Our host and Valladolid mentor Denis is from the East Coast of the United States and has introduced us to some remarkable folks who have chosen to make their home in Valladolid from all over the USA.
Valladolid has a vibrant, gracious, welcoming ex-patriate community.
Our family has been to movie night twice and celebrated the 4th of July with them. We went to music night in one of the local parks. They invited our family to play loteria which is like the Mexican version of Bingo and on at least one field trip. We have chatted over coffee and tea with them and enjoyed their company very much. They are creative, delightful, giving people.
All of the ex-pats we have met are involved in supporting their adopted community in some way. Many of them are involved in the work of the Valladolid English Library which was founded by the ex-pat community over a decade ago when there wasn’t a bookstore in town. The library offers books in English to anyone in the community who might like a good book. Some of the folks who use the library are ex-pats, but others are Spanish-speaking citizens of Valladolid who are studying English. The library has books for children, young adults, and grown-ups too. Our family enjoyed exploring the library.
Jason and I also had the fun of joining the English class for young adults on two Thursday evenings which meets at the library. We were their invited guests. They spent an hour and a half practicing their English by talking with us and asking us questions. It was so much fun. They were rather puzzled/intrigued by a female clergy person, because none of them had ever met such a being before. My description of myself as a married – female “priest” left them laughing out loud. Jason’s job was way, way easier to describe. They totally get computers.
They were all such intriguing, delightful, hardworking, big-dreaming people. All of them dream of visiting Canada someday and think that snow sounds very exciting! Jason and I just laughed and laughed remembering our frozen years in Minnesota. They think that their “English isn’t very good” which really made me laugh because their English is way, way better than most Americans’ Spanish.
After meeting all of these wonderful people here in Valladolid our family decided that we wanted to try to do something to say thank you to Valladolid.
We met with three members of the board of the Valladolid English Library and along with them decided that our family would host a three day bi-lingual mini-camp on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday mornings. We had crafts (my speciality), snacks, stories, games, and lots and lots of FUN! I kept Jason very busy shopping (talk about role reversal – Jason is NOT a shopper at home).
Some of the children live in Valladolid and spoke mainly Spanish. Several of the children were bi-lingual, and three of the children were visiting from the United States.
We read stories in English = me and Spanish = our ex-pat friend Harriet.
We had music and some dancing thanks to our friend Tom also an ex-pat.
Jack took care of Legos, Play-Doh, swimming, and soccer.
Harriet played a lot of Jenga.
Dianey helped with lots of picture coloring.
Mini-camp has definitely been the cutest part of our trip to Mexico – just look at those adorable faces!
We have been so deeply blessed by our time in Mexico and especially by our time here in Valladolid.