Group Wedding

While attending a christening last Saturday in Cañadas de Obregon, I was able to witness something new. When we were exiting the church. I saw a bride and groom waiting to enter the church. (I love weddings and couldn't help remembering my own small wedding.) The soon-to-be married couple was accompanied by their padrinos (best man and maid of honor). Then I noticed that behind them, was another bride and groom with their padrinos. I counted 20 couples. As if she had read my mind, my suegra explained that this was called Matrimonios Comunitarios. I had heard of this type of group wedding before, but being that I don't attend Mass on a regular basis, I had never witnessed it.

The couples waiting outside the church varied in ages. A couple were in their late teens, many were in their mid-20's to mid-30's and one couple was in their late-60's or early 70's. My mother-in-law and I thought that maybe the elderly couple was celebrating their Golden Anniversary. But a few locals who had overheard our conversation, explained that this ceremony was only for those couples who were "living in sin". (Their words, not mine!) These couples were living together as man and wife, but without the blessing of the Catholic church.
I'm just happy that even after nearly 9 years of living in Mexico, there is still something new to be learned!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

The 7 Year Itch?

I'm one of those people that never forgets a date. If you tell me your birthday, I will never forget it. Ever! One date that I will always remember is July 17th. Last Thursday, July 17th, marked the 7th anniversary of my last visit to the United States. That trip turned out to be the one of the biggest learning experiences of my life.

I had very mixed feelings about that trip. A part of me was excited to be returning "home" after having lived in Mexico for 2 years. But I was also extremely scared and nervous, because I had never been separated from my hubby for more than one night. I had no idea how I was going to survive 2 or 3 months without him. Nor did I know how I was going to raise my 2 young children by myself.

But that trip was something that I had to do. You see, I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter Ashley. My hubby and I decided that it would be "easier" if she was born in the United States. Hubby would stay behind to work in his shop. I wanted to wait until late August to make the trip. After all, Ashley wasn't due to arrive until September 23rd. But we checked with my Ob/Gyn and he suggested that I make the trip no later than my 7th month. So on July 17th, 2002, the kiddies and I departed from Guadalajara.

Upon landing in Los Angeles, I was feeling pretty happy, almost giddy with excitement. I was finally "home". Hope and Nick were running around with their arms spread out, doing their best impression of an airplane. I knew we were back in the States, when it came time to load the kiddies into my brother-in-law's van. The kids didn't want anything to do with the carseats! (They were used to sitting on Mommy's lap or in the back of the truck!) Finally, the kids agreed to sit in their respective carseats and soon started pointing and screaming. "Look Mommy, tall buildings!" "Look Mommy, a firetruck!" "Look Mommy, McDonalds!" (They had only seen it in TV commercials.)

It wasn't until a couple of hours later that reality hit. The kids were playing happily with their cousins in my sister-in-law's yard. When suddenly, I noticed that Nick was sitting alone with a very sad face. When I asked him what was wrong, he said that he missed his Daddy and that he wanted us to go back to 'Lica, immediately! Ouch!!! The sadness in my little boy's eyes was almost too much to bear. But I remained strong. (Atleast on the outside!)

I spent the time prior to Ashley's birth, living in a trailer with my Grandparents. That time spent with them is something that I will always cherish. My compadre David, was very kind to lend me one of his cars (a Mercedes!) for the time that I was there. We are forever thankful to him. My hubby and I spoke on the phone almost every night. I missed him so much that it literally hurt. I would sit out on my grandparent's patio at night after the kids were asleep, just staring at the dark sky, talking to God and crying over how much I missed my hubby and the life that we had.

After Ashley was born, the 4 of us returned to my sister-in-law's house and we stayed there for what seemed like an eternity, but was really only 3 and a half weeks. I love my sister-in-law and her family dearly and I'm so thankful for their kindness and patience. But at that point, I was desperate to return to Yahualica and to see my hubby. I really wanted my Mexican life back! All that was stopping me was the U.S. Postal Service. I was waiting for Ashley's birth certificate and Social Security card to arrive.

We finally returned to Mexico exactly 3 months later, on October 17th! I was finally back home. Yes, home! I realized then and there, that Yahualica was my home. I can't explain it, but it's something I felt in my heart and I know it to be true!

So, after 7 years, am I itching to return to the States? Not at all!!!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Graduation Mass

The day that I have been waiting for with mixed emotions finally arrived. Last month I wrote a blog about my concerns about participating in the traditional Graduation Mass of thanksgiving. (Click here to read it.) I took all of the advice into consideration and decided that the best thing would be for Hope to participate. (Thank you to those who took the time to offer a few words of wisdom!)

I explained to Hope that she could and should participate with her classmates in the Mass, but that she should refrain from partaking in Communion. (Communion in the Catholic church is reserved for those who have had their First Communion ceremony.) We were even more relieved when the school principal suggested that all students should participate in the Mass, regardless of religious beliefs.

Now all that was left to do was to choose the padrino (godfather). This was easy. Hope had always planned on asking my hubby's oldest brother. My brother-in-law, being the generous individual that he is, gladly accepted.

The hardest part was getting the mom's to agree on when to have the Mass. Some wanted it to be held on July 4th. This made no sense to most of us, since the kids would still have to attend school for another week. Thankfully, the president of the parent association decided to go to the church and see what dates were available. (Makes more sense, don't you think?) Finally, the date was set for July 15th at noon.

