Malls, a Movie, and a Bunch of Cute Kids

 Just like all of you, we started the week celebrating the 4th of July. Our celebration was a little different, though, because it’s not a holiday here. So we thought about all of you having the day off while we were in the office. I wore a red sweater with white and blue jewelry, and a couple of the Mexican people wished us a “Happy 4th of July,” which I thought was nice of them. That evening we had the Teca Once missionaries over to our place for a 4th of July dinner of hot dogs. Our apartment and the Davis’s are the only ones on the 5th floor and our doors open across from each other, so we set up the serving table in their apartment and the eating tables in ours. It worked great. After dinner we played a patriotic music trivia game I made up. That was our celebration—no fireworks, no parade, not boating, but we were all still very grateful for our country. We love Mexico, but we’re thankful to be citizens of the U.S.A.

  

My attempt at decorating in red, white, and blue
   
The serving tables at the Davis's
     
Ron "grilling" the hot dogs

We went to a couple of malls this week. One time it was actually for an assignment. They were both beautiful malls with great food courts and a lot of the same stores you’d find in a mall in the US. The first one we went to had a beautiful garden on the grounds, with lots of flowers, paths, benches, and fountains. Naturally we had to spend some time walking around in it before we went inside to take care of the business we were there for. We went to the second mall on Friday night with the Barnetts and the Wrights to watch the movie Top Gun—Maverick. I know it’s crazy that we’re on a mission and can still do stuff like that. It was a VIP theater, which meant it was one of those where the chairs are recliners and you can order food right from your seat. Fortunately for me, the movie was in English with Spanish subtitles. I doubt Ron would have enjoyed having to translate the whole movie for me. It was a fun evening. I don’t think we’ve been to an actual movie theater since before COVID hit.

Inside the Satelite Mall
     
Just some of the fast food places in the food court at Satelite
     
The entrance to the Miyana Mall
    
Dinner at the food court before the movie
    

Claudia, the cute young woman who went to Pachuca with us last week, used to teach Spanish at the MTC in Mexico City. She offered to help me learn Spanish. We’ve had a group of missionaries who meet once a week in a Zoom meeting for Spanish class. We had a man from BYU working with us for a while, but he had to quit. Since then we’ve been floundering a bit, so when Claudia offered to help me, I asked if she would be willing to teach our group. She said she would love to. We had our first class with her on Thursday, and she was great! She told us, “If you are at a beginning level, I’ll get you to an intermediate level before you go home. If you’re intermediate, I’ll get your to advanced, and if you’re advanced, I’ll get you to Latina.” She has motivated me, so this week I’ve put myself out there more and have had a couple of short but successful conversations.


Saturday morning we went to the tianguis to get produce for the week. As we walked around, an embroidered blouse caught my eye. The booth it was in was being manned by three children. I’m not sure if people there sometimes run more than one booth or if they sometimes jump in to help each other. We’ve often had someone come over from another booth when we’ve stopped to look at things in a booth which didn’t have anyone in it. In this case, the mother was back in the booth a while later, so I’m not sure what the deal was. Anyway, the three kids seemed very excited to have a potential sale. They took the blouse down from the display before I asked them to and handed it to me. I tried it on over my T-shirt to make sure it would fit, which it did. Then I looked at those three expectant faces, and how could I do anything but buy it. Fortunately, I liked it. Of course, Ron was talking to the kids and teasing them the entire time. A little later, he bought some strawberries to take over to them. He told them he was giving them the berries because they were such good salesmen.


Ron giving strawberries to two of our cute salemen

Mauricio, who is our favorite fruit vendor at the tianguis. Saturday was his birthday!

Later that day we went to Chapultepec Park again. I know, we’ve been there multiple times, but it is almost 1,700 acres, so there is a lot of it to explore. It has bike trails in it, and we thought we saw a place to rent bikes on one of our previous visits. Sadly, the bikes were gone from the spot we’d seen, and we couldn’t find another place to rent them. Still, it was fun to explore the park some more. We stopped for lunch at a hamburger stand in the park and then sat at a picnic table while we waited for our order. A cute little girl, who looked to be about seven and who was the daughter of the woman running the booth, brought us our food. We told her what a good waitress she was, and Ron bought her a soft drink as a tip. I think he’s missing our grandkids—he seems to feel the need to buy a treat for every child we encounter. (We have a stash of snack sized packages of Skittles in our cupboard because one of the maids sometimes has her granddaughter with her.) 

Our cute little waitress

After lunch we used Google maps to help us find our way to the Cárcamo de Dolores Museum. This isn’t a traditional museum. It’s all part of an art/engineering project from the 1940s and 50s to improve the water system for Mexico City. In front of a small but elegant building is Fuente de Tláloc, which is a mosaic tile covered sculpture of the Aztec rain god Tláloc created by Diego Rivera. Tlálco is lying down in a pool which is about 100 feet wide. When the system was functioning, water from the Lerma River rushed over this sculpture. Inside the building is a deep concrete cistern, the walls of which are covered with a mural painted by Rivera called El agua, Origen de la Vida (Water, the Source of Life.) When the system was functioning, this mural was underwater. When Mexico City’s water system was upgraded, these elements were bypassed, partly because they discovered that the water was degrading the mural. Now they are pieces of art celebrating water. Also inside the building are organ pipes. They are connected to a machine which somehow takes the vibrations from the earth, the water running underneath, the air movements, and the sun and interprets them into music. It was more of a low humming which varied in intensity and tone. It was intended to be contemplative and relaxing, and it was.




    

Last week I talked about the pastes we ate in Pachuca. I found a recipe online and decided to try my hand at making them. They turned out pretty good, though the crust wasn’t quite right and they were a little overdone. I took them out of the oven about 5 minutes before the recipe said I should, but they were still on the darker side of golden brown than I would have liked. I’ve had enough experience making pastry dough that I think my next attempt will be better. 

The final product along with some guacamole and tomatillo salsa I made.

I sometimes worry that anyone reading my blog will get the impression we are here playing and having a vacation, because those are the types of things I mostly write about. It’s just that saying “we sat in a planning meeting” or “I helped translate a document” isn’t very interesting. Plus, many of the projects we work on are ones that I can’t say anything about until they are publicly announced. However, just to prove that we really are working here, if you go to https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/ and change your region to Mexico, four of the articles that are currently posted there with the byline “De la sala de prensa de Mexico” (from the Mexico newsroom) were written by me. Plus, I wrote the first draft of one of the other ones, and Alfredo finished it. We are enjoying all the fun things we get to do here in our off time, but it is the work we do in the office and as part of the communications team that makes our time here feel worthwhile.

 

 

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