Friday, February 28, 2014

The Quick and Dirty

This might be a recurring theme for this blog..."The Quick and Dirty"...I like it.

Okay, so here's how it's gonna work, I'm gonna tell you about our busy day with a few, simple pictures and some simple explanations...hence the title.

I'm feeling human again!

We got locking lug nuts for The Bandit! (Top lug nut).

We went to Angelopolis to buy a pillow top (see next picture). It's a massive mall about five minutes from our house. It's pretty swanky, even by US standards. (Photo courtesy of the interwebs)

We got a pillow top for our mattress. Our apartment is fully furnished...that means beds, (Read: our bed is like sleeping on pallets stuffed with straw) Maybe I exaggerate...maybe I don't. But no more!! Clean sheets too...ahhh...

We had lunch. Andy liked it so much he took a picture of it. It's basically just a chicken wrap...but it was made with my special ingredient...Love?! Nope, bacon.

We saw 12 Years A Slave. Perk of being here? We get to see all the movies that didn't come to Clovis. AND we can walk there in 20 minutes. AND it's super nice too. Sorry Porty Peeps. (Side note: Brilliant movie, hard to watch, rips your heart out, and punches you in the gut. Great film making). (Photo courtesy of The Google).

Andy cheersing (what? it's a word) the fact that as we came out of the movie theater we found an ice rink...where he can play the middle of Mexico. You'd cheers too. (Nina...add hockey bag to your pack mule list).

This is what is my life looks like right now. Freshly painted toenails, by yours truly as I waited for Andy at home last night while he was at a gig, tennis on's the Abierto Mexicano Telcel 2014 tournament, don't you know? Andy is looking up when Andy Murray will be playing in said tournament tonight and I am finishing the blog.

**I have tried to get the blogs up around the same time-ish, early afternoon, every day but some days just get away from me. So I apologize for not being prompt, but that's life in Mexico...and I'm going to roll with it. But I will try

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Getting on With It

Well, I still feel gross, but it was time that I left the house. Andy and I got up this morning and went for a walk down by the river. No, no...not like Chris Farley...Enjoy: In a van...down by the river! (You're welcome)

We live near a river, it winds through several parts of our neighborhood. We affectionately call it Stinky River, because well, it's stinky. First our area, neighborhood, is called Agua Azul. (Tricky translation, wait for it...Blue Water). There is a water park at the end of our road that has mineral (sulfuric) water that comes from a spring.

For my Wyoming readers...think Thermopolis. 

I'm gonna take a wild guess here and assume that's why this area is called Agua Azul. (Giant leap, I know). So anyway, the river is a combination of hot mineral water and sewage. Yummy! But seriously,  if you don't get too close to the river, it's not that bad. (Really, sometimes you get a whiff and you gag, but mostly you don't notice it).

Anyway, we have noticed that there are several parks and tracks around Puebla as part of an initiative to get people healthy. The track along our beloved river has several places to stop with bathrooms (with security), work-out machines, and measured distances. There were tons of people out there and it was nice to get out of the house.

Since I'm still feeling bad, and it doesn't seem to matter what I eat, I said, "screw it" and had a normal breakfast at 100% Natural. Here's their website: 100% Natural  The restaurant is located in El Parque Del Arte just a few blocks from our house. (I will do an entire blog on this park at some point because it deserves it). The food was good, the juice (which came in what can only be described as a fish bowl) was delicious, and they had bathrooms with toilet paper. It was a win all around!

We then went to Wal-Mart...don't judge. Our neighbors go there's not because we're American, it's because they have a better selection on some products. (I have mentioned that we went to another Wal-Mart to get some basics when we first got here, it turns out that there is a closer Wal-Mart with more selection and better I think I'm eating my words when I say, "I think we might shop there from now on").

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Still Blerg-ish

Well, I'm on day three of this "Blerg-ish-ness" I haven't left the house in three days. I am beginning to feel like this:

Sad Cat Diary  (Click on the words "Sad Cat Diary") Also, "The Authorities" should be a substitute for "Andy" 

Not really...but kinda...and I love the video, it's funny.

