Thursday was Thanksgiving, so we spent the day with my parents at the CCM. Despite the late night Wednesday, we woke up early enough to get dressed in church clothes for a Thanksgiving broadcast for all missionaries at the training centers around the world. It was in the auditorium and the speakers were the Uchtdorfs. The messages were really good, but our kids were the only kids in the audience, so any sounds they made were really noticeable, and I ended up taking Amirah outside. But it was so sunny and pleasant out on the grass that I didn’t mind. After the broadcast we did a little shopping in la tienda, took a little walk, and just killed time until we could eat our Thanksgiving meal in the comedor.
Of course the meal lacked the sentimental and traditional foods that we usually have, but our Thanksgivings in recent years have all been unique since we moved away from Boise. Cameron was probably the most disappointed with the circumstances, but even he was happy they served gravy with the turkey and mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. It was really great being surrounded by all the missionaries, many of whom were also feeling homesick and longing for their family’s home-cooked dishes.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing, resting, exploring the CCM and meeting my parent’s friends. It was a nice day to recuperate and re-energize for the next few days.
Friday my parents arranged for a guide to pick us up at the CCM in a “big car” (think 15 passenger van) as Amirah kept referring to it. It was so nice, it was spacious, the kids got to sit next to Baca and Grandpa, and Richard and I got to relax because we didn’t have to drive or navigate. Our guide, Daniel, was also really knowledgeable and as we worked our way out of the city he answered questions and filled our minds with historical trivia and context. Our first stop was the town of Cholula and it was about a two hour drive.
Our guide took us to the museum and tunnels of the Great Pyramid of Cholula. The history of this site was so interesting! I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and how hard it is to look back in hindsight and understand what was happening and how such a massive structure essentially disappeared into the earth. I love this kind of stuff.
The pyramid was begun before 100 BC and was constructed over a period of hundreds of years, adding layers and layers. But by the time the Spanish arrived in Mexico in the 1520s it was already covered by dirt and overgrown. Because they were oblivious to its existence, it was spared from destruction and in 1594, the Spanish simply built a church, La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. From Wikipedia-
“According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is in fact the largest pyramid as well as the largest monument ever constructed anywhere in the world, with a total volume estimated at over 4.45 million cubic metres, even larger than that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, which is about 2.5 million cubic metres. However the Great Pyramid of Giza is higher at 138.8 metres.“
Before climbing the hill to see the church and the surrounding views of Cholula, we took a tour of the tunnel system that goes through the pyramid. Stepping back in time that far, thousands of years, is so mind blowing.
It was quite a hike to the top of the hill, but had a nice diversion when we stopped to snack on dried insects…
Our driver and guide picked us up back down at the bottom of the hill and we drove to Puebla, a town not too far away, where the first order of business was lunch! The lunch was in a sunny buffet style restaurant that our guide picked for us. The food was good, and there were plenty of choices for the kids to pick something new to try and something reliable to fill their bellies.
I think my brain was already jam-packed with new information from the drive out of Mexico City and our time in Cholula, not to mention the after-lunch fog that sets in, so as we toured Puebla I found that I was more interested in seeing and less able to absorb information. So I’ll mostly post pictures of Puebla, which was beautiful- and the weather was so perfect.
We did lots of walking and saw churches, parks, shops and lots of talavera- which is a Spanish/Mexican kind of ceramic pottery and tile. It’s really pretty and totally my kind of art in architecture and kitchenware.
The kids were pretty well worn out by the late afternoon, and we had a long drive back to the city so we finished up with churros, which were sooooo yummy. Everyone tried a different kind; caramel, dulce de leche, chocolate, strawberry, and others I don’t recall.
We drove back to the CCM, made some dinner for the kids, and then my parents and Richard and I went to dinner at a sushi restaurant in a shopping mall, which was it’s own great experience. You haven’t seen a country unless you’ve seen a shopping mall in that country. (I’m kidding about that last part, but the food and the adult conversation was fantastic.)