Back to Work....FINALLY!

A little update on yesterdays post. I mentioned that I was hopefully going back to work today. Well, my prayer has been answered. La Casa de la Cultura, in hopes that I'd have atleast one class to teach today, scheduled both the children and the adults at the same time! In previous attempts at starting a new class, children would be scheduled for class at 4 pm and the adults at 5 pm. I'd end up staying until after 5, waiting for students that would never arrive.

But today was completely different from past attempts. I had 7 adult students and 6 children. Plus throughout the course of the class, another 5 children were enrolled in my class. This sounds very promising. Thank you, Lord! So, it looks like I will be working 3 days a week, 2 hours each day.

Thank you to those who mentioned me in their prayers!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

The Wonderful World of Teaching!

Did I mention that I teach an English as a Second Language (ESL) course? I started teaching when we moved here 8 years ago. It seemed only natural for me to teach ESL, being that English is my first language and Spanish is my second. And yes, I speak both fluently without any accent. My first teaching job was at my current place of employment, La Casa de la Cultura. It's our Cultural Arts Center. I can't recall how long I taught, or how much I was paid, but I do remember having only 2 adult students. Due to such low attendance, I was sent to San Isidro, a nearby ranch community. I had tons of students there, of all ages, from kindergarteners to senior citizens. But my pay wasn't very consistent. Sometime's I'd get paid in cash and at other times I'd get paid in gas vouchers. My father-in-law, would kindly drive me there in his old pick-up and wait for me while I taught for 2 hours. Bless his heart! Needless to say, I didn't keep teaching for long. And I dedicated myself to raising my children, caring for my home and helping my husband in his shop.

In late May of 2007, I was offered the job again, by one of my husband's customers, who just happened to be married to the new director of the Cultural Center. It would only be for 2 or 3 days a week, for 2 hours in the afternoon. And best of all, I'd be paid in cash, not gas!!! I've been working there ever since.

Recently, January 2009 to be exact, I took a leave of absence, again due to low attendance and a lack of advertising. I thought that it would be a few months before I returned to teaching. But, in February, I received another invitation to teach. And of course, I accepted. That Monday, I arrived at work 15 minutes early. (I hate being late!) I patiently waited for my students to arrive. 30 minutes passed by, and no students. I spoke with the director's assistant, and decided to try again on Wednesday. That Wednesday, the exact same thing happened. And it happened again, the following Monday. Finally, I decided that I wouldn't be returning, until more students signed up and actually showed up for class!

Last Friday, I was approached again by La Casa de la Cultura. I love teaching, so yes, I accepted. I'm praying that this time attendance will be much better!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I love holidays! That said, it saddens me, that not all U.S. holidays are celebrated in Mexico. Saint Patrick's Day is one such holiday. No people wearing green, no green dye poured in the river or beer, no pinching if you're not wearing green, and no leprechauns. How sad! I thought that since St. Patrick is a Catholic saint, he'd be celebrated in a Catholic country, but not so.

But I figure, that since my children and I are Americans, I need to teach them all about our culture, including holidays. My kids love it! I think my kids are pretty lucky, because they get the best of both worlds. We celebrate not only the Mexican holidays, but also American holidays, such as St. Patrick's day. Today, when they came home from school, they changed out of their uniforms into something green! At lunch, we ate Irish stew and for dessert, I treated my kids to Irish soda bread. To top things off, my kids have requested that tonight's bedtime story be a about St. Patrick himself!

There is another reason why St. Patrick's Day holds a place near and dear to my heart. March 17th, 1999, my husband and I learned that we were expecting our second child. We were so happy that we decided at that very moment, that if were to have a girl, her name would be Ireland and if we had a boy, his middle name would be Patrick. (We had already agreed on the first name of our first son.) So, when people ask me why Nicholas' middle name is Patrick, we tell this story.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

With love,
Leslie Limon

Our Friend, Señor Piñata

My son Nick's 3rd grade class is learning about paper maché. Their schoolbook shows many wonderful (and easy) examples of paper maché projects such as: a pencil holder, a fruit bowl and a cute little jewelry box. That said, Nick's homework assignment this weekend was to create a paper maché masterpiece. This should be fairly easy, especially since the kids have Friday off from school.

Nick is a very intelligent and creative 9 year old. He also likes to think "outside" the box. He spent most of Thursday afternoon deciding what masterpiece to create. His paper maché project of choice...a piñata. Why? Because it's probably the most famous of all paper maché projects and its not even mentioned in the schoolbook. Nick needs to pay tribute to the piñata. Now that he's decided what to make, we can get started, tomorrow! It's Friday and I have been ravaged by the stomach flu. No piñata making today. But Dad, being the wonderful man that he is, has offered to help, tomorrow!

