Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gringas Are Smelly

My Gringa-ness makes people feel uncomfortable. I couldn't think of a good way to begin this post so there you have it.
When we go to fiestas here there's always family or friends that we know and then about 30 OTHER people that we don't know. And I, singlehandedly with my pale English speaking self have a magical ability to make those 30 other people feel really uncomfortable. Plus the host, because none of their friends will speak or have a good time until I vacate the premesis.

I'm a nice person, friendly, smile-y and everything but there's something about my Gringa-ness that just .....FREAKS strangers out here. Is it a cultural thing I don't know about?

Yesterday we were invited to a birthday party at our friends house. When we showed up there were about 12 people outside eating and having a good time but when we came and I sat down the party went silent. *chirp chirp* *crickets* People sitting on either side of me stared straight ahead and all conversation stopped. Some people have the grace to go to another area of the party but the others just stay and try and not stare at me.

This ALWAYS happens!

After a while, another car load of about 10 people showed up and they didn't even want to come in the gate of the house, they stayed outside and STARED in my direction and then away, like "OMFG, the devil is in there!" The host had to drag them in and make them sit down. Nobody shook my hand but there were at least a few polite "Buenas Noches." People ate in silence.

I usually try to start conversation with someone and normaly get one word responses or strained grunts.

If the host is really great they'll talk to me and maybe tell a joke about me to the crowd and help me to say something to kind of break the glass a bit and then people will at least find a way to party among one another and do their best to pretend that I'm not there. A lot of sideways stares.

Sometimes, to my relief, a person will get brave and ask me what in the world I'm doing in Mexico or where I'm from. Those questions usually lead to a big group Q & A where they ask me all sorts of crazy stuff about the U.S. or my past life, but at least then they TALK to me. After one of those they'll even include me in the party and I'm always thankful for the curious person.

I've noticed that strangers in general aren't too talky-talky here like they are in the U.S. so I know it's not JUST because I'm a Gringa, but I know it makes it worse. Back home you can strike up a conversation with a lady in line in the store by saying "OMG, I LOVE your shoes!" and 20 minutes later you're in the parking lot still taling and soon to be best friends. HERE if you say you like something another person has or is wearing they look at you like you have two heads and may bite them at any moment. With both heads.

I don't know WHY strangers aren't friendly with one another here and I don't know why Gringa-strangers are even more freaky. Back home if a foreign person came to a party we would MAUL them with questions and attention.

I often wonder if there's a key, a magical IN that I don't know about in these situations that would help. Like, a phrase I could say or handshake. I thought my babies would get me in the in-crowd but turns out it's a no-go.

Someday maybe we'll just know enough people that I won't BE a stranger anymore or maybe I'll just get used to being an Elephant with Leprosy hanging around in the room. But for now, I'm gonna REALLY appreciate the new friends I'm making at work and the family of my husband.

Ugly Elephant
*** Years later update***  Yeas have gone by and I'm still smelly, but not nearly as much.  I've found that there is no magical "in" and folks still don't like me to compliment them on their earrings or shoes - BUT - but it get's better.  The more Spanish I learn the friendlier people become because they're not nervous about the language barrier.  I'm able to say Mexican jokes and little phrases these days that help set people at ease.  And I've found that a smile continues to go a long way. It get's better. <3 nbsp="" p="">

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm A Big Kid Now

I JUST got back from teaching my first English class to *drum roll.........d.d.d.d.d.d.d.d* ADULTS!!! :) EEEEEE!!!! I was psyched before the class and I'm still psyched after!

It was miraculous, they...LISTENED. They didn't complain about doing the work and they didn't yell or throw things or... well, it was just great.

There were a few times when they were talking when I was talking but it's a different thing. It doesn't bother me like it would with the littles because quite frankly they are adults and it is no longer my job to teach them manners. If my 4th graders are being rude I have to give them the what-for but if these adults are commiting a wee little transgretion - whatever! As long as it's not horribly disruptive I just don't care and it's nice to be able to let things slide off my back for a change.

I did have to lay the smack down a few times for the NO-SPANISH rule, but it's a more FUN smack-down with adults!

I only have 6 students! I DID just about piss my pants when two of them walked in the room though. One of them is a mother of one of my 4th graders that I had some trouble with at the beginning of the year, plus, she works at the school and her decisions directly effect me. When she walked in my knees turned rubbery and I thought "Oh dear God, I am in so much trouble, she's going to eat me alive."

But she was great. She's an excellent student and was just all around awesome.

Another worker, one of our fancy office people is a student of mine and I once again wanted to flee the building when she walked in but I held my ground and it worked out just fine.

There was a couple of moments I wanted to jump off a bridge, like when one of the students asked me "WHY do we use ___ word and not the other?" And......I had nooooo freakin' clue. I knew I was RIGHT, but I didn't know WHY I was right and I just stood there imagining myself kicking myself in the ass. I eventually just fessed up and said that I don't remember. He of course smelled blood and came after me quite a few more times, "WHY is this like that? Why not this or this?"

That ones a teenager, it's his job to make fools of adults I guess, and I did my best to answer or avoid him. I of course ran STRAIGHT to my boss to freak out after the class and ask him what to do in those situations. Luckily he's brilliant and gave me some great advice. Next time I'll be able to stop Mr. Teenager in his tracks. BooYA Justin Bieber!

And in my defense I had no idea what level or even what material I would be using and teaching in this class till 10 minutes before hand. So.....there.

So anyhoo, it's an odd feeling to be teaching ones superiors but I think I'm gonna be just fine.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Somethin' To Talk About

I was super excited when we moved into our new house a couple months ago because my new neighbor speaks ENGLISH!!! EEEEE!!! I was PSYCHED!! I hemmed and hawed and shuffled my feet for WEEKS trying to figure out a way to go over to her house and start up a conversation (leading to everlasting friendship and happiness) and was thrilled when I came up with a way.

