Tag Archives: change

Reflections

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Reflections

July marks five years since I retired from teaching ESL in Mexico and first came to Leavenworth. The routine of six months in Mexico and six months in Leavenworth with side trips to Canada to see my kids was comfortable. Until the advent of Covid. Eleven months in Mexico has been followed by eight months in Leavenworth with no side trips to Canada.

When I first arrived in Washington State, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountains. I still am. Names such as Peshastin and Wenatchee roll off my tongue easily now, as do expressions such as “the other side” and “up the Icicle.” Maifest, Apple Blossom, Autumn Leaf and Octoberfest are just a few of the many festivals I’ve celebrated here when there is no Covid.

I have memories of attending a homecoming football game and racing at the oval track. Events at Snowy Owl Theater as well as Leavenworth Summer Theater productions were most enjoyable. I dressed up in pioneer costume to volunteer at Apple Days in Cashmere. And the 9/11 memorial services at Spirit of America always bring tears to my eyes.

I have memories of volunteering at the senior center, having lunch with friends, craft afternoons and music nights. I miss the entertainment at the gazebo on the weekends. While I did enjoy seeing the colorful trees this year, there was no tree lighting ceremony or ice festival.

While the library has reopened, book club has not yet resumed and neither have the craft activities. There is still some speculation as to whether the pool will open. And just this past week we were given the go ahead to start teaching fitness classes again.

It’s Faith Promise weekend at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene (LCN). On Friday night we headed out to the orchards at McDivitt’s and had dinner with some eighty other people. I remember the first time I went out there almost five years ago for another church barbecue. I didn’t know a soul back then. And now I know so many people.

Five years ago today, May 23rd, I was living and teaching ESL in Mazatlan. Retiring and becoming a snowbird were never on the radar. Yet now I can’t imagine any other way of life.

And Yet Another Change

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And Yet Another Change

2020 was a year filled with changes in my life. And 2021 probably won’t be much different. For the first week in January, I decided to get a new cell phone. The one I selected is light years apart from the one I bought in Mexico two years ago.

In some ways it’s similar to my tablet which is also very different from my old phone. But I am determined to master this device and make it my best friend. This is where the Serenity Prayer will really prove to be useful.

I’m a hands on type of person and not a RTFM type. Oh the challenges this presents at times! I also find that as I grow older I’m not as fond of change as I once was.

Of course there are some changes I do enjoy, but those usually involve traveling and moving. When it comes to electronics, not so much.

I wound up getting a Samsung something or other and so far so good. Of course, as I’m writing this, it’s  only day one. The staff at AT&T in Wenatchee  were most helpful this morning. And I’ve been  playing around with it for a while now. Lots of new territory to explore.

One feature I really like is the visual voicemail. I can pick and choose which message to check out first. And speaking of voicemail, I need to go and personalize my greeting.

See you on Sunday!

Monday Musings and Memories

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Monday Musings and Memories

A memory showed up on my Facebook page today. Four years ago today I had just arrived in Tlaquepaque and had begun teaching at Culturlingua. One night after class I went to a bar called Otro Nivel with some other teachers. There was a fabulous Mexican band playing awesome English rock music from the 60s and the cerveza was 2 for 1. I live in Mazatlan now and that night at the bar still seems like yesterday although years have passed by.

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Life is for living. There are so many adventures out there just waiting in the wings. Of course the hitch is that this involves change, and many people thrive on routine and the security that it provides. I’ve come to the conclusion that I thrive on change, not on routine. Otherwise I would never have arrived in Tlaquepaque in October of 2011.

In July of 2011  I returned to Winnipeg after teaching in Culiacan. I halfheartedly began searching for a job. But Mexico had stolen my heart, and I knew that I no longer wanted to call Winnipeg “home.” I received a job offer from a school in Irapuato and a month later I was on a plane headed for Leon.  

I  was excited to be back in Mexico although life in Irapuato was definitely different from life in Culiacan.  A sleepy little pueblo where the highlight was the soccer stadium didn’t have much appeal. The school was a disaster as the actual job in no way, shape or form resembled the promises on the Skype interview. But my supervisor Pilar became a good friend. The last Saturday in September, Pilar and I were sipping cappuccinos at The Italian Coffee Company when my phone rang. I glanced at it briefly and Pilar asked who I knew in Mexico City, as that was the area code on the call display. I remarked that it must have been a wrong number or a telemarketer as I didn’t have that number stored in my contacts. My phone rang again a few minutes later and the same number showed up. Annoyed, I turned it off.

I returned home several hours later and turned my phone back on. That Mexico City number had called another four times! Intrigued, I decided to call that number. After all, what if it was an emergency or someone was dying and they were frantically calling my number in error? But it was no error. Instead it was a job offer.

Greg was the owner of Culturlingua in Tlaquepaque. A teacher had left unexpectedly and he was looking for another teacher. He’d seen my resume up on Dave’s ESL Cafe and had been calling me all day. I told him I needed some time to think about it. He gave me until later that evening. I hung up on him and tried calling Pilar but got voicemail.

And I pondered the situation. I was dissatisfied with my job. My housemates were less than desirable. The school had yet to provide me with promised health coverage. But the best was that they had not provided me with a contract either so there really was nothing tying me down to Irapuato. I called Greg back and accepted his offer. And I left a message for Pilar.

It  was now after 8 pm and I had a lot to do. I had to pack and that was complicated by the fact that I had two heavy suitcases that I needed to somehow get down the stairs. Nate and Margie came to my rescue. They were teachers from Hawaii and were as disillusioned with the situation in Irapuato as I was. They agreed to meet me early in the morning and help me with my suitcases. I was so excited that night I could barely sleep!

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Early the next morning before anyone in my house was up, Nate and Margie arrived and helped me with my suitcases. We had to walk a couple of blocks down the street until we found a taxi. I felt like I was fleeing a prison! Did I mention that the director of English at the school lived next door to me in the same house as Nate and Margie? He was pretty livid when he realized I was AWOL. But by then I was on a bus headed for Guadalajara. I should add that Nate and Margie made their own escape shortly thereafter.

I have never looked back. Moving to Tlaquepaque was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I have met some amazing people, have taught awesome students and have had incredible adventures.

My move here to Mazatlan was far less dramatic. I miss Guadalajara and the friends I have left behind. But I am drawn to the beach, to the calming azure waters and the smell of the salty sea air. And I know that more amazing people and incredible adventures await me here. Life is about living. Life is about change.