Thursday, December 25, 2014

Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of our family and friends. We miss you all very much.

Christmas this year is obviously very different for Jan and I. We really miss our traditions and our family. But honestly, I am very much enjoying this year. I have always had a huge problem with the commercialization of our Lord's birthday celebration. It is a rare thing to hear someone rejoicing about the true "reason for the season". It is all about presents, shopping, Christmas trees, etc... and not about the single most exciting event of human history - God sending his son to endure sin, ridicule, and a most horrifying death to save a group of people that routinely spit in his face. Every time I find myself looking for a definition of love, that is where I end up. Whether you are a believer or not, you cannot argue with this being the true definition of love. So the next time you get angry/frustrated/upset/??? with a person that you "love", stop and think about the true meaning of love.

When in Rome.... This year we tried a new Christmas tradition - a Mexican tradition. We made 60 (yes, 60!) tamales.

Tamale Party
It was a lot of fun! Unfortunately we don't have pictures along the way as it was quite a messy operation. Honestly, it was Jan's idea from the start. And she insisted that we make them the traditional Mexican way - with pork lard (yikes!). I fought it as best I could... "lard?, honey really?". But in the end Jan won out and we bought a huge tube of pork lard. It was kind of funny because these lard rolls showed up in the grocery store a few weeks ago. There were hundreds if not thousands of them piled all over the store. I had no idea what they were, but figured a lot of people must be looking for them.

It turned out to be quite a learning process in many ways. Since we got to Mexico I have been struggling with how/where to buy meat. So far we have not had to buy any meat. We have been eating a lot of fish that we have caught and we brought some meat with us in our freezer. But eventually it will run out and we will have to figure it out. I will not go into the meat situation here in Mexico now, but let me just say that I am VERY concerned! Anyway, the learning process came when we went to buy a pork butt for the tamales. I have looked for large cuts of meat several times and have never found them. The ad flier for this week had pork butt listed so I went to the butcher counter and used my best spanglish/finger pointing I could muster and finally found out they keep these types of things in the back. Yes!!! So he brings out the biggest pork butt I have ever seen. "Half will be just fine senor". Half of the butt was almost 8kg - huge! We had to cut it in half and run 2 batches in our crock pot. So the lesson - you can get big hunks of meat - they are in the back!

We spent several hours that night making tamales. Who knew you could assemble 60 tamales in our galley. It was really a very fun experience. Jan and I worked an assembly line rolling them out while listening to Eric Ludy on the radio - it was really a very fun evening.

To continue with the Mexican tradition, we planned to give a lot of them away to our friends. The first person I contacted was a friend (Peter) that I work an HF (high frequency) radio net with each morning. The HF net is a lot of fun - right now I am feeding weather information every day to a 72 year old man that is sailing his 38' boat by himself from Canada to Hawaii. He is currently about 2/3 of the way there - about 1000 nautical miles to go. It is really great to hear his voice each day (and my guess is he is really glad to hear my voice as well). Anyway, I called Peter on the radio and asked if he and his wife would like some tamales. He said "do they have meat in them". Well, of course! But... yeah, you guessed it - he and his wife are vegetarian.  Better luck next time I guess.

Merry Christmas to everyone wherever you are! Remember, God loved you so much that he sent his Son to die for YOU!

And a parting shot... good morning Jan :-) I said "YIKES!" and she said "I worked on it all night".

Jan Christmas morning - "Do I look a fright?"

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