Insert - Babies! Hooray babies have a use after all!! She and I share babies of the same age so one day when she was outside with hers we wandered over so my baby could say hi *ahem* to her baby.

We of course started talking and I was thrilled to be speaking in English to a lady that seemed pretty nice! And she IS nice.....but there's a wee problem.

She's of the Mexican culture arena that is super DUPER over protective, MY-BABY-IS-THE-UNIVERSE.

I, am not.

If my baby wants to throw a 2yo tantrum and fling herself on the ground in the street and scream? Let her ass! If HER baby wants to do the same? Oh my God. First, it would be a catastrophe if her baby were to touch the ground. She'll swoop him up so fast and squeeze him to her bosom "OH, MI AMOR, YOU ALMOST TOUCHED THE GROUND!" DEAR LORD NOT THE GROUND!

Are there mini zombie brain eating monsters that I don't know about on the ground waiting to kill our babies? Did I miss something?

If my baby throws herself on the ground I let her stay there until she's done being an asshole and then just -NEWSFLASH- dust her off when she's done! There's no harm in a baby sitting on the ground for a minute but this lady goes into the freaking VAPORS if her kid even starts to kneel!

It's not just her though, I've seen mmaaaaannnyy Mexican Mommy's that are the same way. Maybe there's a superstition I don't know about or something???

Anyhoo. Also when her kid starts to throw a fit (and I mean a little bastard I-am-a-two-year-old-the-world-is-ending-fit) she'll cram him to her bosom, drop what she's doing and exlaim "OHHHH Mi VIIIIDDAAA Mi AMMMMMOOORRRRR What is it??? What is WRONG?? How can I make it all better mi precious peice of GOLD???" And all the while the kid is kicking and screaming - OR - going complacent because he knows he is soon to get his way.

Also, dogs. The neighbor lady saw our dog come up and lick Daisy in the face and saw me laugh and do nothing about it but shoo the dog away and about came UN-GLUED. "OH! That's disgusting! Dogs are nasty your POOOOORRR baby!!!" She then wouldn't let my baby go near her baby - fear of disease?? - then rushed back to her house for fear that we would ..... well I don't know. Chase her baby with a slobbery dog?

So. She thinks I'm a bad Mommy and I think she's a freak and now we can't be best friends for life and share our secrets and eat chocolate like I was hoping for. We talk once in a while but the baby taboo always comes up and I always go home feeling like a pod-person.

SO! Onward I go, a friend I will find some day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Circus Peanuts

Today on our almost daily trek to the park we were surprised by a pop-up mini carnival. They're super common here in Reynosa and appear from time to time in our local park. A couple times a year I guess? There's quite a few outfits that travel all over the parks here (there are tons and TONS of parks here) year round bringing their carney joys.

The rides match everything else about Mexico. They're all a bit ramshackle, somewhat dangerous and outdated - but fun. The SPEED on these things, oh dear lord, it's like ....they run at LEAST 3 times faster than any ride you'll find in the U.S. And most of them ARE FROM the U.S......from about 30 years ago or so. The little baby-car round-y-round goes so fast that the babies have to hold on for dear life to avoid being flung off by the centripical force.

So what do we do? Why throw on our 21 month old for a few joy rides of course. The key to rides here is to pick the one that is most likely to not have super-dire consequences if it blows a hose or bolt and goes haywire. The horizontal-spinning-wheel-of-death? No. The spinning-30mph-in one direction-at-one-level? Yes. If it goes wackadoodle it'll just stop, the wheel of death will topple and crush. No Thank you.

Speaking of death wheels, last spring when it was here there was a mini ferris wheel that we were contemplating going on as a family. That is untill we got close and noticed that the spinner-wheel that turned the contraption HAD A FLAT and was just sort of smushing along and letting the bigger wheel slip now and then. We asked the guy running it about it and he said "NAH, don't worry about it, 20 pesos, let's go!" He was also BLASTED drunk, like...weaving and bobbing. We just stared in disbelief as a fellow carnie came by and told drunk-pee-pants to shut the thing down and shooed us away.

So anyhoo, Daisy went on rides alone today for the first time and gripped the wheels like an old ghetto pro. She didn't fall off even when one of the carnie guys went off to talk to a friend and left her on the ride for about a 7 minute stretch going round and round and round while Mommy was getting a wee nervous because she noticed that said baby was getting dizzy and a little weavy and bobby herself. But she hung in there and all's well that ends well. I didn't have to hit the emergency stop or anything.

And Niko? He'll have to wait till next year.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mr. Hanky The Christmas Poo

*******WARNING: This post involves bathroom habitry. It's TMI and I don't care but YOU might care. So...there ya go.*******

We are fortunate (in ways) to live right on the border of TX and Mexico. The average wage here for a laborer in a factory is about 700 pesos a week for working 12 hour days. That equates to about 65 U.S. dollars. My husband worked in a factory earning that wage for our first year here and then we were lucky and brave enough to start up our own wee little business selling goods from TX, over here in a flea market. He makes a bit more than working in a factory and only has to work 3 days a week, leaving the rest of the time open for him to stay home and care for the babies while I'm at work. It's a super win-win situation.

To get those goods from TX I need to travel over there at least once a week to go shopping and find the things he'll need for the week. And THERE is where my little.....strange-it-ty takes place.

I travel to anywhere from 4-10 stores on a given Saturday looking for the cheapest and best goods to take back and sell. There are a few places I go to every week and in one of them my little problem takes place. No matter what time of day I get there, within 1 minute of walking in the door......I suddenly have the urge to.....find a potty.

EVERY. FREAKING. SINGLE. TIME. No matter what time of day and I can't even get down a half an isle before I'm jumping around and crossing my legs like a 4th grader fighting off the urge to not soil my damn pants!

