We're back in Arroyo Seco, Mexico, pulling the compound together for another six months of life here in this little rancho in Costalegre.
It's a different type of quiet for us. A non-mechanized quiet. Not many cars, airplanes, machines that hum. But loads of noises from roosters and chickens, flapping and cackling around our yard in the morning. A lot of children's voices as they play in the street late into the night. An occasional dog, donkey, bird, horse. And a lot of really loud music during the day.
Tonight we heard children singing as part of a nightly posada processional, part of the Christmas celebration. Soon they were in front of our home, then shouting out our names for us to join in the rest of the processional around the village. While I used to be hesitant about such events --- my limited language, my lack of understanding of the culture or what would be expected of me -- now I just launch myself out the door. Even without my trusty translator, Miguel.
What the heck. In for a dime, in for a dollar. Or in for a centavo, in for a peso.
I've learned that they're delighted to have our participation, to have us be interested in their lives and their celebrations.
Tonight when I joined the processional I learned how to be more prepared for next year --- have a small bag of candies or treats ready each night to give to the child dressed as Mary. And if we want to really delight them, have a pinata ready too.
After the last house, children dashed off in all directions. But a contigent of about 15 of them ended up in front of our neighbor Chena's house, painting ceramics at a table set up in the street. Hours later, we can still hear them.
I live here for a lot of reasons --- I want to force myself to learn the language, I love the climate, I like living in the country. But tonight I'm reminded that I get to learn about their culture, and that all I have to do is be brave enough to walk out the door.
Another act of bravery is driving back and forth to Puerto Vallarta. We have two big motivators --- granddaughter Sasha and Michael's doctor of osteopathy, Dr. Antonio, who is working miracles on his shoulder pain.
Yesterday we came across some cattle crossing the highway but we were able to stop our big Toyota Tundra in time. Unfortunately, the van in back of us didn't. After a spectacular spinout, he and his passenger ended up wedged in an arroyo. No injuries, but without AAA to call, it was probably going to be quite a while before their car was yanked out of that ditch.
We're heading back up to Vallarta tomorrow to celebrate Christmas with Sasha and her parents. And we're going to be driving very, very carefully.