I finally changed our heading picture from this:
...which was taken just last weekend in Union Station by my talented photographer sister.
I also made the words say we are now in Virginia. Well, we've actually been here since LAST SEPTEMBER. And so goes our blogging existence.
The last of Wonderful Mexico
My parents came to visit
We also took a road trip for the ages to Mexico City and the wonderful Guanajuato - during Semana Santa (Holy Week) nonetheless, so it was crowded, electric, and fantastic.
|The Teotihuacán Pyramids: Racing to the Pyramid of the Moon|
|View from the Moon: The Pyramid of the Sun|
|Cubby appreciated Diego Rivera's murals at the Palacio Nacional. |
(If "appreciated" = "was scared of the scary faces and wanted to go home.")
|Yes, there was a Bob Dylan citing in DF as well|
It was sort of funny taking my dad to the Costco near our house though. "We are never sending you anything from the States again! You have EVERYTHING here!"
We said a sad good-bye to my dear, amazing grandmother
flying back to the States to celebrate her extraordinary life. The kids even got to paint in her garden, which she worked in until the day she passed away. Grandma truly remains with us everywhere and in everything. As my father put it once we returned back to Mexico, "Now Grandma knows what your life is like there."
We visited our favorite places one more time
Chacala with the Gs
Tapalpa with the Zs
Horseback riding near the famous rocks of Tapalpa. S and I opted out - mainly due to lack of sports bras.
Thankfully he realizes he is not spring-foot man. (Name inspired by Cubby.)
One problem: the house has nothing that even resembles a cookie sheet.
On our first trip to Tapalpa shortly after we arrived in Mexico, he loved pointing at that clock tower and shouting "tick-tock!"
I love Mexican popsicles. This one is "tuna" flavored, with a perfect touch of chile
A last trip to our beach: Chacala once again, this time with the Zs
Our amazing hillside rental again had an infinity pool.
Do we have to leave?
We said good-bye to school
(a.k.a. the American School Foundation of Guadalajara)
The kids loved getting cut up fruit or vegetables (cucumber and jicama) after school. With lime and salt, of course.
One last celebratory cactus fruit cup. Me gusta la tuna!
Me: "Remember this tree? On the very first day of school two years ago, I pointed it out and said 'tree is arból'." The girls couldn't believe they didn't know even that when we arrived.
Before we left for good, Deevie kissed the rock wall surrounding the school.
I love how in the end, they took all their good memories of school with them. All the struggles with language, hatred of swimming days, hardships with new culture and making new friends was left behind - or at least was a faint memory they could laugh about and reflect upon thoughtfully.
Birdie even asked if there's any possibility we could be in Guadalajara again so she could graduate from ASFG.
We had our home summer school -
mainly in an attempt to fill up those loooong, hot days
Each morning began with singing the Star Spangled Banner, a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and Work Book pages (the girls each had summer bridge activity books for corresponding grades and Cubby had a big Pre-K book filled with age-appropriate activities). After that we'd either go on a quick walk or do exercise around the house, then have a specific craft (per above: that day we did Corn Husk doll making).
Note: Laying it out like this with photos makes it seem like summer school was a utter, complete success. NOT. There were many complaints, whining, and a few straying students who got bored - and complained of not wanting to do what was on the agenda. It's amazing to me that I have this many good pictures of our home school because when I think about it, it seems like we did this strongly for like 2.5 days. Birdie in particular was generally very excited about school and woke up with her usual bing! wanting to know what the day's plan was. Deevie wanted to sleep in - which I let her since it's summer. And Cubby just wanted to cub around - but with Mommy, which was limiting since I was usually the sole instructor. I did have the bright idea to ask Eva and Esme to help out though, telling them that any day they taught they wouldn't have to do any housework but they'd still get paid. Time is money people, and I've never cared too much about housekeeping anyway. Score.
If someone got a question right, they'd get a Toothpick Person. Eventually Deevie was giving these out to everyone that came by the house.
We got our hair braided for ol' times' sake
We ate our favorite neighborhood tacos from Taco Petón
Perfectly grilled arachera, guac, pico, soupy frijoles, warm corn tortillas, grilled onions….mouth watering
We ooh-ed and aah-ed at the very random Mexican hail storm - in JUNE
We hosted our last guests in our GDL home,
the wonderful O family
who N and I last saw at their wedding before the addition of their four kids. I was a little worried about having guests so soon before our departure, but who am I kidding?! I am a last-minute person by nature, and any prep for moving would've happened after the O family departure, whether they had come or not. And a big plus to having guests that late in a tour -- we got to revisit so many key places that we love - and miss very much.
Cucumber! Coconut! Strawberry and cream! Jicama! Tuna! Coffee! Avocado!
(Usually with a "con chile" version as well.)
("A little bumpy" = "I think I'm going to hurl!")
We love feeding the fish and squirrels.
Here I am with one of our favorite appetizers: the sashimi infused with lime juice and sesame oil, served with tortillas. Our other favorite was the sashimi tacos. Good gracious I'm hungry.
We love seeing Minerva in all her glory though. N saw this every morning heading to the Consulate.
The last night we let the kids stay up as late as they wanted - past midnight. Birdie and Deevie got along so well with the O boys - they were thick as thieves. That last night the older kids made fresh tortillas, using their new tortilla presses they'd bought in Tónala. I got roped into pan cooking them. Fun Mommy.
We generally prepared to leave GDL
Physically (how in the world did we amass so much crap after only two years?!),
Mentally (is it possible to eat anything without lime, salt and chile?),
and Emotionally (so hard to say goodbye to Eva, Esme and all our wonderful friends)…
It gives me hives just looking at it now!
Good-byeing. We won't see that load of stuff until a year later in Sarajevo, summer 2014!
Last pedicure with Birdie and Deevie at Pedra Luna, walking distance from home.
Adios vigilantes! "Soy Roberto - como Roberto De Niro."
N had left before me by plane to meet the van across the border. I flew with the kids, each of us wearing our "Yo (heart) Guadalajara" shirts to N's parents'. I remember leaving the airport and taking a deep breath of hot and breezy summer air, with the hint of fresh-cut grass. Birdie was beside me, and I remember her smiling and saying, "That smells like America."
And with that, our time in Guadalajara, Mexico was done.
"All changes are more or less tinged with melancholy,
for what we are leaving behind is part of ourselves."
~ Amelia Barr