Tag Archives: Christmas

Sentimentality

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Sentimentality

As I sit here with a sappy Hallmark Christmas movie on in the background, my thoughts wander back to a conversation I had with my friend Florence when I was in Leavenworth this summer. Maybe it’s a combination of the holidays and the family Christmas in the Hallmark movie. But sentimentality is on my mind.

Florence was about to move out of her home in Leavenworth, a home she had lived in for 35 years. She lamented the fact that her children wanted nothing although she had offered them so many things that she and her husband could not take with them to their new home in Wenatchee. I could so identify with that. My experience was similar when my marriage ended. It’s obvious that the next generation is not in the least interested in the treasures we have accumulated. That sense of sentimentality is definitely missing.

I remarked about how in my past I had been extremely sentimental and how I no longer have those feelings about “things.” While I do have fond memories of my china and silver, I also have no need to host formal dinners anymore. The Moorcroft and other antiques belong to another life that ended when my marriage ended. In actuality, the hardest items to part with were the handmade birthday and Valentine’s cards my children had lovingly given me over the years.

But I do recall many a time when I used my mother’s or my grandmother’s china. I recall polishing the silver tea service my aunt and uncle had given us for a wedding gift. And so much more.

Florence and I agreed that our children will never know these feelings. And we wonder if someday our children may regret that they didn’t keep some of these things…..

Anoche en Centro

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Anoche en Centro

When I left for Culiacán last weekend, they had just begun decorating for Christmas in Centro. I decided to take a walk down there last night to check it out.

This is my 10th Christmas season in Mexico. I have celebrated this holiday in Culiacán, Mazatlán, Guadalajara, Tototlán and San Ciro de Acosta. Each has a unique feel to it, including different traditions.

Here in Aguascalientes, every evening for the past month there have been prayer groups in the streets. The Virgin of Guadalupe is sacred to Catholics. There will be a parade on December 12th. The last time I experienced this was in Tlaquepaque a few years ago.

By the San Marcos Church, I stopped to admire the tree and the nativity scene.

As I approached the plaza, I was amazed at the crowds of people that filled the streets. The vendors were out in full force and the restaurants were packed.

A skating rink had been set up and was quite a popular attraction. It was obvious that most people had never been on skates before. They lined the outside of the rink and clung to the walls and each other for support.

In another area in the square there was some entertainment going on involving acrobats and music.

I ventured into the government building to admire the tree.

And I fell in love with this cute little guy.

The streets were brightly lit and the camera on my phone really didn’t do justice to their splendor.

On my way home I strolled through the San Marcos Park. I sat for a while and watched the salsa dancers. And it goes without saying that people watching in the park is fascinating.

As I continued my walk home I found other brightly lit trees.

There is definitely a festive air here in Aguascalientes.

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I’ve been living in the quaint little town of San Ciro for just over a month now. There is no bank or mall or movie theater here. There isn’t even a restaurant although there are numerous taquerias and loncherias. There isn’t even a bar here. So just what is the big attraction here for me?

I’ve gotten used to living in smaller towns. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Leavenworth in the past three years. And I prefer the small town life. It was nice to spend the first month back in Mexico this winter in Guadalajara, Mazatlán and Culiacan. But it’s much more tranquil here in San Ciro.

I saunter down to the gordita stand in front of the hotel in the morning and sit down at one of the two tables with the locals. People are friendly and of course are curious about this gringa who really stands out in the crowd. It’s also a great opportunity for me to practice my Spanish. I’ll add that nothing beats a fresh handmade gordita along with a cup of café olla.

My days are mine. There is no agenda. If I’m in the mood, I write. There are no distractions here like in the bigger cities. I’m currently working on a book of fiction as well as a collection of memoirs for my granddaughter. Blog posts have become more of a challenge as I don’t have WiFi in my room at the hotel. I tend to write the posts and then add pics and upload to WordPress when I go down to the office and sit close to the modem.

I go into Rio Verde once a week or so. There are banks there. I discovered two museums there as well as a gorgeous cathedral. I stand at the side of the highway and flag down a collective to make the trip. I find it interesting that many of the other passengers seem to get off in the middle of nowhere along the way. But there are a number of tiny towns tucked away, often a few kilometers off the highway.

