Wednesday, June 28, 2006

muchas cosas

Well, it's been pretty busy around here lately, and so I found a few minutes to hop on the internet and tell people what's been going on for the past few days.

Friday night Stephanie and I spent the night at the Pastor's family's house. We actually ended up watching a really ridiculous movie with Johnny Knoxville. Most of the family was at a church thing at another church, and so Arely thought we'd be entertained by this movie. The movie was dubbed into Spanish, and so she put on the closed captioning (smart girl), and we watched this horrible Johnny Knoxville movie. I lost that hour of my life forever. Later we just ate some food and went to bed.

The next morning we took Lety (the mom), Arely and Aby (sisters), and Alma (friend), to the Globos in San Quentin. Stephanie and I both really want Mexican futbol/soccer jerseys. Stephanie found one she liked, but I didn't. We dropped the girls off later at their house.

We saw a lot of signs that day for the Mexico/Argentina World Cup game that was happening at 11:30. Stephanie and I both went home to do laundry and clean a little. We don't have a television that gets any reception, so we went over to Tico's for the last of the game, and a pizza. The workers were watching the game, as well as another table of four. Stephanie said it reminded her of Cool Runnings when everyone is in the restaurant in Jamaica watching the Olympics. Well, there were only about 10 of us in the restaurant, but the reactions and discussion between the workers and the patrons was fun to listen to. Unfortunately Mexico lost to Argentina, and Mexico's out (as is the USA, if you weren't following). Maybe the jerseys will be on sale now? One can only hope. At least now I know how to say that Mexico lost, in Spanish, so when someone tries to rip me off at the border I can say ¨pero, Mexico perdio, yo creo menos dinero¨(but Mexico lost, I think less money).

Sunday we just hung around in the morning. We had planned to go to the rodeo that Pastor´s family had told us about. Stephanie and I were terribly excited because we've always wanted to go to a Mexican rodeo. It was supposed to start at 2, cost 2 dollars, and was very close to town. Only the girls (Arely, Aby, and Alma) could go with us, so we told them we would pay for their entry fee. I told them, though, that I thought my parents' group was coming about 4 or 4:30 so we could only stay for a couple of hours, then we needed to leave.

Well, after finding the rodeo at 2:15 (which means driving on a bunch of backroads, and asking two neighborhood people), there were no people there. The lady at the front said it was 5 dollars for Aby, Stephanie, and I, and free for the younger girls, but that the rodeo didn't start at 3. Of course not, because nothing is as it is advertised here. We sat in the car and considered, and realized that because it was also IN Mexico, the rodeo REALLY wouldn't start till probably 3:30, and we didn't feel like paying 15 dollars for a half an hour of who knows what. Probably the National Anthem. So we left. Instead we went to the Mikazza Cafe and got frappucinos, and hung out with Sarai (other sister) because she works right next door. My parents rolled into town about 3:15. For that whole incident, see the entry below.

And now my parents are here, and their group, and it's been busy, busy, busy. They are leaders of their group, and also trying to get a bearing on a new environment. It is also so nice to see all these people I know, even though some of them are people from my parents' church that I don't know all that well. But, I do know some of these people VERY well, including some good friends, and my cousin's wife and their kids are here as well.

We all went out to eat at a nice restaurant Sunday night. Monday was a semi normal day, and we had a new group come in, a group that is helping with a very large VBS they daycare is running this week. They were planning on 100 kids, but Tuesday, the first day, they had 130! That's a lot of kids! This other group came specifically to help out with the VBS. They are doing a great job, and so it leaves me with not much to do officially, but I find myself doing lots of other things. Some of that includes talking to my mom about the facilities here, plans for groups, and situating her new house. It feels awfully weird to be showing my mom where to get paper towels, and telling her about how the traffic light in works! It's amazing to sit and realize how much I know about this town and our place here. I take for granted all of the information I have stored in my brain.

Marcus and Erin showed up Monday afternoon, and so there are MORE people that I know. We played Clue in our front living room Monday night, and it felt so weird to be in Mexico, playing Mexico in our living room (which we never use), and being up late at night. I thought about going to bed at a little after 10, but I started wandering around and found that our teachers, Brigi, Leo, and Geno, were still preparing for the next day, and I drove them home about 11:30. It was not fun getting up at 6 (because it was my shower day!).

