Pioneer Living


I feel like a Pioneer. Not in the way where they were super faithful and walked across the country for they faith. But the way of cleaning without a washing machine or a sink. We recently moved to the bigger city of Aguascalientes due to more work opportunities. Jose has started his own company called “Home Running Repair”. He does construction and I am so proud of him! He has been able to stay VERY busy.

Aguas has been very beneficial for my business as well. While living in Calvillo I didn’t feel right about asking women to buy mascara that cost the same about of money as our monthly rent. Others were MUCH worse off financially than we were. It just didn’t seem right to ask that off someone. Here in Aguascalientes the economy is much better. It is very similar to the states here, so good quality mascara is not a problem to purchase. But enough on mascara…

I want to talk about the purpose for this post.

We have no kitchen

We purchased a small camping gas stove with two burners so that I can cook food. We have a small table which I prepare the food on, cook the food, and then we eat. Washing dishes has become an interesting task. We have WONDERFUL neighbors down our street. Hermana Michaus has offered to let us clean our dishes in her sink. We did that for the first few weeks, however, I will be honest…I feel bad for imposing on them every day to clean dishes.

So we bought two big bowls that look like those pans you use to pan for gold, but plastic. I fill them up with water from the small sink in the bathroom and take them outside. One is for washing, the other is for rinsing. IMG_6310


The 3rd bin is for drying.


Here’s the whole system!!


The leftover rinse water goes to water all those flowers I have. This little table is actually a dog house for our landlords’ dog, Canela. She is a very protective dog and barks at every car that passes. I love it so much, especially when she barks during sleeping hours.


Our home is on the roof of the house and has two small rooms and a small bathroom. We don’t have much space, but right now we don’t need much. Washing clothes is also quite the adventure. Our landlords do not want us to use very much water since they are paying the bill so we can’t use our laundry machine. Mario (the man) gave us the suggestion to wear our clothes in the shower like he does to wash them. Yeah that’s not going to happen. Today I washed a load by hand in a bucket with laundry soap, then set the soapy clothes aside and filled the bucket up again, but with rinse water. Afterwards I hung the clothes to dry in the sun. This last step I am used to, however, since no one here has a dryer. We all hang dry our clothes.


Such a tiny load, but honestly, that’s all I want to try washing by hand. I am NOT a fan. So grateful for laundry machines. AND SO GRATEFUL FOR HERMANA MICHAUS. She has our laundry machine at her house so we can use it when needed. It is much easier to wash clothes at the neighbors than to wash dishes.

All in all I really like our new home. I’m not sure how long we will last here, but it is so nice to be next to friends in a new city!

Immigrants’ Wives

This week Jose has been gone in Mexico City for work. I’ll admit I cried pretty hard when he left. Cheese balls? Yes, I know. I didn’t know that I would miss him so much, but I guess he is my husband and I love him very much. My first night alone in this country I was quite nervous. Our hallway doesn’t have a roof, so of course my brain made up so many scenarios about robbers and stuff. But guess what…I live in the most tranquil part of Mexico. Seriously, I am so lucky. I fell asleep watching Spanish cartoons about chickens. The next day I woke up and watered the garden and weeded for a few hours before the sun became blazing hot. As I was weeding, I thought of how blessed I am. I thought of the women here in Mexico whose husbands have gone to the states to provide more for their family. I know that for some this is a very touchy subject, but let me try to shed some light about immigrants. Obviously I don’t know it all, I just want to share what I have noticed. Yes, Mexico is a VERY beautiful place. And what makes it even more beautiful is the people. My favorite thing here is that their main priority is family. Family guys! Not money. Not themselves or work. FAMILY. If that isn’t following the Lord’s plan, I don’t know what is. And that is a big reason why a lot of people cross the border and go to the states. They risk their lives and go to a place where they do not know the language or culture, for their family.

You see, here in Mexico people are willing to work. It’s just that the jobs don’t pay. The people who have money are either crooks, part of the Government, or have their own businesses. I know of a family here that has 5 children. The dad works ALL DAY. In the blistering heat. He gets paid 300 pesos per day. Right now the money exchange is about 15 pesos per dollar. So divide 300 by 15. That’s 20 bucks. A day. For a family of 7. That’s $120 a week. That is just one example. Things here are cheap. Like food and land, but clothes, education, household items, etc…They are all the same price as the states. People don’t have a lot here. I’ve seen it, and I’m experiencing it. It has not been easy. Sometimes, honestly, it sucks really bad because we don’t know how we’re going to earn money. But the Lord ALWAYS provides.

