Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Puerto Vallarta and more

So, as you can all well imagine, we are enjoying having our children home for the holidays.  They arrived on December 13th, in Puerta Vallarta, so we spent the first week at the beach.  It was gloriously wonderful to just be together.  Having never been to Vallarta for a vacation before, I'm not gonna lie, it was wonderful.  I can see why people do that yearly.  

We left Vallarta on Saturday, the 20th at 8 a.m. as we had a 'posada' (Christmas party) to attend at 2 p.m. in Guadalajara. It was a little rushed but we arrived in true Canadian fashion, on time.  It was with our 'family' from the gym.  The kids were tired but did their best to interact with our friends, but as you can well imagine, it was somewhat tiring.  Several speak various amounts of English but still someone stiltedly.  Mike can understand a fair amount but the other 2 found it tough.  All that said, they still enjoyed the experience and made some new friends. 

So here are some of the pics from our time together so far... ...

Family - the original 4

Me with my kids, Chris, Me, Mike and Jayce
The boys catching the waves
At the Malecon in Vallarta

Chris and I 

Which is the statue?

Some deep sea fishing for the guys

The posada on the 20th with some of our gym family

The kids got to decorate some Grandma's cookies

They were very creative
And a Christmas piΓ±ata

So, as you can see, they are not getting to sit around much.  I think they are having fun. We are certainly enjoying each activity with them.

Merry Christmas from Our House to Yours

Ernie & I with our children, Jaycia & Mike and Chris
Merry Christmas to one and all...

Today is Christmas Eve and many of you will be together with family for gatherings, enjoying many traditions built over years.  We have lost most of such traditions as we don't always find ourselves living near family, or even in Canada.  But, the real reason for the season can be celebrated anywhere and with anyone... The birth of our Saviour...Emmanuel....God with us.  

So, enjoy your turkey and gravy and mash potatoes and veggies and cookies and whatever else your family eats during your festivities.  We most likely won't have turkey but we are together as a family and so we will be happy and celebrating.

God bless you all and later today I will post pictures of our time together so far.  God bless each and every one of you.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

My Christmas gift arrived

So very sorry everyone that I missed posting but I confess my kids arrival kind of threw me off 😞😏. Yes they were my Christmas present and I am so very very very glad they are here. I wanted to post a pic or two but the Wifi connection here is terrible and my frustration has maxed out 😑. I promise I will be back next Wednesday with an update and pics. 

We are presently enjoying the sun 🌞 and fun in Puerta Vallarta. Tomorrow is our last full day and then Saturday morning we leave the heat and head to Guadalajara but there are still Palm trees 🌴 and knowing my kids they will think it's hot. 

Until next week, 
Diane ☕️

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Las Posadas

Las Posadas

Christmas is just around the corner.  If you are counting days...15 days away.  Many of you will have traditions that have been in your family for years.  Some of you may have no traditions.  Many of us love Christmas and and those family traditions.  There are lots of us that love the over-eating that we celebrated with a relish!  

We will not have a traditional family gathering this year.  We will most likely not eat the traditional Canadian meal.  We will not enjoy the snow and cold.  We will not go carolling, or tobogganing, or skating.  Once again we will incorporate Mexican traditions, foods and customs - one of which is the 'posada'.  

Posada is Spanish for 'lodging' or 'accommodation'; it is mostly said in the plural, as it is a more than one day event.  It is a Catholic tradition but Protestants also celebrate it.  A posada can be very ritualistic - meaning you sing the song, you dress in character, you sort of follow a script.  

Posada Song

But, more often than not, when someone invites you to a 'posada' it means they are inviting you to a Christmas gathering in their home.  It is a reason to get together as friends and family; to eat, drink and be merry.  We already have some marked down on our calendar and I am sure there will be more.  Some typical things found will be "Atole" which is a traditional drink made with masa (corn flour), water, piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar), cinnamon, vanilla and optional chocolate or fruit flavour (its a love it, or not so much, kind of drink).  I enjoy it, especially if I'm outside and its cool. 

 Another thing served is 'tamales', which is a dish made of masa (a starchy dough, usually corn based) which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper, which is discarded before eating :) They can be filled with meats, cheese, fruit, and chilies.  Best not to ask for a recipe and just enjoy - health wise they are questionable, but oh so good! 

And, Ernie's favourite, "Ponche", which is a warm fruit punch - with the fruit pieces in it!  It is thick with fruit pieces and nuts. Ernie is awaiting this first 'posada' where they will serve it.

So, will me miss a Canadian Christmas?  No, because my gift arrives in 4 days - all three kids!  So, with our kids 'under the tree' we will have a 'very Merry Christmas'.  And, of course, most importantly, the meaning of Christmas is the same - the baby Jesus came into this world ..."For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11)

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Me, You or US?

I imagine that most of you are having at least one family gathering for Christmas.  As you look around the room, you know everyone, are related to most, but should that be the case?  I must confess that my host country friends have taught me something over the years about gatherings.  I am ashamed to admit that I have failed at this far too often.

I never think about a family gathering as exactly that, a family 'gathering'.  Meaning, that my family gets together to spend Christmas as a family; only my family.  I don't think about those who don't have family, those that are alone, those who are from other countries, other lands, those who have no one.  Shame on me.  Christmas is the season where we reflect on God sending His son, Emmanuel, God with us.  How could I be so narrow in my focus - on me and mine?

Mexican's are not that way regarding gatherings - be it Christmas, birthdays, or any other celebration.  The more the merrier.  We have been invited to many 'family' gatherings and made to feel welcomed by everyone.  Mexican's are embracing and inclusive by nature.  I don't think we were ever left to ourselves on the holidays while we lived in Chihuahua.  We really and truly had 'family' and we had more than one invite during the holidays.

I want to encourage you to look around you, to really look.  Who needs a place to celebrate the holidays?  Who could benefit from the warmth of your family?  Who do you notice that is "unconnected" and needs to feel like they belong and really need to feel loved?  Could you invite them to your family table?  Or could you plan an event for just such a purpose?

I in no way want to make you feel selfish for enjoying your family.  Nor am I pointing fingers at you, as I have already confessed that this is something I have failed miserably at over the years.  I am so thankful for my 'Latin ' family who open their homes and their families to us.  They are constantly teaching me about life and loving others.  And, I what to share with you what I am learning, thinking we can all learn how to be more inclusive. May you experience much 'gathering' this Christmas!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Nicaraguan Party

Left to right: John & Connie, Me, Pilar, Jorge & Teo, Hugo and Ernie
As many of you may know, Ernie and I served in Nicaragua when we were first married (see blog main page for explanation of previous assignments). John and Connie, our co-workers here, also served in Nicaragua, way back in the turbulent years.  We have often travelled down memory lane: of places, people, food, etc.  Well, as God would have it, we have a cell group  member (Dallas & Tara's group) who is a Nicaraguan.  Ernie and I have also met others who are from Nicaragua, but are living here in Guadalajara.  So we decided to throw a party - a Nicaragua party.  Connie & I cooked some Nicaraguan dishes we thought we could pull off and invited them over.  What a wonderful evening, talking about places, customs, food, when we all lived there, etc.  Nervous as Connie and I were, they all said the food was wonderful and that we should do this again!

Connie & I preparing

Fried cheese and fried plantain

Frying the cheese and heating the Gallo pinto (rice & beans)

New friends enjoying some good food from 'home'

table for 8

Pilar and I

Jorge (from Nicaragua) and his wife Teo (from Wiebe's cell)

Connie sharing memories