Getting Artsy



Monday was a holiday, so our office was closed. The Alsops had friends visiting from the U.S., and they invited us to join them for a leisurely walk and breakfast at St. Gines (the place with the delicious churros and dipping chocolate.) After we finished eating, we walked to the Museo Soumaya. This interesting building houses the private art collection of Carlos Slim, the richest man in Mexico and one of the richest in the world. It is named for his late wife, whose name was Soumaya. The collection holds over 66,000 pieces of art, including the largest collection of sculptures by Auguste Rodin (who sculpted “The Thinker”) outside of France. In fact, the sixth floor is entirely sculptures, hundreds of them. That’s where you start your visit through the museum. As you enter, an attendant directs you to the elevator and up you go.
It's hard to believe that isn't a cloth veil covering this sculpture, but it's really all carved in stone.

This one is called "Michelangelo as a Boy." The detail on it is amazing. Notice the ribbing
on the stockings and the pattern on his shirt.
I couldn't believe the expression on this boy's face. It's hard to believe it's carved in stone.


The fifth floor is works of art about Mexico. I really enjoyed them, especially the ones that had a retro feeling to them. However, when we were on that floor, the stuffiness of the building started getting to us—there were a lot of people there that day and heat rises, so the top two floors got quite warm. Admission to the museum is free, so Ron and I figured we can go back later to see more. Besides, taking in 66,000 pieces of art in one session is pretty overwhelming. So we decided to head out to get some fresh air and return another day.


    As we were working our way out, we stopped to look at one particular painting. It was of a little girl and was so sweet. We commented on how good it was, and Jessica Alsop, who was with us looked at the plaque by the painting and replied, “It should be good, it’s a Renoir.”

               Ron was a little stunned by that and wondered why a painting by such a renowned painter wasn’t displayed more prominently. However, we started looking more closely at the names on the paintings, and soon figured it out. There were multiple paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, and just about every other artist whose works are on the cards in the Masterpiece game we play with our kids. When you’ve got that many paintings by masters in your collection, it’s hard to have one in particular stand out.

A Monet
One of several paintings by van Gogh


    Outside of the Soumaya, it was a gorgeous day, and since it was a holiday, there was a little market set up along the sidewalk. We are in the middle of winter, but here that doesn’t mean bare trees and no color. We see flowers everywhere we go. The bougainvillea is in full bloom now and is so bright.

               Outside the Soumaya I finally got a video of what I call the impatient guy on the crosswalk light. In order to get close enough to film it, I was at an angle where you can’t see the feet, which is half of what is funny, but you still get the idea.

               We had a busy week at the office. I’ve been working with The Friend magazine to come up with stories about children from Mexico. We got a voice message on WhatsApp from a darling seven-year-old boy telling a story about teaching his friends how to pray. We did a video call with him and his mother to get some clarification on his experience, and it was so fun to see him. I’ll let you know when the story is printed. We are also working on a story for the church’s website in Mexico about a new family history center which opened on the temple grounds in Mexico City. When I told one of the other missionaries we were going to interview the Thomases, who are a senior missionary couple and the directors of the family history center, she asked, “Are you going to the manzana?” I’d heard that word used before in connection with the temple grounds but didn’t understand because the word “manzana” means apple. Finally, I asked someone, and found out that besides meaning apple, manzana also means a block or square. So, yes, we went to the manzana, as in temple square (not to be confused with la manzana grande--the big apple--which is New York.)

