Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Got Culture - My trip to Morelia, Originally written Jan 2008

The Drive:

The drive is around 8 hours. We went the way that is cheaper, it takes about ½ hour more and has a lot more curves but saves around $50 dollars from the toll roads. The only catch is in the curves the kids get sick and cranky. As your driving through the tropical mountains of Jalisco you see areas that look similar to places in the US. In one area I always feel like I am in Bend Oregon or Northern California on the drive to Reno.

The Posadas:

When we got to El Alto de Aviles, Enrique's town, it was already time for the Posadas to start. Now if you aren't familiar with the Posadas this is something very special many people do in Mexico during the Christmas season. In fact what I experienced as their Christmas season was not at all similiar to what I am used to. It IS ABOUT celebrating, but it is not about gifts, other than the posadas.
It starts on the 16th of December. Every night for 9 days. Every evening when the church bells ring around 6pm, everyone gathers at the Church to participate. They start on the walk around the town. This walk represents when Joseph and Mary were going around looking for shelter. All the children and many parents gather and walk around stopping at each house that has an nativity scene. Maria leads everyone who participates around the town leading the singing. She sings loud and off key but it is utterly charming and heart warming. At each house someone goes into the house and then they sing songs answering back and forth. The group asks please let us in we have no where to go, etc. and the house rejects them, until at the end you are at the church. Then they give out gift bags that contain fruit and candy. All of the streets are decorated elaborately with streamers going from one side of the streets to the other side. It is quite amazing. The funny thing is that it always starts with like 10-25 people and ends with about 200 people. People from other towns come, which is sort of un fair but I guess a lot of people go to different town to get as many posadaas as they can.

The only problem I had while I was there was.. caring for the children:

There is one major problem that is there. Taking care of the children. You can't keep them clean. You can't keep them safe. There are hazards everywhere. When I said to Enrique I don't know how anyone could raise children in that environment he took offense because he said that he grew up there. I said well, if we lived here I would have areas where the animals stayed on their side, and there wasn't dangerous places a baby can go. I get pretty umm how do I say Pre Madonna ish over there because, there are so many hazards and things to look out for I go on strike. I'm like if I had my way, there would be gates so the children can't crawl out anytime they want into where all the goats are. The chickens and turkeys wouldn't be walking around pooping on everything. And The spiral staircase that goes up to a dangerous platform with no fence would either be gated off or there would be a gate at the top or even a different type of stairs.

So I guess my point is I get a little upset not having control of my children and what they are doing and experiencing. Now the children love this. They love getting dirty and don't mind having to change 3-4 times in one day. They love running around being wild. The one thing I do appreciate is at least their property is fenced off from the street.

I guess another pet peeve I have about being there is the bathroom. It is pretty nice since we fixed it up. However, you have to go outside to get to it. I am the kind of person that usually has to pee in the middle of the night. So navigating a dark concrete yard with obstacles, rats (I've heard) and a large dog that gets loose sometimes at night, is not fun.

Regardless of all these pet peeves I've just stated, Maria is my hero. She is not perfect. But she has a great sense of humor, she's raised one of the best set of children I have ever met. 2 girls and 5 boys most of which are fabulous, funny, and forgiving. Hmm that's a good set of f's. And if she can do it for you and you ask, she will. Her gift to you is caring for you.
So that was my trip to Morelia, what do you think?