Happy New Year 2023

Happy New Year! Welcome 2023! We had our second annual Teca Once New Year’s Eve party on the 5th floor to celebrate. The only two apartments on the 5th floor are ours and the Davis’s, so we opened our doors and used both. The Zapatas have had their whole family here for the holidays, and they stopped by the party for a little while. They livened things up by making us all dance the Cumbia, Salsa, and a line dance to the Spanish version of “Achey, Breaky Heart.” I would not have thought the Davises had enough room in their apartment for all of us to dance, but they pushed back the furniture and rolled back the rug, and we did it. The Zapatas's grandchildren are darling and have all of us senior missionaries wrapped around their fingers. Being with them leaves us missing our own grandchildren, but also helps fill the desire we all have to be around children more.


The photos I took of the dancing all turned out blurry, but Pat Frandsen managed to get this cute one.
     
The Zapata's family
     
These girls wanted to show off their new shoes they got for Christmas
     


The holidays don’t end with New Years in Mexico. January 6 is Three Kings Day, which celebrates the arrival of the Wisemen who brought gifts to Jesus. I’ve been told that many families in Mexico have big meals and parties on Christmas, but most of the gifts are given on Three Kings Day. This was our last week for the Giving Machines, and as we went to the malls to maintain the machines, I noticed something fun. The Santa Claus areas in the malls now have Three Kings in them. Children come to talk to the Kings and have their picture taken with them. They have women dressed in Arabian attire who are kind of like the elves are for Santa. They manage the booth and take the photos.



This link is to a story in the January edition of The Friend magazine. A little over a year ago I was contacted by an editor for the magazine looking for stories about children in Mexico. We sent a message to the communications directors in the coordinating counsels asking them to look for stories for us, and one of them put us in contact with Helamán. He was so fun to talk to, and I enjoyed writing his story. When they contacted us from The Friend and told us the story would be in the January edition, we messaged Helamán’s mother and told her. In response, we received a darling voice message from Helamán saying how excited he was and that he wanted to give us a big hug. I saved that sweet message on my computer and listen to it every once in a while when I need a boost.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/friend/2023/01/say-a-prayer-helaman?lang=eng

Things were really quiet at the office this week because most of the employees take vacations this time of year. Even the area presidency takes vacation. That meant their executive secretaries, Elder Davis and Elder Everett, weren’t quite as busy as they usually are, so they and their wives managed to slip away one afternoon and go to a movie with us. We saw “A Man Called Otto.” My book group read the book it’s based on, “A Man Called Ove,” a couple of years ago. When I saw the billboards around the city advertising the movie, I thought it looked like it might be based on that book, even though the title in Spanish translates as “The Grumpy Neighbor.” I looked into it and saw that it was. However, watching the trailer and seeing that it was billed as a comedy made me concerned that they had overemphasized the humorous parts of the book at the expense of the more serious ones. I didn’t need to worry; the movie portrayed the feeling of the book very well. I really enjoyed it, and it made me think of all my book group friends back home.

I had to stop and take this photo as we were going to the theater. It made me think of the saying“God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the December of our lives." Here we are in December in Mexico City, and we don't have to have memories to have roses.

A booth was set up outside the mall the theater was in. Its walls had compartments filled with round white things. Ron checked it out and said they were onions. That seemed odd, so when we came out after the movie, we all went over to check it out. Inside were glass onions hanging at different heights and as you walked around them, different shapes came into view. It’s hard to explain, so you’ll have to look at the photos I took from different angles. They are all of the same group of onions. When the Davises saw them, they knew immediately that it was a promotion for the movie, “Glass Onion,” which they had already seen. We don’t have Netflix, so we hadn’t. Pauline Davis invited us over the next evening to watch it, so we saw two movies in a row!


This is what the hanging onions looked like from one angle, but look at the photos below to see what they looked like from other angles. How someone figured out how to do this is beyond me!
     


     


Friday was a busy day for us. We started it out with a walk through the park. Then we went to the temple, which is a several hour process here. Last week when we were with the Lloyds, they talked about a taco stand near where they live. We’d been to it before and really liked it, so we contacted them and asked if they’d like to go get tacos with us when we finished our session in the temple. They said yes, so we met up with them. Unfortunately, they told us the taco stand didn’t open until 4:30 and it was only 2:30. We decided to go to another restaurant they knew of, but it was closed too. With it being a holiday week, a lot of family run businesses were closed. (About half of the booths were missing at the tiangis on Saturday.) We gave up on finding a place to eat and just visited for a few minutes before returning home. That evening all the Teca Once missionaries were invited to dinner at the Grant’s home. They are the mission leaders for the Mexico City West Mission, which is responsible for the temporal needs of the area senior missionaries. We had a lovely dinner, visited, and played the Ping Pong game Round Table. At about 9:00, Ron left the party and took Elder Deaver and Elder Davis with him to take the money out of the Giving Machines because they were being taken out of the malls that night. I was a little worried about the safety of that, which is why I had him to take two men with him instead of just going with me. It had to be done after hours, which meant at night, and it concerned me to have them walking out of malls at night with a lot of cash on them. Ron said not to worry because no one knew they were going to do it, and they would be able to do it very discreetly. Still, I was concerned enough to stay up until they got back safely. It was a little sad to know that the Giving Machines were done for the year, but it’s nice to not have to babysit them anymore.

Jill Lloyd took this photo of us sitting on the temple grounds waiting for them.
     
The Lloyds sent us this photo after we visited with them at the temple. We told them the Giving Machines were going to be shut down and taken out of the malls that night, so they went right over to Town Center el Rosario to make a donation.

        
Ron won one of the games of Round Table and was one of the last people in for the others. President Grant is standing to the right of him in this photo.
 

To celebrate New Year’s Day, the Deavers fixed their family’s traditional tacos for all the Teca Once missionaries and our Russian friends. They were delicious, and we had a lovely time eating and talking. We went around the table and took turns saying things we wanted to accomplish in 2023. Besides getting better at Spanish, I said I want to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. My life is so blessed, but I think I take many of those blessings for granted. I want to spend more time acknowledging my blessings this year, so I will start right now by saying how blessed I am to have so many wonderful friends. I appreciate your friendship and support as we serve our mission. I can’t express how much it means to me to hear from you and know we are not “Out of sight, out of mind.”

The Deavers said their son usually assists Tom in fixing the tacos. Ron took on that role this year.

     

Pat Wright took this picture of Vicki Deaver, and I thought it was so cute. She is every bit as fun and sweet as she looks in this picture.

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