Like I said before, the other group that is staying here is helping with the VBS, and they take a lot of their vans to pick up kids in the morning and bring them to the center. My dad is also supposed to use his van to pick up kids and take them home. There was some miscommunication today and because my dad was still out, and we were taking kids home earlier than my dad thought, I had to hop in my dad's van and follow Abel to drop off kids.

So this is a picture you can get in your mind: I'm driving a late 80s 12 passenger Dodge or Chrysler or whatever it is van. I put on the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack, and I have 20-25 little ninos bouncing around in the back. Now, I don't know about you, but that's just weird. After passing the hospital, and getting onto the VERY bumpy roads up by these kids' houses, it was sort of surreal to realize what was happening. Bumpy roads, Mexico, 20-25 kids in this 12 passenger van, and singing ¨O sinner, let's go down.. let's go down, won't you come on down. O sinner let's go down, down to the river to pray¨.

So, there are lots of things going on. It so warm and comforting to have my parents here, partly because Mom is doing such a great job at setting up her new home, and everything is from MY home! There are cups and bowls that we've had since forever, and everything I recognize from their house.

And this is how great my mom is: She brought me a John Steinbeck book of short stories, Mt. Dew, and cheddar cheese. And not just any cheddar cheese, but TILLAMOOK, and that is a great mother.

Monday, June 26, 2006


For those of you that are wondering, my parents' group made it here safe, with funny stories.

I don't have time to write about it all now, but Stephanie and I were at a store where a friend works, which is situated at the north end of town, parallel to the main highway. I was standing outside, and saw a political parade of cars for the PAN party. Lots of honking and waving, and I thought to myself ¨wouldn´t it be funny if my parents´ group was right in the middle of that?¨ about 3 minutes later, there were my parents, smack in the middle of the political parade. I was so SHOCKED that they were there! And there I was, silly American girl, waving to my mother (who was also shocked, and yelling at me), and to the rest of the group ¨hi! Hi!! HIii!!!!¨

So they made it here, and everyone is good. Now comes the process of my parents gettnig settled in their new place. Phew!

Friday, June 23, 2006

At the graduation the professional photographer set up this backdrop, and Stephanie snapped a photo. Good looking kids!

Also while getting ready for graduation. The kids get a little crazy whenever a camera comes out. Left to right, Top to bottom: Willebaldo, JoseManuel, Javier, Carlos, Diana, Moises, Mimi, Esme.

While getting ready for graduation, Willebaldo and Mimi.

Two of the cutest girls, Mitzy and Yuridia. Mitzy was here when I was here last year, and so I feel pretty attached to her. She says ¨te quiero mucho. mucho, mucho, mucho.¨ to me, which makes me feel pretty good. Te quiero is a way to tell a friend that you love them. Yuri is the most polite, sweet, innocent, cute little girl.

The inside of our poor car, packed to the gills.


Well, America is out of the World Cup. Sorry, guys. Mexico's not doing that much better, but I think they're still holding on, although I could be completely wrong about.

Though I can't hook my camera up to the computer, Stephanie got her pictures put on a cd (for an entirely different reason), and here are some choice pictures to share with you all (I hope this works!)

This is what our van looked like on the outside. We're pretty sure that everyone was jealous of our bikes. In this picture the van is parked in Berkeley. Notice that it's hardly dirty (you should see it now!)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


There are times when I forget that I'm in an entirely different country. I am very, very used to this town and its people. I know the people at church, the people at the daycare, some of the children's mothers. I recognize the people that own the little neighborhood market, and I recognize the people that own the little market in the church's neighborhood. I am used to throwing toilet paper in the wastebasket, taking short showers every other day, only drinking purified water, and walking to get ice cream on Sundays. I am very accustomed to listening to people talk and talk and talk in Spanish. I may not understand it all, but I'm understanding more, and you wouldn't believe how much you can decipher with hand gestures and a little questioning. I am even used to the ceremonial ¨como estas?¨ and peck on the cheek I get from each of the teachers each morning.

