Today is Friday December 16th and in just over two weeks a new year will be upon us. How can 2017 possibly be so close? We just rang in 2016 yesterday, didn’t we? It’s scary how the months just fly by all too quickly as we grow older.
Earlier this year I made my debut as an actress in a murder mystery dinner theater. I had never done any acting before in my life and this was an amazing experience. It was a short-lived career and I returned to teaching English.
My favorite student was a young woman in her forties who was a missionary here in Mexico. Originally from Monterrey, Claudia had been posted here in Mazatlan for a few months. Occasionally English speaking visitors from other countries would come to her church and she would also travel to the United States for conferences. Claudia was re-posted in July and we still keep in touch on What’s App.
I spent a lot of time by the pool with friends. I was delighted to be back in the water exercising regularly again as it really helped the bad bout of sciatica I was experiencing. When I lived in Canada water aerobics was a part of my daily routine, and I had really missed it.
I joined an organization called Neighbors Who Care (Vecinos Con Carinos) and volunteered my time at fundraising events. The Ducky Derby took place in March and attracted tables full of people who contributed generously to support schools and families in need in Teacapan, a small pueblo just outside of Mazatlan. We also sponsored a Health Fair in May that was held at The Convention Center here in Mazatlan. In July we also held a Fourth of July fundraiser that was well attended by members.
If you have ever lived in Mexico, you know that dealing with Hacienda and Immigration are tedious and time-consuming. Hacienda is the Mexican equivalent of the IRS in The United States or the CRA in Canada. Documents, documents, documents and more documents! Mexicans love their paperwork.
I also became active at The Vineyard Church (La Vina). I helped make some 300 ham and cheese sandwiches on Thursdays which were distributed to people who worked at the dump. These people spent hours scavenging through the garbage there in the hopes of finding something they could use or sell in order to support their families.
I met a very talented young lady named Sofia who offers Mexican cooking classes. I have learned a great deal about the different chilis, vegetables and fruits available here. Meats are cut differently and cooking Mexican style in no way resembles cooking Canadian style. The markets and grocery stores are filled with unfamiliar ingredients. Items we take for granted up north, such as Crisco and Cool Whip, just do not exist here. Even the flour and sugar are different.
I also continued taking courses on the internet: Evolution from American Museum of Natural History, Positive Psychology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Psychological First Aid from Johns Hopkins, Conflict Resolution from University of California Irvine Campus, The Addicted Brain from Emory University, The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness from University of Toronto. I am currently taking a course called De-Mystifying Mindfulness from Universiteit Leiden.
Back in July I went to Leavenworth, Washington to visit a friend I had met in Mazatlan. Somehow four weeks turned into four months, and it was the threat of snow that finally propelled me back to Mexico a month ago. My previous blog posts have provided details about the time I spent there. Washington state is incredibly beautiful. While I did not care for Seattle, the Bavarian town of Leavenworth was amazing and the town of Cashmere captured my heart. Wenatchee was already beginning to feel big cityish as the malls and big box stores are found here. The breathtaking view of the mountains is spectacular, and I truly enjoyed every moment of living in a small town with a population of only 2000.
I’ve been back in Mazatlan for a month and it has been a hectic one. Most of the snowbirds are back for the winter and it’s nice to see my friends again. I shared a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with friends from Utah and Texas. The weekly card games are back on at Sue’s in Las Gavias. The Organic Market at Plaza Zaragoza and the market at La Catrina are in full swing. Mazatlan Film and Theater have started the movies and play readings. Friends of Mexico had a meeting this past week and membership drive is in full swing.
This past week has been a busy one. On Sunday I went to church and then had brunch with friends. Later on in the day I did an internet service with Church of the Rock back in Winnipeg. On Monday I had a luncheon with a group called Ladies Who Lunch In Centro. Tuesday was a Friends of Mexico breakfast meeting and then our weekly card game in the afternoon. On Wednesday our Red Hat group had a Christmas luncheon. Last night there was a Christmas party at Arco Los Charros with members of Neighbors Who Care. A Christmas Tea was held at church this morning. Tomorrow night is a Mexican posada with our cooking class. And next Monday I have another Christmas luncheon. Then there is a lull next week other than the card game.
On Christmas Eve there is a candlelight service at church and on Christmas Day a group of us are going to a buffet dinner at Twisted Mama’s, a popular restaurant in The Gold Zone. We haven’t firmed up plans for New Years yet but venues being considered include Friends and Playa Mazatlan, although I am considering the possibility of going to Culiacan instead.
Yes 2016, your days are numbered. In the blink of an eye 2017 will be upon us. I wonder what exciting adventures lie ahead.