This is What 44 Years of Wedded Bliss Looks Like

Thursday was our wedding anniversary. We’ve been married 44 years! In some ways it seems like it hasn’t been that long and in other ways it feels like we’ve been together forever. Either way, putting a quantitative number to it—44 years—just doesn’t seem to express it correctly. Still, it was a reason to celebrate. However, we celebrated in a rather unconventional way. We got up early, caught an Uber, and arrived at the temple visitor’s center before 8:00 am to watch the filming for a video our department is doing.

A couple of weeks ago in one of our planning meetings, Gustavo said we needed to find a way to encourage children who hadn’t watched the Friend to Friend broadcast on temples to watch it online. As we brainstormed, he came up with the idea of doing a video of a child visiting with the temple president and told me and Ron to find a child and write a script. Gustavo’s children have made videos and posted them online, so we told him we already knew some kids that would be perfect--his. After I finished writing the script, he told us to go to PSD (the Publishing Services Department, which oversees the production of all our media items) and set it up. So we went to see Armando. We discussed a few changes to the script, including having the children speak with missionaries at the Visitor’s Center rather than the temple president. Then he turned the project over to Tabatha, and I coordinated with her. Getting everyone’s schedules to line up was a little tricky, but it worked for our anniversary, so that’s when we did it. It was fun watching how a video gets made. The end result will probably only be about 2 minutes, but we were there for over two hours. The crew was there even longer getting things set up. Then there were light checks and sound checks and doing enough takes to get good shots of the kids for every line. Now it’s time for the editors to do their magic. It is supposed to be done late this week, so I’m hoping I can post a link next time.


Our cute cast
        
They had me stand in for the actors while they adjusted the lighting. Once it was close to being what they wanted, they had the children join me for the fine tuning.

    
Filming underway
    

After we finished filming, Ron and I did a session at the temple. Later that evening we went to dinner. All in all, it was a fun way to spend our anniversary. The first photo in this post is from the restaurant. For the sake of full disclosure, I had to have the waiter come back and retake our photo because Ron wasn’t smiling in the first one. In fact, he looked a little cranky. With the title of this blog being what it is, I didn’t think that would be a very good photo to use.

We started our assignment at the CCM this week. Ron is a counselor to President Aguilar for the 15th branch there. The other counselor is Tom Thomas. He and his wife, Linda, are the directors of the family history center at the manzana, and we already knew them. Wednesday night we met with our first district, who had just arrived the day before. Then today, Sunday, we had church and some other meetings with them. It is fun to get to know them and see how much they progressed in just four days at the CCM. I thought they’d give us a whole branch’s worth of missionaries all at once, but we will receive a new group each week for the next few weeks. Each group will be a district and stay at the CCM for four weeks. We don’t know yet how long this will go on, but we will enjoy it while it does. The president of the CCM, his counselor, and their wives attended our branch and sustained the new branch presidency. They said it was an historic day because the CCM has never before had 15 branches.

It is Chiles en Nogada season! Chiles en Nogada is a seasonal dish that comes from Puebla. We had them when we went there in June, but it was a little early in the season then. Now they are in full swing. Almost every restaurant we pass has a sign out saying they are serving them. From what I’ve heard, they are served now because this is pomegranate season, and because it’s the time of year when some of the fruit that goes into them is available. They are roasted Poblano chiles stuffed with a mixture of meat, fruit, and nuts, covered in a creamy sauce made from nuts and cream cheese, and garnished with pomegranate seeds. Often parsley is also used as a garnish so that the dish is red, white, and green—the colors of the Mexican flag. Chiles en Nogada are a traditional dish for Mexico’s Independence Day, which is September 16, right in the middle of Chiles en Nogada season.

Cindy and Jochebed

The Alsops are also serving at the CCM. Their branch president’s wife offered to teach Jessica and Cindy Williams (the wife of the other counselor in their branch presidency) how to make Chiles en Nogada. They were doing it at Cindy’s apartment, which is a few blocks from the temple. Jessica didn’t want to go there alone, so she asked if I’d like to go too. I jumped at that chance! The name of the woman who was teaching us is Jochebed. She brought her two daughters with her, and we had such a fun afternoon cooking together. Making Chiles en Nogada is not hard, it’s just time consuming because there are about a million steps, but the result was delicious!


Roasting the chiles
     
Jessica with the finished product. the garnishes put on this way are intended to mimic the Mexican flag.

Jochebed holding one with a more artsy arrangement of the garnishes.
     
Jochebed's daughters

The next day at the office, Gustavo was speaking with us about plans for an event we have coming up in a few weeks. Ron had checked on the availability of a place called Hacienda de los Morales, which was originally part of a Spanish hacienda where they raised mulberry trees and silkworms, and which is now a restaurant and hotel. As we discussed it, Gustavo said we needed to see the room and how it could be set-up, so we, along with Michelle, all got in his car and went there for lunch. Guess what we had—Chiles en Nogada! They were delicious, but not more delicious than the ones we made the day before. I loved seeing the old hacienda which has been updated without taking away from its character and charm. And while we were there, we were able to finalize the arrangements for our event, so it was a successful day.
The restaurant's version of Chiles en Nogada
     

     

     


I’ll end with a few random photos I took this week:

 

The pomegrantes here are a different variety. They are yellow instead of red and there aren't near as many compartments inside so the seeds come out much more easily

     

I had some shoes that needed fixed, so I took them to this guy. His cobbler shop is a booth on a corner, as you can see from the photo below. He does great work!
     
       
With Independence Day just a few weeks away, the patriotic colors of Mexico are popping up everywhere, like in this booth at the tianguis.


Comments

  1. Happy 44th you two from Linda and I. What a great way to celebrate this day. It may well be the one that you cherish and talk about the most in your lives. Enjoy the food, culture and the people there. You two are blessing lives as you have such awesome experiences there. We love the art, architecture, and seeing the people you get to meet. Enjoy the remaining time there as time will fly by quickly. Thank you both for sharing your experiences with all of us. It is a weekly highlight to read of your service and travels.

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