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A Taste of Home

Membership has its privileges…

…and finally tomorrow, I will get to experience one of those priviledges. Membership in what, you may ask? In the Spouses of US Embassy Employees club. Mind you, this is not an official club. Or really even an unofficial club. If it were, I would envision its membership requirements being something like:

  • an inability to remember the 8,534 acronyms that are the apparent sole means of communication among government workers
  • a passion for superficial chats with innumerable govvie coworkers who you assume will probably have moved away to another embassy before you see them again, causing susbequent awkward conversations when you can’t remember their names
  • a slightly-concerning level of desire for some of America’s finest products that are nowhere to be found in Mexico, i.e. real Saran Wrap, good Chinese take-out, and blueberry muffin mix with the wee can of real blueberries in the box.

Anyway, WHAT is said priviledge of belonging to this non-existent club?? A chance to see Obama tomorrow during his visit to Mexico City!!!!

That’s right; this girl has a ticket for the Visit of President Barack Obama tomorrow afternoon. I am somewhat nervous to write this gloating blog post in advance, for fear of jinxing things & causing it to be cancelled due to something like a flaming tacos al pastor stand collapsing onto his motorcade. However, since I rarely have such cause to gloat, I have decided to risk it anyway.

And here’s the proof!

When I make a scrapbook 30 years from now about our time in Mexico, this is definitely going in there.

When I make a scrapbook 30 years from now about our time in Mexico, this is definitely going in there.

Well, here’s half of the proof for the moment. With all you crazy photoshopping wizards out there, I felt a full ticket photo was unwise at this juncture. While I am not holding out great hope for getting any great pics tomorrow with me + the other 8 bazillion Embassy employees + families + pet dogs all trying to touch Obama’s hand in hopes of him healing our leprosy, I will do my best to get at least something that is blog-worthy.

In a perfect world, there would be a magical scenario in which I would be able to get my SECOND “I’m Taller than the President of the United States” photo. However, I will keep the hope alive until tomorrow afternoon.

OK, a few things here: a) this was BEFORE the Monica incident. b) I was not touched inappropriately, nor requested TO touch inappropriately. c) everyone in the Midwest had hair like this in the 90s. d) yes, this is a photo of a photo.

OK, a few things here: a) this was Clinton BEFORE the Monica incident. b) I was not touched inappropriately, nor requested TO touch inappropriately. c) everyone in the Midwest had hair like this in the 90s. d) yes, this is a photo of a photo.

Makes a Nebraskan feel right at home…

My parents are visiting Mexico this week from Nebraska. To help them adjust, we found this slowly-moving cow herd on the road outside our B&B in Malinalco. Mexico can always be counted upon for the random herd of livestock to help make a Nebraska farm boy feel like he never left…

To tie back in to my previous post, this was pretty much the most danger we came across during our trip to Malinalco, Mexico. Who knows-- these cows could well have been drug mules in disguise... making off with pounds of cocaine in their multiple stomachs...???

To tie back in to my previous post, this was pretty much the most danger we came across during our trip to Malinalco, Mexico. Who knows-- these cows could well have been drug mules in disguise... making off with pounds of cocaine in their multiple stomachs...???

This was my favorite artsy-livestock photo. Pretty purple flowers + soft brown cow in the sunlight, casting a suspicious eye towards the carload of gringos infringing on her territory...

This was my favorite artsy-livestock photo (there's a phrase you don't hear often enough). Pretty purple flowers + soft brown cow in the sunlight, casting a suspicious eye towards the carload of gringos infringing on her territory...

I’m pretty sure rural Nebraska is the last place that the gentleman on the horse would have guessed that I was from, with the rear window of our Maxima rolled down like a moron so I could get the optimal angle/number of cow photos possible…

Back to Nebraska for Christmas!!

This past Saturday, John & I were alternatingly excited to return to the States to visit our family, and depressed to be leaving 72F weather for impending snow & windchills of -30F below zero. After another magical sub-30 minute trip to the airport at 7:30AM, we confirmed that American Airlines is the least organized airline at the Mexico City airport. On every Mexican airline flight I’ve taken, checking-in has taken roughly 10 minutes thanks to ~10 staffed windows. American had 3 people checking in the entire coach class of flights to Dallas, Miami and Chicago, so we stood in line for 60 minutes but still had time to spare. Note to self– fly Mexican airlines in/out of D.F., because they are more efficient and you get free food (actual food, not just pretzels) & booze on board.

As soon as we got to the U.S., John housed two glasses of tap-water-with-lemon just because he could.

As soon as we got to the U.S., John housed two glasses of tap-water-with-lemon just because he could.

Flying via Dallas (a wise choice, since every other hub in the US was slammed by snow/ice storms), we had a couple hours to kill during our layover. We seized the opportunity to re-acquaint ourselves with American-style dining, namely absolutely mammoth portions of food, but best of all, drinkable tap water!! And lemons!! 

