Tag Archives: church

Nomad Not Now

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Nomad Not Now

I’ve been here in Aguascalientes for 8 months now, with the exception of a few days in Culiacán back in December. I haven’t stayed in one place that long in the past 10 years without traveling on holidays and weekends. The term ” nomad” when describing my lifestyle is apparently no longer appropriate at this time.

COVID-19 has quite effectively grounded me for the time being. I’ll just have to wait and see what transpires. In the meantime there is still new territory to explore right in my barrio.

Pets are different down here in Mexico. They’re not the usual dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles or fish. The other day my neighbor posed for me with his pet rooster.

I was out for a walk the other evening when the clouds began to roll in. I captured this shot of an apartment building. The church I attend occupies the main floor. No elevator and the apartments are on the second to sixth floors.

One of my neighbors sells candy, frozen chocolate bananas and chips. Here is a new colorful sign on their house.

This friendly little one sleeps on the sidewalk or in doorways in an attempt to find shade during the day. Temperatures have been hovering in the 90s for weeks now.

I always enjoy looking at the artwork on buildings around here.

The flowers are blooming everywhere.

This nomad will continue to roam only in Aguascalientes for another month.

Saturday Now

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Saturday Now

Saturday is a very different day than it used to be. One cup of coffee with yogurt and granola. Off in an Uber to teach English for a couple of hours.

Another Uber home and off to the carnicería. He grilled the chicken I bought for me. I’d take a walk to the bakery and do any other shopping and then return to pick up my chicken.

After lunch (yes lunchtime was at around 4 pm) I’d head to the church to teach for an hour.

In the evening I’d explore the Expoplaza area. There were always numerous food vendors. I’d watch the children ride around the square on a burro. I’d listen to music and walk through the San Marcos park.

I’d have interesting conversations with people. A handful understood minimal English but it was a great opportunity for me to practice my Spanish.

Occasionally I’d attend a birthday party or another fiesta on a Saturday evening. And there were concerts close by as well.

Saturday now is very different. Lots of time for that second cup of coffee. I can leisurely make an omelet. No rush to get dressed. No reason to call an Uber. No students to teach.

I take two walks a day. One is before it gets too hot and the other is after it cools off in the evening. Daytime highs are in the low 90s.

This is what Expoplaza area looks like now.

I color, I watch movies, I write, I phone friends and I listen to music.

Actually Saturday seems pretty much like every other weekday now.

Taking Care Of Me

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Taking Care Of Me

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?

Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter!

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!

Buen Fin Y Mas

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Buen Fin Y Mas

My friends up north are always asking what a typical week down here looks like. My challenge is that there is no such thing as a typical week. The only routine things carved in stone on my calendar are teaching English two hours a week, volunteer work and going to church. No bridge games or fitness classes. No regular activities at a senior center. The pace of life is slower but somehow the time passes by quickly. I’ve been back in Aguascalientes for 4 weeks already!

Last weekend here in Mexico we experienced the equivalent of Black Friday. Buen Fin began early Friday morning and continued until midnight Monday night.

Monday was a holiday as Revolution Day is celebrated this week. So the sales continued. Even fast food places such as Burger King and Carl’s Jr featured Buen Fin specials on their menus.

My Uber passed by Walmart last Saturday. The parking lot was packed and cars were lined up on the street in the hopes of finding a parking spot later in the day.

As for me, I avoided shopping. Crowds of people have no appeal. I prefer to leisurely stroll through the shops without hoards of people surrounding me.

I walk a lot. I enjoy the nearby parks. The central historical area is 20 minutes away. Everyday I notice different things. On Wednesday I walked down to the bus station to get my ticket for Culiacán and encountered this new friend.

Last night was the first time I ever experienced a surprise birthday party in a church. It was the pastor’s birthday and he was scheduled to arrive late as someone else had volunteered to preach. As we sat through the service, a taquiza was set up right in the sanctuary. The aroma of the meat cooking filled the air. The menu was tacos al pastor and quesadillas.

After the service balloons were blown up. These were then tossed at the pastor when he arrived.

Lines formed at the taquiza. The food was delicious. We sat around eating and visiting.

The lights were dimmed, noisemakers became active, and it was time for cake. I snagged this photo of the pastor blowing out the candles.

And now it’s Friday and I wonder what this weekend has in store for me.

Today and Yesterday

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Today and Yesterday

Today is Father’s day. The last time I celebrated Father’s Day with my dad was in 1976, months before he passed away. He never met his grandchildren. He missed out on so many milestones in my life and in their lives. My dad was my world and I think of him often, not just on Father’s Day. This is one of the last photos ever taken of us together.

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As a child, I remember creating elaborate cards with interesting verses for my dad. We often enjoyed barbecues on that day with my Auntie Jan, Uncle Harry and my cousins. I have fond memories of those childhood Father’s Days.

My dad taught me how to ride a bike and how to drive a car. He taught me the importance of getting an education. Although he was around when I received my first university degree, he was already gone when I achieved subsequent degrees and diplomas. He never lived to see his grandchildren graduate from university, but I know he would have been proud of them as well.

Today is June 17th. Back in 2012 I was one day away from my first knee replacement surgery. And I was convinced that I was going to die. My mom died after having the same surgery and I was terrified that I would meet the same fate. Not only did I survive that first surgery, but a year later I found myself having my second knee done on June 17th.

Today is Father’s Day, June 17th and I am in Leavenworth, Washington. My children and my granddaughter are in Canada, so there are no family barbecues for me today. Instead, my day has not shown a hint of Father’s Day as I once knew it.

This morning I passed on the church I usually attend and went to Faith Lutheran with my friend Karen. To my surprise, I knew several of the congregants although it is an extremely small church. People from my fitness classes, bridge group and the senior center were there. The pastor was Hispanic so I got to practice my Spanish with him. The service was interesting and different from other services I have attended here in Leavenworth, in Canada and in Mexico.

We then headed over to the First Methodist to bid farewell to Pastor Denise. Although this is not my usual church, Denise had become a familiar presence here in town. She came to the senior center often and attended many local events here and in Cashmere. She will be missed by the community.

Now I know it is definitely not proper church etiquette to take photos during a service, but those of you who know me know all too well that my philosophy is that rules are there to be broken.

The first photo was taken at the Lutheran church. I was determined to get a photo of the pastor in his garb. The other photos are of the incredible artwork on the walls of the church.

This next photo is on of Pastor Denise at the Methodist church. Note the ladies wearing hats, a tribute they had decided upon for Denise’s last service.

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And now it’s time to call one of my best friends who lives in Toronto who is celebrating a birthday today. Happy Birthday Deborah!