Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Our Mexico Trip

Oh, what a wonderful time we had in Mexico with Elizabeth!

Besides the extreme amount of walking to which our bodies *read that: FEET* are not accustomed, the constant need to remember to NOT drink the water (not such a big deal, except when brushing one's teeth), and the new habit required when using the toilet (ask if you want to know), it was more wonderful than I could have dreamed.
We flew into Queretaro and were met by Elizabeth and her host parents, who drove us to our hotel in downtown Santiago do Queretaro. After we got checked in, we began our tour of the city. And as soon as we walked out of our hotel, we had this view:

I loved the dolls on the roof, and the bright fabrics coming out the door. Even more than this store, my heart was thrilled by several stores which sold beautiful dresses. It is a Mexican tradition to have a big party for girls when they turn 15, which includes the girls getting fancy, frilly, sparkly dresses to wear.
Oh, to be a 15-year-old Mexican girl!!! *big smile*

Another view which caught my eye were the trees around Queretaro. They were all beautifully manicured like these:
Elizabeth's host-father is one of the people who maintains these trees. They were impeccable.

We were enthralled by the intricacies and details of the churches.

And Brian was quite taken by the beauty of his escorts against the backdrop of a Queretaro night sky:

In addition to all the sight-seeing and learning about the city, we had some great time getting to know Elizabeth's host family and friends. We spent one afternoon playing softball with a mixed group of Wheaton students, members of the youth group from the church Elizabeth attends in Queretaro, and her host-sisters. I'm not bragging or anything, but it is worth noting that I did get a hit both times I was up to bat. And I did score both times I was on base. (And I, uh, did have to take advantage of the rule that girls got five strikes before they were out. But what's a couple of extra strikes between amigos? *grin*)
We took at taxi to church for the 7:00 Resurrection service, ate breakfast with all in attendance, and stayed for "regular" church after that. Even though I couldn't understand most of what the pastor was saying, the love of Jesus filled the air for a delightful experience. And it was followed by an afternoon spent with Elizabeth's host family for an Easter dinner. First time in a long time that I haven't eaten ham and deviled eggs on Easter Sunday.

Then there was this very different tradition we observed on Sunday night. In the heart of the city, lots and lots of people gathered to watch the "burning of Judas." This paper mache creature was suspended in the air until after dusk, when he was lit and a bunch of sparkler-type pieces ignited until the whole thing eventually exploded. This act was followed by a couple more explosions (One was Captain America. That was kinda weird...) and then a fireworks display.

After spending five days in Queretaro with my daughter, I can fully understand why she says she wants to live there. Besides the beauty of the land and scenery, the Mexican people are so loving and kind - and the pace of life is calming. I felt welcomed and safe, and the gorgeous weather didn't hurt my opinion, either.
So, I will love visiting if Elizabeth ends up living there. But in my heart of hearts, I really hope she chooses somewhere a lot closer!


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