So yesterday, when we went to Pastor Pedro's house, I had one of those sudden realizations that I was, in fact, in Mexico, in an entirely different culture. I realized this while standing in Pastor Pedro's dirt yard, watching three teenage girls pluck chickens that had just previously that day been running around the yard. I couldn't stop watching. What women! Sitting in the yard, over a big tub, two girls (Sarai, and a friend, Viri), plucking the chickens, while Abigail brought hot water from the pot (that was sitting over a fire), over to pour on the chickens.

Later on in the evening there was a youth party for the dads of the church. It was nice to see about 7 men there, and we had a great meal of fried chicken (not that same chicken, hold on to that thought). They had a little service outside and talked, and then the real fun happened when Stephanie brought out the Chicken Little (or Pollito) pinata she had bought. Now, I like pinatas and everything, but there is nothing more fun than watching Mexicans have a pinata, because they really know what they're doing (which, I guess, is quite obvious).

One boy got on the roof of the church, while another brought around the church bus to stand on top of. They strung up poor Chicken Little, handed the mop to one of the older dads, and blindfolded him. That Chicken went wild, and that man went wild as well! He was all over the place. Looking at that man before, I never would have thought he could have moved like that! Take into account that the pinata is all over the place... up then down, the sideways, swinging every which way, and then everyone is yelling at the poor blindfolded man. And then when he swings really hard and misses, everyone laughs. Ooo it's fun.

Today was Arely's graduation from sixth grade. She is Pastor Pedro's youngest daughter. We went to her ceremony at the school in the morning. It was much like the kindergarten graduation, but the dances and songs were all much better done. Same flag salute/ceremony. Same shaking of the hands. Oo! but this time the graduates wore caps and gowns, and it was outside.

Back to the house for talking while lunch was prepared. Uncle Ricardo and Papi Pedro stood outside in the back, frying the chicken, that had been in the tub the day before. Stephanie and I have now equivalted the outside fryer, which is a huge flat pan filled with oil, over an open fire, to the backyard bbq. You can always find the men standing around it, chatting, while the women continually come out to check the food, and take it inside when it's done.

The chicken was really good. The company was better.

I'm sick. I've caught something and last night I lost my voice. My voice is gone, I'm stuff up, and I'm coughing something terrible. Hopefully it will be over soon.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


No berry picking today, because Luvia wasn't work. Partly relieved, partly disappointed.

The other day Moises came in with a Ronaldo jersey on. Then later, I think the next day, I was talking to the Kinders about boyfriends and girlfriends, teasing one boy that maybe he DID like one of the girls, and I told them that my boyfriend was in fact Luis Ronaldo, from Brazil, who is being hailed as the best futbol player in the world.

I think some of them believed me, until Brigida laughed.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Today we graduated 7 Kinders from the local kindergarten. I know it's a cute sort of accomplishment that parents like to adorn their children with, but in Mexico, it's a really a celebration for some reason. The kids spent so much time preparing, it was almost ridiculous.

Yesterday they started with the baths. Brigida (the Kinder teacher here at the daycare) and Cande (the cook) both bathed kids, who took turns. This also involved delousing a few of the Kinders, which took a while. Then they all got haircuts from Rosa. Today the kids got a rebathing, and then the girls retreated upstairs with Brigida and Rosa to have their hair done, which means half back, and all of it curled with a curling iron, and hairsprayed into oblivion.

After lunch the kids all started to get dressed. The daycare bought brand new uniforms, I think with some donated money, while the kids bought brand new black shoes and knee high white socks for the girls, and belts for the boys. The girls wear a short sleeve white blouse, and a navy blue pleated skirt, while the boys wear a white dress shirt and navy blue slacks. Changing 7 kids' clothes is quite a chore, and even moreso is the chore of getting them focused enough to put on their own clothes. Little changes had to be made right before we left: belts adjusted, socks traded, hair re-gelled.

Rosa pulled her car up close to the curb, and instructed the children not to step in the dirt and off we went to the Salon Social by the park in town, where we had to bring our own white, homemade slipcovers for Kinder sized chairs.

All of the children sat in a large horseshoe shape facing the stage, and one parent was to sit directly behind them. A few of our children did not have parents there, so I sat behind Moises, Stephanie sat behind Willebaldo, and Brigi behind Mimi. We got there at 3, and it didn't start for nearly an hour, and so those kids sat in their little chairs for quite some time before anything started to happen. Moises actually fell asleep a couple of times and I had to be told by Stephanie to wake him up. Stephanie and I were separated by a few Mexican mothers, so she had to say my name kind of loud.