For example, about a month ago, Jose and I had about 50 pesos left with no jobs lined up. We both had looked and searched like crazy, yet there was nothing. Since we got married we both have been looking forward to going to Stake Conference 40 minutes away. For both of us to go it would cost 200 pesos. The day before we decided to go visit Jose’s family and just spend time with them. Jose’s sister in law came up to Jose and gave him 200 pesos. He asked what it was for and she told him she was paying him for a lamp that he put in her apartment. A few hours later Jose’s sisters came to me and asked me if they could by some makeup I had in stock from my old job. I couldn’t believe it. The Lord provided us a way to go to conference and also enough for food the next week. The next week Jose found a two week job and now he is in Mexico City for more work. This job allows us both to work from home and have our own business. I am so grateful for the Lord. For him providing for our family.

I got sidetracked…but I felt the need to write the above. So for us yes, now we are financially OK, but for others it is not that easy. That is why the dads jump the border and go work to take care of their family. I know of so many women here in Mexico who are home alone and taking care of their children without their husbands. In fact this morning, I was talking to my Suegra about how much she missed her husband when he was gone to the states for YEARS at a time. And Jose is only gone for a WEEK. The sacrifice of these people is tremendous. So I guess what I’m saying is, please don’t be so quick to judge illegal immigrants. They are just trying their best for their families. They want to make a better future for their children. Isn’t that what so many people want when they go to the states? Yes some don’t have papers, but I know they would if they could. It is a lot of work and a lot of money to get them. Money that the people of this country do not have. The Government has tons, but the people have seriously nothing.

Through the eyes of this gringa I can see just a little of how the women live while their husbands are a country away for years and years. Mine is still in the same country and he is only gone for a week. But this week I have caught a small glimpse of what they are going through. And ladies…I get it and I respect the crap out of you.


Chile Eyes


I ran to the bathroom. I couldn’t let Jose know that I was crying and in so much pain. It was so embarrassing. I sobbed in silenced. I wanted to rip my eyeballs out. I tried to fit my head under the faucet in the sink, but my head is too huge. After clever maneuvering, I finally got the stream of cold water drenching my eye. The burn only got worse. WHAT???! I had always learned that whenever you had something in your eyes you should run cold water on them. I stopped and washed my hands. I tried to get all of the serrano chile off of my fingers before I took the next step. I was terrified. I needed to take out my contacts. With my hands. My chile hands. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. Finally, I felt like it was OK to stick my fingers in my eyes and take out the contacts. I was so wrong. The burning intensified. I could hear Jose down the hall calling my name. I really didn’t want to answer. He came to the bathroom door.

“Ash? Are you crying?”

“No, I’m fine!” I yelled back. I was so grateful right then that I had locked the bathroom door. Our lock is a deadbolt. Pretty serious privacy for a bathroom if you ask me! By this time I was back under the water soaking my eyeballs. I thought I had no other choice.

Then all of a sudden I felt a hand on my back. My sweet Jose was standing right next to me. I have no idea how he got into the bathroom. But he was there. I was so mad he was there! I really didn’t want him to see me like this. And over something so ridiculous!

“You got chile in your eye, didn’t you?” he asked.

“Yes and my contacts are soaking in it”, I sobbed.

Then he was gone. The next thing I new I could hear him speaking Spanish on his phone. He was talking to his mom. When we was finished he rushed back into the bathroom and said,

“Take your hair down. You need to rub your eyes with your hair.” So I did.


Immediate relief! As I continued the pain got so much better. It was the best massage my eyeballs have ever received.

So there you have it folks. The cure for the dreaded chile eye. Advice from a true Mexican woman: my suegra. Online people say flush with cold water. DO NOT. I REPEAT. DO NOT FLUSH WITH COLD WATER. This only makes it worse. Like A LOT worse. If you ever get chile in your eye wipe your eye with your hair. God gives us cures all around! Even on our own body! This also works if you get lavender oil in your eye. (Tried it last night when a little spewed into the corner of my eye)

Remember. No water. Only hair. I think it has something to do with the oils absorbing up the chile juices. At least I like to think that is the reason because it makes me sound very smart.

You could always wear those rubber yellow gloves when you cut chiles as well. Maybe that would save you from the trouble and the pain in the first place…


PS the contacts…flushed em.

