Friday, October 18, 2013

Hiking the Y...oops, I meant the B

So, in Provo, a common activity to do is to hike the "Y" that is up on the mountain that stands for BYU.  Well here in Mexico City, there is a "B" on the mountain that stands for Benemerito, which is what the school was called that is now the MTC.  Being a bunch of Provoites, we decided to set out to climb up to the B.  There was no path, so we just forged our way, but it really wasn't far at all.  This first pic is the girls from the group.  Two interesting facts, the first is you can see the MTC behind us.  It is a pretty stark contrast with the rest of the city.  It is much more green and open than the rest of the city.  The second interesting fact is that Ashley, who is the one next to me in the middle, was my elementary school best friend.  We kind of fell out of contact until we were reunited in Mexico of all places!

The next few pictures are of the neighborhood we walked through on our way to the B.  I was both saddened by the conditions in which people lived, but also amazed and impressed by their creativity to make do with what little they had.

This is a house.  I thought it was incredible how they made do with whatever they could find and make it home.  Sometimes I think we all can adopt more of that philosophy, not that I am reccomending that we all move into houses made of sheet metal and pallets.  It did sadden me and I couldn't imagine living somewhere like that.  It made me realized how blessed I am and how much I have.  I think seeing all these people was a turning point for me.  I missed having carpet in my house and didn't like all the tile, but these people had dirt floors.  I'm sure they would be so grateful to have tile on their floors.

This was the door to someone's home.  I wish you could see inside, but I didn't want the people inside to feel like they were turned into a show.

Here is our whole group after finishing our hike.

A random picture to finish, but this man was sound asleep on the sidewalk.  It was kind of a busy street, but he didn't seem to care one bit.  It made me want to know his story.  Why was he sleeping on the street?  How did he get to that place in his life?  What did he dream for?  Long for?  I suppose I will never know.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Thank You Cards and Tender Mercies

So, both my districts leave this week.  About half the missionaries left this morning and the rest leave tomorrow morning.  I have loved teaching them.  Several of them wrote me really kind cards and one in particular was really sweet and taught me a great lesson.  Hermana W. wrote me a card all in Spanish.  This Hermana has a heart as pure as they come, but came in with very little Spanish background.  She did pretty well, but didn't necessarily excel in Spanish.  She is however a powerful teacher and her grammar mistakes are very minor when compared to the spirit when she teaches.  She wrote me a really sweet card all in Spanish.  It was spattered with grammar errors, but that wasn't what what I saw when I read it.  I just saw the love and effort she poured into the card.  It taught me a great lesson that I needed to learn.  I feel like as I have been in Mexico, I have become much more aware of my short comings as a teacher.  I have worked to improve, but found that I was all too aware of what I lacked. This card taught me a great lesson, that if I give what I have to the Lord, imperfections and all, my efforts are not negated by my imperfections.  Heavenly Father sees who we are working on becoming and the effort we put forth.  He is more focused on what we have achieved and where we are going than what we lack.  That is not to say that he doesn't expect us to grow and become better, but rather he accepts our offerings as a step in our eternal progress.  I am grateful to my missionaries for the simple, yet powerful lessons I am able to learn from them each day.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lessons Learned... The Hard Way

So, yesterday we set out on an adventure.  Nadia, Nadia's two youngest boys, Meagan, and I headed over to go explore Ciudadela.  We saw an open spot on the street and Nadia parked right behind this police car.  We asked the police if we could park there and they said yes.  We parked and headed into Ciudadela.  We looked around for a few hours and came a missing van!  Where Nadia's van was parked is shown by the lack of a van in the first picture.

It took us a little while to figure out where the van was towed.  This officer agreed to lead us to the lot where the van was being held.  We flagged a taxi and piled all four of us into a teeny tiny car.  I was in the front seat with a stroller on my lap.  Well, she wasn't very happy about having to take us there and took off before we made it to the lot.  We were then left to asking random people on the street trying to find the lot.  We finally arrived!  My new friend, Guillermo who I will talk about later on, was kind enough to take my picture in front of the car lot place.  When we were making phone calls to work things out, we also realized that we had no idea what part of this huge city of 30 million people we were in.  Looking at this photo, it looks like we were in a historic part of the city.

When we got to the lot, Ethan (three years old) was in heaven, because he loves police.  He even brought his police hat, not even knowing that we got to be with them for several hours.  When we got to the lot, the demanded that we pay a large sum of money and needed some documents that we didn't have in order to take the van home.  We got a hold of an Hermano that could bring the documents and began the wait for him.  We waited for a few hours, Meagan did a good job keeping Ethan entertained.  He loved playing in the parked van for a while.  Later he was determined that he needed to climb on the roof of the little building that was the office for the lot.  I was entertained by Ethan begging Meagan for help and Meagan explaining to him the difference between needs and wants.  

