My Christmas in Charlotte

I went to visit my family in Charlotte, NC for Christmas this year.

To be honest, I was way too busy eating, wrapping presents and hanging out to take many photos, but I did manage to get a few in there!

Massive amounts of presents! and yes, we hang out stockings on the couch. We're crazy like that.

Table set for Christmas breakfast!

Our annual Christmas breakfast... sausage and egg casserole! (with cinnamon rolls and fresh pineapple)

My sister's crazy but adorable kitten, Olive

Avert your eyes, vegetarians! Sarah's boyfriend Jared made some venison burger sliders from a buck he hunted himself.

Venison sliders... surprisingly more flavorful than beef!

Our Christmas day "lunch"... venison sliders, sausage and cheese balls, french onion dip and baked cheese dip.

All the desserts we had for Christmas... chocolate fudge, Christmas cookies, pecan pie and chocolate chip cheesecake (a personal favorite)

The family! (minus Jorge)

Sorry it took so long to post these… had some strange computer/photo/Wordpress issues, but I think we’re back now!

A Cancun Christmas

After today, I won’t be blogging until Monday. You know… Christmas and all that 🙂

Jorge and I got all our Christmas shopping done this weekend. Plaza las Americas was pretty crazy, but nothing compared to US malls the week of Christmas. (I made the mistake of going to the mall on Christmas Eve once when I lived in Virginia… 45 minutes to get out of the parking lot. Never again.)

The weather continues to be in the 70s during the day, and much cooler at night. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed going out in the evenings with jackets and scarves 🙂 It is more challenging for me to get into the Christmas spirit when it’s not freezing outside, though.

I’ve been listening to Christmas music all month. My two favorite kinds of music are Glee songs and Christmas songs, so obviously I’ve been listening to their Christmas album.

Jorge’s family normally doesn’t exchange gifts on Christmas, but this year we decided to do it. I already know what I’m getting from his parents, and I’m pretty excited about it! I just hope his brothers don’t peak inside their gift bags, which are already under my in-laws’ tree.

My company had it’s annual “posada” (the Mexican term for Christmas party) at a resort in the Hotel Zone last week. It was a good night for me… I won employee of the year for my department, and I won a bar mixing set in the raffle!

The English copy editing team at the office Christmas party... Fumiko, Mat, and me!

And last but not least, the long overdue photos of the Christmas lights at our house! I think it turned out nicely! (Except for some of the colored lights not working… oh well.) We’re actually planning on leaving up the lights in the tree for a few more months, just taking down the colored lights after Christmas. I’d like to point out that I fought hard for the last 5 boxes of white Christmas lights at Walmart. I got the evil eye from a few ladies, and I had to dig through about 20 stacks of colored lights… but it was worth it to find them all smushed against the back corner of the shelf.

**Please ignore the crazy dogs in the background**

Merry Christmas!

A Day in Dieting

Good news: Despite craving something sugary, I resisted buying the chocolate-filled rolls from the machine at work today.

Bad news: I bought a bottle of Coke instead.

Good news: I only drank half the bottle.

Bad news: The real reason I stopped drinking Coke was to save room for the massive amounts of sushi I plan on eating after I get home from work.

As you can see, the diet is going well.

How to Speak Like a Mexican: Engentarse

When I first came to Mexico, I had a hard time expressing myself 100%. I always wished I could speak English, which gave me more opportunities to use more colorful expressions.

After a few years in Mexico, however, I’ve become familiar with using many of the local idioms and expressions used here, which allows me to express myself sometimes even better than an English!

One of my favorites is “engentarse”. (You probably won’t find this in a dictionary.)

When conjugated to “Me engento”, it roughly translates to “being in a crowd of people really puts me in a bad mood”.

It comes from the word “gente”, which means “people”.

I use this one a lot. It’s the main reason I avoid concerts and why I always want to leave nightclubs early.

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s going grocery shopping. I don’t mind making my list, picking things out, pushing the cart around, or waiting in line. What really bothers me is the massive amount of people, and weaving my way through masses of shopping carts. I will do everything I can to get out of Walmart as quickly as possible.

I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to Jorge for being mean at Walmart last night… and pretty much every time we go grocery shopping. Jorge, you should be able to buy oranges, a chocolate bar and even hot dogs without me rolling my eyes. Thanks for loving me anyway.

Me engento.

My Walmart face.

Cancun Winters

Turns out that over the last 2 weeks or so, Cancun has had a few record-breaking low temperatures.

The days have been beautiful, usually in the 70s with a cool breeze and lots of sunshine. (I wish it were like this all year!) At night, however, it has gotten down to 50 degrees. I know those of you who have been experiencing blizzards and snowstorms this winter are probably saying “What are you complaining about?” but hear me out…

-Houses in Cancun have no heating system.

-Houses in Cancun are made of concrete, which is designed to make things cooler.

-Houses in Cancun usually have all-tile floor. Great for the heat, but not too cozy for 50-degree weather.

-Windows and doors in Cancun aren’t usually airtight, letting in a bit of the cold.