Because I have no kitchen facilities in my room, I eat out a lot. What I really enjoy is having food delivered for a mere 25-50 pesos. I have a favorite taqueria that has awesome tortas, gringas and papas locas. There is a place that makes pizza and delicious baguettes. Roasted chicken and hamburgers are also favorites. On my walk last week I found a man who makes Chinese food. All these places deliver with a 5 peso tip to the driver of the bicycle or motorcycle.

Last Sunday I went to the mass at the Catholic Church and to my delight there was a wedding going on. I strolled through the tienguis afterwards, engaging in conversations with various vendors. On Monday I attended a children’s posada at a friend’s taqueria.

Thursday night was quite the interesting celebration featuring the Migrant Parade. Over a hundred vehicles began their trek south from the border at Laredo. These are all Mexicans who work up in the USA and then head back down to Mexico for the Christmas holidays. They throw candy out their windows to the children. The people in the town bring them atole and tamales in return. A band was set up and the mood was quite festive.

On Friday I went into Rio Verde and checked out the tienguis outside the church. There were lots of Christmas items in these stalls and it reminded me of the ones in Centro in Guadalajara. I couldn’t resist the heavenly fresh churros either.

Saturday the plaza in San Ciro was packed with people for a traditional Christmas posada. A crowd of people followed Joseph along with Mary riding a donkey singing the traditional song, stopping along the way to seek shelter, and finally ending at the church. The children batted away at piñatas and then scrambled to collect candies. There were games and prizes for the children. A guesstimate of 1200 children were in attendance. Lots of dancing and music. I left before the food as I’d had my limit of noisy crowds of people and loud music. But it was really an amazing event for such a small town.

I can’t say I’m bored here. As a matter of fact, I’ve now decided that when I move on next month I want to seek out another small town rather than a larger city as I had first anticipated. Small town life appeals to me here. I am experiencing the “real” Mexico and I highly recommend it. I’m glad I made the decision to stay here for Christmas.

Thank you to all my followers for your continued support of my blog. Merry Christmas to all and all the best for an amazing 2019!

 

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Posada!

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Posada!

It’s the Christmas season here in San Ciro and that is synonymous with posadas. These happen starting nine days before Christmas Eve.

On Monday night I went to a posada at a taqueria owned by friends.  More than twenty kids arrived more than an hour before Santa was scheduled to make his debut. Some of them crowded around inside watching a video of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.   

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And then………….Santa arrived!

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He was instantly swarmed with children eager to talk to him as well as to receive  candy.

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Some of the children were a little apprehensive. They haven’t been exposed to the commercialized Santas in the malls. The nearest large mall to San Ciro is more than three hours away and many of these children have never even been out of San Ciro. A conservative guesstimate is that approximately 75 children were at the posada, many of them walking down the hills and into the town that night to see Santa.

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There were tons of  photos taken that night, and all the adults present were certainly overwhelmed with emotion as they watched the children visit with Santa. There was even an edible craft for the kids as displayed by Diana.

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What a great way to begin the holiday season!

O Holy Night

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O Holy Night

Merry Christmas! May peace, love and joy fill your hearts this holiday season. I’m spending a leisurely morning at home sipping coffee and listening to Christmas carols. I’m also reflecting on Christmases past.

After living my entire life in Winnipeg, the past seven years has seen me in a variety of locations at this time of the year. I’ve celebrated Christmas in Cuba, Mazatlan, Culiacan, Tototlan and Guadalajara. I’ve shared meals with friends from Mexico, The Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Ireland, Hawaii, Ontario, British Columbia, Washington, England, Alberta, Colorado, Utah, California and New Zealand.

Although my life is in a constant flux of change and creating new holiday traditions, I still treasure the memories I have of family times. Perhaps someday I will again decorate a house and a tree and enjoy a flurry of activity in a kitchen cooking and baking. Those times were often exhausting and even overwhelming, but overall happy times.

Last night I attended a beautiful Christmas candlelight service at The Blue Church here in Centro. It was peaceful as our candles glowed in the dark and we sang Christmas carols. The final carol was O Holy Night, my alltime favorite. And the memories surfaced and brought tears to my eyes.

Years ago this carol found a special place in my heart. My daughter is a talented vocalist, and her solo at the Christmas concert that year was O Holy Night. It was an amazing performance and I still hear her voice even after all these years.

