Christmas Lights at Parque Bicentenario, Silao, Guanajuato

One of the fun things my family and I love to do at Christmastime is see Christmas lights. We found a fantastic place just outside of León in the small town of Silao that has a beautiful display of Christmas lights. Parque Bicentenario is a neat park to visit during the day with children. They have exhibits year-round geared towards kids of all ages. But after dark at Christmastime, this park is magical and festive.

Elephant display at Parque Bicentenario, Silao, Guanajuato. Video by Angela Grier

At Christmastime, the park sets up a fun light exhibit outside. Scattered throughout the light exhibits are food vendors that sell snacks, ice cream, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, tortas, alcoholic beverages, and more. The best food vendor though – the guy that sells churros! Churros are a delicious fried pastry that should not be missed. You can buy them plain or filled with something sweet like chocolate, cajeta, or a fruit filling.

During Christmas in Mexico, one of the many unique traditions is watching a Christmas play called a pastoral. It is a story about the fight between good and evil, angel and devil, and each pastoral is its own unique interpretation of the Christmas story. The pastoral that we watched at the park was very funny and far different from other pastoral plays we’ve seen.

Pastoral play at Parque Bicentenario, Silao, Guanajuato. Video by Angela Grier

Last minute Christmas shoppers can visit the Christmas Bazaar at the park. It’s a lot less crowded than the malls and the prices are better too. There are also rides and other entertainments for kids – inflatables, bumper cars, and several carnival rides.

Christmas tree at Parque Bicentenario, Silao, Guanajuato. Photo by Angela Grier

I highly recommend a visit to Parque Bicentenario for a fun, family-friendly Christmas activity near León, Guanajuato.

Diego Rivera Museum, Museo Anahuacalli

Diego Rivera was a well-known Mexican artist who is famous for the murals he painted in Mexico and the US. He was married to Frida Kahlo, another famous Mexican artist. Both Diego and Frida were dedicated to improving the lives of the Mexican people and used their art and international standing to influence positive change. They are celebrated historical figures in Mexico.

Museo Anahuacalli, Coyoacan. Photo by Angela Grier

I explored Diego Rivera’s museum, Museo Anahuacalli, with my family and our tour guide. There is a small fee to enter the museum and a separate, additional fee that allows you to take pictures while you are visiting. Pay the fee and take pictures – it is worth it.

Diego Rivera was an avid collector of Pre-Hispanic artifacts. He wanted to create a place where he could display his vast collection of sculptures. In a previous post, I toured the Frida Kahlo Museum, Casa Azul. There are some Pre-Hispanic artifacts on display in Casa Azul, but the majority of Rivera’s collection is on display at Museo Anahuacalli. For a more complete understanding of the lives of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and their contributions to Mexico, it is important to visit both museums. I highly recommend using a tour guide for a more comprehensive look into their lives and contributions to Mexico.

Museo Anahuacalli. Photo by Angela Grier

Museo Anahuacalli is a large stone structure built to resemble various aspects of Pre-Hispanic architecture, specifically those aspects found in pyramids like the ones at Teotihuacan. Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, is an important part of Teotihuacan culture and is represented throughout the architecture and artwork in this building. 

As you wander through the small and large galleries of sculptures on display, and up and down the stairwells from the first floor to the rooftop, pay attention to the mosaics on the ceilings and floors throughout the museum. These mosaics depict different parts of Pre-Hispanic culture and beliefs.

In the largest gallery, sketches of some of Diego Rivera’s famous murals, including one on display in Bellas Artes, cover the walls, mixed in with the displays of Pre-Hispanic sculptures. 

Diego Rivera’s collection of Pre-Hispanic sculptures is impressive. This is a must-see museum in Coyoacan. It is not far from Casa Azul and these two museums can easily be seen in one day.

After visiting Diego Rivera’s Museo Anahuacalli, Teotihuacan and the National Museum of Anthropology should be on your list of additional places to visit as you discover more about the culture and history of Mexico.

Running around Mexico

Before I moved to Mexico three years ago, I was a runner. I ran in several fun races a year – 5k, 10k, 21k. I even participated in a sprint triathlon, just to see what it was like. (I hated the swimming part, so I’ll never do that again.) But I really enjoyed signing up for the fun runs that offered something fun for after the race – hot apple cider, chocolate, beer, doughnuts – I mean who doesn’t love a cold beer after running 4 miles on a brutally cold and windy St. Patrick’s Day or taking home a pumpkin pie after running a few miles on a brisk Thanksgiving Day morning. Those fun perks and prizes added to the enjoyment of running in fun runs with my family and friends. But I knew that when I moved to Mexico, that would all end.

