Tag Archives: Mexico

Food Glorious Food

Standard
Food Glorious Food

I seldom write about food. I have mentioned traditional foods associated with holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Years ago I wrote posts about the cooking classes I took in Mazatlan. I may have also referred to the odd restaurant here and there.

Food in Mexico varies in nature from place to place. A torta is very different in Guadalajara from a torta in Mazatlan. My vote for the best tamales still goes to Culiacán. Gorditas in San Luis Potosí are not as tasty as the ones in Aguascalientes. So far Mazatlan is winning when it comes to sopa de tortilla. Hands down the best pizza is in Tlaquepaque.

I will begin by writing about the Cocinas Economicas I frequent here in Las Flores. These are basically places where you buy prepared foods. There is always a variety of cooked food available and the menu changes daily. One that I go to has tables and you can eat there. I did that often last year when I didn’t have a fridge or microwave. 55 pesos buys you soup, a main course, two sides, salad, a generous portion of agua fresca and of course, tortillas. This translates to US $2.91.

Yesterday I picked up chicken milanesa (3 large portions), chicken stew, beef stew, California style mixed veggies, salad, spaghetti, 3 chili rillenos and vegetable soup. Yes, that will easily feed me for the week. Total cost 265 pesos or US $14.04.

All ingredients are fresh. There is not a can or a frozen product used in the preparation of these foods.

Needless to say I do eat out as well. Because I am allergic to fish and seafood, I am unable to give you an idea of the cost.

A cheeseburger with fries and a soda averages 85 pesos or US $4.50. A large pizza averages 110 pesos or US $5.83. A quesadilla averages 25 pesos or US $1.32. I could go on and on but you get the picture. It is inexpensive to eat out.

I must admit that in the morning I prefer to have yogurt and granola for breakfast. But I do go out occasionally for gorditas.

Chicken rosticerias are high on my list as well. I picked up a whole roasted chicken for 70 pesos the other day or US $3.70. In the grocery section Walmart sells a half of a roasted chicken with salad for 35 pesos or US $1.85.

A friend who owned a cafe last year also cooks for me often. A delicious home-cooked meal is delivered to my door for 60 pesos or US $ 3.19.

Food prices vary from place to place as well. When I lived in Mazatlan I found the cost of food to be almost double, but it is a big tourist area. When I lived in Guadalajara the cost was about the same as here. In San Luis Potosí It was lower.

Wherever I have lived the fruit and vegetables have been fresher and cheaper than in Canada or the USA. What better way than to start your day off with a half litre of fresh squeezed orange juice for 20 pesos or just over US $1?

Many restaurants deliver and there is also the option of Uber Eats. But I have yet to use these services.

Now if only I could find some moussaka here in Aguascalientes….

Food Glorious Food

Standard
Food Glorious Food

I seldom write about food. I have mentioned traditional foods associated with holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Years ago I wrote posts about the cooking classes I took in Mazatlan. I may have also referred to the odd restaurant here and there.

Food in Mexico varies in nature from place to place. A torta is very different in Guadalajara from a torta in Mazatlan. My vote for the best tamales still goes to Culiacán. Gorditas in San Luis Potosí are not as tasty as the ones in Aguascalientes. So far Mazatlan is winning when it comes to sopa de tortilla. Hands down the best pizza is in Tlaquepaque.

I will begin by writing about the Cocinas Economicas I frequent here in Las Flores. These are basically places where you buy prepared foods. There is always a variety of cooked food available and the menu changes daily. One that I go to has tables and you can eat there. I did that often last year when I didn’t have a fridge or microwave. 55 pesos buys you soup, a main course, two sides, salad, a generous portion of agua fresca and of course, tortillas. This translates to US $2.91.

Yesterday I picked up chicken milanesa (3 large portions), chicken stew, beef stew, California style mixed veggies, salad, spaghetti, 3 chili rillenos and vegetable soup. Yes, that will easily feed me for the week. Total cost 265 pesos or US $14.04.

All ingredients are fresh. There is not a can or a frozen product used in the preparation of these foods.

Needless to say I do eat out as well. Because I am allergic to fish and seafood, I am unable to give you an idea of the cost.

A cheeseburger with fries and a soda averages 85 pesos or US $4.50. A large pizza averages 110 pesos or US $5.83. A quesadilla averages 25 pesos or US $1.32. I could go on and on but you get the picture. It is inexpensive to eat out.

