Monthly Archives: December 2021

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!

This year I’m writing my last post of the year from Mexico City. It’s been quite a year and I must say I’m looking forward to 2022.

Back in December of 2010 I took a train trip in the Copper Canyon and met this amazing family. Nine years ago I came to Mexico City for New Years and although we’ve kept in touch, we haven’t seen each other at all. And it’s been a fabulous reunion!

Angie and I are about the same age. When we met, we were both teaching English here in Mexico. Her son Ventura and his wife were also on that train trip, along with her daughter Kamira. Ventura spoke some English, but Liliana and Kamira spoke only Spanish. I had only been in Mexico for three months, so my Spanish was extremely very limited.

Today I can hold my own and converse fluently in Spanish with everyone. However they are all learning English now and are interested in practicing this language as well. So it’s been great talking in both languages.

I arrived in Mexico City yesterday and am staying at Ventura’s. Tomorrow we are going to Jilotzingo where we will spend New Years Eve with Liliana’s family.

On Sunday we return to Mexico City. Angie and I will then travel to Pachuca, where Angie lives now. So my first post of 2022 will be from Pachuca.

To all my readers and followers, best wishes for a Healthy and Happy New Year. May all your dreams come true in 2022.

They’re Talking To Me Again!

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They’re Talking To Me Again!

Writing fiction isn’t easy. It’s a lot more fun than writing self-help books, except for when my imaginary characters stop talking to me. And that’s been going on for quite a while now.

But for some reason, over the weekend they not only began talking to me again but they also demanded my undivided attention. And I have found myself totally immersed in the life of one of my main characters. I have been eating, sleeping and breathing his life.

And it’s a complicated life. He’s struggling with overwhelming challenges and is finally beginning to overcome some of them. I find myself crying and laughing right along with him.

I recall a time when one of my housemates found me in tears and was sure someone had just died. No, I explained to him, I was just totally into my character.

But unless you’re a writer, these emotions are hard to comprehend. I also cry when I watch movies. Or I laugh aloud. At the moment my character is making me do a lot of both.

I’m seriously contemplating buying another laptop sooner than later. Writing on a tablet is becoming a little tedious now that my imaginary friends are back. But I’m glad they’re back. I’ve missed them.

La Buenanoche 2021

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Here in Mexico, La Buenanoche (Christmas Eve) is the time for celebration. It is very family as well as church oriented.

This year I was truly blessed to spend the night with a Mexican family. I was invited by my friend Gloria to attend church and then have dinner with her family.

We started off at Templo de la Salud to attend La Misa (Mass). There was a beautiful choir and guitarist and the sanctuary was packed, with the overflow standing behind the pews and outside the church. I enjoyed the service and was pleased that I understood so much of the Spanish.

After the service, fireworks lit up the sky as we walked over to Gloria’s brother’s home for dinner. In addition to the traditional ponche and tamales, turkey and vegetables were also on the menu.

Gloria is one of nine siblings. All were present except for one sister in Chiapas, who delighted us all with a video call. The adorable little girl in the photo is Romena, Gloria’s daughter.

Spending time with this amazing family made La Buenanoche even more special for me.

Feliz Navidad!

A Christmas Memory

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A Christmas Memory

I’ve spent Christmas with a variety of different people in numerous places in Mexico and the USA. But one of my favorite memories dates back to the 90s, when I lived in Canada and my kids were still young and living at home. And Koal was still with us too.

My friend Lesley had invited us over on Christmas Eve. When I had a thyroidectomy, my vocal folds were nicked during surgery. Lesley was my speech therapist who worked with me to get my voice back, and we became good friends as the months went by. My kids were delighted to meet other kids at this Christmas Eve gathering, and it was a most enjoyable evening.

On Christmas Day I prepared my usual bacon and eggs breakfast, and then took my coffee into the living room where we opened presents. Of course Koal got the most gifts. That dog was spoiled rotten by all of us, and was always given way too many treats, toys and t-shirts to add to his wardrobe.

A lazy afternoon included card games and siestas, although I did spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen preparing a traditional turkey dinner.

After dinner we watched Christmas Vacation and laughed ourselves silly at the antics of Chevy Chase. I also remember the first time we saw that movie. We were in Phoenix, Arizona.

The last time I had Christmas dinner with my kids was in 2009. And I often wonder if we’ll ever do it again. We live in different countries. With the world crazy with Covid, nothing is certain anymore.

Now, more than ever before, it’s important to practice mindfulness. If you are fortunate to have family and good friends, celebrate with them NOW. A year from now, we may not all be around to get together. Nothing is promised.

Merry Christmas to all my readers and followers. May you and your families enjoy great times together, in good health, over this holiday season.

Feliz Navidad!

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Feliz Navidad!

A year ago I was wandering around downtown Leavenworth taking photos of the brightly colored trees. I was also wearing a ski jacket and boots. It was a pleasure to take photos of the lights in Centro Aguascalientes wearing only a light sweatshirt and tennis shoes.

On my way home I walked through the Jardin de San Marcos where a Christmas market was in full swing.

My last stop was a stroll through Expoplaza where a children’s fair was happening.

Feliz Navidad!

Proud Of Me

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Proud Of Me

Yep. That’s me. And oh the changes I’ve made in my life! And how wonderful I feel about myself! And then there’s that peaceful feeling in my heart!

