Children's Day

*Better late than never! This was meant to be posted on April 30th, but my internet server was down for 5 days!

El Dia del Niño (Children's Day), is celebrated in Mexico, every April 30th. El Dia del Niño, is not only a day to celebrate children, in general, but to also celebrate children's rights. In Mexico, children have their own Bill of Rights. Here is my translated version:

Children's Bill of Rights
  • Children have the right to an education.
  • Children have the right to a family.
  • Children have the right to receive medical attention.
  • Children have the right to not be forced to work.
  • Children have the right to be listened to.
  • Children have the right to a name.
  • Children have the right to be fed.
  • Children have the right to be an active part of their community.
  • Children have the right to not be discriminated against.
  • Children have the right not to be abused.
  • Children have the right to play.
  • Children have the right to a nationality.
Let's not forget that El Dia del Niño, is a celebration. In Yahualica, children DO have to go to school, but only to attend la fiesta held by the school, in honor of the students. At the end of the celebration at school, children are given a bolo (party favor), and a toy. Last year, my children were given, a hula-hoop, a plastic baseball bat and ball, and a very large rubber ball. In the afternoon, a parade is held for the children. All children are invited to participate in the parade. Those who choose to take part in the parade, dress up in costumes. Floats, decorated in various children's themes, are also part of the parade. At the end of the parade, prizes are awarded to the best float and best costume.
But, it seems that this year's parade has been cancelled, thanks to the Swine Flu outbreak. Poor kids.
With Love,
Leslie Limon

Pitaya 101

After reading yesterday's blog, my hubby gave me some interesting information about the pitaya to share with you. Pitayas are grown on a pitayo cactus, which is also knows as a pipe organ cactus. (see picture)

Pitayas are covered with many thin thorns, as pictured below. The campesinos remove most of the thorns during the ride back to town.

Pitayas sell at the market for 5 pesos each, which is about 40 american cents. Amazingly, people consider pitayas to be quite expensive. But since they are only available for a limited time, people splurge and buy 4 or 5 pitayas.

It is well-known amongst the local campesinos, that our entire family loves pitayas. So, instead of us having to go to the market to buy pitayas, the campesinos come to us. And since we purchase atleast 30 pitayas a day, we pay only 3 pesos per pitaya. (That's about 23 american cents!)
Pitayas can be made into sorbets, jams or aguas frescas. But the traditional way of eating pitayas, is to remove the outer skin and enjoy. This is the only fruit that I know of that isn't eaten with lemon and salt.

I better check to see if the kiddies left me any pitayas.

With Love,
Leslie Limon

(P.S.) Pitayas come in a variety of colors; orange and yellow, which are the most common, red, magenta and white. The white pitayas are very rare. Pitayas are considered an aphrodisiac and are believed to have healing qualities, especially for those who suffer from gastritis.


The fruit in this picture are called pitayas. Pitayas are a cactus fruit, only available in the month of May. But this year, we were treated to this delectable fruit a week early. I had never heard of or tasted a pitaya before moving to Mexico. But having only heard wonderful things about this fruit, I decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed. In fact, I was a bit overwhelmed. There are few things that leave me speechless, and my first taste of pitaya was one of those moments. It's a taste unlike any other. If you happen to see a pitaya in your local mercado (market), please buy some, you will not be disappointed.

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Swine Flu

It's on everyone's mind and it's all anyone talks about here in Mexico. Many people are worried and afraid that they will be infected next. Government officials have declared that schools all over the country will remain closed until May 6th. This is being done in hopes to prevent further spread of the virus. As of this morning, no cases of Swine Flu had been confirmed in Jalisco.

This morning, we decided to send our children to school. We figured that if there had been any confirmed cases of Swine Flu in Yahualica, word would have spread and the schools would have closed their doors. All 3 of my school-age children said that Swine Flu was all that the teachers, the principle and the kids talked about. At school, they were told what Swine Flu is and what precautions they should take. As a result, my children are now very worried about being infected with Swine Flu. On the way home, my kids asked to stop at the farmacia (pharmacy) to buy cubrebocas (face masks), but the pharmacist informed us that they had sold out earlier this morning. My husband and I quickly answered any doubts or questions that the children had. Knowing that the virus is treatable was all my children really wanted to hear.