A lady came by to give us instructions, to tell our children. No running, shake everyone's hand, take your diploma, etc., except I didn't really understand and asked the mother next to me if she could tell Moises what the lady said. She did, and then asked if Moises was my son. I couldn't believe that she thought he was. He's so dark, I'm so pale. I could barely spit out enough Spanish to ask her to speak to Moises, and she asked if he was my son! Ha. I politely said no, and explained about the daycare.

First things first, we saluted the flag and sang the national anthem, and by we I mean not Stephanie or I. We stood politely. I'll tell you this: they teach their children patriotism very early. Everyone knew all the words to the National anthem. A very cute group of five girls in school uniforms, berets, and white gloves marched the flag in (with a very cute five year old leader yelling calls), everyone saluted, sang, pledged, and then a group of boys in uniforms and little hats marched in, there was a passing of the flag, more saluting, and they all marched out. Wow. Quite the prestige.

To make a long ceremony short there were some dances, some songs, the giving of the ltitle rolls of paper (with people of prestige there), and I must say that my little son, Moises, acted very well, did not run to the front, shook every hand, smiled, and gave his teacher a hug. Aw. I'm so proud.

Tomorrow we are supposed to be picking strawberries with Luvia. We're not quite sure how it will turn out. We made a new Mexican friend named Lupe, and when we told her we were going to pick strawberries she was in disbelief. She said she did it one day, and her back hurt so much she'll never do it again. When I told Geno this morning, she told me it was very ¨chistoso¨, or funny, that we were going to be picking fresas. I know it will hurt, I will hate it, and I'll never want to do it again, but I feel the need for doing it so that I know what it's like to make so little money for such hard work. The rest of the world lives like this, and I have no idea what it's like.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Funny conversations, Jose, and living in Mexico

Yesterday afternoon Stephanie and I walked to the video store to pick out some mvoies, and stopped at the store. On the way back I patted my pockets and couldn't find my keys. I began to look in my grocery bag and started thinking of where I could have left my keys. Was it the counter at the video store? A shelf in the grocery store?

Me: I can't find my keys... I can't find my keys.
Stephanie just looks at me.
Me: No, I'm serious. I can't find my keys. Where could I have left them? I can't find them.
Stephanie: Did you check your pockets?
Me: Yeah.. oh here they are. In my pocket.

Wonderful, si?

All of our kids here come from various backgrounds. A few of the kids have parents that work in town and not in the fields. Some are from single parent households. Some are groomed very well, while others wear the same clothes day after day and arrive with messy hair, missing socks, and very dirty faces. Jose is one of our exceptions to any idea we have about the kind of children we take care of.

There's something wrong with Jose, but nobody really has a name for it. He's in the preschool class, but is probably 5 years old. If he's 4 years old, he's very close to being 5. He's fairly skinny, has a longer face, and always has a confused look on his face. When asked how old he was, he always said nueve, or 9. After a bit of training he now says cinco, 5, which actually comes out of his mouth sounding like ¨kinko¨. His words are slurred, he repeats things you say. He's very unpredictable and doesn't seem to have any indication that hitting another person might hurt them. We love to watch him and interact with him, but sometimes we just have to laugh. He says ¨¿a donde vas?¨ (where are you going), but it's so slurred, that it sounds like ¨a ond ay a?¨ We keep trying to think of what could be wrong with him, if he's autistic, or mentally handicapped, although the general consensus around here is that his mom might have drank while she was pregnant.

I realize now that many of you don't know what Mexico is like, and so I thought I'd paint a little picture with words. The valley that I am in is called the San Quentin Valley, and is an agricultural part of the Baja peninsula. Farmers here grow a LOT of strawberries (fresas), many onions (cebollas?), and cucumbers (pepinos). Many people here work at a ranch doing many different jobs, but that includes picking.

