Tag Archives: Mexico

Here Comes February 2nd

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Here Comes February 2nd

Who here remembers the sitcom Room 222? I recall watching it around 1970ish. Teaching has sure changed since back then. Of course the whole world has changed.

So the other day I went on an old sitcom binge. Unfortunately all were in English. But it was fun! Different Strokes, Facts of Life, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Three’s Company and a few more.

February 2nd is coming up. Groundhog Day up in the north. Here in Mexico it’s Dia de la Candelaria. Back on King’s Day when we had the Rosca, small plastic figures of the baby Jesus were hidden in the bread. Legend is that whoever finds them brings the tamales on February 2nd. Carole, if you’re reading this, are you bringing them to a party in Toronto?

I had a great time at Costco earlier in the week. My friends in Washington tease me when I tell them I have a membership solely to be able to buy Cheddar cheese. The stores near me have a variety of Mexican cheese but Costco is the only place with the Cheddar.

It’s getting hot again. 80s this week. Looking at the pics my friends post of snow cools me off though. I don’t miss the snow.

I start a new class online tomorrow. It will probably be the last one this winter. Once I get back to Washington fitness classes and training will occupy much of my time. And of course I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends too.

My characters are still talking to me so I’m still focused on my writing. I finally have my timeline all straightened out and that was a rather tedious task.

Constitution Day is coming up this weekend. It’s always interesting keeping up with holidays in three different countries, especially when they don’t always coincide. My province in Canada has Louis Riel day later in the month while the USA celebrates Washington’s birthday. They’re all good excuses for a long weekend.

Happy Humpday!

Coming Up

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Coming Up

I looked at the date on the calendar last night and wondered how come I have only two months left until I head back up north. The time is flying by way too fast. And the older I get the faster it goes.

I fly out of Guadalajara and will be back in East Wenatchee two months from today. Other than my trip to Culiacan, I haven’t done any other traveling this winter. I hope to go to Puerto Vallarta next month but that’s about it. I’ve focused on writing this winter and I’ve taken some courses online. So travel has pretty much been on the backburner this winter.

Tonight I’m doing a library program online from Washington. It’s about Mount St Helens 40 years after the blast. It should be interesting. And I’ll be participating in a Women’s study with Church of the Rock in Winnipeg for the next six weeks. Whatever did we do before we had Zoom?

I’m also going to be taking another psychology course but I haven’t registered for that one yet. I’m still trying to decide. There are so many available and they all appeal.

Duolingo……. I haven’t forgotten you either. I’ve actually come out of retirement and have referred you to a new student who is anxious to learn English. Such a fun place to learn a language!

But I do find time for friends too. I’m meeting a friend from Portland for lunch today. We haven’t seen each other since King’s Day and that was earlier in the month before I went to Culiacan.

Happy Humpday!

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.

An Interesting Week

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An Interesting Week

Coffee revives me in the morning when I get up. It prepares me for the day that lies ahead, whatever that may happen to be. I don’t have regular structured activities when I’m in Mexico. My life is very different from when I’m back in East Wenatchee. There are lots of white spaces on my calendar that hangs on the wall. And that leaves me more time for writing.

Then Thursday morning happened. I admit I don’t always check the newscasts first thing in the morning. So it wasn’t until later on that I found out about the violence in Culiacan. My initial reaction was an emotional one. My Mexican family live there. Culiacan is a pretty wild city at the best of times and I must admit that I’m always concerned about their safety. But on Thursday the concern became fear as I saw the video footage of the the city under siege.

Shelter in place. I lived in Culiacan the first year I came to Mexico so that phrase is familiar. But when I heard that the entire state of Sinaloa was shutting down, that really bothered me. Highways and airports were closed. The military were firing at the cartel from the air. I had lived in Mazatlan for four years and had never experienced anything like this. Hurricanes suddenly don’t seem like such a threat anymore. I can only imagine the terror tourists felt trapped in their hotel rooms.

Thankfully I was able to reach Juan by phone and found out that my family was safe at home. The entire city was shut down. The only ones roaming the streets were Cartel members seeking revenge because one of their leaders had been captured. Culiacan was littered with burning vehicles and the sound of gunfire echoed throughout the city. An Aeromexico jet sitting on the tarmac was riddled with bullet holes. A cloud of black smoke filled the air.

