Tag Archives: Christmas

5 Days Left

Standard
5 Days Left

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.

And 5 days still remain in 2020….

Twas The Week Before Christmas

Standard
Twas The Week Before Christmas

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!

Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas!

A Christmas Fantasyland

Standard
A Christmas Fantasyland

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.

Remember When

Standard
Remember When

I was out for a walk on a rather gray and foggy day. I heard geese honking! Sure enough in a field across the way there were hundreds of them. Canada Geese. On their way down south for the winter.

In another lifetime I’d head out to Fort Whyte Center in Winnipeg to see them take off at sunset. Occasionally flocks of them would appear overhead as I drove down McGillivray.

I was at Walmart and picked up a gingerbread house kit. It seems like just yesterday when my kids used to make them. This year my friend Ida and I are going to make one.

I move around a lot and usually spend Christmas in different places. I always buy a small tree and decorate it. I keep some of the handmade ornaments but the tree and the balls are always given away to someone when I leave. This is my 2020 tree although I will probably add more ornaments.

Places I’ve been in the last ten years include Culiacán, Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara, Tototlán, Mazatlan, San Ciro de Acosta and Aguascalientes. This is the first time I’ve ever been in the USA for Christmas.

The temperature is dropping and snow is in the forecast for next week. That will definitely bring back memories of life before Mexico when Winnipeg winters were my norm.

Sentimentality

Standard
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

Standard
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.

Standard

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!

 

Image result for images of merry christmas

 

 

 

Posada!

Standard
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.   

IMG_20181217_192020

And then………….Santa arrived!

IMG_20181217_190439

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

IMG_20181217_190135

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.

IMG_20181217_191049

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.

IMG_20181217_200542 (1)

What a great way to begin the holiday season!

O Holy Night

Standard
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!

Image result for images of merry christmas

This and That

Standard
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.

078082

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.

116

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. 

072

But any time of day is beautiful.

105

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.

Image result for images of merry christmas