Having Fun With Friends

Last Saturday when we got together with the Senior missionaries at the manzana, we had a fun surprise--Alan and Kathy Manwaring stopped in. At first, it just seemed normal to see them there, since they were missionaries here up until just a couple of months ago. They had come back to Mexico City for a visit as “civilians.” Their stay that evening was brief, but on Thursday, they came to the office and went to lunch with us, the Wrights, and Pat Frandsen. We had lunch at a little place we found in the pueblito that makes pretty good hamburgers and fries. It was fun to catch up with the Manwarings and hearing that there is life after a mission. However, they are already planning to go on another mission, so “life after a mission” may not last long for them! We weren’t able to spend a lot of time with them when they were serving in Mexico because they lived near the temple, which is quite far from Teca Once, but we always enjoyed their company and their example of positive, devoted service. We loved seeing them again.

After completing our communications seminar last week, we had a little lull at the office this week. Friday afternoon I wasn’t very busy, so I texted Vicky Deaver and said, “If you’re not too busy, let’s go get pedicures this afternoon.” We’d both been saying we were in dire need of pedicures for a couple of weeks, so she agreed. We went to the salon in the pueblito where I get my hair cut. They don’t have the pedicure chairs we’re used to in the U.S. Instead they had us sit in normal chairs and brought over tubs of water for us to soak our feet in. (As a side note, Ron and I have always wondered how the trees planted in the sidewalks survive because they are surrounded by concrete and asphalt. After we finished soaking our feet, they took the tubs of water out and poured them on the tree in front of the salon, so now at least we know how that one survives.) The woman doing my pedicure sat on a stool in front of me and had me put each foot on her knee while she worked on it, and instead of having foam toe separators, they used rolled up toilet paper. But the end result was still a nice pedicure! I have decided that I need to be brave and start talking to people in Spanish more. I tried that while I was having my pedicure. I asked the woman her name, and she answered. (Alejandra.) I complimented the elephant pin she was wearing. She said it was a gift. However, she didn’t elaborate. That’s how it went, I’d ask a question and she’d answer briefly. It quickly started feeling like I was interrogating her, so I backed off. I did manage one communication that I am quite proud of. A woman who left the salon right after we arrived, returned. Alejandra had done a manicure for her, and she had smudged a couple of her nails right after leaving. So Alejandra worked to fix her nails and give me a pedicure at the same time. Vicky was sitting in a chair at the other end of the salon. She texted me and asked me to tell Alejandra that she wanted the same color polish as that woman had. I mustered my limited Spanish and told Alejandra that when she was done, my friend wanted that color. I pointed at the nail polish bottle as I spoke. Alejandra nodded. A few minutes later after she put a second coat of the polish on the woman’s nails, she called over the woman doing Vicky’s pedicure, handed her the bottle of polish, pointed at Vicky, and said it was for her. Success!

A couple of weeks ago, several of the Teca Once missionaries took the Deavers for their first visit to Lincoln Park. We had a hard time getting a bus and it was a bit of a walk from where we got off the bus to the park, so it was already dark when we got there. The Deavers told us they’d like to go again and see it in daylight. Ron told Tom Deaver we’d found a Tony Roma’s restaurant not far from there, and that clinched things. Friday evening, we and the Deavers went back to Lincoln Park. It is a lovely park that is long and narrow—a block wide and eight blocks long. It is in the Polanco neighborhood, which is an upscale neighborhood with old colonial mansions that have been turned into restaurants, embassies, and apartments. We walked around the park and then through the neighborhood on our way to the restaurant. It didn’t take Vicky long to figure out that it was a high-end shopping district when she saw the names of the stores—Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, etc. On our way, we came across a Talavera store. Talavera is a type of hand painted Mexican pottery made in the Puebla area. There are less than twenty certified manufacturers in that area, and authentic Talavera is only made there. The government regulates its production, and manufacturers have to meet certain specifications to be certified—one specification being that it is produced in that region. That is because genuine Talavera is made from a specific combination of clays that are only found in that region. We went in and had a blast looking at the lovely pieces. When we visited Puebla last summer, we went to a factory store there, and it turned out this store in Polanco was the same brand. They only have two stores for that brand, and we’ve been to both. Genuine Talavera is expensive, but Vicky has vowed that we will go back and buy at least one piece to take home. I’d love to buy a ton of it, but shipping a ton of it home without any of it breaking would be pretty tricky.

Believe it or not, Lincoln Park is named after Abraham Lincoln.
It also has a statue of Martin Luther King.
This fun statue is called "Happy Family." It sits outside Teatro Angela Perlata, an open air theater at one end of Lincoln Park. We Visited it when we were looking for a venue for Living Legends, and that is how we discovered Lincoln Park.

Almost every Saturday morning we take a long walk. The route we usually take goes through a park, which I have posted about before. Near the end of the path in the park, we go through a forest area and up quite a few stairs. At the top is a stone wall, which I have posted pictures of before. It is not yet completed, and each week as we’ve walked there, we’ve watched it slowly progress. We’ve admired the workmanship, and Ron has said he’d like to meet the guy who is building it. This Saturday we were a little later than normal for our walk. As we came through the forest area and started up the stairs, we heard the sound of a rock being struck by a hammer. Sure enough, when we reached the top, a man was there working on the wall. Ron went over to talk to him and told him how much we have admired his craftsmanship. We had a nice visit with him. Ron told him we did landscaping, so we know how much work goes into a project like that. The man asked if he could work for us if he went to the U.S. Ron told him we’ve retired and said he wouldn’t want to live where we do anyway—it’s too cold. Ron keeps an eye on the weather forecast, and just to keep me from feeling too homesick, everyday he tells me what the high and low temperatures are for Shelley that day.


In this photo you can see the craftmanship of this wall and how long it is.

One of the Zapataas granddaughters who lives in Mexico City has a birthday in a few weeks. However, the Zapatas are going home to Merida the end of January, so they had a birthday party for her Saturday evening. She said she wanted all her “tias” and “tios” to come. Their grandchildren call all of us senior missionaries their tias and tios—aunts and uncles. She was pretty smart to request that, because of course we would all come and of course we would all bring her gifts. It was fun watching a bunch of senior missionaries who are missing their own grandchildren play with someone else’s. We taught them “Don’t Eat Pete,” but we called it “No Comas Pedro.” We played musical chairs, a game that was like “Follow the Leader,” and a game that was kind of like “Upset the Fruit Basket.” For another game, we all put in one foot, and the birthday girl pointed at our feet while saying a cute rhyme called “Zapatito Blanco, Zapatito Azul” (little white shoe, little blue shoe.) It was kind of like “one potato, two potato.” Whoever’s shoe she landed on had to either sing or dance. One time it landed on me. I was about to sing, “You Are My Sunshine,” but everyone was chanting, “Dance, dance.” Then they started doing it kind of sing song, so I just did a little free form dance to their song and called it good. Ginny Zapata had made esquites, which I love, and of course there was cake. It was fun evening. We are so blessed to have found such fun friends here. We know not all missions are like this, and we are grateful ours is.

Ron explaning how to play "No Comas Pedro." Little brother was only interested in the candy.


"Zapatito Blanco, Zapatito Azul"

Here's a video of "Musical Chairs" so you can get a feeling for the fun:



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