Visiting Abuela

Published: February 6th 2011
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Bisabuela y BisnietaBisabuela y BisnietaBisabuela y Bisnieta

Great Grandmother Marciana and her Great Granddaughter Mia sitting on the couch together soon after our arrival.
The alarm was set for 8am but I turned it off and slept in until 9am because Mia woke up coughing around 6am and threw up some. Her fever had returned so I gave her another dose of the Advil and she fell back asleep tossing and turning. Last night I packed up a small suitcase with all the gifts and shoes for the family in Mexico City. New shoes for the four children of Maria and Victor, shoes for Rafael and Jimena in Zirandaro, and new shoes for my suegra (mother-in-law). A Leapster L-Max with several games in a nifty little backpack for José's son Anthony. A DS Lite with several games for José's son Michel. Four Gillette deodorants for Marilub to take to Zirandaro for Tío Martín. A bottle of cranberry extract capsules for my suegra. The digital camera and digital camcorder to record the two DVD's that José requested I film during my visit. All hauling all the luggage here, it felt like nothing to haul a small suitcase back into the city with us.
Severo gave us a ride to the OXXO on the highway so we could catch a combis into the bus station in Puebla.

Tía Consuelo, Marciana, Tía Marilub, Suegra Sara, y Cuñada Isabel gossiping around the kitchen table after lunch.
Only 24 pesos for the three of us and a 30 minutes bus ride, you won't find prices like that at home! We had just over an hour to wait for our 11:20am bus de Lujo (luxury aka bathroom on board). We were seated on a row of four seats facing four more seats. Isabel was sitting facing us on the aisle with our little suitcase and bag on the seat beside her and then two empty chairs. Mia and I piled our backpacks, food, and drinks on the aisle seat and sat down in the next two seats with an empty seat on the other end. About 15 minutes before our bus departed, I met one of the most stuck up Mexicans that I've ever come across. Thank goodness for my good manners and upbringing or I might have embarrassed Isabel with my mouth. It was a mother about my age with a daughter around 6 years old and they were dressed nicely. Instead of moving over and using any number of the empty seats in the waiting area, she asked me if this seat was occupied and gestured to the chair full of our backpacks, food, and drinks.
Los NiñosLos NiñosLos Niños

Martin, Angel, y Victor José
I looked at her as if to say "are you f'ing kidding me?" but she was dead serious. She was so full of herself that she expected to choose whichever seat in the house she wanted. I made a show of moving everything off the seat and then she took out a paper towel and cleaned the seat off! I only looked at Isabel and rolled my eyes but I wanted to give that lady an earful and practice my spanish cussing again.
The bus ride in went off uneventful. And then I met the second rudest Mexican that I've ever come across. Two in one day, too bad I can't buy a lottery ticket and test my luck. This time it was our taxi driver who showed off his poor manners for more than 10 minutes. The only thing that I know about where my cuñada (sister-in-law) lives is her address that I put on the packages we send. I knew that it was somewhere in the area of the Lago de Guadalupe and it's on the top of a big hill. I told him Colonia Villa Jardin and Calle Francisco Villa. He ended up heading up the hill
Azul y ConchaAzul y ConchaAzul y Concha

Mia and her cousin Concepcion at 3 years of age. Concha is 2 months older but it looks like Mia is going to be the taller one.
on a different street and having to drive through the whole tiangueys and then taking the correct street back down the hill to her street. He started chastising us for not giving him the correct directions to this area and that we should have said we wanted to go to "Arpientas" and tell our driver to turn at the arbol (tree) and other stuff that meant nothing to me. He went on and on for 10 minutes and even raised the rates on us because he took the wrong turn! Isabel said that she normally pays about 60-70 pesos to go from the bus station at Tlalnepantla to their house and he charged us 90 pesos when it was originally supposed to be 80 pesos and we'd already complained about that higher rate when we got in. He tried to tell us it was 80 pesos to the base of the hill so I told him we'd get out and walk up the hill if that was going to be the case but he wouldn't stop the taxi and let us get out either.
We arrived at Maria's house around 2:30pm and neither she nor Victor were home. He was working in the store near the bottom of the hill and she was off shopping for who knows what in el centro with a neighbor. Isabel called and asked her to pick up a bunch of socks to sell in the store. I got to meet José's aunt Consuelo (68) who is the oldest of the 12 children and she lives in Quintana Roo. I didn't envy her the 20 hour bus ride over here to visit her sister Marciana. Since she lives by the ocean though, I do look forward to visiting her in the future. I started recording video and taking pictures soon after arriving. The new shoes were dispatched to everyone and the rest was separated so Marilub could take it back to Zirandaro on her next trip home. Then Sara and Isabel left with all the kids to go purchase tortillas. They ended up being gone at least an hour so I just sat down and recorded Marciana talking about her past while she sat on the loveseat with Consuelo. She talked about becoming a mother at 16 years of age, working with two young children and washing laundry and cleaning house and how she didn't understand how mothers these days complained about not being able to do anything with little ones underfoot.
My suegra and cuñada finally returned with all the kids and we sat down to eat consomé with verduras (vegetables) and pollo (chicken). I continued recording while the ladies sat around the table gossiping about the family and the past and everything in between.
Maria called a few times that she was enroute back to the house with the socks that Isabel had requested. Around 6:30pm, I got tired of waiting for her to show up because we still had a 3 hour bus ride back home and then another combis to catch so I decided it was time to leave. Isabel went to leave the money with Sara when Maria called and said she'd meet us at Tlalnepantla. We figured that she'd spent all her money and after buying the socks for Isabel, probably didn't have the money to catch a taxi home. We caught a taxi to the bus central and arrived at 7:05pm. The next bus to Puebla left at 7:20pm so we bought tickets and I was thankful that we didn't have an hour wait. Maria was nowhere in sight as I had expected. Around 7:38pm, she texted me that she was waiting in the bus station for us but I didn't get it because my cell phone is kept in my backpack when I'm traveling. Then my phone rang at 7:52pm and it was Maria wanting to know where we were. When I told her that we'd already come and gone, she started to get pissy about the socks and I told her that we couldn't be expected to sit around a bus station all night long with a sick child. She just said Adios and hung up. Then five minutes later she called back and I just passed the phone to Isabel. I could hear her yelling at Isabel who just hung up on the phone on her as well. Maria needs to understand that the world doesn't revolve around her outside of her little home and other people have their own lives to lead. She obviously was too busy shopping and running around in the streets to bother coming back to her own home to see her neice and sister but I'm sure she thinks that it was her right to request new shoes for all four of her children.
The rest of the return journey went quickly. We were able to get on a very crowded combis on its last trip to Tlaxcala and Severo picked us up on the street so we didn't have to walk with a sleeping child. The panaderia was still open so we were able to pick up our fresh bread for the night. José called while we were enjoying our pan and té and asked me to bring home any pan that we didn't eat that night. I got all my bags packed up and ready to head out early tomorrow morning. Severo is going to give me a ride into Puebla since Isabel has to get the food ready for the school lunch tomorrow. My last night in Mexico for this trip; short and sweet but it feels good to be heading home.


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