Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas and the Zocalo

Dear Family and Friends

I have had LOTS of problems trying to do this post.  IT TURNS OUT that some sites available in the US are BLOCKED here in Mexico.  So for you technical types, I now have a VPN that will allow me to do posts.

We have had some good work in the area office.  Michelle is processing the missionaries and I am now responsible for processing the recommendations for bishops, stake presidents counselors, and patriarchs.  I have MUCH to learn.

But, for the holidays the presidency and nearly everyone in the office is gone.  So we have had some fun times for the holidays.

For those who remember, we did drive by the old mission home.  Not too good a picture, but you will have fond memories.  No church offices there now.

All the missionary couples gave gifts to each other.  Michelle and I made these pretzels with melted chocolate and nuts or candies on top.

On Christmas eve we had a games night.  Mainly the men played and the women visited.  I did teach some of the brethren how to pay Rook - Hatch Rules.

In our apartment we have a "modern" decoration, a large pot with dead sticks in it, so we decorated it as our tree.  It was nice.

Michelle brought a few gifts for me, but I had to scurry around to get some for her.  I didn't have wrapping paper but we had bought a printer, so I printed some wrapping paper, and I wrapped one in the local newspaper, Reforma, just for fun.

On Christmas day we had a progressive dinner; we started in our apartment with appetizers.

We did find time to go to a very nice panadería (bread store) close by.

Then the weekend after Christmas we decided to take the GRAND adventure, ride the bus, ride the metro/subway, and visit the main square downtown, the Zocalo.  We first rode a very bumpy bus to Chapultepec Park.  There were beautiful Poinsettias along the road.

Then we rode the Metro.  Very fast.  It runs on rubber wheels, so pretty quiet.  Often VERY busy.

We stopped at the LARGEST market in Mexico, the Merced.  They sell everything, and there are 20 shops in a row all selling the same thing!

In a metro station, they had a model of what the city looked like when the Spaniards first arrived.  It is kind of sad what happened after that.  One problem was the diseases the Europeans brought.

We visited the main cathedral on the main square.  Very large building, I thought about all the laborers who built that by hand.

The building is sinking, nearly all large buildings in the center of the city are.  You use to walk up about 4 steps to get into the building, then enter the building.  Now you walk up steps to get out of the building.  As I walked along I could tell the building had tipped some to the right and some down hill to the steps.  It only sinks maybe less than and inch a year or so.  The city was built on a lake.

I wanted to see the presidential palace but it was closed for remodeling.  This is where the President on independence days leads the nation in the "grito".  Viva Mexico, Viva Mexico, Viva Mexico!

There were all kinds of things going on in the square.  They had some people doing traditional dances and asking for money.

And SO MANY PEOPLE.  Every direction in and out of the square was this crowded.  See Michelle and the missionaries walking through the crowd.

We walked a long way, to the Latino America building hoping to go up and see the city, but the lines were too long.

We did go to the famous, House of Tiles.  This is the original Sanborns restaurant where Grandpa Hatch worked when he was a medical student in Mexico City.  His job was to go to the market and buy produce for the restaurant. (Note all the people)

Inside the waitress's wear the same uniform they did when Michelle lived in Mexico as a teenager.

In the history of Sanborns they told that back in the early days two noblemen arrive in fancy carriages at opposite ends of a narrow street, too narrow for the carriages to pass each other.  Neither was willing to yield to the other.  So they sat there for 3 days and 3 nights.  Finally the Viceroy came and got the agreement that both carriages would back up at the same time and go a different way!!

We did get to see the Palacio de Bellas Artes - the fine arts center.  Years ago all our family went to the national ballet there.

And we looked into the Post Office - Palace they call it.  Nice post office.

Then we walked back to the main square to see the lights.  Note the Mexican flag.  They had many activities in the square, including a long line to get into ice skating!  (Temperature was in the 60's)

Very nice lights, big crowds.

So then back on the Metro and then on the bus and then walk home.

PLEASE NOTE - I did NOT get pick pocketed like I have before.  One of the missionaries had a camera in a fanny pack he carried in front and someone unzipped the bag and stole the camera.

I think I can make some meaningful contributions in this calling.  I have had a couple of concerns.

1) How would my 4 artificial joints hold up?  We WALKED a really LONG way and things went really well.  I remember when I couldn't walk to the mailbox. What a blessing to walk now!

2) How would I do in Speaking Spanish? 
 I was praying about that and reading my scriptures.
     In Moses 6:32-32 I read where Enoch was called of the Lord: (I have been called of the Lord.)
     "Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I        am slow of speech;  . . . .
    32 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall      pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, "
I was inspired by that; I set my goal.  Just start talking and the Lord will fill my mouth, with Spanish.  So far it is going very well.
Spiritual Thought - Read your scriptures, the Lord will speak and help us in our daily concerns.
MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you!  We miss you!!
Dad - Elder Sandberg - Gilbert


  1. It seems like anonymous will publish me, Aunt Wanda, as the non-tech savvy commenter at this point. Anyway, I am envious of your great picture taking skills. I have GOT to follow your example! You do so well with getting the important shots and making comments on them. I do feel like I have had a nice tour of a WARM place as I sit here trapped in our apartment from this ICE storm we are having. Maybe it will thaw later today....

    Loved seeing parts of Michelle's world when her dad was mission president. Also, the sinking building. Only an inch a year, until it gives way and sinks to China in one big whoosh!

    How did the thief unzip the front fanny pack and get out the camera and the owner didn't know it? That is amazing!

    Remember always how lucky you are to have those other missionaries as friends--boo hoo, we have no ward associations with other couples, no home or visiting teachers, no church jobs etc. poor us! (but we are having a mighty fine time anyway)
    thanks for having a blog--my big brother leading the way once again--

    1. Thanks for your comments on the blog, Wanda.