30 September 2014

Día de Independencia 2014

Our first Mexican holiday here was a bright one. On September 15 and 16th, Mexicans celebrate El Grito de Dolores and Independence Day. Cecilia had both days off from school. We've never really celebrated Mexican holidays, as Hector grew up in the US and I never really made a point of celebrating.

But this year, we did. Our Community Center threw a huge party down in the park, and the entire colonia came out to celebrate. I love our little neighborhood here in Tijuana; it feels less like we live in a huge city and more like we live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. Cecilia had to get a traditional outfit for school, so she wore that to the party (may as well wear it more than once for the cost). Her little friends from school were also there to celebrate.

 You can't see it in this picture very well, but apparently Tijuana is home to one of THE BEST Michael Jackson impersonators I've ever seen.

The fireworks rang throughout the city for most of the night of the 15th, but there was a show over the stadium. I didn't stay up for the midnight Grito; I had to go to bed to go to work early Tuesday morning.

I feel like I'm celebrating double sometimes, and other times I feel like I'm just celebrating randomness. I don't feel quite settled like this is really my life, but I think that it is because I am new.

19 September 2014

Oh, Hello There!


You are probably wondering what happened to us.

I've just been really busy. I finally got a job. It's not a dream job by any means, and my hours are super sucky, but it is a job in the US that pays in dollars rather than pesos, so I can't complain too much. I work in the darkness hours, which means my circadian rhythm is all distorted. I am too exhausted ninety-nine percent of the time to try and do anything. I felt tired as a full-time CNA, but this is a different kind of tired, even if it is less hours. The best part of my job is the fact that I cross the border in the middle of the night; my average wait-time to cross is about 15 minutes, compared to up to 3 hours in some places.

Cecilia has been feeling her way around at school; she is struggling a lot with the language barrier and the fact that Mexican schools are more advanced than the public school she was attending in Portland. It's been a nightmare trying to play catch-up from the things she didn't learn in the US, plus keep her from falling behing. It seems as if there is no balance between the two. She has made friends with her classmates, however. Despite all of her struggles in the classroom, her bubbly personality helps her meet girls her age and make friends. She is truly trying with her Spanish, and she is succeeding. I think making friends is helpful for her academically, because they can help her understand the language of the assignment.

Emilia is growing like a weed, rolling over, trying to army crawl, and is holding her own bottle. Her newest favorite toy is her toes. I love this baby stage; she is no longer a newborn and is developing her own personality. She is quite attached to me, but she is quite attached to anyone who will hold her and talk to her. She is, as all women in the family, a social butterfly.

Isaias is just being himself, which basicaly means he spands his days being awesome, watching videogame walkthroughs on YouTube of Kirby, Mario Brothers, and Sonic. I feel rather proud of the fact that my son has taken from our nerdiness- I just hope he learns to love Harry Potter and Doctor Who as well.

Hector doesn't want me to tell people what he's been up to, but he is spending most of his time just being an awesome dad and helpiong Cecilia with her HOURS of homework.

That's pretty much all we've been up to and have been planning; there isn't anything exciting coming up soon. It's strange to back living family life. Everything seems so normal, it hardly seems newsworthy. I have a few posts brewing in my head, so maybe if I'm not dying of sleepyness, I might get around to writing them.

03 September 2014

Autumn Bucket List

Hello Autumn!

Actually, autumn doesn't really exist here. It's still in the 80's every day, the palm trees don't change colors, and the kids went back to school in the middle of August (a big change for me, as kids in Oregon always started after Labor Day). There are no apple trees that I have found here, no pumpkin patches that I know about. My favorite things about fall don't happen here.

Autumn is my favorite season. There are things I love about all of the seasons, but autumn is truly my favorite. There is something about that early morning crispy air, the crunch of leaves on the street, and of course, PSLs from Starbucks, that make me want to grab my teacup, a pile of books, and throw on a sweater. Autumn feels like spice, smells like pumpkin pie and love. Besides the fact that the season starts later than usual around here, I have plans for autumn. I have a small bucket list, my Autumn 2014 wishlist, that will help me celebrate life during my favorite part of the year.

  1. Jump in a pile of leaves. I don't care how far I have to drive, or where I have to go, I want to make this happen. In Oregon, by the time fall comes around the rain back and the leaves are wet. I want to be able to jump in them.
  2. Visit a pumpkin patch. I doubt that I will be able to do this in Tijuana, but there might be somewhere in San Diego that I will be able to do this.
  3. Make pumpkin pie from scratch. My whole childhood was pie. My mother is a baker, and my house almost always seemed to have some sort of pie in it. I want to make a pie, to bring part of home here to Tijuana, and make Tijuana home for me.
  4. Celebrate Día de los Muertos. I have a feeling that this one will be easy, but we haven't really done it before. I want to decorate with marigolds and calaveras all over the place, but keep this holiday seperate from Halloween.
  5. Go trick-or-treating. Halloween is celebrated here on the border, but not really thoughtout Mexico. I want to take my kids, costumes and all, trick-or-treating, somewhere, just like we always have.
  6. Celebrate and teach my kids about Día de la Independencia. We celebrated the 4th of July here, and they know all about that one. Now it's time that they learned about Mexico's independence from Spain and all that is the celebrations here in Tijuana.
  7. Have a Thanksgiving. I have never really liked Thanksgiving. I prefer the Black Friday mess that follows. Before, I always thought of Thanksgiving as a day to see your relatives that you don't want to see the other 364 days of the year, and celebrate Manifest Destiny and what would become the slaughter of the indigenous people of America. But now, I want a turkey and all the trimmings. I want to make sweet potatoes. I want mashed potatoes and gravy and olives. I want to make all that food and not be able to eat it and just celebrate being together.
  8. Throw Isaias a birthday party. This fall, my son will turn 4. He has never had a birthday party. Cecilia had many birthday parties growing up, but Hector was always with us. After he left, those stopped. I want to throw my son a birthday party with carne asada, balloons, piñatas, loud music, and lots of kids everywhere. Maybe even one of those jumpy houses. I want to go all out and celebrate all the birthdays that we never celebrated, and celebrate the fact that Hector will never miss another birthday.
So, that is my list. It seems longer than I think it really is. I just want to enjoy the autumn, regardless of whether or not I can actually see it. What are your fall/autumn plans? 

