artesanias valle
No better place to start 2011 for us than in tierra Azteca–México.  Last week I shared a post from our first weekend in México City and promised to share more, but fell short on that promise because my daughter got a severe cold and double ear infection and I got hit with the flu.  We had to take it easy for days and missed out on many of the sights we were looking forward to having Camila experience:  el Zócalo with the lavish holiday lights display, the markets, and the children´s museum.  Instead, we decided to leave Mexico City sooner than planned and head over to my in-laws´ home in the quaint lake town of Valle de Bravo, just a 2-hour drive from the City, but  a whole other world of fresh air, silence and green mountains.

Valle de Bravo is one of the main places we expect to fill Camila´s memories growing up and to fuel her passion for Spanish-language.  This is where we want to spend at least a couple of weeks every year with her cousins, tíos and Oma and Opa (my father in law is Dutch, so they go by the Dutch words for abuela y abuelo.)  This is the México many dream of retiring in, and my in-laws did it! We´ll take advantage of that and surround our girl with the beauty of the natural scenery and traditional vibe of this town.

Camila sitting on muelle (dock) patiently (kinda) waiting for her Opa to finish getting the lancha ready for a ride around the lake. She kept bugging him and asking: “¿Ya, Opa? ¿Ya?”

Valle de Bravo lancha

Finally on the boat, she takes in the scenery and a sip of her favorite jugo de manzana.

Caballos ValleThe one most annoying thing about a child being sick in México is that the pediatric medicines the doctor prescribed taste awful. So, we had to resort to bribery to get her to take them.  The biggest bribe, and the one thing she was looking forward to the most during this whole vacation, was a horseback ride with Papá, Opa and Mamá through the Valle de Bravo forest.  This picture is right before we took off on the hour-long ride. She was ecstatic.

mercado artesaniasChecking out toys at the local mercado de artesanías. Everything is so colorful making it difficult for her to keep her hands off. I kept trying…

Iglesia Valle de BravoOn New Year´s Eve we headed down to Valle de Bravo´s main plaza to play around, trinket-shop and eat golosinas. The town is very picturesque with cobblestone roads, traditional colonial houses and plazas.

fachada iglesia

Close up view of the main iglesia.  Streams of colorful papel picado adorn many of the town´s streets.

jugando con nicolasOne of my favorite moments–as soon as we stepped onto the festive Plaza we were greeted by little Nicolás who was selling little lit-up planes you shoot out with a rubber band.  I immediately fell for his sweetness and Camila fell for the planes. Nicolás sealed the deal when he said: “Tengo uno rosita.”  Pink being my girl’s favorite color, of course.  Then, he stayed and gently taught her how to make the plane fly up in the air.  It was very special.

algodonWho can say no to a little girl who really, really wants a pink algodón (cotton candy) from a street vendor on the Plaza?  She decided it was big enough to share with her Oma, making both really happy!

algodon y esquiteDaughter digging into a pink algodón and mamá into a delicious ezquite.  Cravings happily fulfilled.

We head back home in a couple of days and are taking with us irreplaceable memories.  I can honestly say my girl’s Spanish is much stronger and undoubtedly her language of preference at the moment.  This brings up other issues since she’ll be starting an all-English Montessori pre-school next week. I’ll blog about that soon.  Aside from her Spanish, this trip cemented the bond with her Oma and Opa whom she last saw 6 months ago in Los Angeles. As a family of three living in a large city, we need to try extra-hard for her to really know what the lovingly family chaos is all about.  She’s also experimented with new foods, treats and unfamiliar sights.  This trips has left it really clear to us that travel is a must, and we will make any sacrifice necessary to make it happen as part of our bicultural journey.

Thanks for reading this series of personal posts. Please let us know if you enjoy the personal posts and pictures from us because Roxana and I are considering doing much more of these this year.

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