Now we're looking on the bright side and trying to figure out what to do during this one week vacation!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

A Day in the Life of...ME!!!

A lot of people ask me what living in small town Mexico is like. If they had asked me 8 years ago when I first moved here, I could have given them a very long list of what life is really like here and how very different it is from the States. But now, after 8 and a half years, I can't really tell the difference. I'm quite accustomed to life here and have forgotten every item on the list I once had. But, I will tell you what a regular weekday is like for me and you can be the judge of the differences and/or similarities.

I wake up at around 6:30 am, get dressed and spend some time thinking about what I need and what I would like to accomplish during the day. I wake my kids up at about 7:15 am, so that they can get dressed for school, make their beds and have breakfast. While the kids are busy getting dressed, I make their school lunches and breakfast. This routine ends no later than 8:15 am. That's when my husband or I walk the kids to school, which is less than 10 minutes away. (We take turns, but my husband takes them more often than I do.) I usually stay home, taking care of our youngest son, Jack, grab some breakfast and clean house. My hubby usually has breakfast at his mother's house, since he walks by her house first on his way home. (He only stops by to say hi and she always invites him to stay for breakfast!)

Housekeeping was one of the items on my list, but now it's just become a way of life for me. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, sweeps the sidewalk and street in front of their house. No streetsweepers here, just people! Then we proceed to the inside of our house. But before I can continue cleaning, I need to go turn on the water pump that pumps water from my well to my 2 tinacos. A tinaco, is a sort of miniature water tower that sits on my roof. Now that the tinacos are full and I've turned off the water pump, I can finish cleaning my house. This is a simple enough task, all I have to do is sweep and mop my entire house, like I do every day except Sunday. Yes, sweep and mop. Most houses here don't have carpeting, so there is no need for a vaccuum. After sweeping and mopping, I do a load or two of laundry. (Laundry, or atleast how I used to do it when I first moved here, needs it's own blog.) When the washing machine has finished it's cycle, I hang my clothes on the clothesline outside in my back patio.

Now that the housework and laundry are done. I have some free time to relax and play with Jack or take a walk downtown to the mercado (market) for any groceries I might need. I usually do most of my grocery shopping on Sunday. (Grocery shopping is also another blog I need to write.) Sometimes, if my hubby needs help, I go next door to our shop to give him a hand with whatever he's working on. Then at around noon, depending on what I'm preparing, I start lunch.

By a quarter to 1 pm, lunch is almost ready, and it's time for my hubby, my father-in-law or me to walk to school to pick up the kids. Before walking home, we stop by the stationery store to buy anything that the kids might need for a homework assignment or project. The kids usually arrive home before 1:30 pm. I like to spend a few minutes catching up on how their day went and what homework assignments or projects need to be completed. At this time, I might walk down to our local tiendita to buy fresh and warm corn tortillas. (A tiendita is like a very small general store, with everything you might need.)

It is now 2 pm and lunch is on the table. My hubby has just closed up shop and walked 2 or 3 paces home. We eat lunch and share what has happened throughout our day so far. A quick clean up of the kitchen and dining room follows. If it happens to be an afternoon that I don't have to go to work, I will indulge in a nap. Ahhh, siesta! (I just love Mexico!!!)

The kids start working on their homework at around 4 pm and my hubby opens his shop. Once the homework is finished, I go outside to my back patio to turn on the boiler (water heater) so that the kids can take a shower, not a bath, because most of the older houses in Mexico don't have bathtubs. If I used too much water for cleaning and laundry, I also need to turn on the water pump for more water. If it's spring or summer, the kids need only wait for 15 minutes before being able to jump in the shower. When the last child is showering, I head outside again, this time to turn off the boiler. Don't worry, there's still enough hot water for my hubby and I to take a shower.

