I have chosen to pay tribute to the year 2013 as my first post of the new year. As I reflect on all the memorable moments, I eagerly await the many new adventures that lie ahead.
January began in Mexico City with my amiga Angie and her family. We stayed with her son Ventura and his wife Liliana, pictured below.
We visited Liliana’s family first on New Years Eve and I was totally enchanted with their “mascotas.”
Liliana and her mother, pictured below, prepared a delicious meal for us as well.
Later in the day we arrived at Angie’s parents’ home. Here they are with Angie in the photo below.
Many of the extended family members joined us to ring in the new year.
The month of January flew by. I began teaching Business English for Ingles Corporativo and I travelled to Tlajomulco and San Juan De Los Lagos with my language partner Isaias.
February became busier as I taught more hours and also took on private students. Isaias and I continued our Sunday travels and went to Lagos De Moreno, Valle De Guadalupe and San Miguel el Alto.
We continued our Sunday travels in March and went to Atotonilco, Arandas, Jamay and Ocotlan.
I also ventured out to Zapotlanejo to do some clothes shopping. This city has street upon street filled with clothing and shoe stores. And yes, that is a live model in the third picture.
I also visited Zoologica Guadalajara, one of my favorite zoos. I bravely tried out the new skyride and the view was spectacular, especially when it turned at the canyon. And of course I rode the train and went on the safari ride.
April was a delightful yet bittersweet month as it marked the end of my third year in Mexico.
Isaias and I travelled to Sam Martin De Flores, Tepatitlan and Capilla de Guadalupe.
And my last night in Tlaquepaque was a final farewell to El Lugar Secreto after I taught my last class. Barbershop Rock Band were playing as usual and the music was great.
When the bar closed, it was time to pick up my bags and head for the bus station. Next stop Culiacan to visit my family.
Next I headed for Puerto Vallarta to relax for a few days on the beach.
Snow greeted me upon my arrival back in Winnipeg on April 27th.
But it did eventually warm up and the blossoms came into view.
I enjoyed a lovely Mother’s Day brunch at Montana’s with Kyle and Krista.
My birthday was in May as well, and Kyle and a friend came over for dinner to help me celebrate. It was great to have a kitchen to myself and be able to actually cook rather than just reheat food.
June was another busy month. I continued to enjoy visiting with friends. Carolyn, Brenda and I spent many happy hours at The Forks.
Donna and I visited the English Gardens and the Leo Mol Garden in Assiniboine Park.
Audrey and I often went out for dinner and went shopping together.
Glenda and I drank endless cups of coffee and tea and also went shopping.
I spent time with David in his garden, and also with Cookies and Creme.
I also had some great times with Joan, Cheyenna, Sheila, Alice, Nancy, Iris, Rita and Ethel.
Before I knew it the second round of knee surgery arrived. Then began the recovery process which included hours of physiotherapy and hours of watching movies. And I discovered Candy Crush on my iPhone!
A special acknowledgment to my son Kyle. I know how difficult it was for him to visit me in a hospital setting for many reasons. And I enjoyed our walks in the hallway in the evening.
And I am so grateful to Karen and Chad for providing me with such a great home in which to convalesce. The wheelchair ramp and walk-in shower were absolute blessings. And I really enjoyed your visits, especially when Josh came as well.
And I have the greatest friends in the world! Your hospital visits helped pass the hours. And once I was at home my friends continued to visit regularly, shop for me and even cook for me. And when I was well enough, my friends were only too eager to take me out.
And I added a new best friend……Handi-Transit. What a wonderful chauffeur you were! We went to physio, to medical appointments, to shopping malls and to visit friends.
The highlight of the month of July was giving up my walker and graduating to a cane! With my mobility improving, my spirits lifted as well.
In August Kimmy came for a short visit. I was delighted when she tackled her bins that had been in my storage unit for the past three years. Here she is with one of the treasures she discovered.
I spent a relaxing weekend with Rita at her cabin in Lester Beach in September. The weather co-operated for the most part and all the dogs definitely added to the ambiance.
October was a busy month as I finally waded through all the furniture, boxes and bins that had been in my storage unit. And I disposed of it all, mostly in the form of donations.
I also cooked my last Thanksgiving dinner in Winnipeg. Kyle complained loudly that I had prepared way too much food, but I know he enjoyed it just the same.
And then it was October 29th and I was on my way to Rosarito Beach via Denver and San Diego.
It had already snowed in Winnipeg although it hadn’t stayed on the ground. So the warmth and sunshine in Mexico were most welcome.
While Rosarito was a quaint place to visit, I decided that as much as I wanted to live near the ocean, this just wasn’t the place for me. So I headed to Tijuana, and then began a long bus trip to Culiacan.
The drive through the mountains was spectacular.
We also passed through Mexicali, Caborca, Obregon and Los Mochis.
I arrived in Culiacan in the wake of hurricane warnings. However the sun shone brightly and it was HOT! There was no rain at all while I was there.
I had a great visit with my family. Jose Agustin had just turned one and was trying to walk.
Juan Carlos enjoyed giving his brother a ride.
The time flew by and I found myself back on a bus headed for Guadalajara. And it felt great to be back home on Zalatitan in Tlaquepaque.
My favorite tiendas, cafes and street stands were still there. It was nice to see the neighbors again. The biggest change was the repaving and widening of the sidewalks. But it was comical when I heard that several buses had to be rerouted as they no longer fit down the streets.
I began teaching part-time and Isaias and I resumed our Sunday travels. We visited Tlajomulco and Acatic.
I also went to a communion party. I have no idea which animal’s leg I ate, but it was delicious! There was a bouncer for the kids and karaoke for everyone. Music and laughter filled the party salon. And I got to hold the sweetest little baby!
December arrived and people began preparing for Christmas. December 12th was marked with music and fireworks in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Stands filled the streets displaying Christmas trees, ornaments and nativity scenes. Work began on the skating rink in Tlaquepaque and the Christmas tree was set up in the plaza.
Isaias and I travelled to San Ignacio Cerra Gordo and J0cotopec.
As Christmas drew near, more decorations began to adorn homes and businesses. Pinatas were strung across the streets.
The festive atmosphere was further enhanced by music and laughter. Posadas were held in homes and in party salons. There were loud bangs from fireworks followed by car alarms that were set off by the noise.
I spent Christmas Eve with Isais and his family. But first we posed for a picture by the tree in the plaza.
There was a flurry of activity in our house as my housemates and I prepared a Christmas lunch together. The menu included baked ham, glazed carrots, mushroom beans, mashed potatoes with gravy, chicken salad, apple enchiladas and chocolate.
In the evening I went to church, and we all enjoyed a cena together complete with traditional ponche following the service.
The rain that began on Christmas Eve continued to fall right into the New Year. At times it was quite the torrential downpour, and my plans for visiting museums were put on hold.
Despite the rain, people flocked in the streets on New Years Eve setting off fireworks. And shortly after midnight children began swinging at pinatas. The festivities continued until 3 am when the music finally ended.
Happy New Year Everyone! I hope that 2014 is a great year filled with love and laughter! May all your wishes and dreams come true!