Andy has been out and about, moving and shaking...and taking care of me. He went to El Zócolo last night to meet our tutor and on the way he stopped into several restaurants on the way to see if they would like live music. He went into one particular place and spoke with a large man from Cuba who was wearing a Marlins hat. The man asked Andy, who had his guitar on him, to play something on the spot. Andy played "Imagine" and the guy told him to come back today around 2:00pm and he could play a party they were having at the restaurant.

He's getting ready to head out. Who knows what is in store...but wish him good luck! I'll keep you posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It Finally Happened...

I've been waiting, well, really since we got back from our trip to England and Iceland, for this to happen. We had been around so many people, so many germs...but neither of us got sick. Then we went back to Portales...more germs, more people. (Do you see a trend here?! People=Germs). We didn't get sick. Then we moved to Mexico. I thought on the drive to Puebla, "please, oh please, just let me wait to get the inevitable sickness until we get into our new place!" I have been eating whatever food I want (see previous post with the bugs) because I just figured the sooner my stomach gets used to the "flora and fauna" as Andy puts it, the better. I didn't get sick.

So, after two and a half weeks here, I began to think I had this super immune system, this colossal stomach made of steel. Well, I got knocked off that high horse yesterday morning and have felt "blerg-ish" ever since. Notice I said Blerg-ish not Montezuma's Revenge-ish. It hasn't been epic or life changing...just not good, man.

So, needless to say I didn't leave the house today, and if I can help it, I'm gonna try and do the same today. There's comfort in knowing where the nearest toilet is. TMI? Sorry, just keeping it real.

This is a photo from several years ago, showing the effects of the Portales wind...but it also aptly depicts how I'm feeling at the moment. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cholula, a Pyramid, and Some Bugs

Okay it is! The much anticipated (I know, you can all stop holding your breath) post about Cholula and the pyramid there. So, just a brief little background on the pyramid. *Disclaimer* Please remember, I'm not an expert on this subject or anything "Mexico", nor do I claim to be. Most of my facts were gathered from the interwebs and from the limited signage (that was poorly translated into English) at the site.


  • The Great Pyramid of Cholula's actual name is: Tlachihualtepetl. This is Nahuatl for "artificial mountain." 
  • It is the largest pyramid in the world, by volume, not height.
  • It is believed that it was built in homage to the god Quetzalcoatl.
  • It was built, and expanded, for thousands of years before the Spanish rolled into town. 
  • There were alters where children were sacrificed to appease the gods.
  • Once the Spanish rocked in, they built a church on top of the Pyramid.
  • There are more facts, but I'm challenging you, my faithful readers, to research for yourself. (And no, it's not cause I'm lazy and have other things to do today...nope, not at all.)
Here's a photographic journey on our trip to see some pretty old, pretty awe-inspiring stuff 10 minutes from our house!

First we walked in through the tunnels. This was a stairway that lead into further tunnels. 

This is the exact moment that I remembered that we live next to an active volcano...and sometimes there are earthquakes here. Awesome.

And then shortly after that, we saw this. The literal light at the end of the tunnel. That's Andy, fearlessly leading us through the lighted, grated, totally safe tunnels of an ancient pyramid. 

Back in the world of the living...or sunlight. What?! I'm not being dramatic about those tunnels...nope, not me. But seriously, this is what you see on the way to the church on top of the pyramid. 

This is the view from the church. Most of it is Puebla...and Cholula. The two cities are kinda smashed together. They are separated by major streets. Still trying to figure out which ones those are. (Hey, it's only been about two and a half weeks. I just mastered the art of pronouncing our local supermarket. It's all a learning process).

This is Cholula from the other side of the church. Stunning, huh?! To get views like this I'll let you imagine how steep the steps up there. No need for a Stairmaster for these folks.