I must admit that in the morning I prefer to have yogurt and granola for breakfast. But I do go out occasionally for gorditas.

Chicken rosticerias are high on my list as well. I picked up a whole roasted chicken for 70 pesos the other day or US $3.70. In the grocery section Walmart sells a half of a roasted chicken with salad for 35 pesos or US $1.85.

A friend who owned a cafe last year also cooks for me often. A delicious home-cooked meal is delivered to my door for 60 pesos or US $ 3.19.

Food prices vary from place to place as well. When I lived in Mazatlan I found the cost of food to be almost double, but it is a big tourist area. When I lived in Guadalajara the cost was about the same as here. In San Luis Potosí It was lower.

Wherever I have lived the fruit and vegetables have been fresher and cheaper than in Canada or the USA. What better way than to start your day off with a half litre of fresh squeezed orange juice for 20 pesos or just over US $1?

Many restaurants deliver and there is also the option of Uber Eats. But I have yet to use these services.

Now if only I could find some moussaka here in Aguascalientes….

Propósitos

Standard
Propósitos

2020 has arrived. A new year. A new decade. And a hot topic here in Mexico is “propósitos” or what we call in English “resolutions.”

When I lived in Canada, popular resolutions included losing weight, exercising regularly and working harder to earn more money. But what I’m hearing here in Mexico from friends and students is very different.

The common propósitos here are more spiritual in nature. Students tell me they want to study and be more successful at school. Friends tell me they want to spend more time with family and attend church more often.

As for me, I want to preserve that inner calm that I have worked so hard to find. Inevitably it will change some of the relationships I have with others in my life; some for the better and some for the worse. But that can’t be avoided.

I’m also determined to spend less time in front of a computer screen. I have bid farewell to many of the games I used to play online. I apologize to those I no longer send lives to. But I want to commune with nature a little more this year.

On that note, I went for a long walk this afternoon around my neighborhood. One of the first things I noticed was the oranges growing on a neighbor’s tree.

Further on down the street I noticed the beautiful red blossoms on a poinsettia tree.

I then meandered through the park where I regularly color. But this time I left my gel pens and coloring book at home.

I admired the blossoms emerging on bushes and trees.

I gazed solemnly at the lovely cacti.

And I felt at peace.

How Do You Do It? Part 2

Standard
How Do You Do It? Part 2

In Part 1 I focused on my first eight years here in Mexico.

When I returned from Leavenworth last fall, I had some health issues to deal with and found myself in Guadalajara for a couple of weeks. Next I went back to Mazatlan for a weekend. I then spent a week in Culiacán with my family.

Now fully retired, there was no school or private students to tie me down. I wanted to explore areas in Mexico where I’d never been before. I wanted to live in a Mexican area far removed from all the expats and snowbirds that had been my experience in Mazatlan for three years.

Scrolling through Facebook one day, I noticed some posts in one of the groups I belong to with photos of an area in San Luis Potosí. I messaged Bonnie for more information and we chatted back and forth. Bonnie is from Texas but moved to San Ciro de Acosta when she married a Mexican a couple of years ago. Her mother was around my age and had just moved down there as well. Days later I found myself on a bus headed for San Luis Potosí.

Bonnie and her husband met me in Rio Verde and drove me to San Ciro. They then took me around the town and helped me find somewhere to live.

My plan was to stay for three weeks or so. But I wound up staying for two months. Bonnie, her mother Connie and I all became good friends. We spent Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s together.

It was hard to leave but there were other areas in Mexico to be explored. So I once again turned to the Facebook groups to decide where to go next, making specific inquiries about Aguascalientes City.

I received a text on Messenger one day from someone asking how I liked his hometown. I didn’t recognize his name until I looked back on a two year old thread when I’d been living in Mazatlan and had been looking for an opthalmologist. I replied and told him I hadn’t realized he was from San Ciro. His response was that he was from Aguascalientes and he thought I had already arrived there. I told him I was still in San Ciro but would welcome any information he had to share about Aguascalientes, especially pertaining as to a good area to stay. He put me in touch with his nephew Fernando.

Fernando has a cousin Raul on his mother’s side of the family. Raul has hotels in Aguascalientes. I now had somewhere to stay so off I went.

I had done my research and thought that one month would be sufficient for the museums and churches I wanted to visit. Nope. It turns out three months wasn’t enough and I returned to Aguascalientes at the end of October.

Of course by now I have put down a few roots and made some friends. I also found a church close by. Aguascalientes is my home base this winter until I return to Leavenworth in April.

