Sunday, January 25, 2009

Another Opening, Another Show!

Linda's exhibition Imagenes (Images) opened Friday night, January 23, 2008 to an overwhelming crowd of over 150 people. And what an opening it was! The crowds spilled out onto the street at La Fonda Rosa, where mojitos and botanos (appetizers) were served to keep the spirits flowing. We were very pleased with the way the show looked and the comments were thoughtful and praiseworthy.

There was a prominent ad in the weekly newspaper, which is published every Friday, for the show. That certainly helped attendance.

Fortunately, we took pictures of the exhibit before the opening. In fact, it was extremely fortunate that we did so, because our camera froze up just before the opening, and I had to run home and get another one as a backup.

Linda also showed some of her jewelry as an afterthought, and it made a nice addition to the artwork on the walls, as many of the attendees didn't know that she also made jewelry.

The restaurant where the opening was held is called La Fonda Rosa. It's owned by a young woman from Mexico City, Gabriella, who is quite a personality...not to mention a fine cook. Many of the people who came to the opening had never been to the restaurant, so we were happy to give Gabriella some good exposure.

Mojitos and appetizers were served during the opening. Linda was so busy she didn't have a chance to even taste them, but they were delicious, especially the mojitos.

Lots of our friends attended....
Mark and Susan

Clint and Karen


Lou and Bob (where are you, Bob?)

As the show wound down, we were pleased to see our housekeeper, Mari, arrive with her husband Martin and son Eric (see previous blog about Eric). We showed them around the gallery and then ate some appetizers with them. Linda was really touched that they had come, as they normally do not socialize with gringos.

We then joined a group of friends who had stayed for dinner. As you can imagine, the mood was high and the conversation lively. A long, but pleasant evening!

Linda looked lovely and happy...and this was taken before the show. Afterwards she looked just as lovely and happy, but a lot more tired. We slept extremely well that night!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

El dia de la inauguracion de Presidente Obama

Today was a big day in San Miguel. Hundreds of us gringos piled into restaurants, cafes and bars to watch the inauguration ceremony among other Americans.

Linda and I joined friends at a restaurant called Los Milagros. Probably an appropriate name, as it means literally "The Miracles."

Four big TV's entertained the throngs - probably 200 in this restaurant alone. We learned that the event was sponsored by the Democrat Club, the third largest club of its kind in the world, outside of the US. The two largest are in London and Paris. Amazing that a small town like San Miguel has a club with 700 members!

The crowd was loud when appropriate, and appropriately quiet during the inauguration speech.

I thought they were even reasonably respectful to outgoing President Bush, considering his current popularity rating.

I noticed that the television set we were watching was flanked by two signs. One for the ladies room; another showing the evacuation route in event of fire, etc. Somehow, that also seemed appropriate, given the speed at which the Bushes seemed to be leaving the White House. In fact, one TV shot showed a moving van in front of the White House loading boxes. I sure hope the Bushes didn't steal towels and ash trays!

As Linda and I left, we passed some workers carrying a huge illuminated sign for the big fiesta in town tomorrow - Allende Day - celebration of the birthday of the man for whom the town is named, and one of the leaders of the Mexican independence movement. Note the eagle on the sign - not like the dignified US eagle, but a more cartoonish eagle with a snake in its beak.

Congratulations to our 44th President, Barack Obama! You have our admiration, our respect and our support.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lilah in the snow!

Most of you don't know Lilah, our 2 1/2 year old granddaughter. We miss her a lot while we're in Mexico. However, thanks to email, Vonage and video ichat, we are now able to get pictures of Lilah and to speak to her live!

A few weeks ago she tried to hug Linda on the computer screen. Linda cried! Another time she tried to grab a toy we bought for her and showed her online. Maybe that's in the future of technology.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Expedition with Eric

Our housekeeper, Mari Jimenez Garcia, has two children, Eric, 9 and Donna, 14. She is married to Martin, who works for the water company in town (SAPASMA).

