Tag Archives: friendship

Amigos in Winnipeg

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Amigos in Winnipeg

I’ve been away from Winnipeg for years and this city sure has changed. What has not changed is my close friends whom I’ve kept in touch with over the years. Yes, our lives and circumstances have changed. But our friendship remains strong.

In my last post I told you all about my friend Lise. Today I’m going to tell you about some of my other friends.

Sheila and I met back in middle school. We took very different paths in life. Back in our teens we hung out a lot together. Although we found ourselves in different high schools, we often went bar hopping on weekends. Of course back then there was no computer chip photo ID. Life was so simple. I moved away twelve years ago and we’ve kept in touch. I came back to Winnipeg for two knee surgeries and Sheila patiently transported me around juggling my walker and my cane. We went out for coffee the other day and it’s like we’d never been apart. We updated each other on our kids and grandkids. Sheila is lucky. Her kids all live in Winnipeg, most within a one mile radius, whereas I don’t even live in the same country as my kids.

I met Audrey when Kimmy was in sixth grade. Kimmy and her son Billy were best friends. At the time Audrey was going through a divorce and my mother was dying in the hospital. So we used to trade off kids to help each other out. Our kids grew up and their friendship waned. But Audrey and I have remained close over the years. When I come back to visit, one of our traditions is to go to Nikos, one of my favorite Greek restaurants. And we did that yesterday. Then we went for gelato further down on Corydon.

David and I first met in Edmonton at YBC Nationals. He was coaching a team from Village Inn and Kimmy was bowling on a team from Academy. When we got back to Winnipeg Kimmy started going to David’s clinics. Then Kyle did as well. My kids were both bowling out of Windsor at that point, but then switched over to Village Inn. David is the closest thing to an uncle my kids have ever known. He even came to Kimmy’s wedding in Punta Cana a few years ago. David was one of my rocks when I was going through my divorce. We’ve gone to flea markets and auctions together, made wine, I’ve helped him in his garden and we even bowled on the same team once. But I’m convinced he wanted me for the handicap as my average was more than 150 pins below his. We went out for brunch last weekend and spent the day together catching up.

Rita and I met at auctions years ago. We’re both divorced now but our friendship has remained strong. When I come back to visit I always enjoy spending time out at her cabin at Lester Beach. I remember hobbling around out there after my knee surgeries and am thankful that I’m a lot more mobile now. I spent a relaxing few days out there earlier this month. And I’m hoping to do it again before I head back to Washington.

Natasha is another one of my auction friends. We went out for lunch to Saffron’s last week and reminisced. Back then there was a group of us who socialized regularly as well as went out for drinks or coffee after the auctions. Natasha lives out in Rosenort and we once had a party out there where we shot off a whole bunch of fireworks. Lots of great memories.

Now I don’t just eat my way through Winnipeg restaurants as it might appear. I do other things too.

Donna and I met when I taught water aerobics at the YMCA. One summer the Y closed down for repairs and I taught classes in the pool in Donna’s backyard. When I was living in Mazatlan, Donna and her husband were on a cruise and their shipped docked for the day and we had lunch together. The other day we went for a drive through Assiniboine Park. And on Friday night we went to a fabulous concert featuring a young and extremely talented pianist.

Laura is my computer guru. We met at University of Manitoba when we were getting our certifications in teaching ESL. Laura knows anything and everything about computers which is greatly appreciated by yours truly who is technologically challenged. Perhaps impaired is a better word. So Laura and I got together last week and next week we’re going computer shopping. Yes, I’m finally replacing my laptop that died sometime during Covid. I love my tablet, but writing will sure be easier with a laptop again.

I still have a few friends I haven’t seen yet. But I plan on being in Canada for at least another couple of weeks.

It’s That Time Again

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It’s That Time Again

Spring. Primavera. And the nomad is on the move again. I usually fly up north from either Aguascalientes, Puerto Vallarta or Mazatlan. This year was different. I took a bus across the border at Nogales. I don’t have a bucket list, but if you read my last blog post, you know that for some strange reason I’ve always wanted to go there.

I hate saying goodbye to people. You think I’d be used to it by now. But I’m not. I’ve been wandering around for the last twelve plus years. I’ve lived in numerous places in Mexico and the USA. And I’ve added to my extended family.

When I wrote this post, I was in Tucson, Arizona. I had hoped to plop down there for a month and just work on my book. But that isn’t going to happen. And that’s okay. One of the habits I’ve formed in the lifestyle I lead is always having a Plan B or Plan C all the way to Plan Z.

Whatever direction I wind up going, I’m comfortable with it. Why? Because there are always new people to meet and new places to see. So although it’s often difficult to move on, new adventures always lie ahead. And I continue to grow.

Aguascalientes And Me

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Aguascalientes And Me

In January of 2019 I was living in San Ciro de Acosta, San Luis Potosi. I knew it was time to leave and my destination was Aguascalientes. When I taught in Guadalajara a few years earlier, my students used to tell me that I absolutely had to check out Aguascalientes.

In one of my Facebook groups, I mentioned that I was on the move again and I was going to Aguascalientes. Someone messaged me that his hometown was Aguascalientes. I asked him if he had any recommendations as to where to stay. I already had a list of museums and art galleries in hand. His reply was “I have a nephew.” He put me in touch with Fernando, who replied “I have a cousin.” And that’s how I wound up living in Las Flores and have Raul as a landlord.

I soon realized that I needed more time in this beautiful city. After my six months in Leavenworth I returned to Aguascalientes (Ags, as I now fondly call it like all the other locals). Raul had my room waiting for me and it felt like I was coming home.

In March of 2020 I was just starting to think of heading back up north when Covid hit. I never did get out of Mexico until September that year. So my six months became eleven.

