Well, there is the question of construction. But let's set that aside for the moment and talk about what Mexico does best. Celebrations.
I regularly eat at The Red Lobster in Villa Obregon. Not the cheesy chain of chewy seafood that blights The States. This is a family-run place.
And it is always a pleasure to eat there. The food is consistently good. But it is the family that makes the place a joy to share my custom.
On Monday, I was invited to attend the sixth birthday of Jennifer. The daughter of my favorite waitress.
I felt my stomach knot up. Children's birthday parties are on my list of "things to do when I have been drugged and hog-tied." But it was not an honor I could decline.
My first difficulty was finding a gift. For boys, I can buy. For girls, I am at a loss. But a very nice store clerk convinced me that I should give him 220 pesos and he gave me, in exchange, a boxed doll with enough ball gown changes to broaden Dame Edna's smile.
Jennifer loved it. And I loved the party. It was not a children's birthday party. It was a birthday party for a child with only adults present. My idea of a perfect get-together.
Just as we were gathering, the nightly parade for Our Lady of Guadalupe passed by. Jennifer was enthralled that the event had come to her on her birthday.
One gift Mexico has given me is a broader view of faith. My Protestant upbringing caused me to look at such celebrations as the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a bit of skepticism. As if the worshipers were somehow directing their worship to an object rather than to God.
My blogger pal Joanna over at Writing in Merida has written about the emotional impact the celebration has had on her. "It is very moving to witness the affirmation of their devotion and the basic faith that sustains them through many hardships."
She then noted: "[A]ny belief that comforts and consoles is a very positive and good thing."
I am not certain I would have agreed with her four years ago. I do now. Both Mexico and my friends, the Moodies, have helped open my eyes to what is going on around me.
Jesus taught us two great commandments. To love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. And to love our neighbor as our self.
For too long, I failed to see that connection. And it was getting in my way of loving my neighbors’ faithfulness.
Mexico has many lessons for all of us. This has been a very important one for me.
Even when it comes in the guise of a six year old girl's birthday party.