Domes on the church. Trying to be artsy fartsy. Did it work?

Andy and me and the stunning city of Cholula. (Yes, Mom, I was wearing sunscreen).

This is what we could see from our vantage point in the previous picture. Not too shabby.

You can see the farming fields in the distance and the ruins of parts of the pyramid from the top by the church.

Santuario de la Virgin de los Remedios.

Bell towers and the cross as you come up the stairs. 

Full frontal of the church. (Wow...that just sounded too funny not to leave it just like that. Whoops!)

Here's what the church looks like from our "official parking lot." Upon further inspection it may not have been so official. But we had all of our car parts left when we came back, so we were happy with it. 

(Just a little side note, Andy and I both found it odd to marvel at the beauty, and man, was it beautiful, of the church knowing that it was built on another sacred site. I mean, it's the most obvious, blatant, form of oppressing another culture's beliefs that I've personally ever seen. So, although it was stunning, I know that I felt slightly like, "meh...this shouldn't be here." Again, this is just my personal feelings, not a comment on the Spanish, the Catholic church, or any one who may have a particular fondness in their heart for the church...on to more important things!)

I ate bugs! Yup, that's right...bugs, insects, larvae. In light of "keeping it real" I didn't eat the big crickets, I had the small larvae that were in my hand. But the man insisted it would make a better picture if we included the big guns. He was, he had conned gringas into doing this every day. Like it was his job or something. Weird.

Down the hatch they went! All three of those tiny little suckers. As my face may or may not indicate, they were actually not that bad. Kinda salty, maybe had some chile and lime seasoning. They were so, "not-so-bad" that I would eat them again. It should be noted that before we moved here I had heard about the bugs and had made up my mind that I would try them. Mission accomplished!

 Here's a pretty flower for those of you recovering from gagging at the last two pictures. See, I'm nice.

Part of the pyramid. I wish I could tell you which building it was from, but sadly I can't. The signage is very minimal, and there was a lot to take in all at once. 

A separate part of the pyramid, the two staircases and "launch pad", according to Andy. Also, in our travels, we have come to notice, and sometimes really appreciate, the lack of security at places like this. In the US, I feel like you could have seen the pyramid from very far away, on a bus, all controlled and informative. Here, there are some plastic ties that are used for newspaper binding the States, keeping you out of this ancient site. (Similarly, in Iceland, at Gulfoss, a massive waterfall, there are small, very low to the ground ropes that are there to keep you from going over the edge. In all actuality they might trip you and HELP you fall over the edge. But, I digress).

Some of the most exposed parts of the pyramid. And the church. 

An elephant looking sculpture found in the pyramid. Umm...there aren't elephants here in Mexico. (No, smart ass, not the ones at the zoo). Andy has his theories on these world sites...I'll let him explain it later...but I can lead you to a show, called "Ancient Aliens" on the Discovery Channel, that will begin to help you understand my love's theories on a few things. ;)

Stone head also uncovered in the pyramid. (Look like an alien head to anyone else?)

More pyramid stuff. (I edited out the small modern broom and trash bag at the bottom of the stairs...just didn't seem right to include them).

I think this is close to where they found the "Mural of Drinkers." It was a large mural that basically depicted a drunken orgy, to put it bluntly. You can't see it on the wall anymore, but the museum had a rendition of it.

You can start to see shells in the construction of the pyramid here. They they think they came from Veracruz, which is a few hours by car from Puebla.

I took a lot of pictures...bare with me, we are almost done. 

The stairs on the side of the Pyramid.

We climbed the stairs. This is the view from the top. Guess who decided to do squats for the first time in, oh, I don't know, six months the day we climbed these? That's right, this lady! Still sore.

Here's a face on the way into the museum. I think it is similar to those depicted on the "Mural of Drinkers." But really, I just liked it. 

