Wednesday, September 28, 2011

First Days in Puebla

We spent the first few weeks in Puebla staying with Hiram and Cati, the pastor of our partner church, El Camino.  I think a hurricane affected the weather, because it seemed like it rained for days on end during the first week or so here!  We even had hailstorms, something we didn't really expect to see in Puebla, but apparently not all that uncommon...we've had plenty of sunshine since, though, which has been pleasant.  The days spent with Hiram and Cati's family was great, we had time to rest from our trip (we were way more tired than we thought!) and of course, staying with a Mexican family was very good for us to begin adjusting back to Spanish and the Mexican culture.  It has been so cute to hear the kids begin speaking more and more Spanish!

The Monday after we got here, another missionary from our church in Arkansas, Caroline, arrived together with her mom and Miguel went to Mexico City to help them catch a bus back to Puebla.  Caroline will be working with El Camino church for a year or so, helping develop their children's program.  Caroline's mom spent a week here and we took every opportunity we could to get out and about on the days it wasn't raining.  We spent a couple of days exploring the Cholula fair (we actually live in Cholula, a town on the outskirts of Puebla City).

Here we are with Caroline at the fair.

We also got to go and meet Franco and Barby, the missionaries who live and work up in the mountains...Barby was recovering from a surgery, so we were actually able to go visit them several times before they went back home.

Here I am with Barby...I hope we become great friends!

One of the most impressive sights around town is the volcano, Popocatepetl (we're still trying to figure out how to pronounce that word, mostly we just say "Popo").  Popo is an active volcano, about 17,000+ feet high and actually has a snow-covered peak...most days, however, it's covered in clouds.  The best time to take a picture of Popo is on a clear, sunny morning like this one.

Another interesting sight is this church that is built on top of an ancient can see the church and some ruins behind Miguel and I in this picture...

Every once in a while, I can spot this church from different locations in Puebla, it's pretty cool!  One day we climbed up to the top and had a look around, but that is a story for another day...

The Rest of the Journey

So...after camp in Prescott, we spent a week in southern Arizona visiting friends and resting up from our week of camp.  A friend loaned us their trailer house as they were out of town, and it was a fairly peaceful week except for me getting sick with a bad flu and us finding out we had misplaced our van title.  :(  At first we thought that we wouldn't be able to cross the border into Mexico without the title, but then we found out we could use our vehicle registration...whew!!!!  Our leaving was delayed by me getting sick, but then we finally got on our way and headed south for the border.

Gracia, Jkaile and Jojo enjoying our hammock

We had a good border crossing and trip down and by evening we were in Chihuahua City.  We spent nearly two weeks there visiting friends and catching up with the news from El Cordero, our former church.  We stayed a few days with one family and then moved over to a different house for our last few days was a good time, even though we weren't able to see everyone we would have liked to see.

Our trip from Chihuahua to Puebla was very interesting and I really enjoyed my first glimpses of the central part of Mexico.  It took one day to get to Saltillo, where we spent the night in a hotel, and then we traveled on to San Juan del Río, Querétaro on the second day.  The scenery began to change from dry, desert to more lush green and I found myself snapping pictures all along the way!

I think these are called 'yucca' plants, but we'd never
seen them grow as trees!  

Another fascinating sight were all the herds of goats
or other animals all along the four lane highway...the traffic didn't
seem to bother them a bit!

A man on horseback buying 'tunas' (prickly pears)...I 
think the colt was interested in eating some, too!

San Juan del Río is a small town that was a delight to was a little like stepping back in time to a more colonial era.  We really enjoyed our time there sightseeing and also getting to know the McManus family, whose ministry is supporting homeschooling families.  They have a beautiful home and even more awesome, an entire library (literally)!  Our kids thought they were in heaven!

There are even more books down in the basement!
So when we left the McManus household, we were carrying even more stuff, several stacks of books that we checked out from their library!  I'm not quite sure how we fit it in, but we did...from there, it was only a few hours to Puebla.  After basically of month of traveling, we were all more than ready to arrive at our final destination...the scenery along the road continued to change to be more and more green and fertile farmland.

Fields of 'nopales', prickly pear cactus.  

Such beauty made me catch my breath a little...some because these scenes remind me of Colombia, where I've left a piece of my heart, but mostly because this is our new home and I was loving what I saw.  It felt a bit like coming home...