               On Saturdays and Tuesdays, there is a street market in the pueblito. It includes a few booths which serve food. A couple of weeks ago we saw some of the men who work for the church in the area offices eating lunch there. They told us it was great food, and we should eat there some time. We’d already had lunch that day, so we didn’t eat there then. However, Friday this week we had some dry cleaning to pick up in the pueblito, so we decided to go there for lunch. As we reached the corner stand, which was where we’d seen the men eating, it looked different to me, and we weren’t sure it was the same booth that had been there before. We were standing close to where you order, trying to see what kind of meat the guy was chopping up, when the waitress handed Ron a plate with a taco on it. He could have told her, “No we haven’t decided yet,” but we were too startled to think of that, so that made up our minds for us. We sat down at the table there, and she brought me a taco too. When you order a taco here, what you get is a tortilla (ones made from blue corn in this case) with meat on it. That’s it. No sour cream, no cheese, no lettuce or tomato. Restaurants usually have a couple of salsas on the table and maybe some other condiments. Ron tried both salsas, and said, “Those both have some heat to them.” I’m getting better at eating spicy things, but if Ron thinks it’s got some heat, I know it’s too much for me. So I contented myself to adding onions and cilantro to my taco made of who knows what kind of meat. A couple of minutes later the waitress came back and said what sounded like “Consume, May?” Neither of us were sure what she was asking, but since “consume” was in the word, I assumed she was asking if I was going to eat my taco (I’d just taken one small bite at that point) so I said, “Si.” She walked off, but then returned and set a bowl of soup down in front of me. Then I figured out she’d been saying, “Consomme?” as in “Do you want soup?” So apparently, I ordered soup. I’ve kind of avoided soup except at nice restaurants because I was told that all the animal parts that they don’t want to eat in other forms they put into soup. I have no idea what was in that soup, sometimes it’s better that way. Whatever it was, it was actually really good. In the end, mystery meat and mystery soup made for a tasty lunch.

               I think it was that same day that a couple of guys were setting up a marimba as we came out from our apartment. Ron paid them a few pesos to play for us. They asked us what we wanted to hear. I tried to say something Mexican, but they kept saying, “Coldplay.” I think they were trying to impress us that they knew some American music, so I finally just nodded. This is what we got:


             Saturday we went back to the art park. We’ve been there before, but I wanted to do some shopping for souvenirs to take home for our grandkids when we go back when Madi’s baby is born. It’s a fun place. All styles of art are on display there and it has a good touristy market where you can get just about any Mexican souvenir your heart would desire. Ron’s not really into shopping, but even he found something he liked. A couple of days earlier we’d been approached on the street by a guy selling plants that you just stick in water—no dirt. As part of his sales pitch, he showed us a photo of a clear fishbowl with a plant on top and a fish swimming under it. We bought a plant, but we weren’t interested in getting a fish we’d have to keep alive. At the Art Park, Ron found a glass fish, so now we have a new pet that we don’t have to worry about feeding.


This woman was selling paintings done by her grandson. Ron spent so much time talking to her I
thought he was going to HAVE to buy one from her.

And he's had enough shopping!
Our new pet


             That evening we went to the manzana again. This time it was for a couple’s Valentine’s dinner organized by one of the missionary couples who live there. We had a lovely dinner and played a fun game where we had to make a poem out of the phrases on conversation hearts. Then each couple took a turn telling about their courtship. It was a fun evening. We are so blessed to be serving and associating with such awesome people.


               I mentioned Madi earlier. Thank you to all of you who included her in your prayers. Her lab tests this week were actually better than they had been the week before, which is pretty amazing. She’s been feeling well. and her blood pressure has stayed low enough to not cause alarm. We know this is an answer to prayers. So again, thank you for exercising your faith on her behalf, and please, keep praying for her. Not only are we blessed to be serving with awesome people here, we are blessted to have awesome friends in many other places as well!


  1. I loved the marimba. I was very excited to actually recognize the song the guys played. My friend played the marimba many years ago. We had a miracle this week. We were relieved to hear Steve's cancerous tumor is gone and hasn't spread!

  2. I'm fascinated by the plant (even the glass fish!). Do you have to change the water? Does the water require certain nutrients? Very lovely!

    1. We had to change the water every couple of days because the plant started getting kind of mossy on the ends. We finally got rid of it and are just enjoying the fish alone--it takes no care at all :)


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