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.
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?
Easter is different this year. We’re all experiencing a virtual Easter.
For the past ten years I have celebrated Easter in Mexico. I’ve been in Culiacán, Guadalajara, Mazatlán and Aguascalientes.
I’ve gone on the Walk of the Cross in Guadalajara and in Culiacán with my Catholic family and friends. I’ve had Easter dinner with a variety of friends.
This year I’ll be alone in my room. I’ll have lots of church services online to keep me company.
Have a blessed Easter everyone!
Since I’ve been retired I haven’t really had much of a daily routine. Basically it’s been traveling around Mexico six months of the year and doing a lot of volunteering and socializing in Leavenworth the other six months, with an occasional side trip to Canada.
This winter I returned to Aguascalientes City with the intent to focus on my Spanish skills. I returned to the same neighborhood where I am the only gringa.
I used to savor my first cup of coffee at 8 am. I’d often go to my favorite gordita stand for breakfast. And then it was off to the shops to engage people in conversation. Now many shops look like this.
In the afternoon I’d go to the park to color. Sometimes I’d meet friends there.
I also used to attend church services on Thursday and Sunday. Saturday was my one teaching day.
And then COVID-19 entered our lives.
I now have breakfast in my hotel room. And some days I don’t even get dressed until around noon. I watch movies in Spanish to improve my comprehension but it doesn’t do much for conversation or pronunciation.
I still color every day but not in the park. The park is closed.
I go for shorter walks. I spend more time on the phone with friends. I do on-line church and I’m going to sign up for another course on Coursera.
That leaves me with lots of time for writing. I now do blog posts every second day. And I’m hoping my imaginary friends keep talking to me so that my work in progress does indeed continue to progress.
Phase 2 has begun in Ags. People around here seem to be taking COVID-19 very seriously and the streets are quieter than usual. No problem with social distancing.
Stay home and stay safe!
I decided to take a break from COVID-19 and publish this post I’ve had sitting in draft form for almost a month.
Thank you Facebook for reminding me where I’ve been on February 29th in the past decade.
Today I am in Aguascalientes. Four years ago I was in Mazatlan. Eight years ago I was in Guadalajara.
But the most memorable February 29th of my life was back in 1984, long before Facebook was established.
I was eight months pregnant with Kimmy. I awoke that morning in incredible pain. Somehow I managed to drive Kyle to nursery school and then myself to the hospital.
Upon my arrival, hospital staff were smiling and reassuring me that giving birth a month early was no problem. I kept telling them that this pain was different from labor pain, but they admitted me and hooked me up to all the monitors.
That’s when the smiles disappeared and were replaced with frowns. I was right. Not in labor. A specialist arrived immediately and diagnosed torn ligaments in the uterus. Yet another hospital stay and more bed rest.
I was worried about Kyle. This wouldn’t be the first time I wasn’t there to pick him up from nursery school due to a hospital stay. It hadn’t been the greatest pregnancy and Kyle was such a trooper.
One month later on March 29th I arrived at the hospital and this time I was in labor. I’m glad Kimmy was born then and not on February 29th. I can’t imagine celebrating a birthday on the exact date only once every four years.
Aguascalientes City has taken COVID-19 seriously. Bars and restaurants have been closed for a week now. Meetings and other events have been cancelled. Group gatherings are discouraged. Workers are out trying to sanitize public areas.
I have bid farewell to coloring in the park for a while. I will probably limit my time to just short walks instead.
A short distance from where I live is a long street saturated with bars and restaurants. This is what it looked like on Saturday night.
Compare this with the chaos at the airport in Puerto Vallarta. Just think of all the potential diseases that are on their way to Canada right now. I feel that my decision to remain here in Mexico is a good one.
There is no country and no medical system prepared for this pandemic. Friends up north have told me of family members who are struggling with COVID-19 right now. I hear about shortages of masks and gloves.
But mostly I hear about people who believe they are invincible. They continue to go out on non-essential errands and visit with friends. They hit the grocery stores and hoard more than just toilet paper. I urge them to stop being so selfish. They are potential carriers and may be unknowingly spreading this horrid disease. Not everyone infected exhibits symptoms.
My friends in Mexico tell me the beaches are still crowded. Semana Santa hasn’t even arrived yet. I am so thankful that I live inland far from the tourist areas.
Stay at home and stay safe!
It’s hot out there. The 90s have arrived. Days like this I miss the ocean in Mazatlan.
Thursday morning there is an outdoor market in my neighborhood.
Restaurants are closed. Take out and delivery only.
Bars are closed here although my friend told me they’re still open in Leavenworth, Washington. Go figure.
Schools are closed. I haven’t heard anything about the indoor malls yet.
A friend in Zacatecas told me this morning that she couldn’t find chicken or eggs. So far we have no shortages here in Ags.
Corner tiendas are open. Note in my pics that these are not completely enclosed. Lots of fresh air gets in and social distancing is easy as there are seldom more than 2 or 3 people in them at the same time.
My saving grace are my daily coloring sessions in the park. The flowers are beginning to bloom again.
I really miss all the time I used to spend walking in and out of shops and engaging in conversation. It was a great way to socialize as well as practice my Spanish. Now most of my socializing is over the internet or on the phone.
A silver lining to every cloud……more time for writing!
I awoke this morning to silence instead of the hum of a fan. There was no display on my microwave. The lights on the TV and modem were out. And I didn’t hear the noise my fridge usually makes.
A lukewarm Coke and a malvebon were my jolt of caffeine this morning.
I grabbed my laundry and headed to the lavenderia. Fatima greeted me in darkness. But I think positively and left my laundry in her capable hands. I may get it back today and I may not. Mexico is the land of mañana.
The bank where I use the ATM is about a mile away and thankfully it did have electricity. The bakery near the bank was open and so was the farmacia.
I returned home and headed for the park with my coloring supplies. Such a glorious day out there!
The next stop was the cocina for fresh salads for lunch.
This is my world in Mexico. We are all more consciencious about washing our hands and not touching our face. Schools are closing and public gatherings are cancelled.
Then there is the world on the internet filled with panic and fear. Yes this is a devastating pandemic. More and more people are diagnosed every day. There are deaths but we must keep in mind that not everyone will die. People are recovering.
I’m very concerned about my children in Canada. It’s really difficult being so far away from them right now.
I have friends up north with serious respiratory problems. I have friends crammed in to overcrowded airports which in my opinion is quite the breeding ground for more than just COVID-19.
Here are some pics of my neighborhood today. Shops are open as are stands on the street.
Stay safe everyone!
I have decided to stay here in Aguascalientes rather than return to Canada.
Because of my age and health issues I am in the high risk category.
If I didn’t get sick from COVID-19 from crowded airports and stuffy airplanes, I’d probably get pneumonia from arriving in Winnipeg in shorts and sandals. I haven’t experienced a Winnipeg winter in over ten years.
I opted to do on-line church only today as my city has banned public gatherings.
There is lots of toilet paper here.
I also have the blessing of being able to go outside to the park everyday.
Stay safe everyone and practice whatever preventative measures you are able to.