Saturday, October 28, 2017

Quick trip to Mexico with Mom and Becca. Part 2.

Saturday morning around 8am, we met Mahonry's family (who are LDS) and shared a shuttle with them to the Mexico City temple where Stephany and Mahonry would be sealed for time and all eternity. 
They have rooms (old missionary dorms) at the temple that you can rent out for the night for super cheap, so that's where we stored our stuff and got ready, though we decided to stay in a hotel in the city. 

 I packed my blender bottle and a greens and protein packet for each day of my trip. I knew I wouldn't be able to have my green smoothie every day and I wasn't sure how many greens and salads I would be getting, so I wanted to be prepared. I had one almost every day; I just dumped a packet inside, added water from a bottle, and gave it a shake. Then I'd find a bathroom where I could clean out my blender bottle and store it for later use. It worked out really nicely.
 Stephany and Mahonry!
 We were at the temple from 1pm until around 8pm because it was Stephany's first time and so there was lots to do. Her dear family, who are not members of the LDS church, met us there and got some food and then waited for us for quite some time and then we took pictures outside the temple. By this time it was getting dark.

 Stephany and Mahonry with her mother Gabby, sister Lizeth and her husband Gio and baby.
After pictures we met her two brothers at a restaurant in Mexico City for a late dinner. 

 There was a mariachi band playing! And the food was fabulous! I love mexican food.
 This is what I had. I think they called them mini enchiladas and each one was filled with something different (cheese, mushrooms and spinach I believe)

 We stayed in the Sheraton Maria Isabel in Mexico City which was right in the middle of where everything is going on. I was pleased to see they kept a book of mormon and a bible in the hotel nightstand.
 This was the view from our window. Just across a small street was the Angel of Independence.

Dia de los Muertos is coming up in a couple of weeks (Nov 2), so they had some huge skulls set up on the streets. 

Sunday was our only day to explore because of our short trip and all the wedding festivities, so the family picked us up(just me and Becca as my mom wanted to stay back at the hotel and rest as her feet and ankles were very swollen, holding water) in the morning and we journeyed to the pyramids. While we waited for the family to arrive, we walked across the street to where they had closed the road (they do this every sunday morning) and had bikers and runners everywhere, and also a tent set up where people were doing Zumba. I joined in for a couple of minutes. 

 I think it looks so neat to see the houses all built up and colorful on the sides of the mountains. Though Miguel told us they are really not nice at all when you get up close; very poor areas, but government had them paint them those colors so it'd look nicer. I suppose it's like a monet.
 This is just before we started our climb up the Pyramid of the Sun. Miguel, Becca and I went to the top, along with Santi and Gio, and Gabby went up about half way. It's a pretty steep climb and there were tons of people doing it. We had to wait in line to get up to the first level and then wait in line again once we were on the first level to climb to the next level.

 Miguel taking a little break.

 After we climbed the Sun Pyramid, I ran over to the Moon Pyramid and climbed that one real quick as well and then met up with the family near the little shops that were set up. These pyramids were built just before Christ was born they think, so I can't help but wonder if he came to visit the people here, as we know from the Book of Mormon that once he was resurrected, he not only visited the people in Jerusalem, but also came over to the America's as he had 'other sheep' here as well.

 This cute old lady was selling corn on the side of the street and we stopped to buy some as that was on Becca's list of things to do since they make them up fancy with mayo and salt and pepper, chili powder and lime juice I believe. I was taking some pictures of the corn and the lady in spanish told me to take a picture of her and she posed for this, pretending to eat the corn on the cob :).
 It was delicious!

 After we had lunch at La Gruta, a mexican restaurant right by the caves where they have Aztec dancers and dancers from other parts of the country.

 My dad danced like the guy in the picture below, all dressed up with his sombrero with his hands behind his back and a lot of fancy foot work. He danced in a fair and also sometimes at home around the house so this was especially fun for me to see.
 Me, 5 year old Santi, and Becca driving home from the Pyramids. Santi and I become buddies while at La Gruta as I took him to the park and walked around with him. He knew my spanish was not very good and was patient with me :), but we managed to communicate just fine, though I'm sure I sounded like a struggling 2 year old with my incorrect conjugations etc. I told Santi he'll have to come visit us in Utah someday and he can meet Nora our 5 year old, and play with our kids. He was thrilled by the idea and asked Miguel, his dad, right away if they could go.
There was a festival of painted animals going on right outside our hotel once we got back and there were literally thousands of people swarming the streets with their faces painted etc. We went out for a few minutes and Santi got his face painted, but then we were all tired from all our really late nights, so we said goodbye, as we were taking off back to USA the following morning, and we turned into our hotel, had a nice dinner together in the restaurant inside with just me, Mom and Becca and then packed up, talked with our families and went to bed. We are so grateful we were able to make this quick trip to Mexico work for all three of us, and that we were able to be there with Stephany in the temple, as representatives of the family. We are so grateful to the family and their kindness and generosity while we were there, always taking us around, and being so sweet. I am also so grateful to the Lord for watching over us on this trip, keeping us safe, and especially for blessing my mom that she did as well as she did in her condition.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Quick trip to Mexico with Mom and Becca. Part 1.