I don't know what happened in my brain somewhere along the line but for some odd reason it's got a couple of nuerons all crooked crossed up and instead of it saying "It's time to shop" it screams "It's time to POOOOOOO!!!"

I told you. Tmi. But it's WEIRD TMI!!

About a year and a half ago I used to have the SAME thing happen in a different store that I would go to each week but I eventually stopped going there when I found a place with cheaper stuff and I thought my little weirdo problem was solved, but came back.

It's been going on for about a year now in the new store and it's just.... goofy. I wouldn't be botherd by it or even care but the shop doesn't HAVE A BATHROOM and the only public potty in the whole freakin' po-dunk town is a half mile away and always has a line out the door of women waiting to go.

For some reason I never remember it's going to happen and so I've never done a pre-trip to the potty place for some preventive measures and so EVERY SINGLE TIME I get half way down the isle and scream "DANG IT!! CRAP! AGAAIIINNN!!" inside my head and kicky myself mentaly in the face for being such a freak.

Most days I can prance around and wait it out long enough to get my stuff and go but sometimes, like today, I have to freaking put my basket DOWN, leave the crapping store and drive to the potty place. It's dag gum incon-freaking-vinient.

Why can't I REMEMBER this is going to happen and WHY does it happen every time??? I go almost eeeevvveerrryyy Saturday so that means it's happend about 50 times to me in the past year. That's just not right.

Is there some sort of anti-poo meditation I can do? A re-wire my retarded synapse pathways chant or something?


Monday, October 3, 2011

Let 'Er Fly

Mexicans can't sing.

In groups that is. It must be some sort of cultural thing but when a group gets together here to sing a group song, anthem what-have-you, basicaly people just....yell. They just yell the words in tempo and forget about any sort of melody.

I don't mean anything bad or rude by pointing this out, it just is what it is and maybe I felt like stirring up some shit. Nothing like a little hate mail in the morning but remember, I've always promised to keep my blog truthful.

At the school where I work we all stand together Monday morning and sing the Mexican Hymn, the Tamaulipas Hymn and the school song and it's always the same. The music blares over the loud speakers and a couple hundred people stand there and yell out the words. It always gets me feeling awkward and feet shuffly because I don't know how NOT to sing, I don't get this yelling thing, and when I try to sing along with the actual music I end up sounding out of place.

Maybe because they have a penchant for making music about a half octave out of peoples comfort range here? Kinda like that church lady with the warble who always insists on being a super-soprano and singing a full octave above everyone else and sticks out like a sore thumb? That's what I feel like trying to sing here, but I care that I sound weird.

It's the same at any family function where we sing Happy Birthday, I get all weirded out because I sound like an ass actually singing the song while everybody else yells and I usually end up lip-synching and REALLY looking weird.

What jerk lip-synchs to Happy Birthday??

I mean really, who really has the problem here?


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Who Wants a Ham Sandwhich?

During our Culture Fair at the school last year each class recived a country to make a table for.

They were encouraged to bring in foods, items and info native to their given country and the U.S. team brought all the things in they could think of to represent the States.

Here, right next to the macaroni and cheese, jello and Mcdonald's is what the kids labled
"Philly Cheese Steak."

I think somebody forgot to Google a picture of that one before setting it up.


And to boot? It was made out of a dog toy.

Love it!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Three Years in Mexico

Earlier this month while trying to get across the border into the U.S. I was asked by the border gaurd how long I've been living in Mexico. I realized that THAT day was exactly 3 years and it got me thinking how short of a time frame three years sounds to be.

In three years I crammed in three pregnancies and ended up with two babies. I went from being I-don't-like-kids-never-want-them and knowing NOTHING of babies to being a first and second time mommy. (said second baby to the left there with some family members on Independence day) Second time mommy's know everything there is to know about babies and will tell you that if their new four month old wants to be drug around the house by his left foot, nekkid and gnalming on an old book that it's JUST FINE as long as he's HAPPY.

I managed to walk into a school here in Mexico and say "Hey! I have no classroom experience but are ya lookin' for any teachers??" and have them say "Why YES white lady, COME ON IN!" I learned how to be a teacher from the Internet and co-workers and now during my second year I kinda feel like maybe I really AM a teacher and that oh-dear-God-I kinda like it. It's hard to dread going to work when you know there are going to be forty ten year olds waiting to hug you.

In three years my husband and I have had ups and downs but I know we're ok because when he walks out of the shower I still have the urge to run up to him, steal his towel, smack his ass and run away yelling "I see your boooootaayyy I smacked your booootaayy and yoouuuuu know you liiiikkeeee eeeeettt!"

In three years I've learned to cook all the Mexican food my husband could ever ask for and I'll be damned but it took 2.5 of those years to get the recipie for his granny's salsa! Sometimes older Mexican ladies don't like to share their best recipies because it's THEIRS damn it but I figured out if you ask over and over and over that they'll give you 2/3's of the recipie each time - but they MIGHT not remember which ingredients they told you in the times before and will screw up and tell you new ingredients and leave out old ones at each new go round. After you've asked about five or six times you should have all of the ingredients in a recipie and can finally give it a try. It took me that 2.5 years to get out of ole abuela that her secret ingredient in salsa is..... OIL. Shoulda known.

We've moved three times in the past three years, gone through a couple vehicles and given away a lot of stuff. I can't remember where I read it but someone said something about how we need to decide if it is US that holds onto our STUFF or if the STUFF has a hold on us. I was hanging on to a lot of things from my old home and old life and felt the need to find a way to let a lot of it go.

There's so much more but I feel like gettin' a move on and taking the babies to the park. I've finaly got a bit of time here and there to blog again so how about we give this another go? I've got a lot of pictures waiting to get out and Mexico hasn't been one to disappoint these past months. Let's let the fodder out!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Public Enemy #2

This lil guy is severly enbrazilado! It's a slang for en brazo - in arms and chiflado - spoiled. Basicaly it means that this lil mug requires being held for about 90% of his waking hours - or he will scream. Bloody murder. In fact, I'm typing one handed right now hoping that he doesn't figure out that he's not the center of my attention for a couple of minutes - lest he'll go baby ape shiit.