We ran the BJX21K in León in April 2019. My children ran the kid’s 1k fun run, my husband ran the 10k, and I ran the 5k. Photo by Angela Grier.

I was an idiot (insert facepalm). After a couple of months of settling in, I realized that the city shuts down major streets for a marathon at the end of September. And from what I could see, there were a lot of runners participating. So I decided to figure out how I could participate too. It turns out there are many races that take place in León and in the surrounding towns and cities, not to mention races all over the country. My mind was blown. Race entries for the various races can be purchased at local sporting goods stores; which one depends on the store that is sponsoring the race. Race entries can also be purchased online through the Márcate app.

Once the pandemic hit and in-person races ended, many of the local races became virtual. All I had to do was record my time with my fitness watch and submit my data in the Márcate app. The race packets were shipped to my house after my race data was received. Virtual races opened up many more opportunities for me to participate in some of the fun runs that are found in other parts of Mexico. And some of those races offered some pretty cool race swag that was also shipped to my house – beer, tequila, wine, cool medals, and beautifully designed shirts or jackets. I love that I will have fun clothing to wear when we return to the US that will remind me of how much fun I have had running here in Mexico.

We ran 21k for the BJX21K in April 2021. The race was virtual this year and we decided to run around a large, beautiful lake in León’s Parque Metropolitano. A lot of other runners for this virtual race had the same idea and it was fun to see so many others running while wearing the race shirt. Since this is a local race, I picked up my race packet before the virtual race weekend instead of having it shipped. Photo by Angela Grier.

I finally ran the León marathon myself this year. I had planned to run it in 2020, but of course, that didn’t work out. So I continued training for another year, determined to run in 2021. Luckily, the Covid numbers dropped enough that they decided to have an in-person race – the first in-person race in León since the pandemic started. My husband and I ran with some friends and a few thousand other people. It was glorious! Everyone was so excited and there was so much positive energy in the air. It was wonderful to be there. The race culture in Mexico is truly amazing and the support I received when I ran through the city streets was incredibly moving. So many people that I didn’t know, and a couple that I did, stood along the 42 km route for hours with signs and noisemakers, just to show their support for the runners. At one point, around km 26, a small boy and his grandfather ran beside me for a little while, shouting encouragement and cheering me on. The race was magical and I am so happy that I was finally able to run in the full León marathon. It’s just one more thing I love about living in Mexico. Now I’m ready to train for my next fun race – perhaps the 10k trail run in the Sierra de Lobos….

Viva Mexico! Three important observations about Mexican Independence Day, September 16th.

As I write this, my family and I are enjoying a beautiful Mexican Independence Day celebration at home, away from any crowded places. With the pandemic still raging on, we continue to take precautions and limit our exposure to others as much as possible. So in light of our reduced ability to go out and celebrate, I decided now would be a good opportunity to describe our experience with this holiday.

After three years of celebrating Mexican Independence Day, we have learned a few things. First, food is a very important part of Independence Day celebrations. While food is an important aspect of all of Mexican culture, it is also very regional. What may be popular in one part of Mexico may not be commonly found in another part. We live in the state of Guanajuato. The most popular traditional food in Guanajuato for Independence Day is Chiles en Nogada. You can find this food everywhere in the weeks leading up to September 16th. It consists of a poblano pepper stuffed with a mixture of meat, nuts, and spices, giving it a slightly sweet flavor. A creamy, white sauce is poured over the stuffed pepper and pomegranate seeds are sprinkled over the top. This signature dish of Independence Day includes the colors of the Mexican flag, red, white, and green. It is only seasonally available, so foreign visitors can only try this dish in the weeks leading up to September 16th. It is delicious and worth trying at least once…or several times.

Chiles en Nogales in El Pagaso. Photo by Angela Grier

The second observation we have made is that clothing and decor is an important part of the celebration. Children and adults wear the colors of the Mexican flag on September 15th and 16th. Many cars and trucks display Mexican flags flying from their windows. Houses and yards, plazas, parks, and public buildings all display Mexican flags, banners, and other decorations. Everywhere you go, there are carts full of Independence Day clothing and accessories, toys and balloons, flags and other decorations available for purchase. These carts are found scattered throughout the traditional market areas, the plazas, and even outside the Walmarts and other big retail stores. It’s a big business, and everyone participates. There is so much energy and anticipation on September 15th. It’s a fun day to be out in public spaces.

