Christmas and Culture Shock

Hello all! I’m back from good ole Richmond, Virginia, and it was a very Merry Christmas indeed. This was my first time back in Richmond after more than 3 years, and I got to see family and friends I hadn’t seen in forever.

Jorge LOVED the US. He liked the houses, mainly because they “don’t have bars on the windows, like in Mexico”. Very true. I took him to my favorite outdoor mall, and he was a bit overwhelmed but definitely enjoying himself. I have to admit I miss US malls, too… although I did feel bad for the shirtless guy standing in the freezing cold of the Abercrombie and Fitch entrance.

I was excited to be back in my hometown of Richmond! I got to see lots of friends and family I hadn’t seen in over 3 years. Jorge got to see my high school, middle school, elementary school, church and old house.

Everything seemed so much bigger and grander than I remember. In Cancun all the houses are right next to eachother (no side yards, shared walls) and yards are usually just tiny squares of concrete. The bigger houses here have walls around them, and almost all houses here have bars on the windows. In Richmond, the yards were so huge and the houses so much larger than they needed to be that I felt like I was way in the country or something (even though it was just the suburbs). Even houses I used to think were small growing up, today they look immense!

All the shopping centers and restaurants looked so pristine it was overwhelming. Immaculate storefronts were surrounded by massive amounts of parking space. Where were the flimsy taco stands? Where were the family-owned corner stores? Why are there so many SUVs? Who would go to a huge shopping center in the middle of nowhere? (a lot of people, apparently)

The only thing big about Cancun is the potholes.

I was seeing the first stages of reverse culture shock, and I was only there for 3 days. Everything from the cars to the houses, restaurants, movie theaters and malls was just so BIG and PERFECT. It was lovely, but I was glad to get back to the sun and tiny concrete houses of Cancun.

Here are a few pics. The lights are from the James Center in downtown Richmond, and the rest are just family photos taken at my grandparents’ house.

How was your Christmas?

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!