02 September 2014

Project Life Tuesday: Volume 2 Title Page

Hey, it's Tuesday! I know I haven't been very consistent in these Project Life Posts, but I promise I am up-to-date in my albums. Between new routines and back to school, I feel like I barely have any time to write anymore.

Let's get started, shall we:

My title page for Volume Two of 2014 is the beginning of our lives here in Mexico. And, while continuing with the Rain Core Edition of Project Life, I wanted this title page to contrast the last page of my Volume One Album.

It would have been nice to include a family photo for this title page, but we have yet to take one and we probably won't take one until Christmas. That is just the way we are. Instead, I included 2 4x6 photos that I thought really sum up this life here: The "Mexico" sign you see as you drive into Mexican customs, and a bright pink hibiscus flower. The small 3x4 photo is the title of the album that I wrote in the sand at the beach. Super simple. I almost never use any embellishments in my Project Life spreads, but for the title page, I made an exception. All of the wood veneers were bought at Michael's stores and are Recollections brand. The crown I found in their woodworking section.

I have really loved sharing my Project Life pages here on the blog with you all, but in case you haven't noticed, my pictures are a bit grainy and blurry. That is because my camera no longer wants to focus, and I am getting terrible pictures. So, because of this, I am going to still be project-lifing, but until I can afford a new camera, I won't be posting unless I can magically get a good picture. It's really frustrating to have all of your stuff fall apart and quit working, especially when you are accustomed to being able to fix things or get new things, and now you know you can't.

Project Life is NOT stopping around here, but until I can give you, my readers, better pictures, I am going to put my Project Life Tuesday posts on hiatus.

Project Life is a memory keeping system designed by Becky Higgins. All products are available on Becky's website or on Amazon.com. Feel free to share links to your own Project Life pages in the comments below.

01 September 2014

One Little Word 2014: August Edition

August has come and gone. I can't believe that I have been here almost three months. There were times that I honestly thought that I was never going to get off of my front porch. But here I am, living a new life and adjusting and feeling my way through things here.

In this month's One Little Word class, she wanted us to focus on music. Music and I have an interesting relationship. There was a time that music was very important to me, that it was my lifeline to sanity. There were so many nights that I just put on music and cried with the lyrics until I felt that I had released enough yuckiness inside that I could go on and face tomorrow. But as time progressed, I let music slip away from me. I haven't turned on a radio in about four years. I haven't listened to any type of music, Mexican or English. I just haven't wanted to. So what was I supposed to do when I first read this assignment?

Well, I found some music that I used to listen to. A lot of these songs just make me feel brave. They aren't actually about being Brave, except for of course the Sara Barielles song. When I listen to these songs, I just feel like I can be brave enough to face tomorrow.

  1. Brave- Sara Barielles. This is my obvious Brave song. This song has been my uplifter all of this year. I first heard it on a commercial and it became part of my choosing Brave as my word this year.
  2. Let It Go- Demi Lovato. I already wrote about my reflections for this song not too long ago.
  3. Somewhere I Belong- Linkin Park. Linkin Park may not be everyone's cuppa tea, but they have been long-standing my favorite artists. Somewhere I Belong makes me feel brave, not because the song is about it, but because it is one of those songs that helped me through all of those horrible awkward years. I was able to be brave enough to face the sunrise because of this (and a lot of LP's songs).
  4. You Are Mine- David Haas. This is another song that makes me feel brave, because I feel my bravest when I feel loved. This song reminds me that I am always loved by God. I wrote about it here.
  5. Going Under- Evanescense. Not exactly a "brave" song again, but the music and they lyrics make me feel stronger. They make me feel like I can save myself from my self-created messes, like the lyrics descibe.
  6. Go The Distance- Michael Bolton. This is a song that again, makes me want to perservere, which is sometimes the bravest thing you can do.
  7. The Harry Potter Theme Song- I am a HUGE Potterhead. I love Harry Potter. According to Pottermore, I have been sorted into Gryffindor house, where of course, dwell the brave at heart. Harry Potter is a story of bravery, and the theme song, after it brings me to tears, makes me feel brave, like the hero.

So there you have it. The songs that are touching my soul, at this moment and always. These songs haven't recently begun to make me feel brave, they have ever since I first heard them. I hope you have enjoyed these. What songs make you feel brave? What songs inspire you to live your Word?