Tuesday, July 13, 2010

After saying goodbye to friends in Mexico city; Anabel, Emilio, Fernanda y the curly headed angel, Diego, we got into our van overstuffed with bags, dog crate and headed towards San Miguel de Allende, our final destination- 3 hours north of "la cuidad".
We had just spent a whirlwind two days in Mexico city with the Heredia's. Anabels extended family included her mom, step dad, cousin, sister and brother in law and numerous others we learned about through conversation. We arrived to there modern home and experienced amazing Mexican Hospitality. Mom had a full table of traditional foods to eat and immediately welcomed us as we stashed our bags,  relieved to have leg room and get our large, over zealous dog out of her crate. Our kids were thrilled to see each other and spent the next  waking moments within the 36 hours romping around and laughing where ever we were! They took us around Mexico city in at times, pouring rain where we:
1. Attempted to board an overcrowded double decker tour bus (Completely got Soak #1) The rain was impressive!!! Gatos y perros!! (Not actually sure if that idiom translates in spanish!)
2. Visited the amazing Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Anthropology museum) where the kids bounced through mesoamerican exhibits and aztec artifacts....most impressed with the grand tombs(there were skeletons!) of these amazing and ancient cultures.
3. Ate another tasty meal at a traditional restaurant off the Zocalo (Main square in DF). I just love how this culture allows children to be so free, even in white tablecloth establishments! Yes, that means the boys were laughing out loud, crawling under the table, at times fighting (just my boys) and even fast walking (like they do at pools- that barely restrained yet energetic style boys 7-12 possess) around some of the other customers. I was tensely mortified at moments, but solo in that feeling apparently. Kids are kids-sleeping in elders arms, laughing, quarreling...all in the open. Vivir la vida! I hope I can chill like the Mexicans before too long...
4.  Walked around The Plaza de la Constitución, or Zocalo. This is the second largest public square in the world, second to Red Square. It is the historic center of Mexico and has significant buildings of church, state, culture and Aztec ruins flanking each side. Pretty amazing in scale with a gigantic Mexican Flag waving in the middle. There were people from all walks of life: artisans selling indigenous crafts, Aztec dancers in exotic feathered costumes, tatooed hip younsters, old grimy beggars, families hanging out, protesters (their tents have been set up in the square for over three months apparently.)It also was the main party zone and headquarters for FIFA Cuppa del Mundo complete with performing rock bands and gigantic screen tv. Needless to say we held the children close as this enourmous square was pumping with stimulation and variety.
5. Escaping the noise we ducked into the gorgeous Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral) where we saw a grand altar made of oro (gold) that Marky found quite impressive and Will couldn't believe how crooked the expansive floor was. The church has sunk incredibly over the past 430 years - Not only is it a massive amount of weight and the soil below is quite soft but the brazen Spaniards built their entire city on top of the sacred center of the great Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. So hence the crazy sinking of much of centro. Restoration Specialist's main concern is to just ensure that the sinking is uniform and balanced so the buildings actually remain upright.
6. The Great Temple (Templo Mayor) was pretty cool, as it is recently discovered evidence of more Aztec culture, which Marky had studied for his 3rd grade house building project. He decided to do Montezuma's palace and here it was, remains of his great city. Yeah, Marky thought it was kinda neat but the stand adjacent selling pseudo raybans with Mexican flag imprints on the lenses was more alluring and only 80 pesos...I bet if you asked him about the ruins, he may just give you a blank stare....but you wouldn't know it because he's sporting his ultra cool shades...
7. Finally we got drenched again!!! (Soak to bone #2) We and the crowds huddled under the massive rotunda of the Bellas Artes as the moist dusk air turned to another torrential downpour. After jovially waiting several minutes for it to abate, we decided to make a run for the parking garage and splashed through the pond that previously had been the Zocalo.
Our brief time in Mexico city was great and a memorable way to enter such an exhuberant country.

Our first days in San Miguel have been amazing and the weather perfect. We had arrived Saturday afternoon and were warmly greeted by Juana, Irma and Carlos, the cook, her daughter the housekeeper and the gardener. I'm pretty sure I've died and gone to heaven. Juana has cooked for this household for 19 years and is an amazing little wisp of a woman who I instantly fell in love with.  Her guacamole, pollo con championes y hotcakes are divine...(And it's not only because I didn't have to prepare it!!) Not to mention they are also our spanish teachers by default! The boys are a bit shy, but I think they will become fine friends within a few weeks.
The following day we walked forever seeking a shop that sold "pelota de futbol" as the boys have futbol fever and hung out in the Jardin to watch the "cuppa del mundo" with all the other fans. It was lively and the kids played ball in the Jardin under the pink glow of the colonial gothic church, La Parroquia.
We have spent the following hours of the day unpacking and settling into this old hacienda we now call home. It is so so so cool- 70 yrs old and traditional mexican style with colorful tile bathrooms, kitchen and brick floors and white stucco walls. The weather is perfect during the day and  balmy at night.  Couple nights ago we finished the day by bringing sleeping bags to the rooftop terrace and as we snuggled in looking over the twinkling city and watched the heat lightning. I read to them by candlelight of old cracked lanterns I found in one of the closets. Later that night, it down poured a warm rain which quieted the barking dogs and gave the earth a fresh, organic smell. The boys didn't even wake...they were tired, sleeping like rocks and I am happy to be in such a beautiful place. We look forward to 10 days from now when Tommy and Todd arrive. We miss them a lot and can't wait to share this amazing adventure.


  1. Congratulations on taking this amazing leap. I admire your ability to not just think outside the box, but to actually act on it. What an amazing experience you are able to give your boys and it's impossible not to feel your excitement in your writing too. Have a wonderful year!
    Jealously yours,
    Susanne from C&T

  2. Thanks for posting! So the Grands can live vicariously thru you!

  3. How amazing Jen,
    I too am very inspired by all that you have done to get there. You are very eloquent and one can tell from your writing that you have landed in the right spot. Well done for "feeling the fear and doing it anyway". It always pays off! The house looks amazing. More photos please. Love from Ben,Matt and Will to your boys, Love Lucy