Evening rolls around and my husband closes shop at about 7 pm. Most evenings we take a couple of chairs outside, so that we can sit on the sidewalk to enjoy some cool, fresh air, talk and people watch, while the kids get to play outside. We don't sit outside long, because we need to eat dinner. For dinner, we usually have whatever is leftover from lunch, or we might hit our local taquería or taco stand. (There is atleast one taquería on each block.) After dinner we like to relax, watch a little t.v. or use the computer. And finally I go to bed around 11 pm.

I don't know about you, but I'm already exhausted from just writing about my day!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Spring Break

When I think of Spring Break, visions of drunken college students partying on the beaches of Mexico, come to mind. But, I'm a married woman, and a mother of four. Spring Break in our home is much more wholesome and in my opinion, better! As I was preparing things for my children's return to school tomorrow, I took some time to reflect on what we had done during these 2 weeks. At first thought, I felt that maybe we hadn't done enough, that we hadn't taken advantage of every moment to it's fullest. So, I proceeded to make a mental note of what we did.

Unfortunately for us, Spring Break didn't get started until Good Friday, due to the fact that Nick was a bit under the weather. But that didn't stop us, we were able to play board games and watch movies together, with lots and lots of popcorn. Then of course, we went to the Via Crucis, which is the big Easter celebration held on Good Friday. Saturday was spent coloring the Easter eggs that we would use for Sunday's Easter egg hunt. That's one tradition we always enjoy. Easter Sunday was spent at the ranch with friends and family. We absolutely LOVE going to the ranch!!!

The following week, was spent at home, but 2 of my children's cousins joined in on the fun. I lost count of all the games we played; board games galore, hide-and-seek, red light-green light, Simon says, gallinita ciega (kind of like Marco Polo out of the water). We also enjoyed drawing on the sidewalk with chalk, lots of coloring and if we had time we'd watch a little t.v.

But the grand finale, was taking all the kids berry picking yesterday. We had so much fun. We loaded all the kids in our truck's camper. (It's still allowed in Mexico.) Then my hubby drove us to El Durazno, a nearby ranch community. From there, it was still a short walk through dry bush and cactus and over a couple of stone fences. I'd say that the walk was an effective 20 minute work-out, but my hubby informs me that we only walked for about 5 minutes. We had a great time, and the mulberries were so sweet and delicious. Maybe next year, we'll think to put the berries in the front seat, rather than leave them in the camper to be devoured by the kids!

All in all, I think we had a wonderful Spring Break and I'm saddened to see it come to an end!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Good Friday in Mexico

Good Friday or Viernes Santo as it is known here, is the big Easter celebration here in Mexico. Most towns celebrate with a Via Crucis. A Via Crucis, is made up of 13 "stations" depicting the final hours of Jesus Christ, with emphasis on Jesus' death and the Virgin Mary's suffering.  In tribute to the death of Jesus, churches close their doors, because it is believed that Heaven also closes from 3 pm on Good Friday and reopens Saturday at 6 pm.  Below, are some pictures that I hope you will enjoy. (Click on the images for a closer look.)

Jesus receives the cross.

Jesus fall the first time.

Jesus greets His mother.

Simon of Cyrene carries the cross.

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

Jesus falls the second time.

Jesus is stripped of his clothing.

Jesus is nailed to the cross.

Jesus dies on the cross.

The Lamentation. Jesus' body is removed from the cross.

Jesus' body is laid in his tomb.
With Love,
Leslie Limon

The End is Near!

Yes, the end is near! The end of Cuaresma, that is. By this time next week, everyone in Mexico will be able to enjoy eating meat and poultry on Fridays. It's amazing how people seem to crave that which is forbidden. Like Eve in the Garden of Eden. Atleast that's how I feel.

