It has been nice to have a lighter schedule and a few days off the past two weeks. We have had some good times with the other missionary couples serving here. Last Sunday Elder and Sister Mata, who are from Puebla and are Church History missionaries, showed us their office and collection of historical documents. I was delighted to see what my cousin Virginia Hatch Romney has sent them from the Colonies in Chihuahua. She and her husband Kent are Church History missionaries there.
On New Year's eve, most of the couple missionaries went across the street to the area offices to watch a movie on the large screen there. We took snacks and had a fun time welcoming in the new year at 10:00 p.m. since most of us did not want to stay up until midnight. On New Year's day we hosted all of them at our apartment for a Mexican dinner. Mexican food for New Year's is our family tradition.
I made enchiladas, mole and pastel de tres leches. Everyone else brought something to share.
We had a good time eating and visiting. Notice our stick Christmas tree in the background.
Sixteen of us crowded into our casita. This picture is taken from the front door facing the kitchen.
Friday morning, Gilbert and I walked up the street, literally up-hill, to get much-needed haircuts. I liked our barber/hair stylist Juan even though he cut both of our hair shorter than we expected. Now we have new hairdo's for a new year to go along with our new life.
Saturday we went shopping for groceries for a week. We have several nice stores to choose from: Superama, Costco, Wal-Mart and Chedraui's (like a Target only French-owned).
This is in Chedraui's -- very nice store! There are a few products we are used to that we can't find here, but for the most part we can get what we need. They have lots of good fresh produce also.
Most of these nice stores are in a mall with the parking on ground level and the stores above. So they have electric walkways you go down with your grocery carts which have magnetic wheels that grip the metal walks--no need to hold them back to keep them from running downhill. New adventure!
But we have to catch a ride, take a taxi or go by bus to get there. Saturday we took a taxi home with all our groceries. The driver was so kind to help us unload them. Most of the people here are very helpful and very polite. Of course we tip most helpers for their services.
A little bit more about our hotel apartments. Teca Once Suites used to be condominiums, but now it is a hotel. There are 5 floors. Below is a picture of the foyer taken from a floor above.
This is our floor with the elevator and a large pot of sticks which we didn't want in our apartment. Now it decorates the landing.
We are very happy to have an exercise room in our hotel. The two treadmills are used a lot, but the bicycles don't work well. We may have to purchase an exercise bike.
There is also a laundry facility which we can use when the hotel maids are not using them--between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. It is a challenge because only 2 washes and 2 dryers work.
Gilbert had a cold over the weekend so came home to rest after sacrament meeting. When I returned a couple of hours later, he surprised me with an added decoration to our Christmas tree. Nice!
We are happy to be here and hope to make this a good year serving in the Mexico area offices of the Church. There is so much to learn and to do! It is a happening place.
This morning we attended a devotional where the area goals were presented to all of us who work in the offices there. We are encouraged to memorize the vision statement which reads in part:
"We will hasten the work of salvation by increasing our faith in Jesus Christ. We will make the needed sacrifices to become self-reliant temporally and spiritually..."
The big emphasis this year is on sacrifice, consecration and self-reliance.
May this be a good year for each of you as you work to reach the righteous desires of your hearts.
Michelle, Mom, Grandma