Luckily for my sanity he has big fat cheeks that I take liberty of gnalming on throughout the day - usually followed by big-ole-pig snorts into his fattty neck while proclaiming "Who's a fatty!? Who's mammas bubba chunk!?"

He always looks away and gets a far off look in his face during these times... like he's merely enduring it and trying not to let himself be insulted by going to his happy place - because he somehow knows that Mommy needs to revel in his chub and cuteness or else she just might leave his ass on a doorstep, and the doorstep people might not give him as much milk. Or something

All I know is that it's a damn good thing I think he's so cute and he smiles so much and seems to generaly worship me while in my arms for those 12 hours a day. Cuz otherwise? DOOR. STEP.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mexican Ducks in a Row!

I've been wanting to get a pic of these lil guys for a couple of YEARS now!

Every once in a while here at the flea markets a box full of baby duckies or baby chicks will show up in all their fuzzy cuteness - and adorned - with baseball caps.

The caps are styrofoam and GLUED onto the chicks heads.

I can't imagine what the animal rights folks would do with this sort of thing back home (lol!) but the caps are sure to fall off after a short while when the fuzz sheds and the pin feathers come in.

In the mean time though, well, just look at them!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Livin' On A Prayer

Dear Lord,

I don't think it's very good if I spend time praying for 15 minutes to sweep and Mop my floor. There's so much more in the world that needs praying for, like.... things 1,000,000 times worse than my dirty floor. This should be a no brainer right God? Just PUSH the "YES" button and LET ME CLEAN MY HOUSE. That way, I can get back to praying for the starving orphans. You want starving orphan prayers don't you???


Yours Truly, Amen,

- Trashed House Mommy

Friday, June 3, 2011

5 Signs That You Might Be Married To A Mexican

1. If the preferred cleaning liquid for your entire house is Clorox. Not Bleach, no, CLOROX. It's like the Cher of cleaning fluids.

2. If your spouse can request the same thing at all three meals a day and it's not considred an OCD or even strange. (tortillas yall)

3. If after a few years you realize that a human being can actually survive drinking only Coke.

4. If you present your spouse with a generic Coke or (God forbid) Pepsi and find yourself being hissed at.

5. If your spouse refers to you as "Jew" and you aren't Jewish. "Are jew going to feeneesh dat?"

LOVE my husband! :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dishes, Diapers and Doo Doo OH MY!

I was just doing dishes and thinking about my Mom and her gratitude rock. It's a rock you keep in your pocket and everytime you put your hand in your pocket for change or what-not and touch it - you think of something you're grateful for. My Mom keeps one all the time and she's a thank-filled lady :)

Anyhoo, I was thinking about that and the dishes I was washing. I might not love to wash dishes but if I think about it.... I'm grateful to HAVE dishes TO wash. Some people here in Mexico don't have much more than a pan or pot, let alone a stove.

I'm thankful to have soap to wash them and a scrubbie to scrub them because I've seen people using river water and rocks and weeds here. I'm thankful I have food to put IN those dishes to cook!

Most important I'm so thankful I have a family to feed off those dishes. I've got a great family to wash those dishes for and a husband who will even help me sometimes.

It's neat what we can be truly grateful for if we stop and think about it.

Diapers! My husbands Aunt raised 9 kids in rural Mexico 40 years ago and told me one day that she never had a diaper ONE! She said they were poor and used ripped up shirts. Can you imagine? So I'm darn thankful for these diapers and the little butts I've been blessed enough to clean.

The floor I have to sweep and mop means I HAVE a floor and not dirt like some others do here. People with dirt floors DO sweep though. They take care of what they have.

I can't wait to think of other chores I thought I disliked, just so I can think of how thankful I should be for them! What can YOU be thankful for?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just A Few Things...and a Poosee

Babies are some gassy damn people. Just FYI.

Between the 1 month old and the 16 month old our house is a continuous symphony of baby butt musicians. I'm pretty sure I've not gone for more than 30 minutes at a stretch in the past month without being farted upon. Not that I care, baby farts are LOUD and drawn out but not smelly and I happen to love toilet humor so ... well what's not to love? When I was about 12 years old my best pal the neighbor boy and I spent an entire summer taping ourselves forcing out the biggest nastiest burps would could muster. (Remember how COOL it was when you figured out how to record yourself with your boombox??) We sat down, swalloed air, hit "record" and burped our way to an hour long tape of mouth-flatulance and giggles and then spent the next two years wearing the tape out listening to ourselves and peeing our pants. My Moms still got the tape, she's cool like that.

It was Day of the Teacher here in Mexico last week and I saw on a FB friends site that she had posted up a big apple and a big thank you note to all her teacher friends. It got me to thinking about the sweeter than sugar 1st grader I had in one of my classes this past year who was always bringing me apples. I wonder where that tradition started? I imagine it started in a time before Valium. That's what I'll be sending MY kids to school with to give their teachers. That and maybe the occaisional bottle of Vokda.

Anyhoo, thinking of him brings me to another kid, the "Poosee" kid. OMG. I was with a class of fourth graders and had just given them the assignment of writing and acting out their own play. One boy walked up to me about 20 minutes into it and asked, "Teacher, can we use the word Poosee?" I genuinely didn't understand him at first and asked him to repeat.

"Poosie teacher, can we use that word?"

"WHAT word?"
"Say it agian??"

I honest to goodness thought I understood what he was asking but wanted to make SURE so I asked him -

" does that word mean sweetie? Can you tell me?"

"Oh, well you know teacher, like... it's what you call your friends when they're being chicken and you're playing." "You call them a poosee."

"Ohhhhhh. no sweetie. Um....that's a bad word ok? It's one of those words that we never EVER say in school ok?"