Mass is probably the only thing in Mexico that starts on time. All the graduates lined up outside the church with their padrino or madrina (godmother). Shortly before entering, all of the participants were sprinkled with Holy Water by the Priest.

I found the Mass to be highly enjoyable. The sermon was about Jesus' healing of the lepers and their thankfulness. During the entire Mass, the Priest joked with the congregation and the participants. When it came time for Communion, no one seemed to notice that Hope and her padrino did not participate. (I had envisioned a roomful of gasps of disbelief!) And best of all, my other children didn't complain about wanting to go home!

We're even thinking of attending Mass more than once or twice a year! Although I'm not even close to being convinced of converting, it would be nice for my children to learn more about God.
Congratulations to my daughter Hope! I'm so very proud of her!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

End of the School Year

To say that the past few weeks have been a bit hectic would be an understatement. With the end of the school year comes meetings with the teacher, report card signings and class parties. I have three children in elementary school so multiply that by 3. To add to this fun, my daughter Hope is in the sixth grade. So there were also countless mom meetings about graduation, where to have the party, how many people can each child invite, what food to serve, when to schedule Mass, do we want the choir to sing at Mass...the list goes on and on.

We also had a few surprises. The school informed us that this year, there would be no acto academico (commencement ceremony). All because of the Flu Scare from a few months ago. (Do you even remember that?) This was very disappointing, because the acto academico is the big end of school year event with poetry, plays and dance numbers performed by every class in the school.

Another very big surprise was that the 6th graders would not be taking the Secundaria (Junior High) entrance exam nor would there be a raffle amongst the students to see if they would be attending secundaria in the morning or the afternoon. These two things have been occurring for many, many years, so not only were the parents and students surprised, but so were the rest of the locals.

But the icing on the cake was being informed, this past Thursday, that there would indeed be a small acto academico on Friday morning. I'm so glad that we got a few hours notice!

The graduation ceremony was sweet and simple. It lasted less than an hour. After a very moving speech given by the director (principal), each student was called to the stage of the school's teatro and was given a folder with their diploma. I was a little worried that I would embarrass myself and Hope by crying like a baby during the ceremony, but I was able to keep the tears to a minimum.

Words cannot explain how proud I am of my children. All three of them ended the school year with very good grades. Nick and Ashley both had 9.9 grade point averages. (10 being the best!) And Hope finished 6th grade with a 9.0.

This school year was a very good year indeed!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Election Day 2009

Today, July 5th was Election Day in Mexico. (Not the Presidential election, that only happens every 6 years.) Elections take place every 3 years to elect Presidentes Municipales (Mayors), Diputados Locales (Representatives) and Diputados Federales (Congressmen). In hopes for an uneventful day, this weekend Ley Seca was declared in most parts of Mexico. Ley Seca means Dry Law, in which no alcoholic beverages are sold or served.

Here in Yahualica, we had four candidates for Presidente Municipal, representing some of the more important political parties. We had PAN, PRI, VERDE ECOLOGISTA and PRD. I try not to get too involved in politics, I mean, why bother, it's not like I'm going to vote. (Hubby does vote!) So while others may be arguing over which political party is the best, I just sit back and listen.

As I write this, it is 10 pm and hubby and I were discussing who we thought had won, when we were surprised by the sound of cars honking and people marching down our street. Of course we were curious to find out what the reason for this ruckus was, so we peeked out our bedroom window only to find a victory parade to celebrate the PAN candidates win.

Congratulations to our new Presidente Municipal, Anastacio Mercado and to our Diputado Federal Jose Luis Iñiguez.

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Life Really is a Bowl of Cherries

Cherries served in a bowlImage via Wikipedia

I have written a few times that there are things in the States that just aren't available in Mexico. But, after learning to live without, I have forgotten what those things are. Out of sight, out of mind. (Its true!) Just last week I read a blog that "refreshed" my memory. This blogger, who is also an American living in Mexico, found cherries at a nearby supermarket. To be honest, I was a little jealous. I hadn't eaten a fresh cherry since my last visit to the States, which was 7 years ago! After reading the blog, I was pretty sure that I would probably never get to eat another cherry, ever! (Quite sad really!)

Fast forward to today...My hubby usually stops at one of the local fruit stands on his way home after picking the kiddies up from school. Today was no different. My kiddies entered the house first, screaming, "Mamá! Mamá! Adivina lo que compramos!" (Guess what we bought.) But before I could answer, my 4 kiddies screamed in unison, "Cherries!" (This was actually said in English!)

At first, I thought they had bought maraschino cherries at the local cremeria. But upon further inspection, I discovered a bag full of ruby colored fresh cherries. Yipee! My kiddies were so excited! They had never eaten fresh cherries.

Now I'm not one to complain about spending money, and having my children enjoy their first taste of cherries is just pricelss. But I was a bit curious, because I remembered that Steve had paid about 160 pesos for a kilo of cherries. That's about 12 U.S. dollars for 2.2 pounds of cherries. So, I bravely asked my hubby how much the kilo of cherries had cost. When my husband responded, I couldn't believe what I had heard. Was I hearing right??? 60 pesos for a kilo of cherries! That's a little over 2 pounds of cherries for less than 5 dollars.

Why then, did my hubby only buy a kilo? Because that's all that was left.

We're hoping that the fruit vendor will have more cherries because this gringa wants some good ol' American cherry pie!

With Love,
Leslie Limon