I was supposed to go to Culiacan on Friday. My family had invited me to come celebrate King’s Day with them. I’m not sure just why, but I had decided to postpone my trip and come the following week. I believe someone up there was looking out for me and it wasn’t just a go with your gut feeling.

The airport is back open, public transit is moving, kids are going back to school tomorrow……………………typical normal daily life in Culiacan. I have my tickets and I do plan to go to Culiacan this Friday. Unless something astronomically crazy happens again.

New Years Traditions In Mexico

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New Years Traditions In Mexico

Traditions around holidays vary from country to country. Here in Mexico there are a few interesting ones. And yes, I have gone along with some of them but I won’t tell you which ones. They were kind of fun and maybe you might want to try some of these. They are definitely different and I have never done any of them when in the USA or Canada at this time of the year.

Eating twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight is one of the most common practices I’ve found here. As the clock chimes, eating the grapes signifies that good luck lies ahead in the coming year.

Taking an empty suitcase for a walk around the block is also believed to bring good luck in the new year. When I lived in Guadalajara my neighbors did this.

Another interesting one is all about underwear. Red signifies love and passion, yellow is for prosperity and happiness, green is for wealth and well-being, and white is for hope and peace.

And then there are lentils. Eating a mouthful is sure to bring you good fortune in the coming year.

Here’s a fun one. Throw a pail of water out the window. Bid farewell to the old year and welcome in the new year.

Sweeping. Sweep the old year out the door at midnight and sweep twelve coins into the house for wealth and prosperity.

Burning candles surrounded by lentils, beans, rice, other grains and cinnamon is another one. Once the candles have burned down, the waxy foods are collected and buried in the ground to ensure abundance and prosperity.

Mopping the floor with water and cinnamon before midnight in preparation for the new year means all the old stuff is gone and there’s lots of room for new beginnings.

Fireworks is one of my favorite traditions. Yes we have them in Canada and the USA. But here in Mexico not only do they light up the sky with the usual professional pyrotechnic displays, but it seems like children of all ages are roaming the streets setting off firecrackers. In one neighborhood I lived in there was actually a wheel of fireworks that shot into the crowds of people. I was amazed that no one got hurt. After all, we were standing merely inches away from this wheel.

Champagne and kissing at midnight———–you have competition!

Happy 2023! May your year be filled with Health, Peace, Love and Prosperity!

2022 Part 2

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2022 Part 2

I spent the entire month of July in Winnipeg. I’ve written about it in other blog posts so I’ll just touch on this month briefly. July 4th I found myself out at a cabin rather than celebrating with parades or fireworks as I usually do in the USA. It was nice to get out of the city. I enjoyed spending time with my son and my friends but on a more sad note I attended a funeral. I also replaced my laptop finally. The old one had died during Covid back in 2020 and my tablet had become my best friend.

The first week in August I was back out at the cabin and the following week I flew back to Washington. Leavenworth Summer Theater was in full swing and I enjoyed The Music Man and The Sound of Music. The latter production is a favorite and I try to see it every year. The mountain setting makes this show even more spectacular. I also began teaching four SAIL classes a week instead of the usual two in Leavenworth. The two new ones were in East Wenatchee.

The September long weekend this year was really special as my daughter and granddaughter came from Kelowna. I enjoyed showing them some of my favorite places in Leavenworth and Cashmere. The County Fair began right after they left and I hadn’t been to one in three years due to Covid. September was also the 9/11 Ceremony in Cashmere and Autumn Leaf Festival in Leavenworth. Sadly it was also time to start thinking about returning to Mexico for the winter. Every year it gets harder to say goodbye to friends for six months of the year.

Three flights and a short bus trip and I was back in Aguascalientes. I love my neighborhood. Las Flores doesn’t change much even though I leave for several months every year. It was nice seeing friends again and catching up. I really dived into my writing too. The lure of the new laptop was definitely a factor. My characters were also quite talkative and that certainly helped as well. The internet has also been much better this year too.

November began with the celebration of Day of the Dead. This is one of my favorite holidays in Mexico. The catrinas are always outstanding and even the tiniest shops have colorful decorations. The alters in remembrance of loved ones are also prominent. This year I opted not to go to a cemetery but merely admired everything as I strolled through the streets. The entertainment was amazing and venues were set up throughout the city.

