Preparations: Dia de Los Muertos & Going to the States
So, there’s a lot of stuff that has been keeping me busy lately. After a bit of a meltdown following the last post Alberto and I started looking at me going back to the States for a while. There are several reasons for us to do this. One is that living here has become extremely hard for me and I really need a break and I need some real time with my kids. Another is that we might be able to get a waiver approved so Alberto could come back to the states – but to do that we need to pay the filing fees and lawyer – which cost more money (in US Dollars) than we make here in a year. So… It’s back to the states, work, see my kids and friends, and visit Alberto when possible. While it will be nice to be in the States for a while and see family and friends, it really sucks that I have to be separated from my husband. It will not be easy for me since I sold all of our stuff and I won’t even have a car. Basically, I’ll be starting from scratch – well, from scratch plus clothing. I know I’m not the only one who’s had to rebuild their life, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier.
Since deciding this and getting tickets back to the states there’s been a flurry of activity. Calls to find out who I can live with (still don’t know for sure who it will be). Trying to polish up my resume. Looking at apartment costs (just in case). Plus trying to get the Cafe squared away so Alberto can run it by himself. This part has taken a lot of time. Building new shelving, re-working the menu, generally re-organizing and teaching Alberto how to make a couple of the recipes. (lots of fun since I had to stop my usual “by eye” measurements and really measure the ingredients!) Then there’s trying to figure out what all to pack. Add to all of this that one of the biggest holidays down here is coming up… Dia de Los Muertos.
Dia de Los Muertos is Nov 1st and 2nd. (yes, you could say it should technically be dias de los muertos, since it’s more than one day, but it’s not.) This is a very big holiday where you remember your dead relatives. The first day (which falls on All Saints Day) is for ‘los inocentes’ (for dead children) and the second day is for the adults. Everyone sets up a table with photos of their relatives, candles, candy skulls (which should have names of the relatives on them), jicama, peanuts (in the shell), mandarins, a small pumpkin or gourd, pan de los muertos (bread of the dead) and any favorite food of the deceased people. We have our table all set up, but we have not purchased the bread yet (we will do that tomorrow or Monday). I have seen people make the sign of the cross and kiss their hand when seeing the table, which I think is rather interesting since this holiday is a pagan one, dating back before the Catholic religion ever came to Mexico. Strange to see such a co-mingling of pagan and Christian beliefs. We are going to be open all weekend and will probably be open late on the holidays. One of the big cemeteries is just a block away from us and people are already cleaning the graves in preparation for the holiday. It’s a nice thing to see people remember their loved ones.
One thing I am not excited about is the fact that the city is cutting the water during these days. This makes it a little problematic and frustrating when you need to be able to wash dishes, flush toilets, etc. Like almost everyone, we do have a tank of water here, so hopefully that will be enough to get us through. We can be thankful that we use bottled water for our coffee, tea and recipes and we have a good supply of that already. The city says that they’re doing this because they are replacing some pipes in the main (read: only) water reservoir here. I think it’s more likely that they chose the holiday to do the work because they usually cut water during the holidays. (People here have the propensity to wash everything at least twice on the holidays, even if it’s already clean -don’t know why – so the government cuts the water.) Mexico City already uses four times the amount of water that it’s aquifer provides, and if people waste water that just makes it worse. Sadly, the people here don’t understand environmental issues like that, so the government doesn’t explain, they just cut the water. Unfortunately, they rarely advise people ahead of time, so if you don’t plan ahead you’ll have to buy the bottled stuff and wash with it (expensive!!)