Saturday arrives. I'm still feeling a bit queazy, but I should be feeling better in the afternoon. Dad, busy with work and customers, finds time to buy balloons and a newspaper. Before you know it, it's mid-afternoon. Feeling somewhat normal, I make homemade paste with flour and water, just like the book says. Nick finally gets to work on his piñata. He wanted to do it alone, but couldn't refuse the help offered by his 3 eager siblings. When the kids finally got tired of playing with the paste and newspaper, it was time for me to hang the soon-to-be masterpiece outside on the clothesline to dry.

First thing Sunday morning, Nick went outside to check on his creation. It still needed an extra hour or 2 in the sun. While waiting for the paste to dry, Dad goes for a bike ride and the rest of us discuss how to decorate Nick's piñata. Never occurred to us to discuss this beforehand. Oh well! After much debate, it was decided that Nick's piñata would be a giant Easter egg. Now, we need to go downtown to buy pastel colored tissue paper, glue and whatever else we can think of, before Dad comes home. Moments later, the kids and I are all ready to walk out the door when Dad arrives with a surprise. He's just arrived from the stationery store, where he purchased green, white and red tissue paper. He had envisioned a piñata in the colors of the Mexican flag.

So, with a slight change in last-minute plans, Nick and I decorate the piñata in true Mexican colors. Upon finishing, the family gets to play "What Is It?" Some of the suggestions: a mexican ball, a mexican bouquet, and my favorite, a mexican feather duster. With just a few minor adjustments, Señor Piñata was born.

This is the most fun we have had with a homework assignment. We're already planning on making more piñatas next weekend, just for fun!

With Love,

Leslie Limon

Mid-Week Break & 2 Hour Lunches

Do you ever wish you could just take the afternoon off? (Especially mid-week.) What about your lunch hour? Have you ever wished your lunch hour was just a little longer? You might be thinking, don't we all wish for that? Well, in Yahualica, we don't wish, it just happens.

Lunch here in Mexico, is like dinner in the States, being that it is our heaviest meal. This is a time for families to sit together, partake of a wonderful meal and share the going-ons of their day. Lunch is usually eaten at 2 pm. How can that be? Aren't the kids in school? No, the kids get out of school at 1 pm. What about work? Most business' close at 2 pm for lunch. After lunch, people relax, watch tv or take a nap. Yes, the famous siesta. You don't have to worry about going back to work until 4 pm. Most business' reopen at 4 and close at either 7 or 8 pm. Then it's home again, for a light dinner. When I first moved here, I did not like this schedule. But now, I love it, and I imagine that it would be very difficult for me to readjust to a 9 to 5 schedule. Plus, I think the kids would miss their 4 and a half hour school days!

Another great thing about living in Yahualica, is having EVERY Wednesday afternoon off! When business' close at 2 pm for lunch on Wednesday, they don't have to worry about reopening at 4 pm. They just stay closed. Most families take advantage of having Wednesday afternoons off, by going to La Presa (local park/dam) or to El Rio Verde (nearby swimming pools). Another alternative is La Ruta Ciclista, it's a family bike ride around Yahualica. Whatever people choose to do, it usually involves the family.

What a blessing to live in a place that offers more time to spend with the family.

Leslie Limon

Family Day

My family

Today, Mexico celebrates Dia de la Familia (Family Day). It's a fairly new holiday that begun in 2005. Dia de la Familia is celebrated the first Sunday of March. Today, we're not just celebrating mom or dad, but the entire family! The best part, in my opinion, is that it hasn't been commercialized, like so many other holidays. There is no need to spend a dime, or in my case a peso, to celebrate!

In wanting to celebrate Dia de la Familia, my husband and I noticed something. We discovered that we spent this Sunday, like we spend every Sunday. This morning, we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast together, watched En Familia con Chabelo (a mexican tv show) with the kids and took a little walk downtown. We had lunch with my in-laws, great conversation with the family and played card games with the our niece, nephews and children. As evening drew near, we took another walk downtown to sit in El Jardin. I love days like this when I can enjoy my family. And I love that I get to do it often!

My daughter and I

So to all of you, even though this holiday may not be celebrated where you live, I wish you a very Happy Family Day! God bless and take care.

Leslie Limon