So what does this mean? We have basically been sleeping in 50 degree temperatures.

I love it sometimes, so long as I have good blankets and PJs. We borrowed 2 fleece blankets from my brother-in-law yesterday. I grew up sleeping under heavy blankets and comforters, and I think it’s the best way to sleep! Jorge, however, is having a difficult time with the cold. This is a guy who sleeps at most with a thin blanket… although usually he will sleep on top of the covers or in a hammock.

The dogs usually sprawl out on the tile floor to stay cool while they sleep. Lately they’ve been making use of their doggie beds to cuddle up from the cold. Yesterday I washed the doggie beds and they hadn’t dried, so last night we had to improvise. Suki slept on my laptop bag by my side of the bed (her favorite spot). Dolly snuggled up with one of Jorge’s old t-shirts under the bed. Konan used a doggie bed cushion (the only part that had dried by then) under the bed, as well. I would love to shave their fur to keep them cleaner, but with this weather that won’t be an option until March or April.

The upside is that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying some Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Starbucks, we’ll save a ton on the electric bill by not using the AC, and I get the chance to wear my cute jackets, scarves and long-sleeved shirts that spend all year in my closet. Plus it feels more like Christmas!

How cold is it where you are?

Call Me Crazy

I came across another dream house online yesterday, and I can’t stop thinking about it! It’s located in Merida.

Ya’ll are gonna think I’m insane, but here are some photos:

If I had money, here’s what I would do:

1. Put in a down payment on the house

2. While saving money to renovate, I’d rent the house out as a site for filming horror movies, because DANG it’s creepy right now

3. Renovate it for a relatively small cost because everything in Merida is cheap (I’m thinking beam ceilings, traditional colorful tiles on all floors, and maybe opening up a few doorways)

4. Move in, or sell it for profit because it has potential to be GORGEOUS. Look at that 2-story room! Beautiful.

It only costs $45,000 US.

*sigh* Someday.

Juan and Viri's Civil Ceremony by the Lagoon

First of all, a little explanation. Here in Mexico, when you get married, you have to get married twice. One is the religious ceremony, which is the big ceremony and reception, like an American wedding. Second is the civil ceremony, where you have to say your vows and sign a paper, to show you’re legally married.

Jorge and I did the religious ceremony back in July, and we’ll be able to do the civil ceremony soon.

Our friends Juan and Viri, however, did it the other way. They had their civil ceremony last Saturday, and the big formal wedding will be in August.

Some Mexicans just go to the courthouse for their civil ceremony. Others have a small, informal ceremony and party.

Juan and Viri hosted a party at La Europea, a wine and liquor shop in the Hotel Zone. La Europea has a small tasting room in the back for events, along with a beautiful garden and balcony overlooking the lagoon. It’s a great spot. Seriously, the next party I throw will be here! haha

Me and Jorge (in the background across the lagoon is the spot where he proposed!)

Brothers... Armando, Arturo and Juan (the groom)

Looking down onto the garden ceremony area

And now for the ceremony photos (please overlook my poor nighttime photography skills)…

Viri's parents signing the papers

Placing their thumbprints on the papers

Some centerpieces Viri put together with her favorite flower

hors d'eouvres and cake! (The food was amazing, by the way!)

Me with the bride!!

After dinner, a bunch of us stayed out on the balcony for some drinks. I was lame and went home at 1 a.m., but Jorge didn’t get home until 4! Must have been quite a party 🙂

Random Updates

Some of you may have noticed I haven’t been blogging as much the past few weeks. Nothing to worry about! I’ve just been busier than usual at work. Anyway, here are some updates as to what’s going on in my life lately:

-I finally finished reading They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie. What a fun spy novel! This is the 2nd Agatha Christie book I’ve read, and I really enjoy them. Mysterious, but light-hearted, with lots of twists and turns! Now I need to find something else to read…

-Jorge and I hung Christmas lights at our house last night! It looks very pretty. I forgot to take pictures because we were in a rush, but hopefully I’ll have them by tomorrow. I don’t think we’ll get a Christmas tree this year because we have no living room furniture… so it seems kinda sad to just have an empty room with a tree. But the lights look incredible!

-Jorge and I have to write a Christmas list to give to my family this week, but we don’t really need anything! We have tons of clothes, lots of stuff to decorate the living room with eventually (even though there’s no furniture yet haha) and more kitchen items than we have room for. We’ll have to get creative, I guess.

-Two of my best friends are getting married this weekend! Not the official wedding yet, but they’re signing papers and having a dinner with friends. I’m very excited 🙂 Congrats, Juan and Viri!

-I won’t be seeing Mario Lopez on Saturday because it’s the same night as my friends’ marriage. Sorry, ladies.

-Ever since we got married, I’ve been having super intense and often violent dreams. Jorge has no dreams. I think I’m stealing his dreams. Can that happen?

-The company I work for blocked Facebook. Sooo I can only use it on weekends. This has hurt my blog stats because normally a lot of my visitors link in from Facebook, but I can only post links on weekends. Not cool. (Other than that, I’m kind of glad to have Facebook out of my life.)