This is where I brag about Raul. What other landlord offers to move you in with his family if the government was to shut down the hotel due to the pandemic? Or takes you to Immigration five times to obtain an extended stay? Or drives you to the bank or Telcel or to pick up food? Or drives you to the airport at 4 am when you are finally able to get out of the country? When I’m back in the USA  I miss his daily reassurances of “Don’t Worry” or “Anything You Want, Anything You Need.”

Then my six months in Washington turned into twelve. When I was finally able to book a flight back to Mexico, I messaged Raul. He assured me my home was waiting for me. I flew into Guadalajara and took a bus to Ags. I had arranged with Raul that he would pick me up at the bus station at around eight that night. Of course I hadn’t taken into account that the police had closed off the highway for some unknown reason so it was more like eleven when we finally arrived in Ags. Nonetheless Raul picked me up and drove me home.

Ags really does feel like home. My neighborhood hadn’t changed much during Covid. My favorite restaurants were still around. The lavenderia was still there. The candy store and the bakeries and all the tiendas were open. The parks were open.  The only big casualty was the cinema that had shut down.

The big difference this year is the friendships I’ve made and the people I spend my time with. There used to be a small church right around the corner and I made a couple of close friends there. But when I came back last fall, the church had moved. And yes, it is still within walking distance. But the times conflict with the online services I do. And at this point I need the English rather than the Spanish when it comes to my spiritual life.

Friendships have always been important to me, but even more so now with the lifestyle I lead. Back in my hometown in Canada I still have a handful of close friends I keep in touch with. And in Washington I have close friends. But in Mexico, my gringa and expat friends have always been of a more transient nature.

Until this year. These friends I’ve made here are all much closer in age to me, and that is not my usual norm either except for the years I lived in Mazatlan. We’ve become close in a short period of time and I will miss them all dearly when I head up north next month.

I actually met Sharon just before Covid hit and everything shut down. She is from Portland and lives in Ags with her Mexican partner.

Joanne is from Florida and has been in Ags for about three years with her husband. Their background is missionary work.

Charlotte is from Calgary and lives with her Mexican partner in Puerto Vallarta. However they spent several months here in Ags while he was undergoing chemo treatments.

I met Carole last month. She is from Toronto and is testing the waters here in Ags. This is her first winter in Mexico.

Joanne has a car and loves to drive so we all have done a lot of exploring and we’ve seen areas in and around Ags that we otherwise would never have known even existed. And of course we all  enjoy discovering new restaurants and trying new Mexican  cuisine.

Adios mis queridas amigas. Espero que nos vemos pronto. Ya las extrano!

It’s The Last Week

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It’s The Last Week

Spring has arrived in Aguascalientes. Temperatures are back up in the low 80s. The rain has been replaced by warm sunshine. Different flowers and trees are blossoming. And it feels strange to leave here at this time of year. I usually leave in April. But Covid threw all that out of whack so I came to Mexico earlier this year and have to leave earlier. Friends in Washington tell me they still have snow, so I’m not too anxious to head up there anytime soon.

So what am I doing this last week in Aguascalientes? Definitely spending time with friends. That’s the part I hate about leaving. All the goodbyes. But there is always next winter to look forward to. Las Flores has become home and I’ve told Raul I want my room on Begonias back again.

Yesterday I took one last walk to Las Americas. I picked up a few things at Farmicia Guadalajara and at one of my favorite bakeries, La Flor. As I made my way home down the familiar side streets, I realized just how much I love this neighborhood.

And then last night I walked around Expoplaza. I will miss the people, the music, the bars and restaurants, the street stands………there’s nothing like this up north. There was even a concert going on, complete with fireworks.

I will do my usual Sunday internet church this morning with Sage Hills in Wenatchee. This afternoon I’m meeting a friend in the Jardin de San Marcos. I will miss this park. Not only is it a beautiful park, but there’s always a lot of different things going on such as zumba and salsa in addition to all the vendors displaying their wares in stands or on the sidewalk.

I also plan on taking last walks along Carranza, Nieto and in Centro. And of course I will spend time in the park near my house. I will stroll through the tianguis on Las Laureles one last time. I will also visit my favorite restaurants for one last gordita, enchilada, chaskas, burger, jamaica, horchata and Negro Modelo. Will also find some churros.

I will need some clean clothes when I start traveling. So I will say goodbye to Fatima at the lavenderia, who always does a fabulous job with my clothes. Near the lavenderia is Paulina, my hair stylist, so that will be another goodbye.

PACKING! You think by now I’d be used to it with all the traveling I do. It’s always a hassle. It doesn’t matter how organized I try to be.

And somewhere I need to find time for writing and Duolingo.

It’s the last week and it’s going to be a busy one.

Again

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Again

I lost another friend the other day. We met when I lived in San Ciro for three months, a small town with a population just under 200, in San Luis Potosi.

That’s the real danger in living the nomadic life I do. I meet a lot of interesting people and friendships become very intense very quickly, albeit often short-lived as well. I never know whether our paths will cross again in this lifetime.

We celebrate holidays and birthdays together. We reminisce about our past and share memories. We travel, we volunteer and in some cases have worked together.

We attempt to maintain relationships by using social media and video calls when possible as many have left Mexico and returned to their home countries.

But the years pass by all too quickly and we aren’t getting any younger. Our bodies are not quite as limber as they once were, a definite concern when determining what comes next.

However there is a fascinating world out there just waiting to be explored. There are amazing people out there who we haven’t yet met. There are new memories to be made and, health permitting, our age doesn’t matter.

I’m not quite certain that I’m still living my dream by practicing this lifestyle. But what I am sure of is that the people I’ve met along the way have had an important impact on my life, whether or not we ever see each other again in person. And I will always cherish the memories stored safely in my heart.