"Oh.... so we can't use it in the play?"

Vodka and a case of Depends, cuz kids really are funny.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thong Song

I came down stairs this morning wearing the tight pants my husband has been requesting and was met with his cat-calls and "Hey Wera!" "Yahh!" A little confidence boost in the morning is never bad but about a half hour later he THEN informed me that he was going to make a trip to my underpants drawer and find me a better pair of underwear to wear. He told me, and I quote - "Dose look like granny butt." "Jew need something to not show dee lines."

*head smack*

God really?

He actually took his butt up stairs, went THROUGH MY DRAWS and proceeded to throw a dang pair of tanga panties down at me from above. (*snort* I just typed "panties")

Anyhoo, he didn't say anything else, just went about his merry way off to take a shower, confident that when he came back my granny-panty-looking bottom would be fixed. (They SO were NOT granny panties btw, they were just.... comfortable)

You know the crazy thing though? I honest to God DID march my ass to the bathroom and swap them out. I still can't decide if it's major LOVE or if I'm a secret door-mat or if I just plain didn't want to go out for my walk later and have people think I wear granny-panties.

Nah... I'm pretty sure I'm not a door-mat. If anything I was humoring him....and I don't want to go for a walk with a goofy looking butt.

Of course, now I have wedgie-feeling-butt. PEOPLE WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH COMFORTABLE UNDERPANTS !?!?? They had cartoon bunnies on them! Cartoon bunnies do not granny panties make. You know, some people happen to LIKE full coverage in the butt area.

Ugh... What-ev-er.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dieting AGAIN!?? Lonjas!

When I first moved to Mexico I was immediately taken back by the way women dress. It seemed that either nobody owned a mirror or that clothing at least two sizes too small was the IN style. Women run around here with not just muffin top but with their muffin tops bared for the world to SEE! I liked to go to the park, sit on a bench and just stare at the people walking by and soak up their obliviousness to fashion or size. I loved it.

Coming from the U.S. where size is so SO huge a deal and where every little lump, bump or yes, muffin is a huge discrace, it was shocking and all of a sudden liberating to be in a new world where people just don't seem to give a flying monkey about it all. I wasn't able to join the forces of spare-tire-bare-er-alls but I felt comfortable in my skin for just about the first time in my adult life.

Fast forward 2.5 years and two babies later and I'm wishing I could re-capture some of that initial new-found zest for my bodys extra curves. It's three weeks post birth and my husband is all of a sudden begging me to wear tight clothes again. Tight? Eeeek! The only clothes I own that fit me right now are a couple of shorts a pair of jeans and some t-shirts that are all blessedly NOT tight. I'm desperately dieting and trying to exercise so that I can fit back into my pants that seem SOOO far away from me and he's bugging me to wear tight clothes. God bless him but I just can't seem to get on the ban-wagon.

I tried to explain that my stomach is all out of whack and not fit for being showcased by a tight shirt and do you KNOW what the man does???!! This is Mexican culture at it's best yall. He walks over to me, grabs an oversized handful of someones *ahem* spare tire and says "What? Jew don like my lonjas? (spare tire) I don't care, dey're mine." He squeezes the spare over-inflated-tire holds onto it for a while and even leans down to give me a kiss. And then laughs at me!

In the U.S. I'd have divorced his ass right then and there but this is Mexico and he doesn't mean even the slightest thing bad by it. In the U.S. a husband shows his love for his plump wife by ignoring or pretending that her spare tires don't exist "NO those pants don't make your butt look big!" but in Mexico they show their love by bringing your extra parts to attention, calling you "Mi Gorda" (my fatty) and making light of the whole thing. They're not raised to care about it in a negative way like we are in the U.S. In fact, they just don't care AT ALL.

I'll never forget the first time my husbands family were all together and the women decided to show off their bellies to the family so everyone could laugh. It went sort of like.... "Look at Diana, she looks like she's 4 months pregnant! Haahahahaha" At which point Diana proudly lifted her shrit, grasped her generous midsection in both hands and began dancing the whole thing about and having a good ole time laughing about it. '

All the other cousins and aunts joined in doing the same thing and I sat there having a heart attack thinking "OH MY GAWD THEY'RE SHOWING THEIR BARE STOMACHS! PEOPLE CAN SEEEE!!" There were stretch marks and tires and belly-buttons gone bad, everybody was laughing and having a great time and the women showcased couldn't have cared less. Their husbands sat next to them and proudly laughed along throwing in little comments of their own and I gave a silent prayer of thanks that nobody asked me to lift MY shirt.

Over the almost three years spent here my husband has tried calling me HIS "Gorda" or "Gordita" (Fatty, little fatty) but I've informed him time and time again that I'll never be THAT Mexican-an-ized. He backs off before trying again a few months later and in the mean time is placated by the fact that I allow him to call me his "Vieja" (his old lady.) In the U.S. it's ok for a hillbilly to say "Yeah, me and my ole-lady...." but not so much to say "Yeah, me and my ole-fatty..." Just no. Not so much gonna happen bucko.

I can't quite embrace my extra-ness and to the wonder and head-shakes of my husbands family I'll be dieting and exercising like a psycho until it's brought back under control again - BUT - I'll at least feel a wee bit OK about myself in the time that it takes to get there. In the U.S. I wouldn't have had that luxury and I'd like to take a moment to be thankful for it.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Birthing On The Border

I have TWO children! I know it's no big deal, so average and whatever as far as the world is concerned, but for me - a previous I-will-never-EVER-have-children-because-they're-yucky-and-lame believer - it's a pretty big deal. Here I am though, Daisy's 15 months and her little brother 15 days and I'm quite smitten with the both of them. Who knew?

