Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Swine Flu and How It Has Affected Us Here in Mexico

About a week and a half ago, as John, the kids and I were returning home to Mexico after a over-nighter to the states, we saw two people along the way wearing protective masks on their faces. I thought it was to keep dust out of their lungs as it seems the wind never ceases here, but after I learned of something called the Swine Flu at one of our girl lunches, I realized that they were probably wearing them as a protective measure again this new epidemic.

They say that nearly 150 people have died of this flu in Mexico City and that the numbers are bound to go up. They say that all citizens of Mexico must stop using the customary greetings of kissing cheeks and shaking hands and keep their body parts to themselves. They say that the citizens should wash their hands thoroughly every chance they get and that if possible, when in large crowds, should wear masks.

Things came to a point of critical mass yesterday when the Mexican government decided that ALL schools in Mexico should be closed until May 6th, including our American Mormon elementary and high schools. As an added precautionary measure, our church area authorities asked that ALL church meetings be cancelled, including scouts, youth activities and Sunday worship services.

For those of you who aren't Mormon, you must understand that this is unheard of. I never in my life have been told that no church services would be held on a Sunday morning. It feels so completely strange and unnatural to think that on Sunday, we will forego the mad rush to find white shirts, black socks and shoes and ties for six boys (the girls, ages 7 and 14, dress themselves with no problem whatsoever, so I don't factor them into the diffculty level of the equation), we will avoid the stress of trying to keep the twins clean until church begins, and perhaps we will have time to eat something other than Cheerios for breakfast. We will still keep the sabbath holy, but without attending three hours of church meetings, I truly do not know how we will spend our Sunday. Perhaps we will invite family over for a simple meal in the afternoon and good conversation.

And so, until May 6th, I don't have to get up and get the kids ready for school, entertain the 3 under 3 by myself all day, have a lunch ready for the school kids at exactly noon (as there are no school cafeterias), run the kids to youth activities, scouts, and the like. It's going to be wonderful! While my heart aches for those who have been adversely affected by the swine flu, my personal life has taken a definite, unexpected upturn for the next several days. Today I assigned chores to the kids until noon (yes, I ruined their lives), including babysitting the twins (the 12- and 9-year-old boys), planting trees in the courtyard (the 12-year-old boy), mowing Grandpa's lawn and driving the van to the big town to see why the radio and the brakes don't work (the 17-year-old boy), cleaning bathrooms (the 14-year-old girl) and organizing closets (the 7-year-old girl). Once noon rolled around, it was time for the babies to go to bed, which was much easier than normal with the kids' help, then the kids and I got ready for the swim party across town to which we were invited (2.5 minutes away). The 14-year-old girl opted to stay home to keep an eye out for the sleeping twins while the 12-, 9-, and 2-year-old boys and the 7-year-old girl swam in the cold swimming pool until their teeth chattered, then warmed up by playing Star Wars with light sabers, only to re-enter the pool once they'd stopped shivering. I had real, live adult, intelligent conversation with some of my dearest friends, ate hummus, pretzels and watermelon by the side of the pool and looked forward to the coming days until May 6th.

We've agreed that we'll do chores each day until noon, then visit friends or invite them over, then, once dinner time rolls around, we'll work together to make a healthy meal, then we'll watch one episode of Star Wars each night after the babies go to bed until we've watched all six of them in a row. Tonight we watched Episode One while slurping homemade strawberry smoothies. Can't wait until tomorrow!

So now you know how the swine flu has affected our family here in Mexico. May the epidemic be contained and may I ENJOY this time with my kids until then.

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16 comments:

Rachelle said...

Wow! I am LDS also & I live in AZ. I'm amazed that they are stopping all church services & activities, but I do understand why. It's interesting really.

I wish you all the best of luck with all the kids home. I start to go crazy after a week (I have 6, ages 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 & 15).

Good luck & I hope the Lord blesses your family & everyone else's to stay healthy!

Mom2my9 said...

Thank you, Rachelle. You have your hands full, too!

Lydia said...

Sounds like fun to me. I love it when my 6 are home, no getting up at the crack of dawn, making lunches, normal morning rush.

Yes it is weird for church to be canceled. the most I have ever had was only sacrament in a little military branch were 99%of the branch had the same vacation time every year

Bethany Cox said...

swimming pools are a breeding ground for disease.

Mom2my9 said...

So Bethany, my dear daughter, you will not be swimming anymore? I feel sad for you...

newlyweds said...

How scary, I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers and hope this get contained quickly. There has been a few case in Texas and now 1 reported death of a child, so scary.

Cambria, Greg, Alan and Molly said...

I agree, it has been nice not to have to deal with school, but it is all scary at the same time.

RhondaLue said...

What a wonderful break! I feel slightly bad for saying this but I'd love it if we got a couple weeks OFF of everything. Ya know, minus the whole swine flu thing! Especially if we couldn't leave the house, no store trips, meetings, etc. Because I have my food storage I think that'd be SWEEET!

Stay well Jen!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jen - The boxes where your pictures are supposed to be are blank! Mom

Melinda said...

Yikes!! Ihope you all stay well. Have fun with your kiddos. Enjoy your time off with them.

Amanda B. said...

Wow! what an awesome perspective and a wonderful way to live it up! :) I am in Ohio and it is amazing how much people are panicking here. Only one person has fallen ill (though there are other suspected cases waiting to be confirmed) and people are trying to get there hand on antiviral meds- as if it will prevent them getting it.

Enjoy your time off! I like days off school for this reason too, but the inevitable fighting always gets to me too....

Mom2fur said...

I'm so sorry this is happening, and I hope you and yours stay healthy through it all!

BarbaraLee said...

I have met to ask you why your family lives in Mexcio?

Raising Olives said...

Visiting with friends, Star Wars and strawberry slurpees sounds wonderful. Nice to "meet" you, we'll be right over. :)

Oh, I know what it's like to have 9 kids at home all the time, we homeschool. It's wonderful!

Blessings,
Kimberly

Jeni's thoughts said...

I too love the swine flu! What kind of disease can they invent so school can be cancelled next week too!

pediatric emr said...

Oh' that was so sad. I just wish It will not affect other countries. Thanks for sharing.

-mel-