Thursday, January 1, 2009

Busy December...

December was a busy month in Mexico! In one week we celebrated Maiya's 1st birthday, attended 2 parties, saw fireworks 4 nights in a row, and also attended Ella's school Christmas party. And that was just the first half of the month!

Ella's preschool, Kinder Tohui, had a Christmas show that the children put on for the adults. I joined up with several other Mexican mothers and made and designed Ella's class' Gingerbread costume. It took a full day for me to sew these felt costumes (the sewing machine HATED that material), and the other women worked on the buttons and details. It was a lot of fun to meet some of the other mothers, and most of them spoke English very well. I always ask the people here how they have learned English, and their answers show an over-riding theme: Television. Many Mexican people say they have learned English from watching American TV shows and movies! Wow!

So, here are the photos of Ella's class in their costumes, Ella performing on stage (she's on the right), Maiya loving the paper mache deer (have I mentioned that she LOVES animals?), and the deep-fried crunchy desserts we enjoyed after the 1 hour production (not your typical US cookie and brownie treats).
December 10th through 14th was an event called Festival Deluces that took place in the neighboring town of Chapala. They had all sorts of activities starting at 1pm going as late as 10pm each day! We went in the evening almost every night, and enjoyed some of the activities.

The first night we really enjoyed watching the Mexican people launch their homemade hot air balloons made from crepe paper. It is an AMAZING craft, and some of the balloons were absolutely beautiful! Most balloons were about the size of a large man or a bit larger. Although I didn't catch the details, somehow they light a fire under the balloons, and fill the balloon carefully with hot air (sometimes this does not go well, and many balloons catch fire before even leaving the ground)! It was magical to watch the successful balloons lift off like a rising moon in the dark sky. Wow...just beautiful!
Eventually, the drifting balloons catch fire, and burn to the ground...so everyone would watch to see how high they would get before burning to bits and falling on people's heads :-) Here is a terrible-quality photo that illustrates how the people would stand around the balloon, trying to fill it with air, and try to prevent it from catching fire. This particular one didn't make it, and caught fire before they could get it up. They quickly put out the fire, and perhaps planned to repair it later and try again. Quite an art!

They also had some large fireworks go right off the pier, and Maiya clearly had the best viewing seat in the house.
The highlight of the first night was when they lit a large bull sculpture (made from paper mache, I suppose) with several crazy firework effects. What a hoot! And of course, as with most things here, there was no concern for safety. At one point a firework rocket took off right into the crowd! If you watch the video, the final moments of the bull show are the best!



The next night we returned with some friends for an even better show! They did a fireworks and pyrotechnic effects show ON the Saint Francis Church in celebration of the Lady of Guadalupe (the lady/event to be celebrated that week). The show made the church look it was on fire (not in a "The Spirit of God" way, but in a eerie way!). It was magnificent to watch, and was quite breathtaking in person. It was also entertaining to watch the pigeons fly on and off the church every time the sparks got big. They just couldn't stay away...

The next night was our ward church Thanksgiving/Christmas party. We had traditional American holiday food, as well as some Mexican favorites. The ward is quite the blend of Americanos and Mexicanos! The Primary children did a little Nativity presentation. The primary is quite small, and if it weren't for the Reed family's 4 children (who moved here from UT for a year to learn Spanish), the Primary would be nearly cut in half!
As with any true Mexican party, there was a pinata for the children. What shocked me about the pinatas is that there are ceramic pots inside the pinata that hold the candy. That means that when the kids hit it and break it open, ceramic pieces go flying! Ella was a bit timid about hitting the pinata, but a week later when she did it at school, she proudly told us that she did it all by herself!

3 comments:

lowrylore said...

You are having great adventures too! What a neat a experience to spend Christmas in Mexico.
Maybe we'll see you when you come through the tricities.
Mike
ps. I like your 2008 in 28 photos.

The Thomson Fam said...

how fun!!! looks like you guys had a blast!

Lisa said...

The gingerbread costumes are darling!

You amaze me how you can just adapt to whatever culture you are in. Even though I have come a long way in my timidness...I think that I would be way too afraid to move to another country. You are amazing!