No more kids though, good crapping goose in hand basket NO MORE. ;D

If you were with me back when when Daisy was born you might remember that my Mom was here to go with me across the U.S./Mexican border and to the hospital. I drove in labor because she was scared to death of Mexican roads and traffic and got lost in Texas on the way to the hospital because I had never been there before because I was planning on delivering at a Mid-wife center that all of a sudden had no Mid-wife the day I went into labor. It turned out great and nothing less than what I would expect from my goofy life. Nikoli's entrance into the world of course proved to be no less exciting.

I went into labor Thursday night two weeks ago, the day before Good Friday, a week and a half before the due date and two days before my Mom was to arrive in Mexico. At the time I was more freaked out by the fact that I'd not had time to finish the laundry and wash the walls... than the fact that my Mom wouldn't make it to be with me. Horomones or shame I'm not sure which but I REALLY wanted her to come to our house being spic and span.

It was 9:30 at night and I wasn't sure if it was for real labor but I figured that I'd better go because the closest border crossing would close in a half an hour and I didn't want to drive to the one farther away. The border gaurd was a douche bag and didn't believe me that I was in labor. Our convo went like this:

"Mamn, where are you going this late at night?"

"I'm going to the hospital!"

*Sly Smile* *Silence*

"Time to have the baby."

"Why are you all by yourself?"

"Because my husband can't come with me."
(this border guard has seen me before, he knows my deal)

*Sly Smile* "Friends, Family? Noooobody is going with you?"

"No, my Mom isn't here yet and there IS nobody else and it's TIME so I'm going by myself. I'll be fine, that's what doctors are for."

*Shake of the head* *looks around* *Shitty smile*

"What's the baby's name?"

"Nikoli" "OMG! We don't have a middle name!" "We didn't get around to it!" "What's your name?"
(lol, crazy horomones talking again)

*bewildered look*

"What's the babies name?"

"No, what's YOUR name? I need a middle name!"

"Er" *stares at me*

*I stare back* "Name??"


(I think, ew, don't like it)

"So... you're going all by yourself...."


"Where have I seen you before?"

*duh-asshole look*


"Ah yeah, with that other woman."


"Oh yeeaahhh, Amaannndaa."

"Yes her, and yes I know, she had to go to secondary, but she always goes to secondary to be searched but that's HER not me."

"Yeaahhhh. I remember you were really pissed off."

*bewildered look*


"Well....I hope I wasn't rude."

(I was thinking to myself that he was SUCH an idiot. It wasn't me who was pissed off, it was my friend for having to have her car searched for the 100th time but whatever, who was I to correct him.)

"Yeeeaahhhh. Last time you were pissed off and now this time you're in labor but you're happy." *Smile* "Hmmmmmmmm......"

*thinking to myself DEAR CRAPPING SHiiiIT!!*

"Well it's a BABY, it's a HAPPY THING!"

At this point I had a contraction and closed my eyes for a minute. He continued to stare at me and smile that STOOPID smile like he thought I was full of ten miles of horse shit and just stared at me.

"So it's time huh?"

*Shitty disbelieving smile*

"Yes! God.... do you want to look in the trunk??" (trunk of the car) I'd like to go to the hospital!

*Stares at me*

"Yeah, go ahead and open it up."

He checked out the trunk of my car and came back shaking his head and half laughing and told me it was ok that I could go. He told me to drive really careful and good luck.

Thank You. Moron.

Anyhoo, I got to the hospital 15 mintues later, checked in, hooked up to all the machines and found that my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart! Whew! Buuuuuuttt I wasn't dialated enough so they decided I needed Pitocin to speed things up. I bargained for an Epidural before they hooked me up to the P-Hell-Drip and everybody was happy.

I can't count how many times I explained to how many nurses and staff that yes I would be alone for the birth, no, no family or friends just me but it didn't bother me as much as you'd think. There were some really great shows on the Discovery Channel and I had an epidural, there wasn't much to complain about.

I had a couple of bad moments when the nurse wouldn't come and I couldn't move from the stomach down and my nose was running and I couldn't get to a tissue to blow my nose and I was puking all over the place because the epidural drug had run out and nobody had come to replace it and DAMN if you get cut off from that stuff too quick things get ugly fast. So I bawled and wanted my Mommy to be there so I wouldn't have to blow my nose on the sheet and puke on the floor. But whatever, the nurse finaly came and gave me tissue and a puke-bucket, plus more epi-drug and even an anti-nausea drug so... all was well.

Back to the Discovery Channel till almost 9a.m. the baby was ready to come. (Thank you Discovery Channel for not playing infomercials, cuz that would have sucked) One doctor 3 nurses and two pushes later and I was no longer alone! Nikoli Christian came into the world.

I wanted to name the baby Christian but my husband said it was "Gay" (*sigh* (caveman)) buuuuut I figured since we didn't have a middle name and I DID have to have the baby all by myself that he couldn't be mad at me for using it for his middle name. So there. (Nah nah nah boo boo!)

I spent the next two days in the hospital waiting for my Moms bus to get to Texas so she could come and break us out of the hospital. They flat out refused to let me leave by myself. I had planned on staying till my Moms bus came, picking her up and just driving home but they wouldn't have it. Boo, but whatever.

I had a really nice time having Nikoli all to myself those first couple of days. He stayed with me 24/7 and even slept in the bed with me. I was worried that the nurses would chastize me for sleeping with him but they didn't seem to care and one even encouraged it. Cool ladies!

One of my friends here in Mexico noticed that I wasn't responding on F.B. thus telling her that I was either dead or in the hospital. She called the hospital to inquire if I was there and they put her strait through. I was so happy to talk to someone! Soon after my husband was able to call and I wasn't feeling lonely at all.