After our epic, several stair climbs, we wandering into the town center of Cholula, and treated ourselves to some ice cream. Yummy!! Also, this part of Cholula is so stinkin' cute! The sidewalks are all smooth and orderly. Everything is painted like a rainbow (see picture). I can totally see why people move to Cholula, but I have to say, I'm happy with our decision to be here in Puebla. 

Okay, there you have it! If you come to visit us we will take you to see it in person!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Anne and Andy walk into a Church...

...and it didn't burst into flames! ;)

Today we went with our sweet neighbors, Pepe and Meche, to their church. I'll just say it now, Andy and I have been in church, together, around a total of 7 times. Most of those were for weddings, baptisms (I'm looking at you Teddy), confirmations (Charlotte, Georgie, and Mikey), and funerals. It's just not something that we do. But in the spirit of being here, and embracing the culture, and the fact that our neighbors are so sweet that you really kinda can't tell them no...we decided to go.

I know what you are thinking...Anne and Andy are in Mexico, it must have been a Catholic church. Well, you would be wrong my friends. Pepe and Meche are Anglican, which they have made sure to tell us on several occasions, so I think it is very important that we know they aren't Catholic. Although Mexico has no official religion, about 80% of the people here identify as Catholic, so I can see where they want to make the separation.

We went to church and couldn't help but make parallels to our good friend Don Thomas, his church, and the vision they both have for their churches. It was comforting, it felt less overwhelming than I think it would have had it not been so familiar to me. Anyway, I got the gist of the service...basically, stop, be thankful, and don't get so caught up in your life that you miss the little things. (Or something like that).

After the service, we were invited to Pepe and Meche's son's house for his birthday lunch. We ate some amazing food, I tried desperately to follow the conversations, and I stumbled (poorly) through a few "conversations" in Spanish. By 5:30pm my brain was mush...can you tell? This blog is a bit meandering and lackluster, not up to par...I apologize.

Here is a picture of the church on top of the ancient pyramid, that I will post about tomorrow. This isn't the church we went to today...but it's churchy...and that's what today's post was all about. :)

Saturday, February 22, 2014


So, I promise, promise, promise that I will write a good, funny, entertaining blog tomorrow. Today, I just can't. I just can't do much of anything. I have managed to do a load of laundry...the machine is on the's sunny up there...and loud I'm calling it a victory.

We had a wonderful day in Cholula and a wonderful night out. Read the last part of that sentence again. I'm hungover. I'm 31 and sporting a pretty heavy duty hangover. I'm not proud...but man, we had fun!

Sorry for being lame. See you tomorrow...when I will be less lame. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Marimba and a Preview of Tomorrow

Today's blog is gonna be quick! It's Friday and we've got a pyramid to see!

So, yesterday I was up on our roof terrace, I love that place, doing some work for my on-line class that is rapidly approaching. *Yikes!* I was chatting with my friend Cali on Facebook about different places we should visit in Mexico City. Cali's husband, Alex, is from Mexico City and she's got the goods on where to go, etc. (Side note, and not really a side note, cause it's BIG news, but Cali and Alex had their second baby early this morning!! I'm pretty sure Cali did all the heavy lifting on that one, but Congrats to them both! We can't wait to meet Andrés!) Okay...back to the roof. It was a beautiful sunny day...have I mentioned that ALL the days have been beautiful, warm, and sunny?!, well, they have been...and I was minding my own business when I hear this beautiful music coming from below.

I got up from my perch and took a look down to the street. I see three men, with what I only knew as a giant xylophone (I should have been paying more attention in 3rd grade music class, doh! Hindsight is 20/20), on the street corner playing lively music. After the song, they picked up, what I now know to be a Marimba, and moved down the street to another corner. Two men played the marimba while one man went and knocked on doors. I thought they were gone and tried to relish in the moment of beauty and randomness. I have said it before, but I'll say it again, beautiful randomness is a perfect way to describe Puebla. Luckily for me, and you, the men came back and I was able to steal a quick, poor quality, video for your enjoyment. I tried to make it downstairs in time to catch them to give them a few pesos, but by the time I packed up and descended the peak that is my roof (6 flights of tile stairs, remember?!), they were gone.