Recounting this exciting fact to my mom later, she queried whether I had seen the recent filthy-lemons exposes. I confirmed yes, but I was fairly certain that no piddly lemon bacteria could rival that which my stomach was attempting to acquire in Mexico City.

Anyway, we actually made it into Omaha ON TIME!! (unlike my brother, stranded until 1.5 days later), and had a lovely dinner at my fav restaurant the Upstream Brewery with some friends & family before hitting the cooold cold roads with the aforementioned -30F windchill. Our first few days here in scenic Grand Island have not disappointed.

Is this business actually successful??

Is this business actually successful??

The illustrious Conestoga Mall has added a few gems to its collection of bustling stores, including some sort of John Deere souvenir store that was a prime spot for photos. The old movie theatre has been taken over by Glowgolf (what in the hell??), a hot new activity that my mom informs me is “very popular with the kids these days”.

Yes!! Farm Toys!!! Thank you!!!!

Yes!! Farm Toys!!! Thank you!!!!

 

Ahh, if only I had enough space in my luggage to bring this backhoe back to Mexico...

Ahh, if only I had enough space in my luggage to bring this backhoe back to Mexico...

 Luckily, our standby from junior high “drop us off at the mall on Saturday afternoon and we will spend 4 hours walking by 50 stores & hoping to see somebody cool” days is still kicking: The Incredible Bulk, a wittily named candy store.  There has been a lot of turnover at the Conestoga Mall, but apparently the demand for products to help you get fatter rarely dies down.

John applied for a job as Incredible Bulk security guard.

John applied for a job as Incredible Bulk security guard.

And finally, the mall also now has a trendy pet products store, so trendy that my mom was able to purchase a sweater for our dog Dave, the Jack Russell Terrier. Dave is getting a bit old & seems to get chilled easily, so she felt a sweater might be just the thing, and clearly what is better than a dog sweater? A MEXICAN FLAG dog sweater!!!

¡Viva México!, Dave seems to be saying

¡Viva México!, Dave seems to be saying

The only other highlight was my strange compulsion to visit one of the Mexican grocery stores in town last night, I guess to see if there would be any wacky ingredients that we now know how to use that we could surprise my parents with. And, I guess, the latent hope that here perhaps John & I speaking Spanish would be novel & perhaps we could impress someone (unlike in D.F., where we just look like morons). Unfortunately, our attempts to bond with the La Mexicana store employee didn’t go very smoothly, as she didn’t seem particularly comfortable with John’s repeated attempts to ask how long she’d been living in Grand Island.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Turkey Day in Mexico City: Sunny & 75°F

We had quite the fancy spread by the pool for Turkey Day!

We had quite the fancy spread by the pool!

To add to my list of “firsts” here in Mexico, I can now add “having Thanksgiving Dinner outdoors by a pool in 75-degree weather”.  This may not be novel to those of you in warmer climes, but for those of us whose past Thanksgiving celebrations have been limited almost exclusively to states north of the Mason-Dixon line, it is a landmark event.

The new casserole warmer: the outdoor grill

The new casserole warmer: the outdoor grill

Several of our fellow apartment building-dwellers collaborated to arrange a feast fit for a king, complete with fancy china & fairy lights. An impressive THREE turkeys sacrificed their lives for our gathering, ensuring that all attendees went home at the end of the evening with individual packets of turkey leftovers ready to be made into tasty sandwiches this weekend. Also thanks to the high ratio of midwesterners (and those with good midwestern food sensibilities), we had no shortage of suuuuper-tasty casseroles & other carb/dairy laden goodness.

Let the record reflect, this was not my plate...though mine may have looked similar...

Let the record reflect, this was not my plate...though mine may have looked similar...

As per tradition, we piled our plates as high as we could & then all ate until we could barely breathe.  Ahhh American holidays, God bless.  Fan favorites were magical handmade dinner rolls, incredibly light & fluffy sweet potato souffle, and three kinds of stuffing (2 sausage, 1 cornbread). We came bearing our personal favs– pizza dip, swiss cheese/green bean casserole, pecan pie, and the illustrious annual cranberry daiquiris. Apparently cranberries don’t exist here, so we were forced to reconstitute dried cranberries, but they performed admirably well.

Us savoring our daiquiris while I wear my "handmade" Turkey Necklace

Us savoring our daiquiris while I wear my "handmade" Turkey Necklace

Thanks to all participants who made our first Mexican Thanksgiving an experience that neither we nor our waistlines will soon forget!!

 

 

 

 

We dined by Christmas lights as dusk fell

We dined by Christmas lights as dusk fell

...and a view of the festivities from above...

...and a view of the festivities from above...

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