seriously, booth after booth for three rows selling flowers. The arrangements were absolutely gorgeous and huge. We looked at one, which I know would cost well over $200 in the U.S., and it was $35. Not everything is inexpensive here, but flowers are. There are little stands selling flowers every few blocks along the major roads. We have two within easy walking distance, and we usually buy fresh flowers every week to fill the vase on our table. However, this week we bought a poinsettia from a little shop in the Pueblito instead. Poinsettias grow outside as perennials bushes here, so I’m thinking after Christmas we’ll buy a bigger pot to plant the poinsettia in and let it become part of Ron’s clandestine garden he’s started growing on the roof of our building.

Almost all the houses in Mexico City are behind high walls. Often as we walk past grungy looking 
walls, I am able to peek through the gates and see that behind them, things are very nice. You
can tell this is a very upscale neighborhood because here things look very nice even on the outside
of the walls.

Flower stands like this one are all over the city


The mall's Christmas tree

We spent more time this week looking for a theater and so got to see more of the city. We found a mall that is as nice as any we’ve seen in the United States. It’s three stories tall and has a movie theater and an awesome food court—looks like just the place for a date night. Checking out an outdoor theater, we found Parque Lincoln (Lincoln Park.) It had a fun children’s play area, an aviary, and beautiful gardens with sculptures and paths through them. As we were waiting for an Uber to take us home from there, I crossed the road to look at a line of booths selling Christmas stuff—lines of booths like that are all over. As I was crossing back, I noticed a very large statue of a familiar looking figure at the edge of Lincoln Park. I checked it out, and sure enough, it was a statue of Martin Luther King—here in Mexico.

Teca Once, the place we live, is in reality a hotel. It’s not a large hotel, I’d estimate there are maybe twenty to twenty-five rooms total. The rooms are all suites, which are more like apartments than what you’d normally think of as hotel rooms. Missionary couples live in seven of them. Friday, the Teca Once missionaries put on a Christmas party for the hotel staff—which is ten people. It was Ron’s idea and he took charge of planning it, but all the other couples pitched in to help. The hotel’s employees all came for the party, even two who had the day off. To start off, we showed a short Illumina del Mundo video (Light the World.) Then JoElla Hansen and David Davis gave brief remarks. She talked about Christmas and the Savior and thanked them
all for the service they give to us. He explained what the Book of Mormon is and why it is important to us. We put together a gift package for each of them, including a little stocking with candy, a Book of Mormon, and a card with a Christmas “bonus” for each of them from us. Pauline Cluff hand painted the cards, and they were beautiful. After that we ate and visited. We sang Christmas songs for them in English, and they sang to us in Spanish. We had a ton of food. We all brought some of the makings for tostadas. After we planned the menu, Ron started asking the employees what they would like to eat. (I told him he should have done that BEFORE we planned the menu.) Most said anything was fine, but one cute little maid named
My first attempt at making Tinga de Pollo

Ada, said “Pozole.” Pozole is a Mexican soup that is traditionally eaten at Christmas. Pat Wright spoke with a woman who has a food stand on the corner by our office building and asked her where to get good Pozole. It turned out her daughter makes and sells it, so we also had Pazole. Diana, who does security for the hotel, told Ron she likes Tinga de Pollo, which is shredded chicken in what is basically salsa. We looked up a recipe, and I made Tinga de Pollo. I’ve never tasted it before, so I wasn’t sure what it was supposed to taste like, but I think it turned out fine. When I made the sauce, I added peppers until it made my mouth burn a little, and then I added more because I’m sure what I find spicy, they find mild. Cheryl Cluff made homemade refried beans, Jessica Alsop made her wonderful guacamole, the Hansens made Mexican rice,
Pozole in the bowl, Mexican rice, and a tostada

and Marsha Walker made the most delicious chocolate cake. So we had plenty of food. I think the party was a great success. We wanted to let these hardworking people know how much we appreciate them, and I think the party did that.

Ron with Jesus, who does the maintenance for Teca Once

Aurora and Perla, two of the maids. Perla cleans our apartment and has such a fun personality.

Frani, who does washing; Alberto whose last day this was; and Diana, who does security

Leila, who mans the front desk

Our Christmas is going to be very different this year. I will miss spending it with our children and grandchildren, and frankly I’m not really sure what we’ll do that day. But I am grateful to be here in Mexico. At this season when we focus on the birth of Jesus Christ, I feel it is a privilege to be serving him by serving a mission. Spending a couple of Christmases away from my family is a small sacrifice in comparison to the sacrifice He made for me. So no matter what Christmas Day brings, it will be a Merry Christmas for me. I hope it will be for you as well.


  1. I love this!! It makes me miss wandering Mexico with you two.

  2. The poinsettias are beautiful! I especially enjoyed hearing about the party you threw for all the hotel employees. I’m sure they felt loved. You are doing a great work. Merry Christmas.
    Elder and Sister Chuntz


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