Another Mexpat teacher came to visit me on my last day and ended up being the one to break me out of the hospital. The jail-break was going quite well until she was pretending to drive "her" (my) car around to pick me up and ended up setting off the alarm. She couldn't figure out how to shut off the alarm and the nurse-aide-man didn't want me to leave the hospital by foot but I told him it would be ok, we'd keep it a secret, just to wait a sec. I ran outside, helped her with the alarm and scooted back inside and sat back in the chair so he could THEN wheel me back outside. He was a cool dude. A drive around the parking lot and I was free to take the wheel and my friend could get back to her own vehicle.

We went to her house and it was time to pick my Mom up from the bus station. A quick trip to the bus station and I had my baby, my Mama and we all went back home to the other side of the border where my husband was awaiting his little boy's arrival.

And here we are. My Mom is back in Michigan and all of a sudden I belong to a family of four. I'm lucky to have great friends here in Mexico and lucky to have a healthy family with happy babies. I don't have to return to teaching till the next school year starts and I'm thrilled to have the next couple of months to stay at home and soak up our new baby boy. :)

(P.S. No hate mail for bashing the border guard who was just doing his job. He WAS just doing his job, but he could have done it a little less douche-y. And yes I KNOW that hospitals have rules in place to protect people, but sometimes people have OTHER ways off needing to go about their business. Leave it be)

Monday, April 18, 2011

**********Sorry but a-hole Blogger won't let me use space to create PARAGRAPHS so, sorry about the reeeaaalllyyy annoying format!**************** Vacation!!...................................................................................... Kind of? With two weeks left until the new baby is born (I hope!) I'm finaly done with teaching at the school for the year. It couldn't have come at a better time as my feet decided last week to impersonate balloons during the day. Kankles are a hard look to accesorize yall.................................................................. I say "kind of" to the word vacation because I've got a certain year and 4 month old baby girl at home to contend with. At least with the 400 or so kids at school I taught I could yell "BE QUIIIEEEETT!!" and they'd sort of acknowledge my presence. But Daisy? Naturally, not so much. ..........................................................................................................................She finally learned how to walk a couple of weeks ago, and it only took her 15.5 months to get it! My little trail blazer...... I wasn't too woried about her lack of walking though because she HAD learned to blow a whistle, impersonate the street sellers calls "PaaaAAAAANNNNN!!!" and even spit on comand........................................... Who needs a baby that can walk if she can spit?............................................................ She picked up the spitting thing one day over at her uncles house. He's always spitting, not chew, just his thing, and I'll be damned if she didn't come home doing the same. ............................................................................She speaks quite a bit now although it's all in Spanish. It kind of freaks me out but I imagine she'll catch up eventually. And at least her favorite word "No." "No no nooooo NO NNOOOO" is international. It kinda counts as English!? .......................................................Anyhoo. I'm thrilled to say that I've found side work tutoring students in my home. AT HOME!!! It's not enough to quit a regular job but it's extra and it's easy and I really enjoy it. Tutoring one or two students at a time is so SIMPLE compared to 20+ kids at once! They LISTEN and don't run around and scream or hit anybody............................................................... I can see improvement and progress so quickly right before my eyes and develop a relationship. I love it! ..................................................................It was tricky getting started and finding people that would actually SHOW UP, but this is Mexico and it's just the way of the land. I'm used to it now and it didn't phase me a bit when the first 4 clients would swear up and down to the time and date and never show. It's no biggie as long as you don't count your chickens before they hatch!............................................................................ If there are any Mexpats curious about rates - here you go! I don't know about other places but here in Reynosa a foreign teacher can charge around 150 pesos per hour for a single student. That's if they come to YOUR home, if you go to their home you can charge 200 pesos. If you get more than one kid from the same family in the same hour (gravy!) it's normal to charge a little less per student, say 100 pesos each. It took me a week of going around and begging other tutoring teachers to let me in on what rates are but for YOU my Mexpat friends, not neccesary. ;)............................................................................... Next school year I'm going to offer Violin lessons at the school as well. For such a big, important, supposed to be the best private school around, our school has NO music program! Nothing!! There's one guy that comes after school and offers guitar lessons but I'm thinking some of the parents would like another option, maybe something a bit more refined. And here I AM!! Thank You MOM and DAD for all those years of Violin, I can finaly USE IT!! .................................................................I feel really ...... AWESOME actually putting skills that I posses to work for me here in Mexico. I felt so useless for the first couple of years here, not being able to speak Spanish and find good work in Texas. It was a huge blow to my self esteem to have to work the min. wage craaaaaappp jobs over in Texas just to stay alive. Now though I'm doing better making a living right HERE in Mexico!............................................................................... Look to yourselves fellow Mexpats and see what YOU have to offer! (lol, excuse me while I take a sip of water at the podium) Anyhoo, I've had tons to say lately but well you know, no Internet for a month and then no time - booooo. But I'm still here and I'm doing better than ever. Who woulda thunk it!? Tell me what some of YOU do down here in Mexico to keep yourselves afloat, I'd love to hear what others are offering!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Culinary Part Two

This to your right is what happens after one has become a mommy and can't find the lid to her vanilla bottle.

Just wanted to share how I roll...maybe get it off my chest.

It really DOES have a nice seal though.

THIS to the right is what happens when one loans out a cake pan, doesn't get it back and has their husband volunteer them to bake a birthday cake. He volunteered me in Spanish -one foot away- and I didn't even know they were talking about me.

Where's that damn Spanish book again??

Back home I'd think nothing of baking something and giving it to the recipient in the pan it was made in. I know it would come back to me within a week, but here in Mexico things get a little... tricky.
They don't steal mind you, but unless you ASK for it, sometimes multiple times, they're not going to bother to give it
back to you.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm breaking some sort of culture-rule
by asking for my stuff back (???) but pans are expensive!

I guess I really should start buying those one-time use pans, maybe keep a stock of them in the house. That'll do.

This is the Sonnnggg that Ne-ver Eennds ...

Do you know that feeling you get when you hear a new song
and realize you've just GOT to have it? You get it and listen
to it a second, thrid, and 25th time and feel something akin
to spiritual about it? You've got to love that feeling!