There was a time when I lived my life for others. I never put myself first. I was afraid of doing the wrong thing and offending someone. It was easier to do what others expected of me rather than what I would have preferred to do. And I was caught up in the world of creating a good impression.

Does this sound familiar?

One of the most difficult changes I made in my life was learning to say No! and not just when asked to do something I didn’t want to do. Closely related was venturing off in a completely different direction than the one others had advised me to take.

Conformity is no longer a word in my vocabulary. I am free to make choices and couldn’t care less about being judged or criticized by others. Bring on the adventures!

It’s not an easy path that I’ve chosen. It is filled with struggles and challenges. But it is more than overflowing with strength and growth.

Here’s the result.

And I wouldn’t trade her for anything!

What A Year!

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What A Year!

2021 is drawing to a close. A sigh of relief. Almost through year two of the pandemic. It appears that Covid and all of its mutations are here to stay. I wonder how different 2022 will be.

I was living in Wenatchee when 2021 arrived. It was my first winter in snow since 2009. While it was a relatively mild winter compared with the Canadian ones I’d experienced before, it was winter in a cold climate nonetheless.

This afternoon, seven of us enjoyed lunch together outside on the patio of an Italian restaurant. Now that feels more normal to me. With the exception of last year, outdoor dining in December has been the norm since I first arrived in Mexico in 2010.

In January I moved back to Leavenworth. There was more snow and the temperature was colder than in Wenatchee.

In February I was vaccinated and I began thinking about the future. I wasn’t ready to return to Mexico yet and the USA issued a Level 4 travel advisory against travel to Canada.

In March I retained an attorney and applied for an extended stay. I didn’t receive the confirmation that my stay had been approved until July. So I was in limbo for a while.

In April I had biometrics done at the USCIS Field Office in Yakima. Quite an interesting experience. But one step closer to getting that extended stay.

In May I moved to Dryden. It was peaceful living along the river, away from the hoards of tourists who continuously flock to Leavenworth.

The month of June flew by quickly as Amtrak became my new best friend. I traveled by train along the coast from Seattle to Los Angeles, visiting with friends in Portland and Sacramento along the way.

July and August were tense months. I was trying to figure out a way to get to Canada to see my kids and my granddaughter. Every day the rules changed with regards to travel restrictions. The Canadian airlines were gouging customers and I refused to pay quadruple the airfare I had paid before Covid. PCR tests were not available in small-town Washington.

In September I returned to Mexico for the same airfare I’d paid in years previously. No gouging here. No PCR test required. I was back home in Aguascalientes.

Considering that I’m not teaching or doing any volunteer work, I now find myself at more than halfway through my 180 days. The only traveling I’ve done was to Mazatlan for Thanksgiving and to Culiacan to see my family, as well as a day trip to San Jose de Gracia.

I will be with friends in Mexico City for New Years, and then on to Pechuca, Hidalgo. After that, who knows? What is certain is that the travel bug has returned, and that makes me happy.

Christmas Is Close

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Christmas Is Close

We’re almost halfway through December and Christmas is in the air here in Aguascalientes. After all, who needs snow when sunshine and seventies prevail?

Yesterday I checked out the Christmas market at the Jardin de San Marcos. Jewelry, clothing, crafts, food and Christmas baking, pet supplies, perfumes, oils, toys and more.

I continued my walk along Carranzas and was delighted to see several horseback riders, although the traffic jam they caused along this main downtown street was something else.

When I reached Plaza Patria I was amazed at all the decorations in addition to the obligatory Coke tree. I intend to return at night when it’s all lit up.

The shrill of sirens and the honking of horns signaled the start of the parade of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Dancers, mariachi and a multitude of decorated transit buses with the Virgin prominently displayed on the windshields.

All of the above was on my walk yesterday. I wonder what awaits me on my walk today.

Math And Me

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Math And Me

I grew up in the archaic age of memorizing times tables and using slide rules. Those dark ages were filled with calculating areas of triangles, rectangles and other shapes. Then there were logarithms and other nightmares too numerous to mention.

Math was never my strong suit yet somehow years later I found myself working in the accounting field. Just couldn’t escape all those numbers! But at least I had a computer program to do all the calculating.

So, with all this math background, it appears that I have lost the ability to subtract. In my last post, I mentioned that it had been twelve years since Koal left us. It’s actually thirteen. He died in 2008. Caught up in the emotions when writing that blog post may have had something to do with the miscalculation.

Back to Math, and at the moment I’m thinking very clearly. And I’m still not interested in finding out when two trains traveling at different speeds are going to pass each other. Somehow that has never been helpful in my jobs in Social Services or in teaching English.

Anyone else out there feeling the same way about Math?

Half Time

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Half Time

Have I really been back in Mexico for three months already? I wonder where I’ll be three months from today. I’m not even sure which country I’ll be in. The travel restrictions appear to change daily, with Canada winning the gong show hands down.

So much for the future. The past came to me in the form of Facebook memories. Twelve years ago today, with Kyle and Kimmy beside me, I held Koal in my arms as he began his journey to heaven. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t miss that little guy and long for one last cuddle.

And now for the present. Today Joanne and I began our search for Santa. Apparently the jolly old man doesn’t arrive in Aguascalientes for at least another week. This is what we found at Liverpool.

Next we headed for Altaria. While the mall was decorated, still no sign of Santa.

But we did enjoy a delicious lunch of enchiladas suizas! And there is still lots of time before Christmas to continue the search.