Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Our Home Away From Home (Part 3)

On Saturday we went back to the village of Victoria where we used to go every week.  Our church, Iglesia Bautista Cristo Te Ama, still goes each week to this village to do discipleship groups.  This place is out in the middle of no where and to this day I don't know how they ever found it.  The children were almost as excited to see us as we were to see them.  When we drove up they all squealed, "Jonathan, eres tu?"  Jonathan said he wanted to reply, "no, I'm someone else now!"  I saw my old friend, Gretal, although I barely recognized her as she's changed a lot in two years.  The children were absolutely smitten with Kyle.  I never had to wonder where he was, all I had to do was look for the flock of kids and assume he was in the middle.

Twins :) 

It was a long, hot, great day with the people there and Kyle seemed to enjoy all the new sights and smells.  As late afternoon approached, he was more than ready for a nap and we headed back to the car to drive home.  He climbed up into the drivers seat while Jonathan was going to tell the others we were on our way. 

"I'm pretty sure you turn it on like this...."

".....And then you change the gears like this....."

".....then you drive like this."

What is it with boys and cars?  He is well on his way to knowing how to drive.  How did he learn? Purely by observation, I assume.  Speaking of cars.... As you can see, the rental was a manual transmission.  Jono has little manual experience and for the first two days, I was afraid for our lives.  By the end of the week, he was a pro!  Glad to know he can drive a stick in a pinch.  There is a term in Spanish for this wonderful guy I married.  It is "todologo." It means : one who can do a little of everything.

Oooo he's so handsome.

We spent most of Sunday at the church.  I have a whole blog post brewing in my head about that wonderful place.  For now I'll just suffice it to say that I am humbled and challenged by the believers at CTA.  We enjoyed singing Spanish songs again and listening to Pastor Martin's sermon.  I remember the first week we were in Mexico in 2010, I tried so hard to understand the sermon and left with an extremely painful headache.  Now I understand everything he says and can follow along in my Bible with the passages.  Jonathan sang "Yo Ire" (I Will Go) by Steve Green in the evening service.  I was in the nursery calming Kyle most of that service.  By the weekend he began to show signs of too much vacation.  However, I was able to slip out long enough to sing along to our favorite Spanish hymn Santo, Santo, Santo and to hear Jonathan's song.

We were so sad to have to leave!  I could kick myself for not getting more pictures of our hosts, but I did make Marta pose for a picture before our departure.

After stopping by Chedraui to pick up some of the most delectable donuts ever to bring back for Brad, Hannah and the rest of the family, we made it to the airport.  We flew right over Kyle's nap time and he did manage to zonk out.  I knew there was a reason we brought Lightning McQueen along with us.  He probably would've slept the whole flight if the flight attendants hadn't continued to knock into his feet with their cart!  Rude.

You can see the famous donuts in this picture.  They came on the plane with us and I wanted to eat one so badly!  We hadn't had any lunch and it took so much self control not to dive into them.  I settled for cookies and Fresca from Delta.  By the way, a large part of the reason we fly Delta is because of their in flight cookies.  

We had a delightful, refreshing and encouraging week.  I am so thankful we were able to make the trip before we leave for Africa.  Cancun really does feel like a home away from home to us and we love the people there.  We look forward to returning after our first term in Africa and telling everyone at Cristo Te Ama about what God is doing around the world.  Until then..... Los extrañaremos!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our Home Away From Home (Part 2)

Once we left the hotel zone, we headed straight for our friends' house, where we spent the remainder of our trip.  Scratch that.  We stopped by the doctor first.  You might be a missionary if you go to the doctor while on vacation.  It is significantly less expensive to visit the doctor in Mexico and I had some necessary business to go over with him.  While I fumbled through medical talk in Spanish, Jonathan took Kyle over to another McDonalds to play with some pretty little girls.

Even in Mexico he can't escape the ladies!  All the kids we encountered were fascinated with his blonde hair, blue eyes and white skin.  One of the nursery workers told me after the service on Sunday that all the children where asking why Kyle's skin was white.  They probably thought he had some serious disease which vastly altered his skin pigment.  I think the phrase we heard the most during our week there was, "que hermoso!" in response to our sweet baby Kyle. Yeah, we think so, too.

Anyways, so when we were through with the doctor, we went to our home away from home.  We stayed with precious friends who live on the outskirts of town.  They have a beautiful house.  Before we left in 2010, they would always emphasize that if we ever wanted to come back, "aqui tienen su casa."  It really felt that way.  It was as if we were completely at home in their house; they were such welcoming and accommodating hosts.  The dad is a facial surgeon; he was the one who took Jonathan's wisdom teeth out for free right before we moved away.  He speaks some English and their daughter is fluent in English.  It helped having a way to translate things that are still difficult for me to say in Spanish.  The Mama is like a mom to me, although she is much too young.  She really took me under her wing while I was there and helped me get settled into Mexican life - Mexican cooking especially.  They also have a son who we didn't see much 'cause he stays busy with futbol, naturally.  We enjoyed many hours of chatting back and forth mostly in Spanish with the occasional Spanglish phrase here and there.  They are devoted followers of Christ and we had many encouraging conversations discussing the need for discipleship within missions and the church in general.  I ache when I think that we won't be able to see them again for at least another few years.  We are so thankful for their prayers and support and the friendship we share.  Of course they had never met Kyle and it seemed that they enjoyed having a baby around for a week.  He took right to their pool and their dogs and eagerly asked to visit both often! 