On a lighter note, my other memory of this carol also involves my daughter. She introduced me to the medley of Christmas music by Hanson which includes a delightful version of O Holy Night. And I listened to it again this morning.

Christmas dinner today will be with friends at Twisted Mama’s, a restaurant in The Gold Zone. We look forward to this annual feast of turkey, ham and all the trimmings. While the Mexicans enjoy their pozole, tamales and ponche on Christmas Eve, we gringos still have our big dinner on Christmas Day. Some habits do remain although the people and places always change.

Wherever you are, enjoy your time with family and friends. That is what is important today.

Merry Christmas!

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This and That

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This and That

December has been a busy month. I really do need to make a New Year’s resolution to stay at home more so that I have more time to write. But living where I do now, there is just so much to see and do every single day. And it’s getting harder and harder to choose one activity over another. I usually leave the house with one planned event for the day, but several hours later when I return I am often exhausted from all the other little side trips I have made.

Day of the Virgin of Guadaloupe was observed on December 12th. A procession along the beach to the Cathedral attracted throngs of people. Masses at the Cathedral were well attended. In the courtyard there were local artisans and photographers in abundance. My fascination was held by the young children in their colorful attire. The baby in the first photo is just too adorable for words. The second photo is of two little girls feeding the pigeons in Plazuela Republica.

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On December 18th I attended a Posada at Casa Hogar, an orphanage for boys. The grounds were colorfully decorated. Outside the church was a nativity scene and a brightly lit and very tall Christmas tree. After a mass, the traditional procession from door to door was held, and this was then followed by entertainment and an appearance by Santa Claus. Ponche, tacos and churros were enjoyed by all.

The children’s choir from the Salvation Army Orphanage has been performing in churches, squares and hotels and have been enchanting their audiences with their delightful voices.

Strolling musicians are everywhere in Centro. The atmosphere is definitely a festive one, enhanced by the bright display of lights everywhere.

Even the beach is decorated.

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Last night I attended an open house at Gallery Uno. Tanya is a talented local singer and was performing in the small gallery which featured amazing jewelry and art. Across the street and up the stairs was a second gallery with larger pieces of art and incredible wall hangings. Wine and hor d’oeuvres were also served.

I enjoy long walks along the malecon. After all, I live only a block and a half away from the ocean. I especially enjoy the sunsets. 

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But any time of day is beautiful.

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I’d like to thank all of my readers for supporting my blog. I hope this season is filled with love, peace and joy for all of you.

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Has It Really Been That Long?

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My friend Mitch commented on my wall the other day that it has been just over ten years since the auction closed down. Auctions were a big part of our lives back then. Mitch worked at Wachniak’s in Winnipeg. And my friends and I went to these auctions hunting for treasures for our E-Bay businesses as well as for ourselves. We’ve all had so many changes in our lives since then. Partners, occupations and residences have all changed. All that is left are the memories of another lifetime.

Today my friend Kathy posted that her dog is still enjoying the many toys I gave her when Koal left us. And that was just over nine years ago, although sometimes my heart aches like it was just yesterday. My life has changed so much since then. Travels and people and adventures have made the time pass by way too quickly.

The last time I had Christmas dinner with my children was eight years ago. We actually enjoyed it together a week early, as a friend and I were off to Cuba for Christmas. I envy my friends who are able to celebrate the holidays with their families back home. For me it has just become an impossible dream at this point in my life.

Just over seven years ago I arrived in Culiacan to teach English. Juan was a colleague eager to improve his English, and my Spanish was non-existent. We became great friends and he and his wife adopted me into their family. Indeed their entire extended family has welcomed me. Over time, Juan and Lucila’s family has grown and I now have three precious nietos (grandsons). I am off to Culiacan in two weeks to ring in 2018 with my family. I can’t wait to see how much the kids have grown since I last saw them in April before I headed up north for the summer.

Do you recall that proverbial question that was asked at all job interviews……Where do you see yourself five years from now? Well, five years ago I never would have predicted that I’d be dividing my time between Mazatlan, Sinaloa and Leavenworth, Washington. Five years ago I was living in Guadalajara and had never even heard of Leavenworth.

So now I cannot fathom where I will be five years from now. Can you? But I am enjoying where I am right now………………

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