Do you know though, the weirdness of it when 200 times later
or two weeks or months when one day you pop in the song, it starts
to play and all of a sudden it's two-dementional? All of
a sudden and who knows why the spiritualness or shine
and luster are gone and it's just a nice song.

That happend to me this morning and within seconds it popped
into my mind that other things in life are like that. A favorite
game, book, club, show ect. I was immediately thankful that
my husband hasn't worn out HIS song yet! (Or started to grate like
the LONG version of "American Pie" cuz damn, that's the day our
marrige would die!) What a goofy thought I guess, but from there
it led to Mexico and the experience of living here itself.

And you know? Even though we've been beat into the ground
financially over and over, ground in and spat upon,
and life is scary here sometimes and I'm so far away from
loved ones - I'm still living in 3D.

(p.s. no I am not smoking weed)

I've always thrived when it comes to challenges and maybe
God knew what he was doing sending me here! Life is ONE HUGE
challenge every day here! It's taken me YEARS just to
make something so basic and neccesary as friends. Learning
Spanish is a continuing challenge (verbs can go to hell!)

Just try learning a new culture and how to navigate through the day
without being an unasuming asshole! I've learned (ok, am learning)
to cook an entirely new cuzine, how to dress, act...
you get the point.

Add to this whole mix having my first two babies in the span
of two years and this whole thing is insane. But I still
play the song that is life here everyday and everyday I'm
surprised to say I still love it. So often it's bittersweet
but hell, that's just a part of it.

One little song played this morning, it's newness worn off and here
I am thankful as ever for my life! How cool is that?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Culinary Moment

The neighbor just brought over this bowl of food. We exchange platters of food here and there but I wonder if she was as baffled by the plate of brownies as I am by ....this.

Chino said it's dehydrated shrimp, re-hydrated in some sort of chile sauce.

The egg. The egg is kind of scary...I have a feeling it may very well be pickled. Call me a pansy but I've never tried a pickled egg.

When I went home to Michigan for Christmas I actually opened my parents fridge and in the back there was a jar of pickled eggs. Honest to god I saw it, shut the door and stood there thinking "Dear lord are my parents THAT hillbilly???" "Do I have to start calling my Dad 'Boss Hog' "?

I looked at my Mom and said "OH MY GAWD are those PICKLED EGGS in your fridge!??" Just in case she didn't know they were in there -pickled stow-aways or something - I opened the fridge and pointed at them. She looked kinda sheepish and told me that not only were they bonafide but they were home made! EEEEK!! My Dad swore up and down that they were fabulous. Maybe I was freaking out because I was home and was feeling like a kid again, or it was prego horomones. It's not like they were pickled pigs feet or something like that. Or maybe I was just being an asshole...pickled things that aren't pickles apparently bring out the anti-pickling-racist in me.

Back to the neighbors dish (side-track much??) Wonder if this is some sort of holiday dish? Saturday tradition? Freak-out-the-gringa attempt? IS SHE A BRUJA???

Do I have to try it? ...... I guess so, maybe it'll make up karma wise for laughing at my Ma and Dad.

Here goes - *tasting*

Oooo! What ever salsa that is is pretty nice! I'd like to know the chiles she used. ...... The shrimp are REALLLYY shrimpy (eeesh) and ........ suuuper chewy. ..... The egg? ......... LOL I'm not that dedicated a blogger yall, I'll save that for my husband. Sorry. But damn. Over all...... well let's just say she's an awful nice lady for sharing and leave it at that.


My husband came home and ate the whole bowl. The egg it turns out was NOT pickled! Just....a boiled egg floating in sauce with shrimp. . . . I asked if this is some sort of holiday thing or weekend thing and he said "No, dey're jus trying to eet." Whatever, I'm going with it being some sort of special thing....why ELSE would you put a boiled egg in it??? Or maybe I'm just egg-racist after all.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

43 and Below!

I googled Celsius to Fahrenheit today and it's at around 43 degrees Fahrenheit that the schools here in Mexico are shut down for the cold.
I know that'll make my Northern friends and family poo their pants but remember we have no heaters here!

Today at school there was only one out of around 600 kids there. I'm having a grand time making lesson plans without interruption, hanging out and talking to teachers, reading and what not. Some of the other teachers are miserable and just want to go home but I'm happy as a clam!

This afternoon we actually had ice and icicles on the trees and the faculty were wandering outside to stare at it and have their picture taken next to it. I thought it was adorable and I appreciate the childlike giddiness they have about it. The ice IS pretty and I imagine if I'd never seen it before I'd be pretty darn amazed as well

Here in the Casa we're happily holed up and have our space heaters running full blast to take off the chill. When it seems too cold I just bake up something yummy and the oven helps heat up the house to a more comfy level. Not much to complain about there!

The pics are from my trip back home to Michigan around New Year. Daisy was happy as a clam being spoiled ALL to hell by my Mom. The blue sled is what we used to take her out one nice day when it wasn't too cold. She loved being pulled around so much that my Mom washed it up and brought it in the house to pull her around on.

My Mom sat it on a dog bed and swooshed the baby back and forth the house for seriously like an HOUR at a time. It got to the point where she would throw a baby fit if my Mom would stop before she was finished and the above pic is where she stayed in so long that she fell asleep. I just about peed my pants taking that picture.

I loved being home for the first time with the baby. It was crazy nice to be there, to have my parents meet my baby and for her to fall in love with them. Having her spoiled rotten to the core was of course a plus for her. ;)

She played peek-a-boo for the first time at my parents and started standing up solo there for the first time. It was funny though, when we came home it was WEEKS before she would do any of that again. ??? My Mom taught her her 3rd word while we were there so that was pretty special. :) I look forward to working at the school in the future because it'll guarantee real vacation time like I wouldn't find in any other job. I won't go another 2 years without going home!! HOORAAYY for teaching!!