Feliz Año Nuevo!

We are seeing the sun for the first time in a week–hope it’s a good sign for the year to come.

For the photo2first time in several years, we actually stayed up well past midnight to welcome the new year. We spent the evening with Antonio and Eloisa’s family—a small gathering at their house where we felt absolutely at home,  even though at times the conversation became too rapid and complex for us to follow. For awhile, a debate between staunchly Catholic Antonio and his good friend, a doctor, and actor, and an atheist.

Marifer with her Abuelito, Antonio

Marifer with her Abuelito, Antonio

We saw Chris and Marco’s little girl, Marifer (Maria Fernanda), for the first time this year—a real sweetheart who was a bit leery of all the commotion. She’ll be 2 in June. I hope we can get them together with Galen and Katharina’s family when they visit, later this month we think.

A lot of laughter and teasing where we got tangled up marcoin the nuances of the language. It was fun to hear Antonio wax eloquent about their visit to Canada. There was, of course, a lot of talk about cold, snow, icy roads—all of interest to people who simply can’t imagine temperatures of -30, any more than I can imagine +40! Also some bemoaning of the extent to which the traditions of other cultures have invaded Mexico, another interesting debate between Antonio and his friend Jamie, who claimed that sharing traditions among cultures is a way of uniting the world in friendship. I’d like to believe that. It began when I mentioned reading about the tradition of eating a grape for each month in the new year, and a final one for a wish. In the article I read, the tradition was attributed to Mexico. But they say no, it began elsewhere–maybe Germany? In any case, we didn’t eat grapes.

Marifer with her Uncle Isaac and Aunt Monica

Marifer with her Uncle Isaac and Aunt Monica–and her dad on the edge of the photo

It’s wonderful to be able to follow these conversations, at least roughly,  in Spanish. I only wish my spoken language were better! I falter around with the vocabulary of a two-year-old.

Eloisa prepared a wonderful meal.Her meals are always wonderful–basic Mexican home fare–as long as we remember to go easy on the salsa!! Between the main course and dessert, a plate of tamales made on the comal in her mother’s home in Durango, where they spent Christmas week.

Eloisa in her big kitchen, which also serves as Ground Zero for daily Taco Stand preparation.

Eloisa in her big kitchen, which also serves as Ground Zero for daily Taco Stand preparation.

Tamales are a traditional holiday dish that DOES originate in Mexico.

When the clock struck midnight–okay, when everybody’s cellphones agreed it was time–we toasted in several languages, posed for a photo around the Christmas tree (taken by Marco, so not yet available…), and shared hugs and kisses all around. I thought about all the years I’ve done the same with friends at home, felt a few tears form, and resisted the urge to burst into a choked-up chorus of Auld Lang Syne.

Happy New Year to all of you!

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3 Responses to Feliz Año Nuevo!

  1. James O'Brien says:

    Hi Paula, Happy New Year! My friend Angela from Valencia claims the grape eating as a tradition, Spain has a lot of localized regional traditions so in her case it could be Valencian or Catalan. Or indeed it could be an import.

    I have read that it has been raining steadily in Puerto Vallarta, very strange at this time of the year.

  2. Onni and Ulla Juhala says:

    Happy New year Paula and Jack, We are happy to hear that you are enjoying yourselves there in Mejico.

  3. Janet Inksetter says:

    Happy New Year to you both. We are looking forward to seeing you soon, and are enjoying your reports from Mexico.

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