Monthly Archives: April 2020

Phase 3

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Phase 3

Here in Mexico we entered Phase 3 last week. This is the most serious phase related to COVID-19 where community spread is supposed to really take off.

Where I live there is no curfew or strict rules other than physical distancing and wearing a mask. This is to be the norm until May 30th. There is purportedly a plan in place to begin opening things up a little come June 1st.

Of course very little testing is being done here so I have no idea how reliable the statistics are. Are we really in the worst part right now? There are professionals who argue that the summer will be the worst time. I guess that’s what happens when you make predictions based on unreliable statistics.

I don’t base much on statistics. What I do believe is that COVID-19 is a deadly disease spreading rapidly throughout the world. It is important to practice good hygiene and respect physical distancing. As far as when it will be safe to lift restrictions and resume a more normal life…..who knows?

I believe it’s in God’s hands now.

I Should Be In Leavenworth

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I Should Be In Leavenworth

Under different circumstances I would be there today. I would have spent the last two days on the beach in Puerto Vallarta. I would have been on the direct flight to Sea-Tac last night.

But that was in another lifetime, the one before COVID-19. The lifetime before the world went crazy. The lifetime before my life got turned upside down.

There was no Apple Blossom Festival in Wenatchee. There will be no Maifest in Leavenworth. There will be no VBS, book club, bridge games or SAIL classes for a while yet.

I miss my friends in Leavenworth. I miss LCN. I miss the mountains. I miss the valleys. I miss the rivers and parks. I miss my favorite tree in Cashmere.

Until the borders open up again and the international flights resume, I will stay here in Aguascalientes.

But I really long to be back home in Leavenworth.

Parents Where Are Your Children

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Parents Where Are Your Children

When my children were young, a phrase often splashed across the TV screen. “Parents where are your children?” It’s now decades later and this phrase is still in my head.

A couple of weeks ago I actually emailed my current address to my children in Canada. Until now they’ve had only my email and phone number, as well as Facebook.

I move around a lot but I’ll be at my current address indefinitely. I’ve been self-isolating for more than a month now and Mexico has just entered phase three.

There were a number of factors that influenced my decision to stay in Mexico. First and foremost has to deal with my children. They may be in their thirties now but that protective instinct still kicks in. They are both asthmatic and have other inhalant allergies. I did not want to take the chance of my being a carrier and infecting them.

That leaves me with nowhere to quarantine and nowhere to live. I haven’t had a home in Canada in ten years.

The closest place for me to call home is Leavenworth, Washington. I spend six months of the year there when I’m not in Mexico. There I do have a place to quarantine and somewhere to live. But I am not American so the border is closed to me now.

Then there are the dangers of contracting COVID-19 or any other infectious disease by traveling through four airports to get to Canada from Aguascalientes.

Here in Mexico I am quite comfortable. I have a place to live. Food and other supplies are readily available within walking distance of where I live. My landlord Raul is the greatest and has provided me with a safety net should circumstances change.

My biggest challenge is in making my children understand the importance of more frequent contact. It’s not just that I need to know that they care about me. Hearing their voices is reassuring as I always worry about them. With COVID-19 I am even more concerned. I need to know that they’re okay.

It’s tough living thousands of miles away from your children in a different country during a pandemic.

Saturday Now

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Saturday Now

Saturday is a very different day than it used to be. One cup of coffee with yogurt and granola. Off in an Uber to teach English for a couple of hours.

Another Uber home and off to the carnicería. He grilled the chicken I bought for me. I’d take a walk to the bakery and do any other shopping and then return to pick up my chicken.

After lunch (yes lunchtime was at around 4 pm) I’d head to the church to teach for an hour.

In the evening I’d explore the Expoplaza area. There were always numerous food vendors. I’d watch the children ride around the square on a burro. I’d listen to music and walk through the San Marcos park.

I’d have interesting conversations with people. A handful understood minimal English but it was a great opportunity for me to practice my Spanish.

Occasionally I’d attend a birthday party or another fiesta on a Saturday evening. And there were concerts close by as well.

Saturday now is very different. Lots of time for that second cup of coffee. I can leisurely make an omelet. No rush to get dressed. No reason to call an Uber. No students to teach.

I take two walks a day. One is before it gets too hot and the other is after it cools off in the evening. Daytime highs are in the low 90s.

This is what Expoplaza area looks like now.

I color, I watch movies, I write, I phone friends and I listen to music.

