June 30. I’m still in Mexico. Borders are still closed. Canada is still enforcing the Quarantine Act.
In another lifetime it was month end at work. It was the last day of school when I’d take my kids out for brunch after picking up their report cards. Another tradition was going to Chuck E Cheese later on in the day.
And then I moved to Mexico ten years ago to teach English. One of my first projects was setting the students up with penpals.
I’m actually still friends with my first penpal. I was living in Winnipeg and Carole lived in Minneapolis. We were 12 when we met. We have been friends for over five decades.
Today technology such as Face Time, Skype and Zoom have changed completely the concept of long distance relationships.
Today’s generation will never experience the thrill of rushing home from school to check the mailbox for a letter.
They will never have the opportunity to browse through stores in search of the perfect writing paper, envelopes and hasti-notes.
I also remember going to the post office in search of commemorative stamps rather than ordinary postage stamps. And the joys of sealing that envelope with wax!
Mail was only picked up at certain times. In the city there was next day delivery. International mail usually took 3 days.
I must admit that I now refer to email as snail mail with all the other options available. Here in Mexico the postal system is almost non-existent making FedEx a good friend.
But it’s nice to reminisce about the past as I compile more stories for Memoirs For Madeline. My granddaughter is only two and I wonder what communication will be like when she turns 12.
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 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.
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!