This and That

                After seven months in Mexico City, it seems to me that about the only difference between seasons is how green things are. In the winter here, some of the trees and bushes lose their leaves, but a lot don’t, so winter is green. Now, ALL the trees and bushes have leaves and after a few nighttime rainstorms, the grass is greening up too. So now, it’s really green. I guess which flowers are blooming might also help indicate which season we’re in here. I haven’t seen a time there hasn’t been something in bloom. The bougainvillea has been in bloom the entire time we’ve been here, but other flowers have come and gone.


              Friday evening we decided to walk to Avenida Prado Norte, a cute little neighborhood that takes us about a half hour to walk to. It has a natural food store where I like to buy sugar free chocolate covered almonds—my go to treat here. It also has a lot of restaurants, so we planned to have dinner there. We put out an invitation to the other Teca Once missionaries, and the Wrights and Alsops joined us. It was an absolutely gorgeous evening. As my sister Gloria says, I have about a two-degree temperature range in which I’m comfortable. Who would have thought I would find that perfect temperature sitting outside on a second story terrace, eating Chinese food in Mexico City! There are very few moments in my life when I don’t feel at least a little bit too chilly or a little bit too hot, but Friday evening was perfect.

               On the way home we passed this guy who was juggling fire during red lights at an intersection. He was pretty amazing, so we paid him a few pesos to let us video him.

               Our week at the office was pretty low key, which we needed after the hectic pace of the three weeks before. I finished a few articles I’ve been working on, and Ron worked on learning the bookkeeping system of Mexico. They gave him a credit card for our expenses while we travelled. Last Monday a guy came from the finance department to show him how to document all the charges. Ron said it was the most complex process he’s ever seen. New tax laws here make it so that a receipt is not enough. He has to have a factura for each expense. Getting a factura involves going online, putting in a bunch of numbers, and having the business send you the factura. That doesn’t sound too hard, except that the receipts have tons of numbers on them, and the websites usually aren’t very helpful in figuring out which number they want. One website asked for the ticket number. One number on the receipt was labelled “ticket number.” Easy enough, right? Not so. That number wouldn’t work. Ron finally got the guy from the finance department to come up again, and he said, “Oh this is the number they want,” pointing at a totally different number on the receipt. All of this is assuming you can get onto the website in the first place. And getting the factura is only the start of the process. Then it has to be attached to the expense (in two different formats) in your account. Then is has to be sent to our director for approval. Then it has to submitted to the finance department. Ron has been working on it for a week now, and still isn’t done.


Me sitting on some cool stairs, waiting for our
Uber after shopping

            Saturday morning we went to the tianguis to stock up on produce. We walked there with the Alsops and a new couple at Teca Once, the Barnetts. He is the new Area Medical Advisor. Their son, Jake, who has Downs Syndrome, came here with them. He is a sweetheart, and it was fun getting to know them while we walked. We always love the tianguis. We are experienced enough that we know our favorite guy to buy fruit from. He always throws in a little something extra for us. This week it was an extra banana. We saw these children there playing while their parents worked. We kind of figured out the game, even though we couldn’t understand the words. The children in the circle would sing a rhyme, then stop and ask the boy on the left something. He’d say, “No,” and they’d sing again. Finally, he said, “Si” and they all took off running with him chasing them. I just love that kids are kids no matter where you are!


         That afternoon, Pat Wright arranged for Teresa, a woman from the Mexican ward we attend, to come teach us how to make enchiladas Suizas, which means Swiss enchiladas. They aren’t from Switzerland, though. Online I read that they’re called that either because they are white like the Alps, or because they have a lot of dairy products in them, which Swiss immigrants to Mexico added. I’ve had them in restaurants and liked them, so I really appreciated Teresa teaching us. She said she’d teach us other Mexican recipes if we want. I’d like that.
Teresa with Pauline Davis

               Saturday evening, the Manwarings at the manzana hosted a belated Cinco de Mayo party, so we headed to the stake center by the temple. We had a fun evening. At dinner we sat across the table from the Wallaces, a new couple at the manzana. They are from Boise, and they know my sister and brother-in-law there. After we ate, we had a pinata. One of the couples, the Arguetas, are from Mexico and are living in their home while they are serving as missionaries. They taught us the song to sing while someone is swinging away at the pinata. It starts, “Dale, dale, dale,” which isn’t pronounced like my name. It’s pronounced, “Dah-Lay” and means, “Hit it.” We had fun taking turns trying to hit the pinata while we were blindfolded. However, once it was broken, I think Elder Argueta was a little disappointed that we all didn’t jump in like a bunch of kids and scramble for the candy. The fact that we’d just eaten a huge dinner made the candy not so appealing. Gloria Argueta brought several traditional Mexican dresses and hats for us to put on and have our pictures taken. She was impressed that I could say which region each of the dresses (except for one) was from. That’s thanks to the Living Legends tour.

The Barnetts followed by the Wallaces

 From the left, Gloria Argueta in a dress from Veracruz, Jill Loyd in a dress from the Yucatan, Cathy Manwaring in a dress from Oaxaca, Linda Thomas in a dress from Jalisco, and Pat Wright in a dress from Chiapas. (That's the one I didn't know.)

               We went through a bit of a let down the first part of the week. We figured that’s normal after being so involved in such a big project as the Living Legends tour. We don’t know yet what our next assignment will be, but we are happy to be serving here in Mexico, whatever we’re asked to do.


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