Bikes, Munchies, and More Good-byes

On Monday, the Teca Once missionaries got together at the Zapata’s apartment for tamales and atole (a Mexican drink made from corn). It was an early celebration of Dia de Candelaria, which is February 2, and which is when those people who found the babies in the Rosca de Reyes on Dia de Reyes (January 6) have to provide tamales for everyone. It was also a farewell party for the Zapatas, who were going home the next morning. The Zapatas are such an amazing couple. Ginny speaks very little English. As my Spanish has improved, we have been able to communicate a little better, though not fluently. Still, she has become my dear friend, and it was sad to say good-bye. The other couples who have left were mostly going home to Utah or Arizona, so we’ve been able to say, “We’ll get together when we’re all back home.” But the Zapatas are going home to Merida, Mexico, and we don’t know when or if we’ll see them again. Anytime Ginny Zapata is around, there is going to be a lot of laughter, so at the party, we laughed a lot, but we had a few tears as well. Even before they finished their mission here, they were called to be Service Mission Leaders for the areas around Merida and Cancun after they return home. They will be wonderful!

Tuesday we ran back from the office to Teca Once to help the Zapatas with their luggage and to give them one last hug good-bye. I told Ginny I wouldn't say "Adios" (good-bye) only "Hasta luego" (see you later).

We fed the young missionaries from the mission office on Tuesday evening. There were four of them, all from Mexico. What impressive young men! It was fun to talk with them and hear about their lives and plans. The conversation was in both English and Spanish—They were practicing English and I was practicing Spanish. They, the Zapatas, and so many other wonderful people we’ve met here are examples of the faith and strength of testimony we see in the Church members here. This week we were having a conversation with Gustavo, and he said he’s seen a lot of growth and maturing take place in the Church here since he became the Church’s communications director for Mexico, which I think was about four years ago. We see that too. Shortly after we arrived, I made the comment that it felt to me that Mexico is about to takeoff spiritually. I’m not the only one who feels that. I’ve heard other senior missionaries say the same thing. Plus, last spring Elder Gong was here, and in a devotional address he gave, he said, “Now is the time for Mexico.” I think we are going to see big things from Mexico!


Saturday we, the Wrights, and the Frandsens went on a tour called “Bikes and Munchies.” It was similar to the bike tour we went on before, but this one had less biking and more stopping to try out authentic Mexican food at little places we probably would never have found or dared eat at on our own. We were in a group of fourteen plus three guides who, besides leading the way, stopped traffic and made sure we were safe. One of the other couples was from Germany and the rest of the group was from various locations in the United States. It was fun visiting with them and hearing why they were in Mexico City and what they had done or were going to do while they were here. Of course all of us missionaries gave them tips and suggestions. It was kind of fun being the “experts” on the city. The tour took us through the Roma and Condesa neighborhoods. These are trendy neighborhoods where a lot of young professionals, artists, and ex-pats live. They are full of old Spanish style buildings, cute boutiques, and hundreds of restaurants. It was fun riding bikes along the tree lined streets and the food was good. By the end, I couldn’t eat another bite and was ready for an afternoon nap.   

We started and ended the tour at a cafe in this cute alley. Here we had hot chocolate and tamales.
         

The cafe we ate at was on the second floor. This fun alebrije was hanging just outside the railing on the edge of where we were.

This is Sebastian (who led our tour) explaining about the tamales.
     
We stopped at this market and had green juice and sampled a couple of fruits that most people from the United States have never heard of.
    
This is the shop where they made our juice fresh while we waited.
     
Our group toasting with our green juice. Green juice is really popular here. They've served it at every breakfast buffet we've been to.
     
Sebastian with the first fruit we tried, chicozapote. I think we've seen it at markets, but didn't get it because we thought it was mamey, which we don't like very much. This was very good. The other fruit we tried was cherimoya, which Ron had when he was in Peru, but which I hadn't tried before. It was really good too.
     
We stopped at these women's stand for quesadillas and tlacoyos.
     

     

Pat Frandsen too this photos of this cute family whose stand we stopped at for tacos. Even the little girls were helping in the family's business.
     
This is what a street taco looks like in Mexico.
     
We stopped for a break at this lovely park. I loved this bougainvillea covered walkway.

All along the walkway were classes learning salsa dancing. The Wrights joined in one of the groups. I snapped this photo, then we joined them too. We tried to follow what the class was doing, but only lasted for about ten seconds before we were lost.
     

     
By the time we reached this man's restaurant, I was so full I couldn't eat much more, but his tacos were delicious! Mine was chorizo (sausage) mixed with nuts, raisins, and cranberries. Ron's was ram.
     

     
Our last stop before returning to the starting point was this tortilleria where we sampled fresh tortillas and pan dulce (sweet bread).
    
Making tortillas.
     
Sebastian demonstrating how to eat the tortillas and salsa. The salsa we had with the tortillas had sunflower seeds in it and was delicious.

     
Back where we started for drinks. We were offered mezcal, beer, or aguas frescas. I think they were surprised how few of our group took the alcohol, and it wasn't just us missionaries.

Saturday Leila, the manager of Teca Once, and Abram, security for Teca Once, hosted a movie night for the senior missionaries. Abram brought a projector and they set up a theater in one of the suites that wasn’t being used. They even got us snacks and juice. It was so sweet of them, and we had a fun evening! They originally planned to show us an old Mexican movie, but they couldn’t find it with English subtitles, so they switched and we watched the new stop-motion animated version of “Pinnochio.” I have to say it was a little startling for most of us who hadn’t seen any previews of it. We assumed we’d be watching a remake of the Disney version. It was not that. It was much darker and heavier than the Disney version. However, it had some good messages, and it really touched Leila and Abram, who have both lost people they love in the past few years.


  

Our cute hosts.
     


Two wards meet in the Church building we attend. We usually attend the Lomas Ward, which is English speaking, but have occasionally attended the Palmas Ward, which is Spanish speaking. Today we were having a “break the fast” dinner with the Teca Once missionaries, and we were in charge of the main dish. We decided to go to the second hour of the Palmas Ward (which was Sunday School) and the first hour of the Lomas Ward (which was Sacrament Meeting). Doing this would get us home an hour earlier than usual so we could work on the food. Last week I wrote about the Moderno family who had us over for dinner and how we taught their children to play “No Comes Pedro” (Don’t Eat Pete). Today we were sitting by the door during Sunday School class, and towards the end of the lesson, we could tell by the sound of children outside the door that Primary ended before our class did. The door opened, and the Moderno’s oldest son peeked inside, looking for his parents. He saw us sitting there, waved to us, and in a loud whisper said, “No comes Pedro!” That made us both start laughing, though we did it as quietly as we could because we were still in Sunday School class.

 

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