Christmas holidays 2014

My first amaryllis, opened on Christmas Day 2014. So early......

In my 20 odd Christmasses spent in Mexico I have never seen so much rain on Christmas Day. We had 48 hours of rainfall, no sunshine and it was really quite cold. Since this is a country where every party is celebrated outside and loads of people get married in December, again with the party outside, then it was interesting as people stayed inside, for once. It was much quieter, there were very few fireworks (bangers) and so everything felt different. There is no question that the climate plays a big part in how people behave.

Here everyone celebrates the 24th at night. I, however, stick to my traditions and celebrate the 25th in true style with my dear friends up the road, and had turkey like everyone else. I spent the morning cooking too, as part of my contribution to the day.

As I was writing this, at about midday on Christmas Day, the sun suddenly appeared. Joy! Bits of blue sky appeared too and with the sudden brightness and slight increase in warmth insects started flying around and the dogs looked a little less depressed. They had slept for the best part of 2 whole days.

So Christmas was lovely. The 25th was the first day of my break and so it went on from there. Boxing Day lunch at another close friends’ house, ostensibly a birthday lunch, then lunches pretty much every day thereafter with friends I hadn’t seen for ages, or breakfast or dinner. Plus one big long day out on the Nevado de Toluca, another dormant volcano which is covered in snow at the moment. I managed to walk and walk and walk in a vain effort to counter the fabulous food and wine I was enjoying every day and now here I am back to my salads at work, no booze and feeling better for it. But the Christmas break was really great and I seemed to enjoy it all more this year, for some reason, and the break from work was what I really needed.  New Year’s Eve was another boozy evening with great friends, enlivened by a Christmas present game. I got home just before 2 am and even the noisy neighbours were subdued. They were busy doing karaoke but had the volume turned right down, so I managed to sleep really well.

It’s worth mentioning that before Christmas we had a posada (a sort of Christmas party, very traditional in Mexico) in the street. We live in what’s known as a fraccionamiento, which is a gated community with only one entrance/exit (opened and closed by a sort of policeman) and consequently we feel reasonably safe, certainly safe enough to go out walking, running or cycling round the streets at any time. 20 years ago everyone used to be out and about, especially the children who would race round on bikes, play games, set up mini shops selling sweets and other things, and we all knew each other really well. Now, we rarely see children out in the street, we don’t all know each other any more and there is little effort to be more neighbourly and friendly. So F and I decided to renew the tradition and through the secretary of the Asociación we organised it, inviting everyone to come and to bring whatever they wanted to eat and drink, and to share it. We supplied a couple of piñatas and sweets, plus tables and chairs, and hoped for the best. Loads of people came, loads of food and drinks and punch and all sorts of delicious dishes appeared, and – and this is what’s interesting – loads of kids turned up. Kids that we had no idea were there since their parents don’t let them out in to the street. They had a wonderful time running around and playing games, they enjoyed the piñatas which were great and everyone else sat around eating and drinking and talking. We felt so good afterwards; it was a great success.

Funny how a couple of English women are the ones to re-establish the traditions!!!!! Our plan is to do it again next year but to do it properly, with the candles, the songs you are supposed to sing, Mary and Joseph asking for shelter (pedir posada), etc. Then have all the food and piñatas afterwards.

So that was Christmas 2014. Couldn't help thinking about all those families of people with missing or murdered loved ones, too many families. What kind of Christmas could they have had...


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