At holiday time in Mexico, gifts are given to children not on Christmas, but on Three Kings Day (Dia de los Tres Reyes), which is January 6.

Eric's school portrait

Eric at about 2
with his mother and grandparents

Eric and his sister Donna about 5 years ago

This year I asked Eric what he wanted as a gift from us, and he told me that he needed some school supplies. Not very exciting for a 9 year old. So instead, I decided to take him on a shopping expedition with me to some stores he normally would not visit.

Eric is a shy boy (timido in Spanish). It is very difficult for him to ask me, a Gringo for whom his mom works, for anything, so I had to approach him rather gently. I made a date to pick him up, and in the car (already pretty exciting for a Mexican boy), we started talking about life and school.

He told me that he isn't doing very well in school, and that his teacher calls him a dummy (burro) when he doesn't know the answers to questions. Obviously, this is the kind of thing that used to go on in the US, but not much these days (hopefully). Talk about low self esteem! I tried to tell him that he wasn't stupid, and in any case, his teacher had no right to say that, but try explaining that in broken Spanish to a 9 year old.

We arrived at our first destination - Mega - a large (for Mexico) department store and grocery. We scoured the aisles for a backpack and school supplies. Relatively low quality and high prices, I thought. Eventually we found a satisfactory backpack. However, Eric inspected it and found a tear in it, so we searched further until we located a pristine example. Then, on to the toy aisle, where Eric, after intense thought, picked a remote control car.

Purchases in hand (or rather, on back), we exited Mega. Eric was still pretty shy with me, and had a hard time talking to me freely. However, I peppered him with questions in order to get him more comfortable and open with me.

Since I didn't like the office supplies at Mega, we proceeded to Office Depot. There, Eric wisely chose high quality notebooks, pencils, pens, tape, glue, three ring binder, etc.

I think (hope I'm not projecting) that Eric was now feeling more comfortable with me. Note that he is even smiling in the picture at the Office Depot cash register.

What's an expedition without food? Our next stop was the food court, where we bought ice cream. Like young boys everywhere, Eric managed to get a fair amount on his face and his shirt!

On the way home, we had a heart to heart conversation. I asked Eric about his friends, and he told me that he didn't have any because he was fat. Again, my heart went out to him. I told him that wasn't fair, and suggested that he try to eat more healthy foods, and that I would speak to his mother about this. By now, he was more open with me, and we discussed other subjects (to the best of my meager Spanish ability).

I dropped him off, and he thanked me and proudly showed his mother his new acquisitions. Mari told me the next day that he was really happy with his school supplies, which were of such good quality.

So where do I go from here? Do I have further responsibility for Eric? For his weight? For his problems in school? It's one of the Gringo dilemmas in San Miguel. How involved do you get with the family of your employee? Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Eve in San Miguel

New Year's Eve in San Miguel is about like New Year's Eve anywhere in the world. You decide with whom you will spend the evening...and where.

We started with a cocktail party at the new home of our Michigan friends, Dirk and Hope. After a cold margarita and a warm welcome, we continued on to Vivoli for an Italian dinner.

Alice and Max,

Irma and Stan,

and Nancy and Phil

were our dining companions, and a congenial group they were! We were seated at
about 10:00 pm, and ordered libations and dinner. Although a singer entertained,
we couldn't hear much as we were in the back room, and our conversation
drowned her out!

The dinner was delicious. I had lamb chops,
and Linda ate pasta. Wine and champagne
flowed (a bit too loosely, if you ask me).

We were issued hats, noisemakers and champagne by the restaurant shortly
before midnight, and this group really got into it. Confetti was also provided....

After dinner, we went outside to the Jardin (town square) to view the fireworks and the crowds.

The streets were decorated and full of happy
people, some in costume.

Unfortunately, we missed most of the fireworks

but the energy of the night was still evident, as you can
see in the video below.

We arrived home about 1:30, tired but happy to be in beautiful San Miguel!