Look, Mom, no hands!

The water wings get me every time.  I could just eat this child up!!!

We planned our trip around a few things.  Futbol, Victoria and church.  Futbol games are on Thursday evenings, so we made sure to be in real Mexico by then.  As we headed to the (unusually late) game clear on the other side of town, we stopped by our very favorite empanada stand near the field, Blanca Flor: Absolutely the best smoothies and empanadas on the planet.  I'm still in love with my peach and banana licuado.  Although, I forgot to ask for it "bien molida" like I used to and it came a little chunkier than I like it.  Oh well, it was still delicious!!

Kyle seemed pretty pleased, too.

Maybe if I just play in the middle, they won't notice me.

Once we got him off the field, he ran the whole rest of the game.  Back and forth, back and forth over the bleachers.  Pastor Martin was laughing the whole time at how busy he was.  So much for watching the game.  We did realize something as Jonathan played with Kyle and the other kids at the park.  When you throw a ball at an American kid, he will pick it up and throw it back.  When you throw a ball at a Mexican kid, he will kick it back.  I guess that is why we play football here and they play futbol there.

We mostly hung out on Friday.  I got my hair cut with my all-time favorite hair cutter.  We tried to do some shopping but were pressed for time.  We had lunch with precious friends from the church.  Delicious tacitos, rice and quesadillas.  I wish I had some more right now.  With a great big cold Fresca.

The weekend was hot and busy and I'll write more about that later.  To be continued....


Friday, September 14, 2012

Our Home Away From Home (Part 1)

Last week Jonathan, Kyle and I took our first "real" family vacation back to Cancun, Mexico where we lived in 2010.  Jonathan and I went back and forth for months over whether or not we should try to make the trip.  Wanting to visit our friends and church there before leaving for Africa, but not knowing if it was wise to spend the time and money, we finally determined that returning was the best thing for us to do. When we found this past Spring that instead of having to pay taxes, Uncle Sam was gifting us a large sum of money thanks to Kyle's birth and Jonathan's school bills, we saw how the Lord was providing for us to make this trip.  He does all things well! We booked the tickets a few months ago. In my heart I wanted to take a couple of these days to just spend as a family at the beach and the Lord provided through a family member for us to stay at the Marriott for two nights at no cost to us.  We rented a car enabling us to come and go as we pleased.  As we left on Tuesday, Jonathan and I agreed that the trip could not have gone more perfectly.

Driving to Atlanta on Monday the fourth to spend the night and catch our early plane Tuesday morning, we were giddy with excitement!  We ate at the famous Varsity restaurant for dinner.  I got a burger while Kyle and Jono devoured their hotdogs.  Being in downtown Atlanta with a car full of luggage and electronics, we sat where we could keep an eye on our loot.

Tuesday morning we woke up and had a yummy breakfast before catching a lift to the airport.  It is cheaper to spend a night in a hotel and park your car there than it is to park for a week at the airport. So, we were excited... can you tell?

Caught Kyle trying to grab more of the chocolate muffin as I took this picture.... little sneak!

Kyle scored a free seat beside us as the plane was nowhere near full.  He flew like a champ.  Great missionary kid.

By the time we arrived at the airport, though, he was worn slap out.  He made his desire for a nap well known in the airport as we waited to pass through baggage, immigration and customs.  Lots of funny looks from people probably wondering why we brought a one-year-old on our vacation.  I wondered the same thing a couple of times, but he's ours and we like to keep him with us.  He made it out alive and we were no worse for the wear.  I felt like crying, too, although for me it was because of how wonderfully familiar the smell in that airport was.  It felt like we were walking back into a closed chapter of our lives.

Once we got the car rental squared away, we headed for the hotel zone.  Before checking into the Marriott CasaMagna, we stopped into McDonalds to grab a bite to eat.  Jonathan and I have been in this McDonalds lots of times, but this time we brought a third Coca slurper along.  The cup reads : Where Mmmmm meets Ahhhh.  Yeah, I think that pretty much describes Coke.

Mommy and Daddy, Cancun 2010

Daddy and Baby, Cancun 2012

Then we checked into our hotel for two days of beach bum bliss.  The weather was gorgeous, the hotel was fabulous, but the company was the best part.  I think my eyes started to sweat a couple times as I tried to just soak in the few hours of sweet family fun.  I love my life and my boys.  We went to dinner, swam in the pool under the stars, took naps, played in the ocean and ate at a breakfast buffet fit for a king!

Pancakes with LaLechera (American equivalent might be sweetened condensed milk). Yet another reason why I love Mexico!

The donuts were.... so, so. They don't hold a candle to Chedraui donuts.  More on those later.  The marble cake was delish, along with everything else.

3/4 of the breakfast buffet.  My camera couldn't fit it all in.  That guy in the middle will make you any kind of omelette you can think of.  Jonathan took him up on that.

Our room was on the front of the building, fifth floor with an incredible view!

Kyle borrowed some nice little boy's trucks. Vroom vroom....

Doesn't Mr. Baby look so happy to be on vacation?  He is such a good boy!

Back for breakfast round two beside a large window overlooking the crystal blue water!

The best apple juice on the planet, Con Frutta jugo de manzana.  We brought some back in our suitcase. 

The enormous Mexican flag on the zona hotelera.  Viva México!

To be continued......