Suddenly it was December and the last month of the year. Festivities were now geared towards Christmas and the Centro area turned into a magical fairyland of colorful lights. Music was an integral part of this celebration and I saw dancers, heard bands and watched children performing. The tienguis was larger than usual with more vendors. I didn’t trim a tree this year. Just didn’t get around to it. Writing occupied much of my time instead. I went to Christmas posadas and Christmas Eve was spent in church. The inevitable fireworks lit up the sky in Mexico as well.

A new year is just around the corner. Here’s to a fabulous one filled with Health and Happiness for all.

HAPPY 2023!

Posada And More

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Posada And More

Today’s WordPress prompt asked about cities that I want to visit. Nope. I’m not writing about that. I’d rather write about other things today.

Friday night I went to a Posada (Christmas party) at La Bella Vita, an amazing Italian restaurant. There were eight of us from one of the local groups I belong to here in Aguascalientes. Our gift exchange was a blast! The idea was that we had to bring seven of the same item for the others in the group. So I came home with seven different gifts ranging from stainless steel chopsticks to butter cookies and everything in between. Needless to say we had a great time.

I found another English speaker in my neighborhood. Jerry is Mexican but lived in San Francisco for five years. He and his Mexican wife have a small cenaduria not too far from where I live. Their salads are amazing and so are their pastas. They make all of their food at home and bring it to the cenaduria. I have a small fridge and it is now full of healthy food.

The other night Charlotte and I went to El Centro to look at the lights. To our delight there was an amazing band playing. They were all alumni of UAA here in Aguascalientes. Their medley of Christmas music was most enjoyable and the air was festive with all the colorful lights surrounding us. Last night Carole and I went to El Centro and the entertainment included dancers and a band. The dancers weren’t all that entertaining but the band that followed was fabulous.

For the past several years I had a tradition of buying a small Christmas tree and decorating it. I would then give it to a friend when I’d head back up north in the spring. This year I decided to change things up. When I was at the tienguis the other day, I picked up some handmade Christmas decorations and these are now hanging on my walls.

Christmas is less than a week away. Here in Mexico the big celebration is La Buenanoche (Christmas Eve). December 25th is just a regular day, not a holiday. I miss the candle light services I went to back in the USA and Canada. The only time I found one here in Mexico was when I was living in Mazatlan. I intend to look for one of those on the internet this year.

My project for this week is to catch up on phone calls. I have not been good about those and I have friends back in the USA and Canada who have been complaining. With Christmas coming up fast, I need to get my act together and make those calls.

Have a great Sunday!

This Week In Weather

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This Week In Weather

December. Winter. The end of the year 2022.

My friend Ann in Leavenworth texted me a photo of the snow the other day. Quite a heavy blanket covered her car. Reports of two feet of snow. Chains needed to head over the mountain passes.

It’s very different here in Aguascalientes. Sunny and warm with temperatures hovering near 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It does cool off in the evenings. When I go out for my walks I need a light sweatshirt.

I was talking to David yesterday. It’s cold in Winnipeg. Temperatures are in the minus 20s Celsius. Not sure how to convert that. I’m still in American Fahrenheit mode.

My featured photo is one I took in Leavenworth two years ago when I spent a Covid winter there instead of returning to Mexico. I miss those gorgeous trees. That Bavarian village is a spectacular winter wonderland.

I remember my first December in Mexico back in 2010. I was living in Culiacan and it was extremely hot. My students didn’t like the air conditioning in my classroom and started wearing hats and gloves to class. I took the hint. Off went the air conditioning. The teacher got to roast so the students didn’t have to freeze. As soon as class was over I ripped off my uniform and changed into shorts and a tank top. I stopped at the first tienda and bought an ice cold Coke to put up against my cheeks to cool me down. It was much hotter in Culiacan than in Aguascalientes with temperatures soaring around the 100 degree Fahrenheit mark.

When I lived in Guadalajara the temperatures in winter were much cooler. Yes, there were nights when it dropped down to the freezing mark and we actually used the fireplace in our house. And I wore gloves and a hat. Atole was always welcome. And then there was one year when it actually got so warm that we had a thunderstorm on Christmas Eve.

I must say I enjoy seeing all my friends’ posts on Facebook with the photos and videos of snowfalls. They’re beautiful to look at from here in Mexico. But I sure don’t miss shoveling snow or driving in it. When I lived in rural Manitoba I rolled two cars off the highway due to black ice and totaled them both. I also do not miss the treacherously icy sidewalks.

