For the past five years, I have lived in several different places for varying amounts of time.
When I first separated from my husband, I moved back to Winnipeg and lived in a small apartment. This was the view from my fourth floor balcony.
I had never lived alone before in my life and my daughter thought it would be a good idea for me to have a cat. So off we went to her friend’s farm near Manitou to select a kitten. I named her Vanessa and she was simply adorable!
She was great company. My already cramped apartment became even more crowded with all of her toys and a scratching post. As she grew, she became quite mischievous. Vanessa shredded the screens on my patio doors and bedroom windows. She ripped up the linoleum in the bathroom. And I can’t believe how high that cat could jump!
Vanessa was beautiful, but unfortunately not well suited to apartment life. I reluctantly told my daughter that Vanessa would have to go. Fortunately my daughter was living on a farm in Brunkild at the time, and was able to keep her. Vanessa was much happier running freely about the acreage. Actually, I think I would have been happier in that environment too, but I remained in the confines of my small apartment for a few more months.
Shortly after graduating from university, I found myself on a plane headed for Mexico and my first ESL teaching job in another country. I lived in Culiacan, Sinaloa for eight months and taught secundaria at a private school. But more importantly, I found my Mexican family.
It was really difficult to leave Culiacan and return to Winnipeg. Reverse culture shock set in and the five weeks were very stressful. I have wonderful friends who took me into their hearts and homes, but it took a lot of moving around as I stayed with six different people that summer.
My next stop was Irapuato, Guanajuato. I was hired to teach primaria in a private school. I stayed only two months. There was no contract made available and no health insurance as promised. And the school added extra hours and activities. When I was offered a job in Tlaquepaque on a Saturday night, I packed hastily and was on a bus Sunday morning headed for Guadalajara.
I began teaching at a language institute where I had students of all ages. I had just settled into the house when the decision was made to move us to a house closer to the school. Time to pack my bags again!
I did stay in that house for just over six months. Until one Friday night I arrived home to find that the street was being ripped up the next day in order to replace the water pipes. Time to move again. I was waiting to have knee surgery and was in no position to navigate a torn up street. Here is what it looked like the day after I left.
With the help of my friend Alfredo, I was packed and in a taxi to Central Nueva within an hour. And then I headed to Culiacan to spend some time with my family.
Then I was off to Mazatlan for a few days of sun and sand.
A friend picked me up at the airport in Winnipeg and I stayed with her for about a week. My daughter asked me to babysit her cats while she was away and that turned into a three week stay instead of only one week.
I then rented a room in a house where I stayed for three months. It wasn’t the greatest environment for recovering from knee surgery. My walker didn’t fit through the bathroom door, the shower was in a bathtub with high sides and there were dangerous scatter rugs everywhere. There were steps at the front entrance that kept me housebound until I was able to give up the walker and graduate to a cane. The house was also in an area far away from my children and my friends. But I was very grateful to find somewhere to stay on a month to month basis for such a reasonable rent.
I then moved into a furnished apartment downtown for two months. It was nice to have everything on one level, including a washer and dryer. And it came with maid service as well.
And then I returned to Tlaquepaque. I moved into a house that I shared with four other people.
I lived here for almost six months, before returning to Winnipeg via Culiacan and Puerto Vallarta.
In Winnipeg I was very fortunate to rent the most perfect house for recovering from a second round of knee surgery. It boasted a wheelchair ramp, a walk-in shower with a seat, a raised toilet and magnetic accordion doors. And I stayed there for the entire six months!
I returned to Mexico via Denver and San Diego. My goal was to spend the winter in Rosarito in the Baja Norte.
But the housing situation left a lot to be desired. Rosarito can best be described as a “poor man’s Vallarta.”
After five days I headed for Culiacan to visit my family. My nietos had grown so much in just a few months!
And then it was time to return to Tlaquepaque. I am staying in the same house as last year, but with new housemates.
As I write this, I have been here for two months. And I am seriously contemplating moving on in the near future. There is so much of Mexico that I still want to explore.
perhaps but also an adventurous woman who is brave and intelligent and seems (to me) to be enjoying life…quite an envious position to many of us 🙂
Thanks Pauline. The same can be said of you. Isn’t it amazing the adventures we have at this age?
You always have been off the wall. The next time you’re in Winnipeg you have a single second cousin who has a nice house in the south end and if your first cousin isn’t crashing there he mayhave room for you.
Off the wall? I prefer the term “free spirit”. Had no idea single second cousin was still in Winnipeg or I would have contacted him when I was back. Maybe next time, whenever that will be.
Yes, letting go is not something we are all capable of doing. Karen, you are to be commended for your spirit. You are in such a great place on every level. You are letting life in. Thank you for sharing!
You know me very well. I appreciate your encouraging words. The “free spirit” is truly free now to explore life and enjoy new adventures.