A Day in the Life of a Gringa

About two weeks ago I really needed to get out. I have been inside all day…by myself. I was missing having friends. I have a wonderful husband, yet there is something magical about having girl friends in our lives. Not knowing the language has been a great struggle when it comes to connecting with people and finding friends. As I was sitting in the room at my suegros’ house, Jose came in and could tell that I needed a change of scenery. He suggested that I go with cunada, Tere, and her daughter, Leilani, on a walk. I was more than willing. Tere and I have a hard time communicating, but she is very patient with me and helps me so much with the language. Lani is just…Lani. Her smile brightens up the house. She is such a precious little girl.


This precious girl steals the hearts of all around her, but especially her tio, Jose.

As Tere and I walked around the back roads of San Tadeo, I asked her what the women in Mexico do all day. Her answer was short and to the point. “Nada” she responded. “Enserio??” I replied. That was not the answer that I had expected. I thought about that for a few days after and watched the women that I was around a lot. They all seemed so busy cooking and taking care of their household. These women definitely did not do “nothing” everyday, all day. I was determined to do the same. No matter what, I would stay busy doing productive things for my family and my home.

This has been a learning experience, but such a great one. Yes, the language has been a struggle, but I learn new things every day. The thing that I am really trying to force myself to do every day is wake up early. When I say early, I mean 7 am. Ha! I’m used to waking up so much later than that. All of my responsibilities didn’t start until at least 10 am before I was married. When I worked at Avs, I was able to get up and be to work by 5:45 am, but when I don’t have a morning job…waking up early is just not a priority for me! Jose, however, he is the definition of a morning person. So, because I am in love with my sweet Mexican, I have been trying very hard to wake up early so I can make breakfast for him.

I decided that even though I don’t have an 9-5 job to go to, it is still good for me to have a schedule. Without children I have a lot to do. I can’t even imagine what it will be like when I have kids…and we want A LOT! So my loved ones…here is what I do all day as the gringa in Fraccionmiento.

7 AM     wake up and make Jose breakfast. Usually this consists of scrambled eggs with onions, chili, tomatoes, and garlic. Of course they’re served with tortillas. 😉

8 AM Jose usually leaves for whatever job he is doing that day whether it is putting tile in his parents’ house or painting his uncle’s house. This is when I get back under my covers and begin my morning routine. First I begin by doing 3 pages of free-writing. I got this idea from a wonderful book called “The Artist’s Way”. I read this book and did the weekly challenges while I was in Mexico this summer teaching English. After my “morning pages” I read my scriptures. After that is an hour of Spanish study. This is muy importante para mi!! Each day I need to get in the Spanish mode so that I can talk with the people here and not blank out while overwhelmed.

9:30 AM Yoga. Oh my gosh. I have become such a fan of yoga. This past summer, my roommate and dear friend Kristy introduced me to yoga while we were in Pachuca. I only did it for a few times with her, but since here in Calvillo I have found an AWESOME Youtube channel. It is called “Yoga with Adriene”. Seriously, this has been miraculous in my life. Currently I am doing her challenge of “30 days of Yoga with Adriene”. I get so excited to be able to pull out the mat and begin the daily yoga journey. Cheesy, yes, but I’m obsessed.

10 AM get ready. But before I hop in the shower, I make the bed and start a load of laundry. When my mom taught me that I should make my bed everyday she knew what she was talking about. This simple act helps me to have a clear head as I do my daily list.

11 AM is Almuerzo. This is lunch. Sometimes Jose joins me, sometimes not.

The rest of the day from Noon to about 4 (actually 6 let’s be honest) is spent cleaning and organizing our new home and cooking dinner. It takes this amount of time because I am usually interrupted by cockroaches or spiders that really need to die.

When dinner is ready we eat. I like to eat. Jose likes to eat. We have so much fun eating. There is not much that I do, but Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays I go to Jose’s parents’ house to post on the blog and work with the internet. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my Calvillo days. I go here to teach English for two hours each of these nights. I LOVE teaching English here. I get to choose how I want to teach and what material to teach because I don’t have a boss. It is so fun!

Days here are so chill and I get to choose how I spend each day. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to have a life here in Mexico. I am loving every minute of it!

Well my conbi is on its way so I must sign off! Until Wednesday my friends!

How do YOU shower?