For Cuaresma, I promised to "sacrifice" my love of drinking Coca-Cola and any other cola flavored beverage. Yes, I admit to being an avid Coca-Cola drinker. It's my only vice. But I can quit at anytime. In fact, I haven't had a sip of Coca-Cola since February 24th, the day before Ash Wednesday. Prior to Ash Wednesday, I would drink Coca-Cola once a day, but rarely more than twice daily.

Many people told me that I would suffer some kind of withdrawal. I was also told that I'd be cured of my occasional insomnia and migraines. This did not occur, at all! I didn't get "the shakes", I've had a migraine or 2 during Cuaresma, and I still have trouble getting to sleep before midnight. I'm so happy to have proven that Coca-Cola hasn't been the cause of my "problems".

Now, back to my Eve in the Garden of Eden analogy. I finished February and March, with little "need" for Coca-Cola. I didn't even feel tempted to drink. Ah, but then came April. I don't know what happened, but suddenly I felt an overwhelming urge to savor and experience an ice-cold Coca-Cola. It didn't help that my husband was playing the part of the Serpent tempting me, taunting me and trying to coax me into tasting my forbidden fruit. No wonder Eve succumbed! But, I have held strong to my promise. It is through this promise, that I now have a better understanding of the temptation Christ faced in the desert during those 40 days. (Which is why people promise to "sacrifice" something in the first place!)

I have less than a week to go. I'm so close, I can taste it!

With Love,

Leslie Limon (Modern-day Eve)

Where's the beef?

I enjoy our life here in Mexico. My children and I are able to witness and experience things that we would never be exposed to in the States. Let me share one such experience.

Today, my nephew, Ivan, brought us two live chickens to keep in our back patio. We'd only have to watch the chickens for a day or two, because the chickens were soon to be someone's lunch! My kids weren't keen on the idea of eating these 2 precious creatures that they had just met. But were very happy to help care for them. We continued on with our day and had lunch at my mother-in-law's house. After a couple of hours of conversation, it was time for us all to leave. Before departing, my brother-in-law, Gerry (Ivan's dad), wondered what to do with the chickens. He and his wife agreed to make the chickens tomorrow for lunch at the ranch. But before they could feast on the chickens, they needed to kill them. Nobody was volunteering for that job, except my father-in-law.

As soon as my father-in-law heard that the chickens needed to be "terminated", he asked my hubby to accompany him and unlock our house door so he could gain access to the chickens. (My house is only 3 houses down from my in-law's.) Not long after they left, 3 of my children, my teenage niece and my 2 teen nephews decided to go watch. My hubby tried to dissuade the younger children from watching, explaining that it wasn't going to be pretty. But they wanted to see how things used to be done, back in the "old days". The actual "act" didn't take long. I won't go into details, but I'm told, that my back patio was in need of a good rinsing, to get rid of all the blood.

Upon returning to my mother-in-law's house, I expected my children to be a bit traumatized and in dire need of psychiatric help. Not so!!! All the kids came back laughing, going on and on about how cool Grandpa is, and how he just flung those chickens with ease. And my children explained to me, that they now understand the expression, "Running around like a chicken without it's head". This is one of those moments when you just think, "Only in Mexico"!

Now the chickens needed to be transported back to my mother-in-law's house to be cleaned and feathered. For this, my father-in-law used my bucket that I use for mopping my house. (I don't think I'll be using it again.) Anyway, now everyone is back at my in-law's home. Most of the adults are outside talking. But the little ones are all inside, sitting in the patio, attentively watching their grandparents clean the chickens. It was quite educational. They got to see the heart, the liver and the intestines. My eldest daughter said that the only "gross" part was when they got to see the chicken's poop. By then, the kids were all ready to go home!

One might think that this would turn the kids off chicken. (I know it crossed my mind, and I didn't even witness any of it!) But, kids in general, are pretty resilient. I asked my kids if they would ever want to eat chicken again, and they all answered that they wanted eat "those" chickens, tomorrow! Kids!!!

With Love,
Leslie Limon