City Hall of Leon, Guanajuato. Photo by Angela Grier
Independence Day celebration at school. Photo by Angela Grier
A cart full of Independence Day-themed items for sale. Photo by Angela Grier

That brings me to my third and final observation – an important part that we did not understand when we experienced our first Independence Day. September 15th is a big day as well. It is the day of El Grito, translated as the scream or the yell/cry. It originally happened in Dolores Hidalgo, the birthplace of Mexican Independence, and initiated the Mexican War for Independence in 1810. The way the Mexican people celebrate it is by reenacting El Grito all across the country at midnight on September 15th. That officially kicks off the Independence Day celebrations. The biggest, best attended, and most televised El Grito takes place in Mexico City outside the Palacio Nacional where the Mexican president chants the traditional cheer. At this point, we still have not experienced El Grito ourselves, but we hope to do so once the pandemic is behind us. If we do, you can be sure that I will blog the entire experience.

Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico!

La Casa Azul – Frida Kahlo Museum

Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world. As such, there are many cultural and historical places of interest to visit that are scattered throughout the boroughs of the city. One such borough is Coyoacán. Coyoacán is often pictorially represented by two coyotes on street signs, metros, and other public spaces.

Fountain in Coyoacán Plaza
Fountain located in the plaza center of Coyoacán. Photo by Angela Grier

Coyoacán is well-known all over the world, primarily because it was the home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. I will discuss the Museum of Diego Rivera in another post, but in this one, I will walk you through the Museum of Frida Kahlo, La Casa Azul.

Casa Azul (Blue House) - Frida Kahlo Museum
The Blue House is a vibrant blue color. Photo by Angela Grier

La Casa Azul, The Blue House, is one of the most visited museums in Mexico. It is so popular, in fact, you must reserve your tickets online, well in advance of your visit to the museum. Because of the COVID-19 precautions, fewer people are allowed into the museum during each time slot. If coordinating that does not sound appealing, there are tour companies that will purchase tickets for you and transport you to the museum from your hotel.

Museo Frida Kahlo. Photo by Angela Grier

My family and I used a tour company to coordinate our trip to Coyoacán. Once we arrived at The Blue House, we waited in line with our tickets along with everyone else who had purchased tickets during that time slot. As we wandered from room to room inside the house, we had to follow COVID-19 protocols and maintain distance from others and keep our masks on at all times.

Frida and Diego lived in this house 1929-1954. Photo by Angela Grier

La Casa Azul is a beautiful museum. It is a marvelous memorial to a talented woman whose pain and trauma reflected in her artwork and resonated with people all over the world. Her life was so vibrant and filled with love and pain and the museum has captured some of that in their exhibits.

This may be the most famous portrait of Frida Kahlo, on display in the Museum of Frida Kahlo. Photo by Angela Grier

The exhibit starts with collections of artwork by Frida Kahlo, ranging from sketches, paintings, self-portraits, and photography to scribbles on scraps of paper. Some of Diego Rivera’s artwork is also there, but the rooms are dominated by Frida.

After you wander through the rooms of artwork, you enter the dining room. At this point in the museum, you can see the artwork and sculptures collected by Frida and Diego for their home. As you wander from the dining room, to Diego’s bedroom, and from the colorful kitchen up into the studio, you can see that their home is filled with color and light. Paintings and sculptures fill the spaces on walls and tables throughout. Diego, in particular, collected artifacts from older Mexican civilizations. Most of what he collected is found in his museum although there are many pieces displayed throughout The Blue House.

In the studio, you can not only see Frida’s art studio, but also several bookshelves filled with books in both Spanish and English, covering a wide variety of subjects – art, literature, poetry, politics, science, etc. Off of the art studio was Frida’s daytime bedroom. Located on the canopy above the bed, is the mirror that she used when she painted self portraits. Next to her daytime bedroom is her nighttime bedroom, which is where her ashes are currently located, according to our tour guide, in an urn shaped like a frog. From the daytime bedroom, there is an outside door and staircase leading down into the gardens and patio area.

The museum created a separate exhibit on the other side of the gardens where Frida Kahlo’s iconic dresses and accessories are on display. In addition to her dresses, the museum has also displayed the corsets she used in order to hold her body together when it started to fail her. This exhibit helps to drive home the amount of pain she was in, especially near the end of her life, and the lengths she went to in order to hide that from public view by dressing in beautifully crafted dresses, jewelry, and hair styles.