Showering. It’s an everyday occurrence. At least I feel like it should be. If you don’t do it there are some nasty smells around ya. There are many benefits. You get clean, it improves blood circulation, relaxes your muscles, treats depression, improves your lungs, and even boosts your immune system! People all over the world do it in one way or another. Here, it’s not so different than in the states. We have hot water, we have showers, tile, shower heads. We even have bath tubs! (This is a recent discovery of mine. I hadn’t seen any tubs here until I went to my sister in law’s house and BAM! there it was. She is so lucky.) In Pachuca, we always needed to turn the water heater on with a match at least a 1/2 hour before we wanted to shower, but here in San Tadeo, Aguascalientes, we have hot water from the street! So from about 11pm to 6pm you have hot water whenever you want it. And you don’t even have to light a match or use any gas or electricity. Jose and my house is about 2 miles away from his parents’ house and we are not as fortunate to have hot running water in our street, although we do still have water, don’t worry. We have a shower that has running water, but our beautiful house doesn’t have a boiler. (This is what heats up water.) My girl, Taneesa, guessed the other day that we heat up our water on the stove…she was SO close! Here are the step by step instructions of how to shower when you all come visit our home.

1. Round up a 5 gallon bucket such as the gorgeous one shown below.

5 gallon bucket

2. Fill the bucket with the desired amount for your shower. Our water-spout is on the other side of our house, so I like to fill the water it up to the 1st ring so it’s not so heavy for me.

3. Once you make the trek from the spout to the bathroom, plug-in the portable water heater and stick it in the water, bulb first.

water heater

This is what we like to call a “Miracle” in our house.

4. Let it sit and cook for about 1/2 hour. I usually do this while I’m making breakfast for my husband. Jose. He’s Mexican, by the way.

5. After the water is heated all the way to the bottom of the bucket, rest the bucket on the edge of the shower. You’ll want to have another bucket filled with colder water on hand so you can mix the two and not scald your body.


6. Shown above is the small bowl that is used to pour the water over yourself as you shower. This picture is not pretty, but this bowl looks so much like ours, except ours is black.

           And there you have it! The process of showering in the blue house! So whenever you want to visit know that you also can be clean. We may not have an extra bed right now, but we do have a shower!!

Les Presento al Mr. and Mrs. Martinez!!


We’re married!!

Here in Mexico they don’t see religious ceremonies as legal, so we got married civilly first and then took our 3 hour journey to the LDS Temple in Guadalajara, Mexico. There we were sealed for time and through all eternity. I am so grateful that the sealing power is on the earth today. Now we have the opportunity to be together forever! What a wonderful experience it was to be in the temple with my parents and a few of my siblings. Also when we walked into the sealing room, there were some friends of Jose from Aguascalientes. They were in the temple that day randomly so they were able to come and witness the sealing. It was so nice to have someone there from Mexico.

Before the ceremony, I had a few minutes by myself in the bride’s room. I sat there and enjoyed the spirit of the temple. As I sat and pondered I thought of all those who couldn’t attend my wedding, but wanted to. I am so grateful for my loving family. For their love and support for Jose and I in this new adventure. I also thought of those who already passed on from this life. My mom in particular. Without getting too personal with the spiritual experiences I had in that room, I will say this…God allows for your loved ones who have died to join you on your own special occasions. I know that my mom was with me the in temple. I know that she loves Jose and is so happy for us. I also know that she enjoyed the reception later that night!


Now that we’re married and my family has gone back to the states, real life begins! We are renting a little house in a small town with about 200 people in it. It is just a short distance away from Jose’s family. There we have a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a storage area. It’s small, but we love it. It is the perfect size for us. We are also so blessed because we have a nice piece of land on the side of the house where we can plant a  garden! The front yard has a few flowers and I am looking forward to planting more. The house is mostly blue. I am so in love with this house. My kitchen is yellow and has a window that looks out into the front garden. Right as you walk into the house there is a roofless hallway. Each night we get to see the stars right from our home. Seriously, it is so romantic. We have no internet, and have concrete floors, but we have each other and plenty of projects to keep us busy around the house.


Tomorrow we start to teach English in the same house that we hold our church meetings in. So far we have 5 people who are in the class. I’m so excited to see how things grow. The school, the church, the garden, our family! All of it!