Here they are for your enjoyment. AND...just's not loading. I'll have to try again later today. Sorry for the build-up.

Here's a picture of a Marimba I stole from Google to hold the place of the video.

We are going to the pyramid in Cholula today. I'll just tell you that it's base is four times the size of the base on the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is the largest pyramid in the world, although most of it is underground. There is a church built on top...and the rest I'll tell you tomorrow! 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Bit of Randomness

Today I'm feeling a bit random. I should confess that I feel random most days, but today I'm feeling extra randomy. (See, so random I'm making up words). Because I like lists, I've warned you before, I'm gonna list my random thoughts for the day.

  • Yesterday I found out that I am officially a Counselor. I have a number from the State of Texas that says, "Anne Elizabeth Jezek, you busted your ass for a year and a half in school, you cried at the idea of Stats on your Comps AND on the National Counseling Exam, you passed both those tests (by the skin of your teeth...shh...I totes know what I'm doing, I just don't test well), and you fought with the State of Texas Website and their employees for months...Congratulations, you are now a Texas, no where else...just Texas." But man does it feel good!!! This isn't really Mexico-y, but I found out while I was it counts...I think. 
Here's me celebrating said Licensure. I really am happy, I swear. And I'm not even drunk. There's a singer who wanders between tables at our favorite restaurant on La Plaza. Even after several "No Gracias"s he still stands there and "sings" and stares all creepy-like at you. I'm giving him the "Sharp Eye" as my youngest nephew calls it. (For the record, his back was turned to me, so he didn't see this face).

  • Andy had his first paying gig in Mexico yesterday!! Whoop Whoop! He has hit the streets (not in a Lady of the Night way, or at least he isn't telling me if it is) and found several preschools close to our house. As usual, he plays the first show for free, to get them hooked, and he was hired by the school literally 3 seconds from the house. He also has another paying preschool starting next Wednesday. 
His first 100 Pesos! I am very proud of him! Rock on with your bad self!!

  • I have mentioned this before, but the produce here is good...and cheap! Andy and I have discussed several times, mostly while shoving fruits and veggies into our mouths a la Cookie Monster, how good the produce here tastes. I sometimes feel like the kids in Willy Wonka when they lick the wallpaper, "The schnoz berries taste like schnoz berries!" But it's here tastes like food. What a concept, huh? 
Here's a picture Andy took of a salad we had for Comida (late lunch) the other day. All veggies were purchased at the market down the street, by yours truly, in Spanish/hand motions/smiles. Super yummy!

  • As I have speculated for years, Blockbuster (that's right, the movie rental store...also a former place of my employment...shout out to my BBV peeps!) and the likes of Tupac Shakur, Elvis, and possibly Jim Morrison, have all found some secret island (or country) to live in and are not actually dead. You can call me a conspiracy theorist, but I have proof people...photographic evidence that this place does exist! "Show me!!" you say, well fine...

Boom! I'll allow you time to pick your jaw up off the floor and reassess your whole belief system.

  • This next one won't blow your mind like the last one. I feel like it's a fairly obvious observation. Some of you may not agree with me (I'm looking at you Nina), but beer is good. We like beer. We like to try different beers wherever we go, cause it's really the only polite thing to do. We do this as not to offend the local cultures we happen to be in. It's purely because we are good travelers, no other reason... ;) But, we have found that beer, unlike wine and chocolate *tear*, is fairly inexpensive here in Mexico. We have observed that many restaurants and bars have 2 for 1 beer "specials" that run for months at a time. We also found this gem at the store. We had to try it...remember, we aren't rude Americans here. 
Yeah, it was delicious. 

