Tag Archives: friends

Happy Birthday To Me

Standard
Happy Birthday To Me

May 23, 2020.

This will be an interesting addition to Memoirs For Madeline, a written compilation of memories to share with my granddaughter when she is older. Celebrating my birthday quarantined in a foreign country during a pandemic is not exactly what I had in mind for this year.

I envisioned a leisurely dinner with friends at Visconti’s in Leavenworth. I’m not sure what I’ll be having for dinner this year but it will be some kind of takeout and will be eaten in my room with the TV as company.

My birthday cake this year will probably be a pingüino, Mexico’s version of a Hostess cupcake. And yes it is chocolate, my favorite. Visions of cakes from Eiffel Tower, Jeannie’s and other pastelerías float through my head. Maybe someday again.

I have wonderful memories of celebrating other birthdays in the past in various places with family and friends. And I look forward to celebrating many more birthdays in the future with others. I actually wonder just where I will be next year at this time, as this nomad is just itching to be on the move again. I’ve been in Aguascalientes for seven months now, and in all likelihood I will be here for another two months. That’s the longest stretch I’ve stayed anywhere in years since I’ve retired. Even when I was teaching full-time I traveled on weekends and holidays. But not this year.

In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the culture and the beauty of this country.

Happy Birthday Karen!

Saturday Now

Standard
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.

48 Hours

Standard
48 Hours

I used to journal on a daily basis. It’s been quite some time since I last journaled. I thought it might be fun right now as I have a lot of time on my hands. I challenged myself to write a two day journal. After all, my friends up north keep asking me what I do all day, now that I’m self-isolating.Sunday March 29thI woke up feeling very refreshed…..until I looked at the clock. 6:42? Who in their right mind gets up at 6:42 on a Sunday? But I was wide awake.That first cup of coffee sure came early. A cinnamon bun and some cheese and I was revived.I checked out Facebook and left a birthday greeting for my daughter. I then shared a blog post. Next came What’s App and email. Finally it was time to relax and play Candy Crush Friends.Then out I went for my morning walk. The jacaranda trees are in bloom and they are my favorites.Social distancing is easy now. The streets are deserted and I believe I only encountered 3 people as I walked through the neighborhood.Back at home I tuned in to Church of the Rock in Winnipeg. The service is broadcast through Facebook as well as on the website. Shortly after I next went to Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene’s website where I listened to Pastor Andy’s final sermon before moving back home to Indiana.Time to color. I tuned in to Fred Penner’s concert using the Facebook link. Great music to color by. I lose myself in the moment when I color and two hours passed by quickly.Lunchtime. My diet has been mainly vegetarian and chicken. Today I had delicious veggies (high in protein) and rice. This was followed by a cup of herbal tea and a pan dulce. I should add that I usually eat my lunch at around 3:30 pm.Seeing as my lavenderia has closed, I now do my own laundry. That was my next task. I had just finished when I got a beep on my phone. My lives on Candy Crush had been refilled!Soon it had cooled off sufficiently to go on my second walk of the day. Once again I saw empty streets.I returned home and my phone calls began. First up was my friend Becky in Shipshewana. We’re Bible study buddies as well as great friends. We had a lot to talk about last night.The next phone call was to my friend Ann in Leavenworth. We reminisced about our dinners on her deck overlooking the river as well as other times spent together. I wonder how long it will be before I can return to Leavenworth.One last check on Facebook for the night where I found a link from Becky. I then spent the next forty minutes watching the church service that her church in Shipshewana had put on the internet.Time to put my phone on the charger for the night. I realized I hadn’t eaten dinner yet. Oh well, a bowl of cereal would have to do LOL.Monday March 30I slept a little later this morning so my first cup of coffee wasn’t until 8 am followed by breakfast. I then spent the morning writing and coloring, aside from a short walk outside.In the afternoon I watched a couple of movies. When the beep on my phone announced that my lives had been refilled, there was also an announcement that I had unlimited lives for the entire week. Perfect timing with this self-isolation going on.Then it was time for phone calls. First up was Cheryl in Winnipeg. Cheryl is awaiting a lung transplant and is totally housebound. No visitors allowed. That means no visits from kids or grandkids.I had a fast salad for lunch.Next was a video call to my daughter Kimmy and granddaughter Maddie in Kelowna. Definitely the highlight of my day to see that little munchkin laughing and playing. I wonder how long it will be before I can hold her in my arms again.Time for a walk around the block again. When I got back I was pleasantly surprised to find a movie on TV in English. So I had that on in the background while I colored.A few more games of Candy Crush Friends and time to call it a night.Today was a quieter day but the time still passed quickly. I think I’m adjusting well to this self-isolation.I also think I made the right choice to stay safe here in Mexico. I don’t think there is a country anywhere in the world today that is fully prepared for this pandemic. Mexico is as good a place as any to hunker down and weather the storm.May God help us all.

My New Daily Routine

Standard
My New Daily Routine

Since I’ve been retired I haven’t really had much of a daily routine. Basically it’s been traveling around Mexico six months of the year and doing a lot of volunteering and socializing in Leavenworth the other six months, with an occasional side trip to Canada.

This winter I returned to Aguascalientes City with the intent to focus on my Spanish skills. I returned to the same neighborhood where I am the only gringa.

I used to savor my first cup of coffee at 8 am. I’d often go to my favorite gordita stand for breakfast. And then it was off to the shops to engage people in conversation. Now many shops look like this.

In the afternoon I’d go to the park to color. Sometimes I’d meet friends there.

I also used to attend church services on Thursday and Sunday. Saturday was my one teaching day.

And then COVID-19 entered our lives.