I hope these posts have given some insight as to how I am able to do what I do. I’d like to add that I’m a single female in my late 60s. It’s a myth that you have to be young to do what I do. I never had the opportunity to do this when I was younger, so what better time than NOW?

How Do You Do It? Part 2

Standard
How Do You Do It? Part 2

In Part 1 I focused on my first eight years here in Mexico.

When I returned from Leavenworth last fall, I had some health issues to deal with and found myself in Guadalajara for a couple of weeks. Next I went back to Mazatlan for a weekend. I then spent a week in Culiacán with my family.

Now fully retired, there was no school or private students to tie me down. I wanted to explore areas in Mexico where I’d never been before. I wanted to live in a Mexican area far removed from all the expats and snowbirds that had been my experience in Mazatlan for three years.

Scrolling through Facebook one day, I noticed some posts in one of the groups I belong to with photos of an area in San Luis Potosí. I messaged Bonnie for more information and we chatted back and forth. Bonnie is from Texas but moved to San Ciro de Acosta when she married a Mexican a couple of years ago. Her mother was around my age and had just moved down there as well. Days later I found myself on a bus headed for San Luis Potosí.

Bonnie and her husband met me in Rio Verde and drove me to San Ciro. They then took me around the town and helped me find somewhere to live.

My plan was to stay for three weeks or so. But I wound up staying for two months. Bonnie, her mother Connie and I all became good friends. We spent Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s together.

It was hard to leave but there were other areas in Mexico to be explored. So I once again turned to the Facebook groups to decide where to go next, making specific inquiries about Aguascalientes City.

I received a text on Messenger one day from someone asking how I liked his hometown. I didn’t recognize his name until I looked back on a two year old thread when I’d been living in Mazatlan and had been looking for an opthalmologist. I replied and told him I hadn’t realized he was from San Ciro. His response was that he was from Aguascalientes and he thought I had already arrived there. I told him I was still in San Ciro but would welcome any information he had to share about Aguascalientes, especially pertaining as to a good area to stay. He put me in touch with his nephew Fernando.

Fernando has a cousin Raul on his mother’s side of the family. Raul has hotels in Aguascalientes. I now had somewhere to stay so off I went.

I had done my research and thought that one month would be sufficient for the museums and churches I wanted to visit. Nope. It turns out three months wasn’t enough and I returned to Aguascalientes at the end of October.

Of course by now I have put down a few roots and made some friends. I also found a church close by. Aguascalientes is my home base this winter until I return to Leavenworth in April.

I hope these posts have given some insight as to how I am able to do what I do. I’d like to add that I’m a single female in my late 60s. It’s a myth that you have to be young to do what I do. I never had the opportunity to do this when I was younger, so what better time than NOW?

How Do You Do It? Part 1

Standard
How Do You Do It? Part 1

I am in my tenth year here in Mexico. No two years have beared much resemblance to each other. I’ve lived in different cities and different homes with different people. I’ve worked in different schools and taught different subjects.

My friends up north are always asking me how I do this. How do you decide where to go? How do you find somewhere to live? How do you find teaching jobs? They also ask a myriad of other questions but I’ll focus on these three in these posts.

It was a Tuesday evening when my phone rang in Winnipeg. The caller was the director of English at a private school in Mexico. He wanted to know if I was available to teach in Mexico. The start date was the following Monday.

By some miracle and with the help of good friends, my apartment was packed up and the contents moved to a storage unit. My son made the travel arrangements for me. And less than a week later I found myself in Culiacán. The school arranged my accommodation.

Dave’s ESL Cafe was a popular website at that time for teachers and employers alike. I had posted a resume there and that was how the school in Culiacán had found me.

The school year ended and I found myself back in Winnipeg. I had totally forgotten about the resume on Dave’s ESL Cafe. Until my phone rang and it was a director of English at a private school in Irapuato. I thanked him for calling and explained that teaching in Mexico had been a one year plan. He offered to pay my flight down there. I accepted.

I wasn’t impressed with Irapuato or the school. The actual job in no way resembled the job description that had been outlined in the original contract. I decided that I would tough it out until Christmas.

I was out for coffee with my supervisor on October 1st when my phone rang. The caller was not in my contacts so I disregarded it and turned the ringer off. When I got home a few hours later I saw that the same number had called me four more times. I thought that maybe someone was urgently tried to call the person who previously had my number. And I called the number back to let them know they had a wrong number.

