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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have this annual tradition when I’m in Mexico over the winter. I head to Waldo’s and buy a small tree which I decorate and then leave behind when I head up north in the spring. And of course there is also the obligatory tin of butter cookies to nibble on while I adorn the tree.
Another annual tradition is spending Christmas in a different place with different people.
My first Christmas in Mexico was in Culiacan. I quickly learned that Christmas Eve is the big event and the menu was tamales and ponche.
Other holidays were in Tlaquepaque, Tototlan, Mazatlan, San Ciro de Acosta, Puerto Vallarta, Lake Chapala and Aguascalientes. Last year was really different. I was living in Wenatchee, Washington.
Christmas is only twenty-two days away and I haven’t finalized my plans yet. I’ve been busy with other plans involving traveling somewhere new to ring in 2022. But more about that in a future blog post.
I woke up in Culiacan this morning and, to my delight, found this pic on my Messenger from my daughter. My granddaughter Madeline had a visit with Santa in Kelowna.
I only wish it was as easy to get to Kelowna as it was to get to Culiacan.
This weekend I’m with my Mexican family. Some of the things we’ve done have included a picnic in Sanalona, raspados in Imala, going to church and watching a movie together. But most of all I’ve marveled at how my grandsons have grown since I saw them last about two years ago. Here we are two years ago.
And here they are today with Juan.
Before I came to Culiacan I was in Mazatlan for Thanksgiving, another whirlwind visit. Day of the Dead at Plaza Machado and Christmas at Galarias.
Tonight I’m heading back to Aguascalientes. It’s been a fabulous week.
2020. The neverending year from hell. It didn’t start out that way. Think back to:
January. Rang in the new year with friends. Sunshine and warm weather in Aguascalientes. Coloring in the park. Exploring museums. Considering going to Mexico City and Cuernavaca to see friends.
February. Time has flown by quickly. Culiacán is on the agenda for next month. Enjoying my volunteer work and my private students.
March. A contagious flu bug out of Wuhan, China is classified a pandemic as of the 13th. Travel plans quashed. Will ride this out in Mexico.
I finally arrived in Leavenworth in September instead of in April. No volunteer work, church ministry, bridge games, craft days, exercise classes, book club, memoir writing classes or traveling.
I currently have friends in three countries struggling with Covid. On Thursday I found out that my granddaughter in Canada needs surgery. Yesterday my friend in Winnipeg told me her husband is in the hospital with pneumonia. Read the obituaries in the Winnipeg Free Press and recognized one too many names.
And then a couple of nights ago night we got our first substantial snowfall. Some has melted but not all of it.
My body is tired of wearing long sleeves and jeans, and now boots. It’s begging for shorts and t-shirts. I know this is one Christmas I won’t forget. Although it was enjoyable, I found my heart wandering elsewhere.
I’ve always thought American history was far more colorful than Canadian history. But after all the controversy surrounding the recent election, I just wanted things to calm down. Instead there was a bombing in Nashville that has everyone on red alert rather than on code red for Covid.
Today is one day or two days before Christmas. In Mexico, the big celebration is Christmas Eve complete with ponche, tamales and pozole. But I won’t be doing that this year. Instead it will be a traditional turkey dinner on Christmas Day here in the USA.
It doesn’t matter where we are in the world this year. It’s a Covid Christmas. Large family gatherings will be via Zoom rather than in person. There will be only two of us for dinner on Friday.
With temperatures in the 40s and no snow on the ground, I found it even more difficult to get into the festive spirit this year. It also feels strange not to be in Mexico.
We watched an excellent movie on Netflix last night. I highly recommend that you watch The Butler. American history is colorful and seeing old video clips really brought me back in time. I wonder what it would have been like if the internet had been around in the days of Kennedy and LBJ. Instead we had only the 11 o’clock news at night.
A sad event this past week. A writer friend of mine in Texas lost his battle with cancer. He was a retired homicide detective who unfortunately never had the chance to really enjoy his retirement.
I spoke to my son in Winnipeg and was updated on the code red lockdown. There are far more closures there than there are here in Washington.
I’ve gone on several enjoyable walks this week. I’ve been exploring my new neighborhood. The other day I saw a flock of geese take to the skies in a V formation and for a moment was transported back to Manitoba.
I went to Leavenworth one day and had lunch with Karen. Despite the snow and icy sidewalks, I loved all the Christmas lights and decorated trees near the gazebo.
Yesterday Ann and I were at the Wenatchee Valley Mall and Fred Meyer. At the mall, Ross appeared to be the busiest store with people lined up to get in and a strict head count. It was the complete opposite at Fred Meyer.
Please keep me in your prayers. Joyce and I are attacking Walmart today and I’m sure it will be a zoo.
Please mask up and physical distance when you are out and about. Stay safe!
The snow has arrived in Leavenworth and has not melted away as it has in Wenatchee. Snow and icy sidewalks prevail, creating a nice backdrop for the photos I took of the incredible trees the other night.
Crowds of people throng the downtown streets to gaze at this Christmas Fantasyland. Usually I’m in Mexico viewing photos my friends have posted on Facebook.
This year is different. This year I am here in person to view this spectacular display.