When you drive down from the States, the main highway to the Valley is the Highway 1, and the cuota, or toll, road. From Tijuana through Ensenada it is a four lane divided highway with small shoulders and no median. From Ensenada south it becomes a meandering road through the mountains with two lanes, no median, and if there are any shoulders I can't detect them. There are a few small towns to pass through, and then you end up in the San Quentin Valley, which I think starts somewhere up by Colonet. Along the way there is a military checkpoint station. Going south there are really no stops, but going back north your car is stopped by an army man. And they carry big rifles.

Vicente Guerrero is a larger town, and even has a stoplight at its section of the highway. Right now they are doing the finishing touches on making the town section of the highway into four lanes with a short barrier to divide them. This is royally messing up my ability to drive places. I'm used to pulling off the road whenever. There's the highway, and then you drop off into dirt which serves half as parking places and half has a little road for the shops that run parallel to the highway. At the traffic light there is another intersecting road that is also paved, but the pavement only lasts a couple blocks. With the exception of the highway and these short blocks the rest of the roads are dirt, with many bumps, indents, and little hills. It's always a bumpy ride. I'm sure people buy a lot of new shocks here.

In my neighbrhood (which is a few blocks from the highway) there are many empty lots, and small houses, although someone's building what amounts to a mansion a block away. Almost all houses have fences and gates that people shut at night. There are always a lot of people walking around town, but many cars, too, new and old. Most people say buenos tardes (good afternoon) or buenas dias (good morning) in passing, or when entering a store. There are a lot of stray dogs that nobody cares about. The taco stand by the candy store is open in the afternoon and evenings. You order your tacos, and eat them while standing around.

On any day you'll hear a number of things, one of which is the birds, who always seem to be chirping. People pass by in cars with loud music. One thing that always says ¨Mexico¨ to me are the cars that drive through the neighborhood with loudspeakers. Either their selling something, or it's a political campaign (the Presidential election is July 2nd, and it's kind of a big deal). Mostly, though, we hear a man's voice saying ¨naranjas. uvas. limones. peras.¨ (oranges, grapes, lemons, pears), or some such thing. Ask me when I get back. I do a fairly good impression if I do say so myself.

That's all I got for now. When I put pictures up, you'll see what I mean.

Friday, June 09, 2006


last night Stephani and I were sitting around in our little bedroom, embroidering like mature women, and all of the sudden Stephanie says ¨I think I hear someone speaking English outside.¨ So what do we do? We turn into spies, of course.

We had to turn out the light, and I peeked out the window. Sure enough, there was a white van and a white truck, and white people piling out. I got over to the other window, where Stephanie and I crouched down very small and peered at them. They all started unloading and I knew Rosa, the director, was out there talking to one of them in Spanish, so I got my confidence and we went out to see what was happening. A group has come to stay here for a week or so, and it was a group I wasn´t exactly expecting, but the leaders lived here in the 90s for five years, and come back every year. No problems having to show them around!

So we had quite a day today. Unfortunately Cande, the cook, was gone today, but Rosa filled in for her. Bceause I've been clean up girl in the kitchen so far I got to be in charge of the Americans who came to help clean up! Now THAT was fun. But, really, you never know what kind of group you're going to have when they get here, and these people are really great. They have good senses of humor and are really humble.

Before breakfast Brigida was helping make breakfast, and the kids came. Geno asked me to get the toddlers ready for breakfast (wash hands, fix hair, put on aprons) while she went with Brigi's kids. Sounded great. I herded them all in the classroom and right after I said ¨Vamos a el bano!¨ I looked down to find that cute, wonderful, innocent Yuri had thrown up all over herself. yikes. So I got to clean that up, of course afraid the whole time that she was going to do it again, and while trying to get the other kids in the bathroom, and to start cleaning their hands. Nice. Very nice. But we pulled through and did it, even though I couldn't find the aprons in time for breakfast.

Yesterday, while Stephanie was with the kids, she said to Moises ¨no hablo espanol, yo hablo ingles¨(i don't speak spanish, I speak english). He said ¨¿si?¨ and Stephanie said that yes, she spoke English. He immediately stuck out his hand to her and said ¨money¨. So we know what he expects of Americans, yeah? Stephanie and I have decided that perhaps these children think we're dumb. It seemed that Moises was surprised at the fact that we spoke English, as if our very limited Spanish was all we actually spoke, and the maybe were just a little delayed. So, it is now our mission to let these children know that we do speak English.