I now have breakfast in my hotel room. And some days I don’t even get dressed until around noon. I watch movies in Spanish to improve my comprehension but it doesn’t do much for conversation or pronunciation.

I still color every day but not in the park. The park is closed.

I go for shorter walks. I spend more time on the phone with friends. I do on-line church and I’m going to sign up for another course on Coursera.

That leaves me with lots of time for writing. I now do blog posts every second day. And I’m hoping my imaginary friends keep talking to me so that my work in progress does indeed continue to progress.

Phase 2 has begun in Ags. People around here seem to be taking COVID-19 very seriously and the streets are quieter than usual. No problem with social distancing.

Stay home and stay safe!

Happy Birthday Pedro!

Standard
Happy Birthday Pedro!

I was on the phone yesterday morning with a friend from Leavenworth and our conversation turned to how God has done awesome things in our lives by having amazing people cross our paths. In this post I would like to share with you one of these amazing people who came into my life almost four years ago when I lived in Guadalajara.

I had just returned from having my second knee replacement in Winnipeg. While I was glad that I did not have to contend with ice and snow, I was a little apprehensive about leaving my security blanket of medical expertise back in Canada.

I was teaching English at a school in Miravalle and Saturday was Grammar and Conversation Club. One of my new students, Pedro, is a doctor who was an orthopedic surgeon. His specialty? Knee replacements! Of course he often chides me that I should be using a cane and that I walk too much, a very different philosophy than that of my doctor back in Winnipeg.

Pedro is an amazing student. He constantly reads books in English………classic novels, philosophy……….you name it, he is intrigued by it. He also introduced me to Spanish literary works, and encourages me in my quest to become more fluent in this language.  Here is a photo of him giving us an anatomy lesson.

Pedro in Conversation Club

And here he is proudly displaying his diploma upon completing a grammar unit.

Pedro with Diploma

When I moved to Mazatlan, we kept in touch via Facebook and What’s App. Pedro has also become a loyal follower of my blog posts. And he is now studying French in his constant search for knowledge. And he is an avid cyclist. I snagged this photo of him last month when I was in Guadalajara last month.

Pedro

Back in January I was faced with the dilemma of where to have cataract surgery. I was not confident with either of the two doctors I had seen here in Mazatlan. And if I went back to Winnipeg I was looking at a surgery date of September for the first eye. My anxiety level was at an all-time high and I could feel a cloud of depression about to descend.

What do I do when I’m upset? I write. So I wrote a blog post called Curve Ball. One of the first comments I received was from Pedro, wanting to know what my problem was. So I messaged him and explained. He asked if he could check around and help me. I agreed and the following day he phoned me with the name and phone number of a colleague at the hospital where he works.

I finally got the courage and entered the number in my cell phone. To my surprise it was a personal number complete with What’s App, rather than an office number. The doctor answered immediately and asked if I wanted to come in the next day. Taken aback, I explained that I needed to organize a few things before I could come to Guadalajara. So we agreed to a time the following week.

The rest is history. The entire experience was a great one, where everything went smoothly. I was impressed with the technology and most of all the professionalism of the staff. Everyone was most attentive, caring and compassionate before, during and after the surgery.

Back to Pedro. He welcomed me into his home, where his daughter gave up her bedroom to me when I stayed there after the surgeries. He accompanied me to my surgery and if I couldn’t see my own kids’ faces immediately upon leaving the recovery room, it was definitely a feel good to see Pedro’s face after the first surgery. Pedro’s wife Maria is also a doctor in an emergency room, and she was there waiting for me when I came out of the second surgery as Pedro had to go back to work. Needless to say, their support means the world to me. I could never have done this without them. 

Living in a foreign country with no blood family here, my friends are important to me and they become my family. I am both honored and proud to include Pedro and Maria among them.

I am truly blessed that Pedro came into my classroom that day back in 2013. Today is his birthday so I thought this blog post would be appropriate. I hope you have a fabulous day, Pedro, and an amazing year. Feliz Cumple!

 

 

Reunion in Mazatlan!

Standard

I’m in Mazatlan now and this visit is very different from the usual ones. When I come to this beach area I usually stay at Hotel Playa Mazatlan in the Gold Zone. I spend my days on the beach and my evenings in restaurants and bars in the area. This is vacation time.

View from my room April 16th

However this time I am venturing out of the Gold Zone and the tourist attractions. I am staying with a friend at her condo in a gated community out in the Marina Mazatlan area. It’s extremely quiet and peaceful here, in comparison with the traffic and activity which I am accustomed to.

photo

And we are relaxing and catching up on the past twenty-five years. Yes…….it’s been twenty-five years since we have last seen each other!

When I was first married, my ex and Larysa’s husband worked together for a while. We saw quite a bit of each other during that time. But then we drifted apart as life circumstances intervened. We last saw each other when our sons wound up at the same high school. So we have found quite a lot to talk about! 

It turns out that Larysa and Brian have had this condo for seven years and have been spending the winters here. And I started coming to Mazatlan when I first began teaching in Culiacan back in 2010. 

Our lives have changed so much in the past twenty-five years. Our children have grown up and are in their thirties. Larysa has four adorable grandchildren!

I updated her on my children, and my grandkitties and grandfishies. Unfortunately my two children live in two different provinces and I’m in Mexico, so I envy Larysa as her family all live in Calgary now.

It has just been the most incredible experience to reunite with a friend after such a long period of time. But it’s very true what they say:

Thank you Facebook for reuniting us! Larysa messaged me a few months ago when my name came up as a suggested friend. And these past couple of days have been truly amazing! And I know that we will see each other again before another twenty-five years goes by.