I thought it might be interesting to show some comparisons from US to MX. It may seem long but I had a lot to say.
What an honor to work for Jesus! Our God, who has proven Himself faithful throughout the years, is ALWAYS with us. Because His character doesn’t change, in our circumstance we can say with a confident voice of faith, “The Sovereign Lord is my Strength!” Habakkuk 3:19 Use me Lord for your kingdom!!
We love, love to worship and God is so amazing! It doesn’t matter if it’s a handful of people or a church gathering, the Holy Spirit will come and fellowship with you, if you allow Him!
It is typical for women to come to church in a dress or skirt. You will see women in pants or jeans but most women wear skirts. I am thankful for leggings! The churches/homes are concrete and they do not have heat.
It is so awesome to me that a lot of he people when they arrive at the church go to the altar and pray before going to their seat. Yes, Lord, we should all bow before you thanking you and preparing our hearts to hear from you.
I have had several opportunities to pray with the wonderful women here. This is my heart! I want to reach the young girls and women. To encourage them and let them know they are loved by Jesus!
One lady, we prayed for, is a neighbor and she was having issues with her leg and foot. Chuy, Karen, Steve and I went to her home. Chuy told us that she understands who Jesus is and that she is a Christian. Chuy mentioned this because many here are Catholic and not Christian.
She was in laying in her bed, we laid hands on her and prayed for her. Oh how the Holy Spirit filled her as she wept and praised Jesus!
Pastor Hernandez, the Pastor of the Church in Galeana we all attend most, and his family met us for a home service Tuesday, 2/16, in Sante Fe. A small town about 10 minutes from Galeana. Chuy preached.
A young teenager girl rededicated her life to Christ. I was able to pray with her and even though she did not understand my words, the Holy Spirit spoke to her heart. I held her and prayed for her as she wept. I then prayed for her mom and other ladies there. It was a beautiful time with the Holy Spirit!
Then Friday night, 2/19, we went to Pastor Hernandez church for a special prayer service. There were about 10-12 of us. We worshiped, singing praises to our King then the Pastor asked Karen to pray for the children, Chuy to prayed for the teenagers, another lady to pray for the church/Galeana. We got in a circle and I was asked to pray for a lady that had never been to church. She was open to hear about Jesus and the Holy Spirit gave her a special touch. I pray the Lord will continue to fill her with His love. Steve completed the service with a closing prayer.
To have a clothes dryer, Steve had to put in a special meter and wire. I hang out our clothes to dry on a clothes line but I would like to be able to put a few things in the dryer occasionally.
The water pressure is so low, I learned quickly to wash smaller loads of clothes and use less detergent. This being said it takes about an hour to wash 1 load.
The climate is very dry so the clothes on the line dry quickly. Usually in the hour it takes to wash the next load, the clothes on the line are dry.
The dry climate reminds me somewhat of the Big Bend in Texas. Galeana has tall mountains and the terrain is dessert like with cactus and brush weed. You rarely see grass. It did flood here a few years ago but rain is not common.
Our back “yard”, like our house, is totally concrete. We bought fake grass so our dogs would have an area to do their business plus it gives them a place to play and get some sunshine.
Trash pickup is usually twice a week. You can’t put your trash out ahead of time because the stray dogs get into it. The trash truck is suppose to come Tuesdays and Fridays but as we have learned that may or may not happen. But when they do come you must hurry to get your trash out and I do mean hurry because they come by, pick up the trash that is set out and they move on.
The propane truck comes by several times a day so you can take your propane bottle out and he fills it up. We haven’t used him because Steve has a place he likes to go to and get our bottles filled but it is nice to know we have that option.
I also understand why the propane truck drives down the roads because most people do not have cars. In the mountains, cooking is done over a wood stove but in town we use propane. This is a great convenience for the people.
Many businesses here do not accept a credit card so we have to keep pesos on hand. We can go to the ATM and get money but we get charged a fee for the exchange. Actually every time we use our credit/debit card we get charged a fee. We are looking at other options because it gets costly.
Our house is total concrete: walls/ceilings/floors. They have tiled the floors but it was laid over concrete. There is no insulation so noises from outside are very prominent. You can hear the kids playing at the school a block away, people talking, dogs barking, music from the neighbors and roosters crowing. This being said our inside dogs stay alert and bark a lot too. They are just doing their job but I have to say it sometimes gets annoying.
We receive our bills at the front door. They come, fold the bill and put it in your door frame. Steve was concerned our bills might get lost/blow away so we bought a mail box and attached to the house by the front door. Not typical for Mx but we are still figuring things out. LOL
In the living room, I wanted to hang some important family items to make the house feel like home. I did this within a few days of us arriving. The W/Williams that is on the wall behind the leather chair was made by my son Jarrick, the turquoise/burlap wreath was made by daughter Maigen and the Texas mirror was made by brother Mike. It made me smile to get these up and when I look at them I think of my family!