I often wonder what I sound like to people who speak Spanish. I know what it sounds like when a person tries to speak English, but they don't know it. The tenses are wrong, they leave out little words that mean a lot, the pronounciation is wrong, correct emphasis on syllables is wrong. This is what I sound like to Mexicans. I had the grand opportunity of announcing over the intercome today (to the entire compound) that ¨umm, rosa y abel... el hombre... esta aqui.. por los cochinas...y no tengo llaves¨ which LITERALLY translates into ¨rosa and able.. the man.. he is here.. for the pigs... and I don't have keys¨. really, he was here for the pigs´ food (our leftover scraps) and I didn't have the key to the back gate to let him in. After I hung up the phone I turned around to find a bunch of American teenagers staring at me :)

The best part of my day happened this afternoon when I was carrying Yuridia around the playground. Like I said before, she is so cute, and beautiful, and just this small little girl. The kind that you just want to pinch her cheeks. She's also very caring, quiet, and sincere. But, as I was saying, I was carrying her around and she was staring at the American group who was packing up their van to go out. In Spanish our conversation went like this:

Me:You were looking at the Americans?
Yuri: Si.
Me: ohh. Americans. Like me.
Yuri: You are an American?
Me: Yes, and you?
Yuri: Yuri. (and then she laid her head on my shoulder)

It was just so cute that she said she was Yuri, and didn't say Mexicana. Ohhh I loved that.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mas futbol

I know that the link in the last post doesn't work, and I'll try to fix it.

Because it was a three day weekend it was very relaxing, which actually amounts to the fact that we didn't do much of anything. My parents have some of their stuff already down here and we dug around in a trunk and found some movies! So, of course we watched some of them. Some of them = Catch Me if You Can, The Birds, and Big.

I guess we did a few other things as well. I read. Stephanie read. We e-mailed people. We sat around. It was all good fun. Yesterday I read ¨Esperanza Rising¨ by Pam Munoz Ryan. It is a book aimed at 9-12 year olds. I brought down a few books I bought that are geared toward the age I want to teach. It was a really great book, and I recommend it for any kids you know that are that age. It's a historical tale about a daughter of a ranch owner in Mexico who is forced to flee to work in camps in Southern California, in 1930. It did a great job at simplifying some issues, and lightly touching on some of these historical facts, especially about Mexico.

Okay, so on Friday we didn't do much, but Saturday we went to the globos (market) in San Quentin again. Stephanie and I wanted to buy embroidery to start on. Our family here jokes around that now we are real women, embroidering. Leti told us that in Oaxaca (a southern state of Mexico with many native people) a girl must know how to do this in order to be married, or at least her future in-laws would appreciate it. It's not terribly hard for me, because my grandma taught me so much about sewing and crafts. I just had to learn the stitches, and I follow a pattern. I do have a blister on my right index finger, though. That sure makes me feel like I've accomplished something!

Luis, a guy from the church, came over on Saturday afternoon because he needed help making a myspace page. He is using it to keep in touch with some friends he has made from the American groups that come here, and with some pastors in the States. That was real interesting, trying to communicate with him. He speaks some English, and we speak some Spanish, but there are always little confusions.

Saturday night was church and we played soccer afterward. Last time the teams were boys against girls, but Saturday night we were all mixed up, which wasn't quite as fun, because as nearly every girl can tell you, the boys on your team take over and play hard. But, we all ran around enough to get nice and sweaty. Futbol is fun, but when you run off down the street after the ball, and there's no light, you have to be very careful because the street is so uneven. The highlight of the evening was when the ball went out of bounds, and Stephanie grabbed it to throw it back in, and tossed it right on top of Chuy's head. That's good for a laugh!

Sunday morning I was in the office using the computer. Rosa and Abel, the directors, had some an extra car over at their house, so I knew they had a visitor. When I walked in the building, heading toward the kitchen, I saw there was something cooking in a stew pot on the stove. After I had been on the computer a while I started to smell more of the food, and thought that it smelled pretty good. I was curious as to who was in the kitchen making food, because I was sure I had heard the screen door shut, but I was too embarrassed to creep over and see.

