So I think I first met Becky in the women’s toilets at the British Council in London. Which was promising.
We were on an induction day for our year as British Council Language Assistants in Mexico. She’d emailed me to see about meeting up I think, since we were both headed to the same city, but I hadn’t seen it. Sorry about that Becky! I remember I had to rush off for a busy afternoon organising coach transfers for a chain of language schools during the summer – oh the excitement- but we managed a quick ‘hi’ and ‘bye’, and that was probably about it until we were in the same hostel room in the middle of Mexico City, for some more inducting, before the group of us were sent far and wide across this amazing country to our various cities.
I would definitely be capable of spending the next few thousand words expanding on our time in Mexico, what we did and who we met, the best and the worst things about living abroad, and then more of the best things about Mexico. It’s a really special place. Now, with the warm and balmy air outside, it seems all the easier to remember and miss. But you might not enjoy those few thousand words as much as me, and I’m here to talk about Becky and Javier.
Becky is an extremely determined and inspirational person; I remember waking up and having a first really long chat with her after celebrating Mexico’s dia de independencia, and listening to her talk about with passion about her work in Scotland as a Social Worker. Her determination to gain all she could from being in Mexico was a wonder to behold, and I’m sure this is part, at very least, of the reason why I spent so many weekends doing incredible things. Armed with her Lonely Planet guide, we drove with our other Brit, Amy, and the help of friendly Mexicans, through desert mountain ranges to swim in hot springs, we swam in a pool in the desert, we stepped off an air-conditioned coach onto a hot and dusty highway, to hitch and buy our way up a mountain, and spent an amazing time, and six long hours, hiking in lush greenery, and the next day getting lost on the way down. Even after hours of hiking the second day, we refused a lift for the last few hundred metres, preferring instead to really earn our ice-cold Negra Modelo. Her determination even took us to the ultimate challenge in foreign parts living – the house party.
Although we were teaching at the same university, we were teaching in different departments that were at opposite ends of the city. In her department, there was a friendly student called Javier. Friendly, laid-back, with a grin that spreads easily and often from ear to ear, he became our guide and interpreter of la vida mexicana. He taught us to dance cumbia, drove us around, taught us the slang, and explained cultural differences to us, and named me ‘pocha girl’ for my habit of adding English words in liberally into my Spanish.
I cannot begin to describe my happiness, after they got together there in Mexico, they have been together over the passing years, if not in the same country ever since, that they are marrying this summer. My time in Mexico would have been unimaginably poorer without Javier’s ease, guidance, friendliness, laughter and enthusiasm, and Becky’s joy in life and her ear for chats, as well as her ability to see the absurd in some of the situations we found ourselves in – and joining in laughter to the point of crying. Writing this has made me so excited to see them again.
One of the sad things is, though, that were we to become Language Assistants in Mexico now, we wouldn’t be going to Monterrey. It has become far too violent and too dangerous. The violence in Mexico has become severe, and it’s extremely distressing to see it effecting such an open and generous people. Without coming over too preachy, those who buy illegal drugs in this country really need to consider the trade they are supporting.
I have seen Big Sis and Becky and Javier jump through the hoops of the UK Border Agency, and pay the huge amounts of money, and wait the months, or, for Becky and Javier, years just to be able to live in the same country. It really makes me appreciate how simple it was to decide to be with and live with Mr Moll – even if moving across London seemed like a wrench at the time! Marrying someone from another country is no easy option, and they deserve so much happiness. Congratulations Becky and Javier!
You would have thought, since I designed the invitation, I would have been quite calm about receiving one. Just the opposite in fact! I squealed like a six year old girl allowed to have a sleepover.
So enough of the chat, and here come the invitations.
Both Becky and Javier, representative as far as I know of their compatriots, are patriotic celebrators about all the best things, the beauty and the history, of their respective homelands. I was keen to reference that in the invitation, and the draft title page, at the top of the post, was my first interpretation of that. They liked it, but wanted to focus more on the history and positives about their countries, and not risk offending their English guests! So I had another illustrating session, and came up with the title page above.
There is, of course, another page, with details of the wedding. I cannot wait to see them both, and watching Javier teach Mr Moll and the rest of the awkward Northern Europeans how to cumbia.