I’ve noticed that in most homes the furniture is covered, couches/chairs/tv stands, all furniture. I didn’t quite understand until now. I think it’s due to the dust and the coverings decrease the need for dusting. I have to dust most every day. I have covered my couches and leather chair but not the tv stand. We covered the couch and leather chair because they are leather and it makes it warmer to sit on. The large rug on the floor also helps to hold in the warmth plus it keeps our feet off the concrete floor when we are sitting in our chairs.
Keeping Somewhat Warm
We have 2 portable propane heaters that we use to warm up the living area at night and early morning. Lately the days have been warming up into the low 70’s. Even though its sunny outside, the concrete takes a long time to warm up. This being said, shoes and socks for me in the house are a must. Also I am rarely without a long sleeve blouse and jacket.
When it does get warm enough, we open the windows to try and let some of the warm air in. The problem is there are no screens on the windows so then you have to fight with the flies. (Kim, remember the fly sticky thing that Jesse had hanging from the light? – this will give you a laugh. Sorry yall, one of those you had to be there to understand) I have runner rugs on each side of our bed which makes it nice when we get up in the night and need to put on our shoes before going to the bathroom. I also have an electric blanket on the bed with dual controls. I put mine on “cook” and Steve barely turns his side on. No we didn’t give up much – we are very Americanized in comparison!
The house we live in is right next door to Jesse which is a praise since we don’t speak Spanish. He is our interpreter. He has been gone to the states the last few weeks so we have relied on Chuy for translation. His English is very good and it has been a great bonding time with all of us. Sometimes we have to use Google translate but mostly between hand signals and what little Spanish we know we are able to understand each other.
Our house is a rent house. In Mexico though, it’s like you own it. It’s your responsibility to pay for and fix any issues that arise. We thought since the house was newly built we wouldn’t have any issues well, we were wrong. When we first moved in the kitchen sink leaked, the bathroom sink leaked and the toilet leaked at the base of the commode. We paid to have the toilet fixed. This meant he had to remove the concrete seal that was placed around the bottom of the bowl and then I’m not sure what else. He then added back a concrete seal at the bottom and we couldn’t use the toilet for 24 hours.
The commode still leaked. I just put a rag around the base. I also had a towel under the bathroom sink and I am using the bottom of a dish drain to deter the water under the kitchen sink.
Well as of now the toilet and bathroom sink are no longer leaking! Typical Mx one day things may not work but just give it some time and it may start working. We believe prayer is what stopped the leaks! Thank you Jesus!!
I guess doors on the bedrooms are not standard in Mx but we requested they be added to this house and the owner agreed. We were told we will eventually get doors on our closets too – we will see. I am just thankful to have closets because this is not typical for most homes.
Steve changed out most plugs in the house from 2 prong to 3 prong. He had to laugh because their wiring was not always consistent with which wire was hot. Sometimes it was white, sometimes it was green.
They are not generous with their plugs so we have to use multi plugs and extension cords. We are careful not to run large appliances like the microwave and an electric heater at the same time. It would definitely blow a fuse because their wiring is not set up to handle such.
We had to buy the Hot water heater for the house and put it in. We bought a cheaper one which was suppose to use less water but we are not able to use it because the water pressure is too low. We ended up buying a standard propane water heater and put it in. We are thankful for hot water!
It is nice to have hot water to take a shower but with the low pressure, I’m not sure you can call it a “shower”. Washing my hair is fun – the shampoo does not lather much so you use more shampoo. Then trying to get all the shampoo out with the low pressure – well you see what I’m saying. I think I’m going to start using a cup and fill it up with water to have more water volume to pour over my head to get the shampoo out.
To get the water hot in the shower you have to let it run about 5 minutes before it actually gets warm enough to shower. I never really even turn on the cold. But we at least we have hot water, a lot of people don’t. Plus, we turn the propane heater or the electric heater in the bathroom at least 15 minutes prior to taking a shower to get it warmed up.
The water is hard plus with the dry climate it makes my skin very dry. Needless to say I use a lot of lotion. Maigen, I know you understand!
One important thing I am retraining my brain on is the use of paper in the toilet. All paper goes in the trash can. Yes ALL, Paper from #1 and #2. We are told Mx septic systems can’t take the paper. It’s even this way in public businesses/restrooms. So I keep toilet paper in my car because most public restrooms do not have toilet paper, soap or paper towels. I also keep hand sanitizer in my purse.