Well, finally I couldn't stand it anymore. I decided to creep quietly down the hall and peek into the kitchen. As I peered around the corner I realized there was no one in the kitchen and whatever was in the pot was boiling and crackling, and there was smoke everywhere. Oops. I went over, turned out the flame on the stove, and after the smoke cleared I looked into the pot to see some chicken, far past the time it should have been pulled off the stove. Someone must have left it there and forgot it. I knew that Abel and Rosa had already left for church. When I asked Rosa about it this morning she said her daughter Damaris put it there and forgot. Talking to Cande, the cook, about it, she said it was a good thing i was in the office, or there could have been a fire.

Why do I tell you this? To let you know that I'm a hero. :) Last week my mom dubbed me futbol hero, this week I am a fire hero! Wow. What a great time in Mexico.

Later on we went to the beach, where a bee flew up Stephanie's shorts and stung her, but don't worry. She persevered like a champ and is just fine.

later on in the day Stephanie and I decided to treat ourselves (what! She just got stung by a bee and survived. That is cause for celebration!) to a nice dinner out. We went to Baja Fiesta (yes, we did, Dad. I know you love that place), and came to a big dilemma. Here we are, in Mexico, at a restaurant that is owned by Mexicans, and it serves Mexican food. But it's also a restaurant aimed at travelers, because there are two menus, English and Spanish, and you can order some American things, like hamburgers. Now, I've been eating mostly Mexican food, and I love Mexican food, but a hamburger sounded so delicious. So we both got hamburgers. What Americans.

Rosa's birthday was last week, but we're having a surprise party today. I knew about the party last week, but it's a good thing I didn't say anything because nobody told me it was a surprise until today!

Friday, June 02, 2006

It´s been awhile.

I don´t seem to write as much these days. Maybe it´s because I´ve done this all before and it´s not quite such a new experience as the last time I did this!

Today there are no kids at the center, and so we have a three day weekend. The three teachers (Brigida, Genoveva, Leonor) have all gone to Tijuana for a free Christian teachers´ convention. Without teachers we can´t have kids. Stephanie offered, jokingly, to watch them, saying ¨Yo puedo¨ (I can), but I definitely said ¨no puedo!¨.

Because we have no kids today, we invited over our sisters, Luvia and Sarai, to spend the night at our house. We planned out what to do, and as we did it last night I realized it was so American... exactly what we would do if we were at home. We went out for pizza at Tico´s, rented a movie, and slept. Sounds like a night in with the girls at home! It was really nice, though. We sat around Tico´s talking about their work, when they pick strawberries, and we found out that it would be very easy and possible for Stephanie and I to work with them on a Saturday. It turns out that some other youth from the church also work with them. They said it´s a lot of fun because their friends are there, and they joke around, and talk a lot. We thought we would need papers, or some sort of permission from the boss, but they said no. So! The next Saturday they work (work all depends on the ripeness of the strawberries), Stephanie and I are going to go and do it as well. I don´t know how well I´ll like it, bending over all day.. but I think having friends there as well will take my mind off of it. I´m very excited to do this, and I know Stephanie is as well. I guess it feels like it´s one thing to know what the working conditions are like, but to experience them is a whole different thing.

We bought candy and rented Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. We decided to be nice and watch it in Spanish with English subtitles-- that´s a lot of work! yeesh.

Wednesday night at church we went around telling all the youth that we were going to play futbol again, so we´ll see who actually wants to play tomorrow. Our plans for the rest of the weekend aren´t that great. Luis wants a myspace, but needs help making one, we´re going to go to the globos in San Quintin because we´re both going to learn how to embroider from Leti, the pastor´s wife. Now our Sundays seem to be beach days, though last Sunday it was really hot and we only stayed for an hour or so.

Today we´re planning on cleaning and cleaning out our little apartment. There´s a lot of stuff that has just accumulated over the years. Hopefully we can make it a little better.

I just finished reading America and Americans by John Steinbeck. It´s a collection of non fiction of his over the years. It includes essays for magazines, war journalism, and essays for overseas newspapers. At the end are a collection of essays entitled ¨America and Americans¨, about us as a people and a land. It was such a good read. What he wrote 40 years ago still seems true today, and maybe even more amplified. I highly recommend it. More and more I am admiring Steinbeck not just for his ideas, but his simplified way of observing people and his ability to relay that without pretention.