Actually Saturday seems pretty much like every other weekday now.

What Day Is It?

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What Day Is It?

Do you remember back in kindergarten when you walked into the classroom and the first activity of the day was the Today song? I think I need that again.

I’ve totally lost track of the number of days I’ve been self-isolating. I’m sure it’s over a month now. Unbelievably the time is going by rather quickly despite the fact that my life has been turned upside down by COVID-19. I’m really not sure what I do all day but I’m obviously keeping myself occupied.

The course I’m taking online recommends organizing a daily routine. So do the discussion groups I’m in and the articles I’ve read. And many people thrive with routine.

But Karen does not do well with routine. I never have. Yes I do certain things every day. I color, I go for walks, I exercise, I phone friends, I check social media, I do my course online, I do church online, I watch movies, I listen to music…… I do all these things but never at the same time every day.

Friday morning I called my friend Karen in Leavenworth. The first thing she said was that I was calling so early in the day. Leavenworth is two hours behind and I usually do call at some point later in the day, often in the evening. I told her I needed to change things up.

I used to put reminders in my phone for classes I taught, church services and plans I had with friends. Maybe I should put reminders in my phone for the day of the week instead.

Most people I talk to who are self-isolating have this exact same problem.

What day of the week is it today?

Taking Care Of Me

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Taking Care Of Me

Taking care of me is a relatively new phenomena in my life. Until about ten years ago, I had spent decades putting other people first. Now it was finally time for me.

The downside is that I have spent the last ten years mostly traveling around. This is not exactly conducive with getting involved in a long term relationship. And I find myself alone now in a foreign country waiting out this pandemic.

Why didn’t I return to Canada when I had the chance? I haven’t had a home there in ten years. I had nowhere to go. Yes I have children and friends there. But it’s one thing to come back to visit for a week or two but quite another to come back for a longer period of time.

Where I really wanted to go was back to Leavenworth. I discovered this quaint village four years ago and I’ve put down roots there. But I’m Canadian not American so the border is closed to me.

I have been taking care of myself here in Aguascalientes. First and foremost is that I have a comfortable place to stay and a neighborhood where food and other supplies are readily available within walking distance.

While I am living alone I am definitely not lonely. I have a great phone plan and have unlimited international calls. My family and friends are very accessible.

The highlight is definitely the video calls to my daughter and granddaughter. The other day Madeline sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to me and my heart melted.

Then there are the texts and messaging on social media apps. I’m really limiting my time on Facebook as I’m tired of all the misinformation and inaccurate statistics. I know what I need to do to stay healthy and I’m doing my best.

I go out for two short walks daily. I usually pick up food at this time as well. My fridge may be small but it’s adequately stocked.

I join in discussion groups on the Mayo Clinic website. These are a great source of support at this time.

I’m really enjoying a course I’m taking from University of Toronto. The topic is dealing with anxiety in the face of COVID-19.

I color every day and I listen to music. I watch movies in Spanish. I’m participating in an online Bible study. I do online church services. And I still do the SAIL exercises.

I take time to meditate. And I take time to contemplate life. I’m pretty sure there will be some big changes in my life when this pandemic is no longer a threat and becomes treatable instead.

I live in the present. Mindfulness is key. I want to avoid any unnecessary PTSD in the aftermath.

Last but definitely not least, prayer has been an important part of my life for some time. But it is even more meaningful now.

What are you doing for yourself?

My Daughter

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My Daughter

As a mother you always want to protect your children. You love them and pray for them and want only good things for them.

They grow up and make career choices. My daughter pursued a career in culinary arts but wanted more of a challenge after working as a chef for a couple of years. She then chose nursing as a second career. She has worked mainly as an ICU nurse for the past several years.

Her mother faints at the sight of blood. So to say that I am nervous about her work is an understatement. And in view of what’s going on right now with COVID-19 I am even more so.

But at the same time I am extremely proud of my daughter. The hospital where she works is in Kelowna, BC in Canada. She assures me they have adequate supplies and are taking every precaution.

The other day I What’s App’d her to see if it was a good time to call. The featured photo in this post was her reply. This photo was taken at the nurse’s desk. She told me she puts on even more garb when she goes into a patient’s room.

I feel a tiny bit more reassured but I still worry. It’s really hard to sit back and watch her face the danger and uncertainty she experiences regularly. This is something I can’t protect her from.

Stay safe Kimmy. Love you lots!