We kept our US cell phones since ATT now has a Mx plan where you can call the US and vise versa for free. Well again, sometimes it works and sometimes not. We will probably change our US plan down on one phone and get one of our phones on a Mx plan. We need to be able to communicate if we are apart. We do have Magic Jack but it works thru the internet. So the internet must be on and working to receive or call out.
We have been using Jesse’s internet since we got here. Chuy called 2 weeks ago and they told him there were no openings in Galeana to add us for internet and we would have to wait several months. This was not good. We are thankful to be able to use Jesse’s but many times it is slow or doesn’t work.
So a big Praise – and we consider Miracle – we got internet in our house on 2/19. Chuy called the main Tel Mex in Mexico City on Thursday 2/18 and they gave him an order number. They were out here the next day installing our internet. Why a Miracle? – because the next day doesn’t happen in Mexico. They get in no hurry here. Steve has been trying to get an extra set of keys for the house made now for a week. The guy at the store keeps telling him it will be the next day. Plus Steve went to CFE, the electric company, to get wiring done on the house to put in the dryer, CFE made up an order but we haven’t heard nor seen them yet. MIRACLE – so very thankful!!!!!!!
We have very little storage in the kitchen and to add cabinets would be at our expense – and very expensive at that. Most houses do not have overhead cabinets and I understand why now. So we made it work with what we had.
We set a section of a book case, that broke apart during the move, on the counter to hold the main dishes we use every day. Turned out to be a good option!
The cabinets which are set under the counter are concrete built ins which are not finished out. The doors are just a facing on the front and that is it. Steve built shelves under 2 of the cabinets so I would have more room to place other dishes.
The drawers are wood boxes and have no runners which makes them hard to open and close. We are going to look for runners to add to the drawers to make them easier to use.
I bought shelf paper before leaving the States and I am so glad I did. As I said the cabinets are just inset concrete all the way around.
Adding the shelf paper to the concrete floor made it smooth enough to put my dishes on. I didn’t like the idea of putting my dishes directly on the concrete – my preference. I did not add shelf paper under the sink due to the leak but I do have my cleaning items in organized containers that keep them off the floor – another me preference.
For the Kitchen food pantry we used a book case that was Steve’s moms and a bathroom cabinet that was taken out of our house in Ennis when we remodeled. It has worked great and another good solution!
We also used
the vanity, that was in our Ennis house prior to remodeling, for our bathroom here. They were only going to put in a pedestal sink and this one gives me some counter space.
We do not drink the tap water. I use a little to brush my teeth but that’s it. We buy large bottles, like Ozarka, for all drinking and cooking. We drink the tap water only if it has been boiled. We drink the water, when we go visit in the mountains, because it’s been boiled and we’ve never had an issue.
Coffee is a staple. It is instant though. This is easier because you don’t have to have an electric coffee pot. Only a pan to heat water. I was not a coffee drinker before but I have learned it’s not so bad when you add creamer and sugar. I brought some creamer from the States because I was not sure if you could get it here or not. But they do sell creamer here, its regular and not the flavored but that works fine with me.
Guests can stop by anytime unannounced so it’s important to always have coffee and sweet bread/cookies on hand. It is customary to eat when you arrive at someone’s home even if it’s just coffee and cookies.
As sandwiches are a staple, easy meal, in the US – beans and tortillas are a staple here. A sandwich here is made a little different. Ham, American cheese, mayonnaise (not Miracle whip), mustard and avocado. It’s actually very good.
Most meals include beans, tortillas and avocado. I’ve cooked and shared with Chuy/Karen (Jesse was here for a few meals before going to Tx): Salmon patties, spaghetti, a Mexican casserole, and banana pudding. They seemed to like it but not what they prefer. They are happy with beans and tortillas.
Steve also cooked pancakes and the higher elevation made them really nice and fluffy. The oven doesn’t have numbers by the dial like the US: 100-500, here it’s 1-5. So I thought it would be equivalent, 1 would equal 100 – wrong. It’s a guessing game. We got an oven thermometer, it’s the only thing that saves me/the meal.
Galeana is not a large city but they do have several grocery stores, fresh vegetable stands, meat market and pharmacies. They have convenience type stores on almost every block. We believe this is because so many people walk and it makes it easier.
The stores are geared toward Mexico. Many things I have not been able to find here. We even went into Saltillo, a very large city, to HEB and there were still items they did not have. They do very little frozen food, they are used to cooking things fresh. They have chips but not any that are baked. Well they do have tostada shells. They did have Coke zero and Dr Pepper ten but no other diet sodas.
I’m trying to learn Spanish so I can read ingredients. The language barrier is a challenge. Praying for the Lord’s help. We may need to take classes.
Galeana is in a valley and surrounded by mountains. It has a great downtown plaza area. We like to sit at the plaza, watch the people and enjoy God’s beauty! The Lord is so good and we are very thankful!! Come see us!!