So wherever you live, readers, be cautious and aware of inclement weather. Be prepared and stay safe.

Have a great Sunday!

Experiences Versus Things

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Experiences Versus Things

I’m really enjoying the course I’m taking from Yale University right now. It’s one of the best ones I’ve taken in a long time. This week the discussion has centered around experiences versus things and how they affect happiness. Some interesting strategies have been presented and I’ve already been implementing some of them. The weekly assignments are challenging and I actually look forward to the hours I spend both inside and outside of class while taking this course.

Buen Fin is this weekend in Mexico. It’s a time when I avoid the stores. There are way too many people cramming the aisles in search of bargains. This is Mexico’s version of Black Friday. I’m not interested in fighting crowds when I shop. I much prefer a more leisurely experience. Yes. I know. I can shop online. But I’m old school. I still prefer the hands on and in person experience. And that is why it took me two years to replace my laptop that bit the dust when Covid first hit.

Monday is also Revolution Day here in Mexico. It’s actually a government holiday and not a religious one. Although the date is really November 20th, it’s being celebrated on Monday the 21st to make it a long weekend. Mexicans are big on their history. In my teaching days my students would always have essays to write about this day. Diaz had been president for thirty-five years. In the presidential election of 1910, a wealthy landowner named Madero opposed Diaz. Diaz had Madero thrown in jail. However Madero escaped from jail and issued the Plan of San Luis Potosi, declaring himself as president and nullifying the election. Madero encouraged Mexicans to rise up against Diaz. This was the start of the Mexican Revolution.

Other news here in Aguascalientes this week. A helicopter crashed in Jesus Maria killing five people. Luckily the pilot was able to bring it down in a vacant lot. However the state security minister was one of the five who died. This tragedy is on the heels of a Pemex oil truck that failed to beat the train. After the train hit the truck, it wound up crashing into an overpass destroying a major traffic artery in the city, as well as setting several homes on fire.

Choose experiences over things. Share them with others. Watch your happiness soar.

Have a great Sunday!

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Changes

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Changes

Did you set your clock back last night? Here in Mexico we did it last week. It was bad enough losing two hours when I got here, but now for one week I had to remember who was one hour back or one hour ahead instead of the usual two when I phoned friends up north. Glad that’s over with.

Dia de las muertos has come and gone for another year. The Catrinas have been tucked away and the vendors are nowhere in sight. Some of the bakeries still have pan de los muertos but that’s about it. The parade on Wednesday officially ended the celebrations.

I met friends for a drink last night on Carranzas. That street is always busy. There are lots of bars, coffee shops and restaurants as well as a variety of other shops. It’s a great place for people-watching and practicing my Spanish as I meander in and out of the shops.

I’m now watching Lifetime movies again in an effort to improve my Spanish. The odd one I’ve seen in English before but most are new so it’s a challenge. Some of them are pretty bizarre. I watched one the other night that was about murdering cheerleaders, most conducive to nightmares if there were any teens out there watching.

Apparently I’m not the only one doing any traveling. My driver’s license has been on the move since September when it was sent to me from Winnipeg. It never did arrive in East Wenatchee and has surfaced once again in Winnipeg this week. I’ve told my son to keep it there as sending it here to Mexico is an exercise in futility. I mean, it couldn’t even make it to East Wenatchee so I don’t expect that it would ever find its way to Aguascalientes. Besides, I’m enjoying using my Mexican Costco card as photo ID.

My friends back home tell me the smoke has cleared and the temperatures have cooled. They’ve even had some snow. It’s still in the 80s here and I’m looking forward to it cooling off a little. Of course, they can keep that white stuff up north. I know some of my Mexican friends are excited about snow but I keep telling them I’d rather watch it on the videos my friends put on Facebook than to actually be there and have to contend with it. That one winter in Washington during Covid was more than enough for me.

Speaking of Covid, there aren’t nearly as many masks on the streets here now as there were when I first arrived a month ago. And the shops that had signs up requiring masks are now letting people in without masks although some still have signs up. Yours truly was a bit of a rebel and totally disregarded the signs anyways.

Alexa’s joke today. A grasshopper hops into a bar. The bartender says, “I’m going to serve you a drink named after you.” The grasshopper responds,” You have a drink named ‘Steve’?”

Happy Sunday!