I want to keep a record through this blog for my family, but also I want to share experiences about being a gringa in the small town of Calvillo. Everyone has been so welcoming and loving! They help me with my Spanish and are so kind and patient. Today I made my first grocery list and as soon as mi esposo gets home we are going grocery shopping to stock up the fridge for a week. That part of my life I really want to include on here for readers. I want to share authentic Mexican recipes and the adventure of learning how to be a Mexican woman. Speaking of…here is a photo of my first dish I ever made for Jose…


eggs with the nopales and tortillas. Nopales are cactus leaves that have the slivers shaved off. They are so amazing. Go on…tell me how good my cooking looks. Yummy! Ha! It was so bland. Luckily, Jose’s mom keep salt on hand because, man, we sure needed it!! Hopefully my cooking gets better…

Until next time! Do something today that stretches you!

Adios amigos!


Missin You


Long distance…it’s the pits. I am so grateful for modern technology, however. I get to see my Jose everyday via Facetime. We can share videos and stories with each other through email. These are wonderful things, but it still doesn’t replace the physical contact. Sometimes I just want to hold hands or really just need a hug from Jose. Two more weeks…

I found this song last night as I was “studying” for finals. This fits perfectly our current situation and helped me to lighten up A LOT regarding missing him. Man, music is such a blessing!

Enjoy folks!

And so it begins…


I never would have thought that an anxious girl from a small town in Utah would make the trek to another country. I’ve always dreamed of it and thought how cool it would be. I never actually thought it would happen. It was always something in my imagination. Until the summer of 2014 when my dreams were made reality. As soon as my friend told me about teaching English in Mexico I knew I had to do it. I went to the information meeting and applied for a spot that night. I was given the last spot to Pachuca, Mexico. Getting off the plane, I felt like I was walking on clouds. This was not real. I was going to wake up any moment now. Then I saw it and knew that this was real life: “WELCOME TO MEXICO”. Immediately, I fell in love with the country. Every morning on our walk to school, my fellow English teachers and I made a new friend. Within 2 weeks of my stay here I knew that I wanted to live in Mexico. I wanted to spend more than just a summer here. I wanted years. I want to share with you how this dream is in the process of becoming my reality.

In July, I was at church when a stranger approached me and asked me where he could find inexpensive housing in the area. I didn’t know since the school I was working for was providing mine. Our conversation was limited due to the language barrier. He had a friend, however, who spoke more English, so he asked me to speak with him. Just then a man just a little taller than me walked through the door. As cheesy as it sounds, the sunlight was shining on him just enough to make it seem like he was glowing. He was so handsome. Jose’ came over and spoke with me. There was an instant connection and we became fast friends. He never found an apartment, but there was a family in our ward who offered him and his friends a place to live in their home.

Jose’ and I started to see each other more often as we had the same group of friends. We both started attending dance classes in the institute. Now…if you have ever attended a Latin dancing course you will know that it is very saucy. The chemistry between Jose’ and I was very strong. Flirting with each other, which I have never been good at, came naturally and our relationship grew into a dating relationship. We were both hesitant to further our relationship, but the spirit kept leading us to one another. One Friday, we had discussed how our relationship wouldn’t work out due to the fact that I was leaving to go back to the United States. What Jose’ didn’t know was that I wanted to move back to Mexico. We both enjoyed each other’s company so much and still wanted to remain friends. Two days later we went to some car races with the family that he was living with. They were fun and it was a great new experience for me. It was basically attending NASCAR races for Mexico. On our way home we got to enjoy a traffic jam due to all of the racing fans. With a sense of adventure, we pulled the car over and decided to go eat “tunas”. Tunas are a fruit that are on the top of some breeds of cactus. In order to harvest cactus you must first pick some sagebrush. This is used to smack all of the needles out of the cactus. After this you use a knife cut the skin off and expose the delicious fruit.

tunasinside cactus pear

(Photo Credit)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The family and I ate many, many tunas. Someone getting a sliver in their lip was bound to happen. And it did. Jose’ got a splinter in his lip and because I am SUCH a great friend, I got it out for him. Of course that led to our first smooch. Everything changed after that. Jose’ and I started dating exclusively and we met each other’s families. He met my parents over FaceTime and I was able to visit his family’s home while traveling through more of Mexico.

After some time, we both knew that we wanted to get married. The only question was “How”. And that my friends is why I wanted to start this blog. The Lord totally has his hand in this relationship and has been guiding us every step of the way. We have seen so many miracles and I know that there are so many more to come. This is meant to be a record of the steps along the way and then about our lives in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Our journey has already begun and right now we remain a country apart. However, in two short months we will be able to be united in Mexico and will be getting married in the LDS Guadalajara Temple.

Bring it on.