Tag Archives: English

Whirlwind Weekend

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Whirlwind Weekend

I just returned from a fabulous weekend in Culiacan with my family. And I’ll add that it’s the highlight of my winter in Mexico this year.

Culiacan. This is the city where my Mexican adventure began back in 2010. When I first arrived, my Spanish vocabulary was extremely very limited to Cerveza fria por favor. Juan wanted to improve his English and I desperately needed to learn some Spanish. We both taught at Senda and would meet in the library where Juan patiently helped me read children’s books.

At the time he and his wife Lucila had one child. Juan Carlos had just turned one. The family has grown and they now have four boys. And I have four nietos.

On Saturday night my granddaughter Madeline called me from Kelowna. This was a really special video call because she got to meet my Mexican family. She was a tad overwhelmed as the boys were eager to talk in English to her and one even showed her a picture he had colored. Madeline commented that it was a little crowded with everyone in the room. She is an only child so it is very different.

The boys were all excited to see her and commented on her blond hair. I have always talked about Madeline to them and it was nice that they all had a chance to meet. We’ll have to do it again the next time I go to Culiacan.

One of our favorite pastimes is playing board games. This weekend we played Uno and Scrabble. We play in Spanish and English.

The boys are learning English at school. Juan Carlos received a certificate from Cambridge recently. I helped Jose Agustin with his homework over the weekend, another of my favorite things to do when I visit.

Although I’m not Catholic, I always go to mass with my family. Sunday evening we were at La Lomita. My ten year old grandson was sitting beside me with his arm around me and his head resting on my shoulder. He looked up at me and said “Grandma I love you” and gave me a kiss on the cheek. Life just doesn’t get any better than that.

Three

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Three

It’s been an interesting week. It’s nice to be back in Las Flores. It hasn’t changed much since I left in the spring. Most of the tiendas and restaurants are as I remember them. And on my walks I’ve discovered new ones as well.

On Wednesday I went to breakfast with the Ags Ladies group. It was great to see my friends again and I also met new people. And yes, we all talk in English. A rare time when I do talk English. In my neighborhood everyone speaks Spanish. Some are eager to learn English but haven’t quite grasped the fact that when I tell them I’m retired, I really mean that I am retired.

I was wandering through the tienguis the other day when an adorable little boy asked me if I’d teach him English. I guess I’ll always sound like a gringa speaking Spanish. He overheard me talking with a woman selling fruit. In my opinion my grammar leaves a lot to be desired, and I don’t roll those Rs well, but I am pretty fluent.

The weather here is similar to when I left East Wenatchee. Temperatures are in the 80s but it’s sunny here instead of smoky. And I really should switch back over to Celsius from Fahrenheit. And I should also trade out my American chip for my Mexican chip in my phone.

I’m excited. My characters are still talking to me. I’d been writing up a storm back in the USA and I was concerned that they might be affected by the move to Mexico. But they seem to be quite content here. And of course I’m enjoying my new laptop. Much better for writing than on a tablet.

Final thoughts for today. There are three big differences between Aguascalientes and Washington state. In Mexico masks are still very visible and are required in some tiendas. People smoke cigarettes in Mexico. No vaping. And there are no pot shops in Mexico where I live.

Happy Sunday!

It Feels Strange

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It Feels Strange

This is the first time in five years I’ve been in Mexico in late September. It feels strange.

Autumn Leaf Festival is happening this weekend in Leavenworth. I’m usually sitting out on the verandah of the Senior Center with friends watching the parade.

Instead, today I went to the park at the end of my street. I worked on some Spanish grammar for a while. I was about to leave when a man approached and asked if I knew the name of the park. And I don’t know the name of the park. It’s just always been the park next to the bull ring or in front of Expoplaza.

Anyways, a long conversation followed, all in Spanish of course. While we talked he kept a watchful eye on his children, ages 9 and 6, who were taking advantage of the playground structures.

He told me they had moved to Aguascalientes from Zacatecas two years ago. Zacatecas had become very dangerous because of cartel activity and was not a good place to live anymore.

He was curious as to why I had come to Aguascalientes. When I told him I was Canadian he admitted he knew next to nothing about Canada and had never even met a Canadian before.

He also told me he had never traveled outside of Mexico and didn’t speak any English at all. But he wants his children to learn English. He wanted to know if I still taught English even though I was retired. I told him Covid had put an end to that for the time being, although I have occasionally taken on private students in the past five years.

After close to an hour of conversation, he left with his kids and I headed for home. I was really pleased that my Spanish skills had improved so much that I didn’t have to ask him to speak slower or repeat himself. Not once did I say “no entiendo. “

I’ve come a long way.

Something Different

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Something Different

This post is not about COVID-19 or Trump. I want to forget those for a moment and write about something completely different.

Monday night I went to a baby shower. I can’t remember the last time I went to one but I know it’s been years. It was such fun to see all the cute items for this precious new baby.

Yesterday was our exercise get together. We have now grown to five from three. My body really appreciates this as the colder weather has a tendency to stiffen up the joints.

Usually at this time of year, if I’m not already back in Mexico already, I’m shopping the summer clearance sales for clothes. Instead last week my purchases included boots, a toque, lined gloves and a cozy pullover sweater.

Although many of the trees have lost their leaves, there are still many showing off their glorious hues of red and orange. The recent rain has kept them hydrated.

While I turn to Duolingo every day and text in Spanish to some friends, I must admit I’m enjoying watching movies in English again. But I did go to my favorite Mexican restaurant last week and I always get to use my Spanish there.

I’m really enjoying my new tablet and am in the process of buying a new computer. However I became so reliant on technology is beyond me. It’s sure a different world.

And then there are the video calls. My granddaughter Madeline in Canada turns three in February and thinks her grandma lives in a phone. My grandson Juan Carlos in Culiacán is eleven and we converse in English regularly. Now if only I could convince my son in Canada to do video calls.

Today is another shopping trip to Wenatchee. More warm clothes for winter are very much needed. Somehow my usual wardrobe of capris and tank tops are not appropriate attire here in Leavenworth at this time of year.

The best part of being here is that I’m having a great time renewing friendships, meeting new people and making memories. My extended family just keeps on expanding. Life is more than good.