Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanks, Mexico

I have decided to dedicate the thankfulness for this week to Mexico. I am not always thankful for Mexico. In fact, I am often quite the opposite. So, here is me attempting to be reflective. We'll see how it goes.

17. Thankful to Mexico for giving me the opportunity to become an adult, a professional, a wife, and a mother. These are all accomplishments that I don't always do well, but I've also never done anywhere else. I was a college student in the US, that's like fake adulthood. It doesn't really count as being an adult until you're making all your own money, not raiding your parents' fridge and cupboards for groceries, and buying your own washing machine.

18. Thankful for Thanksgiving in Mexico. It is the one holiday that I can recreate here and it feels right. Every other holiday is off in some way, big or small. The only ever so slight (but horrific nonetheless) accommodation I have to make is the addition of a plate of jalapenos on the Thanksgiving table. It's awful and I make sure it's not near me, but other than that, everything is just right. I can't say the same for Christmas.

19. Thankful that on my drive to work I can pretty much guarantee some sort of strange thing. Like cows grazing in the median of the highway. A giant truck full of pigs. A volcanic eruption. Etc. These are all totally normal and acceptable and I'm thankful that they are. You're not going to see that in Seattle.

20. I'm grateful for our little family of pilgrims from all over the world who have decided to make Puebla or the American School (or some combination of the two) our home.

21. I'm thankful that I get to wear sunglasses every day of the year. That is not something I could ever do in Seattle. Thank you, Mexico.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A couple more

15. I'm thankful that I'm anal about what time I leave for work. Not only do I miss most of the traffic, but if I leave by 7:02 at the latest, of the 21 minute commute approximately 18 minutes are music. If I leave any later then the last 5+ minutes of my commute are either horoscopes (do people honestly think that a certain color underwear is going to change your destiny?) or the sappy and inspirational daily reflection (if I wanted to cry my eyes out on my way to work, I wouldn't do my makeup. Give a working mom a break, will ya!) 6:59-7:02 is the window anything after that is a failure. It's unnerving that I know this, but I'm really thankful that I do.

16. I'm thankful that my kid loves and responds well to bribes. Maybe this isn't great parenting, but it sure gets things done and done well. Don't want a fit in the grocery store? Bribe her with a yogurt. Want the toys cleaned up? Bribe her with some fruit snacks. Want obedience? Sticker chart. Am I conditioning my child? Probably. Am I worried about that? A little. Is it working? Yes, so questions one and two are pretty much null and void.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Here go some more for you gluttons for my written punishment.

8. I'm thankful for the realization that there is a reason people do this each day. Coming up with 7 in one day is a daunting task. I don't know that I will learn a lesson, but I did only say I was  thankful for the realization.

9. I'm thankful for second, third, fourth, and fifth chances at parenting. As I have mentioned, and many you have observed first-hand, parenting is not one of the skills I would put at the top of my list of killer party tricks. It's more of a work-in-progress or, more accurately, one step shy of disaster. Today involved in episode where it was unclear who was the two-year old, AV or me. It was ugly. It ended. (Thank you, Jesus.) And all is well again after a drinkable yogurt, half an hour sitting on the potty with zero production and a couple episodes of Max and Ruby. We are both new women. Oh, and just for clarification, AV was the one on the potty.

10. I'm thankful that after 7 years in this country, living in the state of Puebla, I will finally FINALLY fly out of the Puebla airport. The airport has one runway, two gates and even though we have a 7 am flight on December 23rd, we still won't have to get there until 6 at the earliest, because any earlier and the airport will still be closed.

11. I'm thankful for hand-me-down magazines. I don't care when their publishing date was and the crappier the magazine the better. Later on I will be reading Southern Living (which is correct in the sense that I live fairly far south and for no other reason) from November 2010 and will love every second of it.

12. I'm thankful for 40 degree temperature changes during the day. It means that even if I'm cold in the morning, I know I won't be in a little bit. It means I get to use air-conditioning and heat in my car every day. It means that it can be 40 degrees at 6:45 am and 80 degrees at 2:45 pm.

13. I'm thankful that I finally have enough money in my bank account to be able to go to the store just because I feel like it and need shampoo. I can buy the shampoo, and about 15 other things just cause I feel like it and it doesn't mean that I now have to be extra careful with my spending the rest of the month. Maybe it's wrong to be thankful for the ability to be a frivolous spender in some occasions, but it feels real nice.

