Archive for November, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 30th, 2015

With Cathy

With Cathy

This Thanksgiving was especially fun because our good friend Cathy came to visit us! She arrived on Tuesday afternoon and we’ve been talking non-stop since then.

On Thursday, we headed to Ajijic and had Thanksgiving lunch at a little place out there. We walked around a bit and poked our heads in a few of the shops, then came back to Guadalajara. We had a piece of pie, then taught Cathy how to play Settlers of Catan (she beat us!).

Saturday she and I went to Tonala to do some power-shopping. It’s a crazy place with not a lot of tourists, but a lot of the crafts you find in nice stores in Guadalajara are made there, so the prices are a lot lower. We had a lot of fun.

Yesterday Cathy, John, and I drove to Tequila. She and I toured the Herradura distillery and really enjoyed it. It’s on the grounds of the family’s original hacienda; there are a few small casitas where families of workers have lived for generations. My favorite part was in the old distillery that they used in the late 1800s – very neat!

On the way back to town we stopped at our favorite Argentinian steak restaurant for a nice meal, then came home and played Settlers.

I’ve really enjoyed having a friend here for the week – lots of fun!

A couple of photos from the Herradura tour:

Herradura 3

Herradura 2

Herradura 1

Mexico City

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015
With Ale, with Angel of Independence in the background

With Ale, with Angel of Independence in the background

I left on Tuesday to go to our ACS Chiefs’ conference at the Embassy in Mexico City. It’s always fun to see my co-workers from across Mexico and get a chance to interact face-to-face; I was also happy to see my good friend Ale, a wonderful local staff from Juarez who really taught me the ropes in ACS. Tuesday night a lot of us hung out on the rooftop lounge at the hotel, and Wednesday evening we went to a reception at our big boss’s house. My favorite was Thursday night when my good friends Tammy and Wendy and I had a girls’ night out – we went shopping at a little market (where I bought a cool silver Katrina brooch), followed by dinner at a great hole-in-the wall posole place. We were still talking ninety-to-nothing when we got back to the hotel, so we sat together a while longer and had dessert and coffee – very therapeutic! I haven’t really made any good girlfriends here in GDL, so I really enjoyed my time with them.

Last Monday was a holiday (another one!) and we had a good day at home. Yesterday I dug into my closet and tidied things up (amazing how much better I feel, having everything back in its proper┬áplace). We were settling in to watch TV when our downstairs neighbors called to invite us down for a game of Settlers of Catan – they have a friend in from Canada. We had four really fun games (with lots of trash talking) and we ended up staying until after midnight – lots of fun!

We love November

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

A great perk of working in the Foreign Service is getting double holidays – U.S. holidays plus those of your host country. For us in Mexico, November is great – this month we have a holiday every week! This week we were off on Wednesday for Veteran’s Day. I walked across the street and had a nice manicure-pedicure, then John met me for lunch followed by a trip to the VIP movie theatre where we saw the new James Bond movie – what a nice day!

Last Sunday I did a lot of shopping – a trip to Costco, the mall and the grocery store. I’m not a huge shopper, but it’s fun once in a while.

I do like shopping at arts and crafts fairs, which we did yesterday. John and I picked up his boss Ray and his wife for a trip to the annual fair in Chapala. It was a lovely day topped off by lunch at a restaurant on the lake. The only down side was the crazy traffic getting out of town – it’s “buen fin” – the Mexican equivalent of Black Friday. Everyone was trying to get to all of the sales around town.

Friday night after work, John and I went to a get-together of his gaming friends. It was at Emily’s house – lots of fun. We grilled and played games – very nice.

Today Rocio and Ana from work picked me up and we went to a party about an hour out in the country. Our co-worker Miguel had invited us for his son’s baptism party. It was in his small pueblo in a nice setting with a band and tacos – a real taste of small town fun! And it was a pretty drive out there and back.

Happy birthday, John!

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

Old and new machines

Old and new machines

John’s a full deck now – 52! His birthday present to himself is a new fancy-pants espresso machine (on the right in the photo). His previous machine has been great, but it was time to upgrade. He’s very happy!

We went to a fun party last night at a co-worker’s house – she made delicious pizzas. It was nice to get out and socialize.

The rest of the week was pretty normal. It felt like a long week, even though we had last Monday off. I helped with the local guards’ English class on Wednesday evening. Yesterday I went to the office to clean off my desk and work on personal paperwork that I never seem to have time to do (insurance, etc.). It feels great to have some of that kind of stuff done!

It’s a nice cool morning in Guadalajara today – we’re enjoying having the balcony doors open and listening to the birds while we enjoy our coffee from the new machine!

Cancun weekend

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

John on the beach

John on the beach

John enjoyed Vallarta so much that he made reservations for a quick trip to Cancun during this three-day weekend (the Mexicans are celebrating the Day of the Dead, so we are off today). We flew there on Saturday afternoon; that night we saw a Cirque du Soleil show, “Joya.” It was lots of fun, as Cirque shows always are. The venue is small, so you’re very close-up – very cool!

Sunday we got our gym workout in, then we laid on the beach all day, reading and listening to the waves – so pleasant! It wasn’t nearly as hot as Vallarta, and there was a constant breeze blowing.

This morning we worked out, had a great breakfast, then made our way back to the airport – before we knew it, we were back home!

The work week prior to this little jaunt was interesting. I had several interesting cases, plus I volunteered to help teach English classes to our local guard force at the Consulate. They are fun students – so eager to learn. The classes are after work – I helped with a beginner’s class on Wednesday and intermediate on Thursday.

Friday I went to the court in Chapala to check in on a case. There was a lot of standing around, trying not to get wet from the gloomy skies. After a few hours, things got resolved more or less and we headed back to the office in time for employees’ children to come trick or treating. The different offices within the Consulate really go all out with spookiness – the kids and the adults had a blast!

At the beach, I read a book called “The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss.” I found it very interesting. In addition to discussing how non-Western cultures handle death and bereavement, he talks about his research into the topic. In short, he disagrees with Freud’s “grief work” or Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of mourning (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance). He feels that people are much more resilient and more often than not are able to carry on just fine after a loss of a loved one (often coming out stronger or even happier than before).

My view on Sunday

My view on Sunday