This museum is a beautiful testament to the life, memory, and body of work created by Frida Kahlo during her too short life. I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who has any interest in learning more about Frida Kahlo and/or Diego Rivera. Frida Kahlo’s influence is constantly seen and reinterpreted throughout Mexico. Anywhere you travel in Mexico, Frida’s face can often be found on t-shirts, backpacks, purses, blankets, dolls, paintings, etc., in markets, shops, and restaurants. Her lasting memory permeates modern Mexican culture. Because of this, I highly recommend that foreign visitors learn about who Frida Kahlo was and what she did.

Retrying a new fruit – dragon fruit/pitahaya

A local farm that we receive weekly deliveries from, Shambhala #shambhalaorganico, just advertised dragon fruit in their weekly list of available products. We have tried dragon fruit that I purchased from the local HEB grocery store, but we didn’t like it. The flesh was white with tiny seeds like kiwi but not very flavorful. We decided that it was not something we would try again.

However, I know that locally-produced fresh fruit and vegetable products taste far better than products purchased from grocery stores, so I decided that we needed to try dragon fruit again. I bought four dragon fruit from the farm and we cut into one. It was the most amazing fuschia color I’ve ever seen, not the white color that we found from the grocery store.

Cut dragon fruit, no filter. Photo by Angela Grier.

I immediately called in my husband who tried it and found it to be amazing. It has the same texture as kiwi and the same tiny seeds, but a different flavor profile. It’s sweet and refreshing, but not overly sweet. I knew immediately what I wanted to do with this first cut of dragon fruit. Dragon fruit mimosas!

I poured a half glass of sweet Moscato into a glass and then blended a quarter cup of fresh squeezed orange juice with the flesh of one large dragon fruit and poured it into the Moscato. The Moscato immediately bubbled up in a reaction that made it look like a fun science experiment.

Pouring blended dragon fruit into sweet Moscato. Video by Angela Grier.

The resulting dragon fruit mimosa was a perfect balance of sweet and tart, ideal for Sunday morning mimosas.

A beautiful dragon fruit mimosa. Photo by Angela Grier.

This has been my favorite Sunday morning mimosa, thus far, since we started this tradition at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. My take-away lessons from this experience is that we should not immediately write-off something the first time we try it and that locally-grown fruits and vegetables are once again superior to store-bought. With that in mind, support your local farmers, no matter the country in which you live. Happy mimosa day, wherever you are!

Gusanos de Maguey (Agave Worms), a Mexican Appetizer in Leon, Guanajuato

How many times have foreigners in Mexico looked at a menu in a traditional Mexican restaurant and seen some pretty crazy things listed as appetizers or entrées? Outrageously foreign-sounding foods like chapulines (grasshoppers), escamoles (ant larvae), and gusanos (worms) that do not sound appealing to people for whom bugs and other items (like tripe) are not traditionally on the menus in our home countries. But living in Mexico, or any foreign country, should be an invitation to immerse oneself in the traditional foods of that country because so much of the culture and history is wrapped up in their traditional foods. For that reason, it continues to be my goal to sample regional foods from all over Mexico, no matter how strange it may seem to my American palate. With that in mind, here is a short video of my husband enjoying gusanos de maguey (agave worms/grubs) while we dined out at a popular restaurant in our local mall.

I challenge you, dear readers, to try eating something unappealing or unfamiliar the next time you visit a foreign country. Those of you that have done so, what are some of the things you have tried and what did you think about it? Can you recommend some other strange foods that we should try while we travel around Mexico? When we ate a few of these worms, it turned out, they weren’t bad and actually tasted pretty good (We have eaten larger grubs than this. Check out this post for that adventure.) Share what adventurous foods you have tried in the comments below. Happy adventuring!

Red Pozole (Pozole rojo) – An Authentic Mexican Recipe

Within the first couple of weeks after we moved to León, Guanajuato (almost three years ago), we were invited to have our first home-cooked Mexican dinner with new friends. Our wonderful visit started with a delicious sipping tequila – the first time we had ever tried a tequila that tasted good and was not designed for shots or mixed drinks. But the real winner that night was our first introduction to a traditional Mexican soup called red pozole or pozole rojo, a flavorful red soup. My family and I were amazed at how delicious the dish tasted. My children actually asked for more than one serving (that rarely happens). When we left our new friends’ house that night, my family was already requesting that I learn how to make that dish.