Our great neice Stephany Frias joined the LDS church while visiting my parents (her great grandfather), about 7 years ago. My dad is a convert to the LDS church as well, he converted after he had moved to America and was around 40 years old, so he was the only member in his family for awhile. Stephany has stayed very active in the church and when she went back to Mexico she met Mahonry from her new ward, and they soon fell in love. Now, years later, they decided to get married, first by a judge in their city of Morelia in Michoacan, and the next day in the Mexico City LDS temple, which is a four hour drive. She called me and Becca and my mom to ask if we would come. We would be her only family in the temple and we wanted to be there to support her so we all flew out there. I first had to fly to Boise, and then back through SLC (seems absurd) to get the better price, but that's okay because I got to spend a little extra time with Becca and the Romney family for that evening. 
 We all had a layover in SLC so we met up with my mom there, exchanged our money to pesos at the airport in SLC, and flew onto Guadalajara.

 Gio (front left), Lizeth's husband (Lizeth and Stephany are sisters), picked us up from the airport and drove us four hours to Morelia to our hotel where we met up with some family for dinner. Gabby is standing in the back next to Stephany (her mom), and Mahonry is in between Stephany and I. Gabby and Mahonry don't speak a lot of english, and we don't speak very fluent spanish, but we can get by. And with Gio and Stephany there to translate (and Beto and Miguelito later on), we did fine.
 This was my dinner. Enchiladas with sweet potatoes. So Yummy! And you're going to see a lot more pictures of food because that's one of my favorite things about trips. I love experiencing and trying different foods from different cultures.
 The hotel Gabby got for us in Morelia was beautiful; so rustic and antique looking, we absolutely loved just walking around the grounds.
 Becca and I shared a room and then mom had a room to herself (she needs one to herself with her health; it'd be hard to share a bathroom with three people).
 We took this outside our hotel room. Can you believe those plants!!! Amazingly gorgeous!
 I love the sweet breads in Mexico. They ate a lot more bread than I expected, and less tortilla chips. My favorite is the Concha sweet bread (the one on the right).
 These little lizards were running around everywhere.
 Mom, Becca and Gabby outside the hotel Friday morning(we flew in Thursday night).
 Gabby took us around the town that morning and afternoon. We visited a couple of cathedrals that were so grand and magnificent.

 Here's the aquaduct.

 And this is what a typical street looks like. Cement walls, often painted red or white or pink or yellow, and sadly, you often find graffiti.
 They insisted we try Gazpacho while we were there as it's famous to Morelia. It's basically various fruits cut up into cubes and then layered with hot sauce, salt and pepper, chili powder, juice and a sprinkled with cheese (they only used these white, soft cheese while we were there, and that was everywhere we went. It reminded me of cotija or like a mix between feta and cotija). We had jicama, mango and pineapple in our cup, with tangerine juice. It was yummy, though I don't know that it would be something I would want over and over again.

 Just look at this organ in the cathedral! It's huge!
 I love the high ceilings with the stained glass of the saints.
 While walking around the city, you often see stands set up where people are selling food. And sometimes they'll just walk around as you're driving, and when you stop, they'll come up to the car to see if you want to buy the food they have.
 This guy was playing music on the streets, trying to make a little money.
 Driving was a bit crazy, as they don't use turn signals, or even stay in lanes (drive down the middle of a lane), and they often honk and just butt in wherever they need to go, so I was grateful I didn't have to drive and could just sit back and relax (sort of) and trust my driver to take us safely wherever we were headed. The family mostly didn't allow us to use Uber or any sort of transportation, so we only did that a couple of times; otherwise they were always with us which was super nice. I always felt very safe with them.

 Before we had to meet Stephany to help her get in her dress for photos, Becca and I took a little stroll near our hotel to explore the area.

 We stumbled across this helado shop (ice cream) and we weren't going to buy any, but after we sampled some, it would have been impossible to not have more! It was so yummy and creamy and they had different flavors (not even sure what flavors they were) that were amazing!

In the picture below, this guy painted the top half of his body in silver and when the traffic light turned red, he'd plop his bucket in front of the line of cars and juggle his swords/machetes, trying to make a little extra money.
 Friday night was the civil marriage with the judge, which has to be done before the temple sealing; and the sealing has to be done within 2 days of the civil wedding. Beto, Stephany's oldest brother, walked her down the aisle as Miguel, her dad, passed away 1 1/2 years ago.

 After the marriage there was food, music and dancing. For hours! We left early at 1am :). Stephany said she got home around 3am. Here we are with Lupita, Gabby's older sister(later that evening, I'll have accidentally knocked over my sparkling juice glass onto her. So embarassing and I felt awful! But she was super nice about it.)
 Here at the table we have Gabby, her nephew and his wife, then Gabby and Miguel(stephany's brother, my great nephew) and their baby Emma.
 I got to hold baby Emma for awhile which I loved. I feel very comfortable with a baby in my arms.
 My sister, mom and I got up and danced for about an hour. Stephany said we either had to dance or be a part of the group of single women when she threw her bouquet; we chose dancing. :)