This was how I spent a large part of the next several hours, which I quite enjoyed.  Aren't those the cutest cheeks you have ever seen?  He isn't even three months yet, but he is so chubby and cute!
This is how we all felt after waiting so long that we had missed both lunch and dinner.  I went out on the street and was able to buy that bag of bananas for five pesos from a truck driving by, but by the end we were all tired, hungry, and not happy with Mexican police.

This was our friend Guillermo who Nadia and I were able to talk to about the gospel.  He became our new friend and accepted to have the missionaries come by with a DVD and a message.  This was how Nadia's family joined the church, so if this experience could bring Guillermo into the church, it will all be worth it.  Either way we learned a good lesson.  Always pay for parking!

Hello, I am a guest blogger here on Jenn's updates of her adventures in Mexico. It has been incredible being here in Mexico. Jenn does an incredible job of conveying what life is like here in Mexico, but even still it is nearly impossible to create the kind of experience that we are having here.  -Jenna

Monday, October 7, 2013

Eggs on the shelf? Turning on lights from the Breaker Box? Hotdogs with avocado? Must be Mexico!

So, this is kind of a random post, but here are a few random things I have seen.  First off, they don't keep their eggs in the fridge.  This is the egg shelf at the local Walmart.

So, we were trying to use some rooms in the TRC for our missionaries to practice their lessons.  We looked everywhere for light switches to turn on the lights, but all we could find was a breaker box.  It worked!

This hot dog, actually isn't Mexican, its Chilean, but we had these to celebrate Chile's Independence day, which was just a few days after Mexico's Independence Day.  Since there are quite a few teachers here that served in Chile, we celebrated both days.

This was Mexico Night at the MTC to celebrate Mexico's independence day.  They had the Benemerito dancers come back and put on a show.  It was great!  So much fun.  Viva Mexico!

Kirsti and I matched!

Ale Falcon and I were mission companions and here we are back together!

Most of the teachers gathered for a photo... I don't think it is going to get framed, but oh well.  Here it is!

Dancing with Strangers in the Park

So, after the museum, we headed over to Ciudadera where there are lots of beautiful things.  Just outside we passed through a park where there were a bunch of middle aged couples dancing in sync to music.  Now, these were not like middle aged dancers in the States, they actually danced really well.  Actually, everyone here dances really well.  Well, back to the story, we stopped to watch these dancers and then they invited us to dance with them.  I wasn't very good, but I had a lot of fun!  So, without further ado, here are the pictures!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Weekend in Delta

Last weekend I went to this lovely place:

This is Delta - well at least the gravel pits of Delta, Utah.  

One of my good friends is from here and took me home for the weekend.  It was a lot of fun.  I always love to meet my friend's family and see where they come from.  It's fun putting into context all the stories I've heard.

It was a little colder than we were hoping, but at least it wasn't raining.  As we drove down it was pouring, so we were glad the weather was at least dry on our day to play.  We were originally going to go four wheeling (which I've come to love), but it was so cold we decided to forgo the four wheeler.  Instead her Dad took us in the truck out to Fossil Mountain.  I should have taken a picture of the mountain, it was incredible!  It was absolutely covered in fossils.  It was mostly shells, but still cool!  There were a few trilobite looking things as well as bugs fossilized in the mountain.  I got to bring a few home.

While driving around we found this hard pan where the movie John Carter Goes to Mars was filmed.  So in case you were wondering what Mars looks like, this is it.  I'm not sure what it is exactly, but I think it's some hardened minerals that harden into a rock like substance.  It's such a unique cool thing!

Then I got to try something new, which I love to do.  I got to learn how to shoot a gun!  Don't ask me what kind of gun it was, because I wouldn't be able to tell you.  I was a little terrified at first, but once I'd shot my first shot I knew what to expect and it got better.  Those guns certainly are loud!  

All in all it was a fun weekend in Delta!  It was a good little break from school and work and a good chance to relax and play!

Friday, October 4, 2013

An Afternoon at the Museum

I have been much healthier this week, which has really made me grateful for my health.  It seems most of the instructors here have gotten sick sometime in the last two weeks.  It appears that the combination of none of us having any sort of antibodies against the bugs floating around here combined with us all being together all the time led to us all getting sick. So, without further ado, the adventures of my week!

On Tuesday we went out to explore the museum of Anthropology.  It was really beautiful and huge!  We spent over two hours there and only saw three of the 23 rooms and quite honestly, we could have spent the whole time in one room.  The word room doesn't really explain it well, it is more like a series of 23 different museums.  We could have spent a week there and probably not see anything.  We will probably go back again and try to see a little bit more.  Someone reccomended that we hire a guide to show us the museum and although I was initially skeptical, it was well worth every penny, umm, I mean peso.

Our group just outside the museum with a big Mexican Flag!
Something cool... I don't remember what it was, but it was cool enough that I took a picture.
These were actual bones of some torture victims.  

A few other pictures of some things we saw.  I should stay and write better descriptions, but dinner is starting and I am hungry!