14. I'm thankful for fresh cranberries existing in Mexico. Fi Nuh Lee. I may have spent an arm and two legs for 4 (count 'em) bags of fresh cranberries. I have no idea how many cranberries it takes to make cranberry sauce and I need to make it for three (count 'em) Thanksgivings. I have never been so pumped about this little bean-shaped fruit in my life. The bag says they're a product of Mexico. Just where do you think the cranberry bogs are in this country?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


6. Coffee. I used to be against coffee. Then, I started drinking it. Then, I realized how much I love it. I especially love that the woman who arrives to the office first in the mornings will tell me when the coffee's ready and sometimes will even ask me for my mug so she can serve me a cup. So, I guess I'm thankful for coffee and anyone who facilitates its arrival to me.

7. I'm thankful for perspective. I just about closed my facebook yesterday. I thought grateful messages of joy and love jibberjabber made me want to gag. What is truly vomit-licious is facebook politics. I throw-up in my mouth a little just thinking about it.

Here's my question. When did the USA become a nation of extremists? I've only been gone for seven (7?!) years and all of a sudden you're either a far-right tea-party religious extremist or a far-left moral-hating socialist. Or at least that's what my reliable news source tells me. Thanks again, fb.

Excuse me? I missed something somewhere. If one thing defines Americans, it is a love for our country. Why has this essence of our patriotism been forgotten?

I say I am thankful for perspective because I have had the opportunity to understand myself, my country, my faith from many perspectives; living out of the country being one of the greatest opportunities afforded me. I have heard what others think of us, good and bad. I have reflected on my role as a citizen and representative of my country while abroad. I have lived in two systems, while both democratic, both very different. I can recognize, though not always agree nor completely understand, the point of view of each side.

I firmly believe that there are few, if any, Americans who do not believe in working for the greater good both through and outside of the government. I firmly believe that "the greater good" does not have one definition or one way of being achieved. I firmly believe that people need to take names and labels out of things and discuss issues. Tolerance does not mean we need to agree; it means we need to dialogue and defend each other's right to an opinion.

Number 7 got long. You're thankful today that I'm done writing.

Monday, November 5, 2012

I need this.

Everyone's loving the thankful days of November. It's like the antithesis of Lent when everyone gives up facebook. Nope. In November, we blow everyone's feeds up with what we love and are grateful for.

Why then, does it make me want to gag each time I read them? I came to this realization today as I read the fifty-billionth thankful post (I'm that cool on the ol' fb). I'm like the grinch who stole Thanksgiving. Except for the fact that Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday both in the US and in Mexico.

It occurred on me that I might just need to get on board. Not because everyone is doing it, but because I need an attitude check. There has to be something wrong with a person who gets gaggy about thankfulness. There also has to be something wrong with a person who loves to write but hasn't done it since August.

So, it won't be on facebook, and I can't guarantee you it will happen daily. What I will challenge myself to do is give you 30 things for which I am thankful and don't make me want to gag. I can't promise you won't want to gag; that will depend on your own reflexes and tolerances.

Without further adieu, I give you the first five.

1. I am thankful for my job. To clarify, I do not always like my job. I am often overwhelmed and consistently feeling as though I am biting off more than I could ever possibly chew. But then I see kids like the kids I saw today in 6th grade speaking with such confidence and I know that whatever dent, however tiny and insignificant, that I will make, will be worth it.

2. I am thankful for my child. To clarify, I do not always like my child. I'm fairly certain she does not always like me. But, we need each other. She makes me realize how impatient and impossible I am through her own impatience and impossibility. We end up in tears together at least once a week, but it always ends by hugging it out and a big kiss. That makes it worth it.

3. I am thankful for my diet. To clarify, I do not like my diet. It has taken from me all that is holy and delicious- Coca-cola, bread and candy being the main three. It has also taken away over 3 kilos in 2 weeks. For those of you who think in pounds and kilos is gibberish, that's almost 7. Seven pounds. I don't need or want them back and I am happy they are gone and taking friends with them.

4. I am thankful for my husband. To clarify, I do not always like my husband. As with my child, I am certain that he does not always like me. He likes me least when I have not slept well. To his benefit, I don't like me much those days either. He works his booty off. He loves his daughter like crazy. And we  are both aware and inspired by the fact that we have made a commitment to each other for life.

5. I am thankful for my cleaning lady. It costs me less than 20 bucks a week and it means I never have to scrub my toilets or showers. To clarify, I am not against or above cleaning my own home. Sometimes I do it. But, guess what? I'm okay with not doing it. It doesn't make me less of a mom, less of a wife, less of a homemaker. It makes me a realist. And I'm okay with that.

More again soon. I hope you didn't gag.