It’s now Easter of 2021, and the second Easter of the pandemic. Last year I was in Mexico and didn’t go to church. At that time I avoided crowds and religiously wore my mask when I went out for my daily walks. I went out only to buy food or use the ATM.This year I’m in Leavenworth. I went to church on Good Friday and am going to a service today, Easter Sunday. I usually wear a mask only when I go into a public building or a shopping mall. I seldom wear a mask when I’m out walking unless I’m in the downtown area where there tend to be lot of people.My favorite place to walk is in the town of Cashmere. Here are some pics I took the other day while strolling down Cottage Avenue.When I’m in Mexico I don’t get to see the flowers and trees budding. And I’ve missed it.Cashmere is amazing when it comes to scarecrows and Halloween in October. But I did see some Easter decorations including this tree.I stopped at the bakery and was delighted to find hot cross buns. I haven’t tasted those in eleven years. In Mexico Easter is synonymous with empenadas.Happy Easter to those who celebrate. Easter 2021 is definitely better than Easter 2020. But I do wonder if we’ll still be wearing masks in church in Easter 2022.
When I talk to my friends in Winnipeg, it sounds like we live in two completely different worlds, despite the fact that the USA and Canada share a border.
Friday night we went out for dinner to Wok About, a Mongolian Barbecue style restaurant. We bumped into my friend who was there with her two grandchildren. And we all sat at a table together to have dinner. Four different households at one table. A buffet style restaurant. And in Winnipeg if you want to share a table you need to produce ID to prove you actually reside at the same address.
Let’s talk church. They’ve been open here for a while now. And even when they weren’t supposed to be open they were open. Masks are optional in several churches. Attempts at physical distancing aren’t always successful either.
Then there is the other extreme here in Washington state. Masks are required on public transit. Masks are required to enter most stores although Safeway tends to look the other way.
I met with my immigration attorney earlier in the week. He took my temperature and I had to sign a health form. And masks were mandatory throughout the two hour meeting. I almost felt like I was in Canada.
Walking through downtown Leavenworth on the weekend I’ve noticed that the majority of people wear masks. Until they sit down at all the outdoor tables that line the main street. Lots of restaurant seating when the streets are closed to vehicular traffic.
Texas leads the way in doing away with masks and other restrictions. And I thought Washingtonians were rebels.
When I tell my friends here what’s going on back in Winnipeg and the rest of Canada in terms of quarantine and other restrictions, they don’t believe it. Until I show them the newspaper articles and other news reports. Their response is always “They could never do that here in the USA. We wouldn’t stand for it.”
Please don’t even get me started on the quarantine cash grab issue in Canada right now. This is yet another example of the disorganization and inefficiency of the way Canada is mishandling this pandemic.
For the time being, I intend to mask up when necessary and maintain physical distancing when possible. And I’m looking forward to getting my second shot on Tuesday, months ahead of when I’d be vaccinated if I were in Canada.
It’s Sunday again. If I were in Aguascalientes I’d be going to the small church around the corner. But that was a year ago, before Covid. This year I do church online. And that’s okay too. Yesterday’s rain has now turned to snow.
I think back to Sundays of other years. I spent a fair amount of time in bowling alleys with my kids. When the kids were grown my ex and I often went out for brunch with friends. When my marriage ended I taught aquatic classes on Sunday mornings.
And then I moved to Culiacan. Sundays were non- teaching days so parks and museums were on the agenda. When I lived in Irapuato I went to church with friends. When I lived in Guadalajara Isaias and I traveled to numerous small towns in Jalisco on the weekends. When I lived in Mazatlan I went to church and out for brunch with friends. Then I often walked along the malecon. In San Ciro there was only a Catholic church so I did more touristy things.
For the past few months I’ve added a blog post on Sundays. I write about my life, my thoughts and feelings. I often include photos. And I never really have an agenda of what I should write about next.
I’ve taken a break from working on my book. My imaginary friends aren’t speaking to me very much. When they do, it’s just nothing I want to run with. Instead I have found other things to occupy my time. There has to be more to life than Netflix.
A 500 piece puzzle dominates the dining room table, a Christmas gift from my friend Joyce. It’s been years since I’ve done a puzzle. This one is a scene from England complete with double decker buses.
I learned how to bait rodent traps this week. My friend Steve has a pest control business and I helped him out one afternoon. Apparently rats, mice and voles are quite active in Washington state.
I had my hair cut the other day. No more long hair. It’s now in a short bob. Thank you to Lisa at Shears here in Leavenworth. No need to travel to Wenatchee for a style anymore.
I actually did go into Wenatchee yesterday with Ann. Walmart and Macy’s. I also had a lovely long walk. 50 degrees and sunshine in February. Very different from the brutal winters on the Canadian prairies.
Yes. I still play Candy Crush. But I play Candy Crush Friends now, not Candy Crush saga. I also play word games.
I still color. I’m enjoying the Thomas Kinkade coloring book. I’m learning how to blend colors with pencils and water now, although I still adore my gel pens.
Google Duo has become a good friend. Video calls with my grandkids are treasures, although I hope that someday virtual hugs and kisses will be replaced by in-person ones.
I read a lot too. It’s nice to have a library close by with books written in English. Although the library is closed, curbside pickup is available for books reserved on-line.
Another good friend is Duolingo. I don’t want to forget my Spanish as I do intend to return to Mexico when it is safe to travel again. Oh how I miss traveling!
Time to tune in to Church of the Rock in Winnipeg.
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 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 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?
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!
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 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.
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.
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!