Red pozole or pozole rojo. Photo by Angela Grier

During a chance conversation with another new friend a short time later, I was given a list of ingredients for red pozole and some basic instructions on how to make it. I bought all of the food on the list and went home, prepared to make this dish. Or so I thought. I was trying to follow the instructions I had been given and my maid was watching me fumble through it. She finally asked me what I was trying to do and I told her. She shook her head at me (I think she was trying not to smile or laugh) and proceeded to explain and demonstrate to me her method of preparing pozole. So I will write out the recipe for my maid’s traditional pozole rojo.

The ingredients needed are as follows:

Pork roast, approximately 2 lbs, cut into bite-sized pieces

Hominy, one large can

Guajillo chile, 2 bags of dried chiles (I use between 1 and 2 bags, depending on the number of people eating)

Chile de arbol, 2 dried chiles (adjust the spiciness of the soup with the number of these chiles used. Pozole is not supposed to be a spicy soup but I use a couple to boost the zing.)

Pork broth, several cups (I boil the pork bones from the roast to make this)

Toppings: cilantro, sliced radishes, shredded lettuce or cabbage, limón (a smaller sized variety of lime), dried oregano, and tostadas

I start by slicing open the guajillo chiles and chiles de arbol and knocking out the seeds and the vein inside and cutting off the stem. I put the emptied chile into a small pot. Once the pot is full, I fill it with water, bring it to a boil, and boil the chiles for about 30 minutes. I weight the chiles down with a small plate to make sure they are completely submerged. I turn off the burner and let the chiles sit in the water for at least 30 minutes. Once the water is cool, I empty the chiles and water into a blender and blend until I have a beautiful, thick, red liquid without chunks.

While the chiles are boiling, I saute the pork pieces in oil in a big pot (I’m sure it’s more authentic to use manteca or lard, but I don’t usually have that in my kitchen). Once the pieces are browned, I add the red chile sauce and deglaze the pot. After deglazing, I add the hominy and the pork broth that I had prepared earlier. If you don’t have pork broth, any kind of canned broth or even water would also work. If using water though, you may need to add bouillon later to get a richer broth. I like to cook this for at least two hours. I have read some recipes that say the hominy only needs to cook for an hour. I don’t know what hominy they’re using, but I have always needed at least two hours, if not three, to sufficiently cook the hominy so it is soft. While the pozole is simmering, I prepare all of the toppings – thinly slicing radishes, chopping cilantro, shredding cabbage or lettuce, and cutting the limón in half so that it can be easily squeezed into a bowl – and assemble them into small bowls.

Sauteed pork pieces. Photo by Angela Grier

Red pozole is an easy soup to make and it can be easily adjusted for taste. If you want a spicier soup (less authentic) and choose to add more chile de arbol, use crema or sour cream to cut the spiciness for those who will eat the soup and do not enjoy the extra spiciness. I have made this soup several times during the last few years and it is always a hit with my family. It is also traditionally served on Christmas Eve and we enjoyed this comforting soup this past year while we were locked down and avoiding parties. There is also a green pozole soup, pozole verde, however, I have not yet learned how to make that. That may be the next soup I ask my maid to teach me how to make.

Cooking hominy in red pozole. Photo by Angela Grier

I have to admit, the reason I am posting this recipe is because I watched a funny video recently that circulated through my friend group of a famous American TV cooking show host who was making “authentic Mexican pozole” and the reaction of Mexican moms watching her make her “authentic” soup was hysterical. That prompted me to search red pozole recipes online and I realized that there do not seem to be any recipes like mine in English. So I decided to contribute this red pozole recipe from central Mexico. I hope you enjoy it!

My Top Three Wintertime Woes in León, Guanajuato

Winter in León is nothing short of glorious when one has spent the previous fourteen years living in a freezing cold upper Midwestern state, covered by snow and ice for most of the winter season. Spending several months a year freezing to death was not my idea of paradise. In comparison to that, León IS paradise. However, winter in León can be challenging. This post is for those of you that want to know the “dark side” of living south of the border in the winter months. These are my top three problems living in León during the winter months.

