Juan Carlos, Monica, Carlos and Alonso
Just about when we'd decided we'd be spending our first Christmas here alone (and without an oven! yikes.), Juan Carlos and Monica dropped by our house one night last week to invite us to eat Christmas dinner with them. We were thrilled (and not just because they were planning to have turkey...honest)! Christmas is about spending time with family and friends...with no family close, spending it with friends like Juan Carlos and Monica is just as special for us.
In Mexico, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th and Christmas dinner is usually eaten sometime during the evening, usually late. So we spent Saturday preparing the food for dinner that night...I made Venezuelan pan de jamón (ham bread) and Grandma Ople's Applie Pie (you can go here to see pictures of the process).
Pan de jamón
Monica and I with the pies.
Once the food was ready, we went to their church for a Christmas Eve service. It was kinda hard to leave all that yummy food behind for a while, but we consoled ourselves with a little snack and the anticipation of the feast to come.
Finally, we headed back home and it was time to eat! And being that we are in Mexico, of course we had to have some rajas (jalapeño strips, carrots and onion in vinegar sauce) to accompany our meal!
After supper, all the kids went out to light their giant sparklers, apparently also a Christmas tradition in Mexico. We bought ours at a stoplight on our way to church and saw many people selling them at each intersection we went through.
After a brisk round of Manzanas Con Manzanas (Apples to Apples in Spanish!), we came home...it was 1:30 a.m. by the time we got everyone to bed. Then Miguel and I had to finish wrapping presents and preparing the stockings, so it was even later (or was that earlier?) by the time we got to sleep.
Naturally, the kids were wide awake by 7 a.m. ready to open their presents! Miguel refused to come down until at least 8:30, however, so I retold the Christmas story while we waited. Finally, he came down and our gift-giving began. We like to open the presents slowly, taking our time to enjoy each gift and this year, we had each gift-giver say something meaningful to the gift-receiver. At first it was a bit awkward for the kids, but by the end, they were enjoying it!
The kids with their stockings.
I made the kids some pillows...they loved them!
Miguel gave me a new cooking pot and I gave him some headphones, which he started using right away!
Love those Razorback pjs, Miguel!
We tried to go to church on Sunday, but didn't last very long since the kids were falling asleep in their seats...so we came on home and rested for most of the afternoon. Then we went back to Juan Carlos and Monica's house and had round two with the leftovers!
God is good to give us what we desire...fun and fellowship during our first Christmas here in Puebla.