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Friday, January 6, 2012

Ushering in the New Year-Feliz Año Neuvo!

Our first days in San Miguel 

Click on "our first days in San Miguel" above to get our photos and/or slideshow.
It's been a great beginning of 2012 with one exception.  I came down with the famous San Miguel "gripe", or flu.  Everyone says "oh, esta el combio del clima," which translates "it's the change of weather." Admittedly it's very cold in the mornings and evenings and quite warm and nice during the day, but I think maybe it's a bug I picked up on the plane.  Heard a lot of coughing all around us.  Luckily, Gary has stayed well unlike last time when he came down with a bad case of bronchitis.

Enough about sickness.  I'm feeling much better today and anxious to share with all of you some of the highlights of our first week in this fair city. We were invited by neighbors to join them for a big New Year's eve celebration on Saturday night but I was just too sick to attend.   It was fun hearing the music wafting up through our window, at least for awhile.  It finally halted at 4 am and we were glad to get to sleep sadly without the benefit of the partying and dancing going on downstairs.  Everyone greets us on the street with "Feliz Año Nuevo" and we're enjoying our friendly "barrio," including the local grocer up the street, Antonio, where we can shop daily for fresh fruits and vegies and just about anything else we need at very reasonable prices.

A highlight this week was attending a poetry reading at the Bibliotecha. I was  happy to learn about SOL, a literary magazine specifically for stories by Americans living in Mexico.  I'm going to check it out and perhaps send one of my stories eventually.  On Wednesday we were invited by our dear friend, Francisca Vasquez, with whom we have lived the past three visits to San Miguel, in the cute apartment she has rented to us.  We have become very fond of her and her family since I first met them in 1999, when I came to San Miguel to study Spanish and she was my "host mother."  They were having an early celebration of Dia de los Reyes Magos, Day of the Three Wise Men. Here in Mexico it is even more important than Christmas day.  It is the day when the children look forward to receiving presents like the Three Kings purportedly brought to baby Jesus.  It is on Jan. 6th but our friends were celebrating a day early since Francisca's daughter and her family, who live in Texas and who had been here for the holidays had to fly back on the 5th.

The tradition is that everyone gathers around a manger scene, where the children rock a small doll sybolic of Jesus while everyone sings and several prayers are offered. We were forgiven for not participating in this ritual.  The chosen children walk around with the baby Jesus in the cradle (in this case a scarf) and everyone leans down and kisses the head and is given a candy.  Afterwards we all gathered in the dining room for a big feast of tamales, both with pork and sweet ones for dessert, chocolate and a delicious drink made with strawberries.  We enjoyed their comraderie and the warmth they all showed towards us.  We felt like part of the family.  My throat got some extra exercise translating the Spanish for Gary, which probably wasn't too helpful for my  recovery.  I spent most of next day, laying low, reading and trying to get some writing done. In the afternoon we walked down to our favorite coffee spot, Monet's (think I mentioned it in the last Blog) and low and behold there were Los Reyes Magos, the Three Wisemen on horses and in costumes throwing candy to the throngs of children lining the street.  A flatbead truck was decorated with a manger scene with a live  Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus.  It moved along slowly towards the center of town, El Jardin and people in the parade passed out baloons and more candy.  One more fiesta in our collection of enjoyable holidays in Mexico.

Josafina came today for the third time since our arrival.  She's the maid that works for Kathleen and Ron two days a week, cleaning the casa, doing wash and helping keep  the terrace plants thriving.  She is a sweet woman and it's another nice opportunity for me to practice my Spanish.  She doesn't speak a word of English.  I've never had a maid in my life but realize how important this is to helping the local economy and we are happy to contribute in this way.

I've created a slideshow of photos from our first week but am having quite a time downloading them onto my blogsite.  I need an IT person to help but should be able to figure it out soon.  Bare with me, por favor!
Buen Año Nuevo! Sher 

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