To my surprise the voice that answered asked, “Karen, is that you?” Going through an ugly divorce at the time, I was immediately suspicious. However the caller identified himself as the owner of a school in Tlaquepaque, a suburb of Guadalajara. He had seen my resume on Dave’s ESL Cafe ( once again I had neglected to remove it) and offered me a job. It was around five in the afternoon on a Saturday. He needed me in Guadalajara Monday morning.

The next few hours were hectic as I hurriedly packed up my belongings. The following morning I was on a bus headed for Guadalajara. Once again the school arranged my accommodation.

I also found myself teaching business English that year. A friend from Norway needed a substitute while she went home for a visit. Her boss was impressed with me and offered me a job. So that winter I taught for him as well as at the other school.

Shortly before I headed back to Winnipeg for knee surgery the following spring, I was in a bar where I met a man who owned another school in Tlaquepaque. I accepted his job offer when I returned to Mexico after my surgery. He also managed properties and found me accommodation.

But I only taught there a couple of months. Parents were using his school as cheap babysitting for their kids, and it was far too frustrating trying to teach kids who hadn’t the slightest interest in learning English. But I did continue to stay in the accommodation he had offered me when I taught at his school.

Meanwhile, another friend had taught at yet another school but left to teach English on-line. The owner of the school called me with a job offer and I accepted.

I then received a call from the man whom I’d taught business English for, so once again I found myself with two jobs.

In the spring I was visiting with my family in Culiacán before going back to Winnipeg for a vacation. I got a call from the owner of a school in Mazatlan. Apparently we had a mutual friend on Facebook who told her I was an English teacher.

After my Winnipeg visit I found myself in Mazatlan where once again the school had found me accommodation. I only taught there a few months. I had met the owner of another school at Starbucks one day and had accepted his job offer. I also moved in with another friend at that time.

Unfortunately that school folded. And I decided that I was going to semi-retire and teach private students only. I also moved again and was delighted to find private students right in my condominium complex.

My last year in Mazatlan I completely retired. I moved again. Once you’re in a place long enough, you meet people and it’s quite easy to find affordable accommodation.

That’s all for this post. Stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll talk about life in San Luis Potosí and Aguascalientes.

One Church Aguascalientes

Standard
One Church Aguascalientes

Finding a Christian church in Mexico is difficult enough as this is definitely Catholic country. Finding a Christian church where I feel comfortable and welcome is another hurdle. Finding a church where I am able to become involved is a blessing. I’ve lived in several places in Mexico and have attended a few Christian churches. The gringo churches were not my favorites. While I am still not completely fluent in Spanish, I still prefer the Mexican churches over the gringo churches.

Here in Aguascalientes I have discovered a gem of a church, and it’s only two blocks away from where I am staying. One Church is only two years old and has only fifty congregants. A husband and wife, both pastors, not only spearhead this church but they also financially support this church with outside jobs. Although One Church is affiliated with Redime (Redeemed Church), it receives no funding from this organization. Additional funding is provided by contributions from the congregants at the services. Tax receipts? Not in Mexico.

Services are held Sunday mornings at 11 am and Thursday evenings at 7 pm. The worship team lead the congregation in prayer and praise followed by a short coffee break. A nursery as well as a children’s program are available when the pastor next gives a sermon. The service concludes with more prayer and praise.

IMG_20190328_180430IMG_20190328_180554

The church has an active group for young adults that meets on Saturday afternoons. A time of prayer and bible study is often augmented by going out into the community and evangelizing. The church also sponsors a radio program on Saturday afternoons where the pastors and congregants participate. The pastors were also instrumental in establishing a drug rehabilitation center in Aguascalientes. Many of the congregants volunteer their time at this facility.

The pastors themselves come from very different backgrounds. Martin attended Ana Sanders Seminary in Mexico City and received a doctorate from Vida Nueva Para El Mundo. Elizabeth had traveled around the world with profeta Yalile Diaz, Interestingly enough, Martin and Elizabeth met on Facebook. They have been married for three years and have an adorable two-year-old son.

52977072_10156623789384331_4873433737901113344_n

If you ever find yourself in Aguascalientes, I highly encourage you to seek out this church in Las Flores. I’ve been in Aguascalientes for only three months, and I truly feel that I belong to this church family. The pastors and the congregants have been most welcoming to this gringa, and I know that I will miss them when I head back up north in a couple of weeks.