First, most houses in León are not airtight. Most homes also do not have an HVAC system. Our house, which is a very common type of construction, is made of concrete with no way to efficiently heat or cool the house. Some people buy space heaters or AC units for their homes, but electricity is very expensive here and we have opted not to incur those costs. The windows and doors do not seal, which allows air, and scorpions, to easily enter the house. The sun warms the house during the day and then the cold air at night easily blows through the house. During December and January, the temperatures at night can drop into the mid to upper 30s (°F). That means our house can get pretty cold and stay cold until the sun warms it up the next day. The lack of a consistent, household temperature throughout the day is a challenge. Luckily, we brought all of our sweaters and blankets with us when we moved. Who knew we would get so much use out of them here?

Wearing a sweater during the day can be too much, but it’s very necessary after the sun goes down. Photo by Angela Grier.

Second, there is a rainy season and a dry season in León. From September/October to May/June, León receives almost no rain. Our bodies are not accustomed to being so dry. My family suffers from frequent nosebleeds and extremely dry skin. During these months, we struggle to stay sufficiently hydrated and oftentimes find that we wake up with headaches or bloody knuckles and lips if we didn’t drink enough water the day before. We have to be much more mindful of how we take care of our bodies here than we did while living in the Midwest. It is a constant struggle to find effective ways to keep our skin and scalps hydrated to prevent the flaking, cracking, and bleeding that we are prone to in the winter time.

The succulents do well in the dry season, but we struggle to stay sufficiently hydrated. Photo by Angela Grier.

Third, there is so much more dust everywhere in the dry, winter season. The sky often has a hazy yellow or brown color in the distance most days and every surface in the house seems to accumulate dust quickly. The lack of rain seems to encourage dust to remain suspended in the air and my family and I suffer from sinus issues during this season, which is probably a combination of the dry air and the increased atmospheric dust. With this year’s pandemic however, that has created additional stress – are these covid symptoms that we’re experiencing or the seasonal sinus symptoms? Thus far, it’s only been our seasonal sinus issues, thankfully.

We’re high, dry, and dusty in León during the winter months. Photo by Angela Grier.

Overall, living in León in the winter is a vast improvement over living in the upper Midwest. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But we do have some challenges that we have to constantly work to overcome. I would guess that no place on Earth is truly a perfect paradise. It’s only a matter of what challenges a person is willing to embrace that determines how much that location is suited to one’s specific desires.

I hope that you are enjoying your winter, wherever you are!

Happy Winter Solstice and Jupiter/Saturn Conjunction from León, Guanajuato

Today marked the start of our winter vacation from school, a much needed break from homeschooling for us all. We do not return to in-person classes until our state achieves green on the Covid-19 stoplight and, unfortunately, Guanajuato is a long way from green.

But today was also special for a different reason. Today is the winter solstice. In addition, it was also the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. So despite the lack of classes today, my children received a lesson in astronomy and a little history.

Winter solstice sunrise time-lapse in León, Guanajuato. Video by Angela Grier.

I had found an inexpensive telescope on a garage sale site several years ago and we have hauled it with us, unused, for a number of years because we did not have the time to spend learning how to use it. I’m sure you see where this is going. Cue the pandemic – our free time increased exponentially and we finally put it to use. We are lucky that we have a flat rooftop where we can set up the telescope and we are high enough above the city that the lights do not prevent us from stargazing. As a result, we have enjoyed an excellent 2020 looking at things that we have only previously seen in pictures. The time we have spent with our kids, observing the night sky or doing other things, has made this year one of our most precious. We are constantly reminded every time we read the news or talk to relatives of how fleeting life is and how quickly our circumstances can change, so I am grateful for the extra time we have had together.

Stargazing in León, Guanajuato. Photo by Angela Grier.

So as we move into a new year and as the days progressively get longer, there are a few things for which I am hopeful.

I hope our children remember more the time we spent observing Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s moons instead of how boring it was to be stuck inside everyday, unable to go to school or anywhere else.

Observing the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction. Photo by Angela Grier.

I hope they remember more the things we were able to do together because of the pandemic rather than all the things they missed out on because everything was canceled.

Identifying stars and planets using a stargazing app. Photo by Angela Grier.

I hope they remember more the feeling of togetherness and family that we are nurturing in them rather than the uncertainty and fear they feel when we hear more news about our loved ones getting sick and/or dying.

Always together. Photo by Angela Grier.

And lastly, I hope all of you have had a happy winter solstice and will enjoy a peaceful new year. May there be more light in your new year than darkness, more peace than worry, and more happiness than sadness. Thanks for reading and continuing to share our journey!

Selfie. Photo by Angela Grier.