  • One last thing...I got my first comment on my blog from someone I don't even know!! Kinda cool! After a few minutes of web and Facebook stalking, er...I mean researching, I found out she is a friend of my dear friend Maria. Maria has a fantastic blog Little Things are Big (Read it, it's a part of my every day ritual), and she posted on her blog about my was an overuse of the term blog there, sorry. Anyway, I can only guess that is where Amber found A Year in Puebla. Small thing, but it made me happy! (I will not be posting a picture of Amber nor Maria as I only know one of them...and that would be creepy, like singer-staring-creepy, so I just won't go there.)
That's it for my randomness today. Thanks for sticking it out. Hope you all have a marvelous day! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In Between Languages

I'm going to expand a little on yesterday's blog about the frustrations and small, and I mean small, triumphs in learning Spanish. (I had a great time at the market all by myself and managed to procure all the fresh, wonderful fruits and veggies that I wanted! Score!!!) To say that my Spanish is basic, is well, an understatement. But I am trying my best. Juan Manuel, remember that totally awesome kid that was Andy's guide from the language institute, came over yesterday for our second private lesson. He was helping me with common verbs and how to conjugate those mo-fos. I expressed to him my frustration with my lack of pronunciation skillz (that's right, with a "z" cause I'm gangsta now too). He smiled and said, "Oh, you could learn for years and years and it still won't be all the way right."*Boom* Another reality bitch-slap to the face. But in a good seriously.

Hearing that from a third party, Andy is considered a second party I guess, was like music to my ears. He said, "Oh, you can learn for years and years and it still won't be all the way right" but the message I received was, "Girl, get over yourself. This is gonna be hard, you won't be good at it for...well, maybe ever, but just do it!" I'm pretty sure these are the same words that have been coming out of Andy's mouth since we talked about this venture. I'm pretty sure he's been communicating the same message in many different ways, but I must have been looking at him like this:

Thanks Google Image Search and Tina Fey...and NBC for the perfect still to help me show my blog readers how I must look to Andy when we talk about this subject. 

I should say it here and now, and I'll tell him later in person cause it's not really an apology unless it's said face to face in my book, but I'm sorry. You were right. I'm not going to be perfect, but I'm not going to get any better unless I just do it...and fail...and do it again. *Shudders at idea of failure...lots of failure* But that's the only way I'm going to get any better. Try, possibly fall on my face, get up, wipe myself off, and try again. I don't know what it is, but I'm sure we're all guilty of it at some point (that's right, I'm calling all of you out on this too! I'm not the only one here who can be a jerk) but sometimes it's hardest to hear things, really hear them, from the people closest to us. What's up with that?! I'm lucky and fortunate to have people in my life who are willing to help me, and find others to help me when I just can't possibly take the advice that my loved ones have already dished out. ;) Mad props to my honey! *Fist Bump!* 

So, now that I've beat the dead horse about Spanish, I wanted to share that I have noticed my English is changing as well. I started to notice it the first day we were in Mexico. I was very fortunate that Dr. Arizpe and his family spoke English, so we were able to communicate fairly easily. But because English is their second language, I find myself simplifying my own speaking to help with the communication. (Also, not to look like an ass by using advanced vocabulary and "Americanisms.") So in a way I am feeling like I don't know Spanish at all, and now I'm losing my native language as well. Obviously, this isn't true at all, but sometimes it feels like it. I feel like I'm lost in between two languages. Like I'm straddling two lingual continents.

Little did I know this summer that this picture would be perfect for today's blog. It's all coming together nicely. 

For those of you wanting to leave comments and have not been able to, here are some steps that might help. 
  1. Click on "Comments" or "No Comments" depending on if someone has already commented. It will be at the bottom of the blog post...slightly to the right.
  2. Type your comment, something like, "Anne you have changed my life with your words of wisdom" or whatever you feel like saying. ;) Make sure you sign your name so I'll know who it is from. Please and Thank You.
  3. Then under "Comment As" button, use drop down menu to comment as "Anonymous" 
  4. Hit "Publish"
  5. Type in the codes provided to make sure you are not a robot.
  6. Hit publish again...and you're done! 

So...not really sure how to end this thing today. How about...