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!
For the first time in my life I am alone on Mother’s Day. I’ve always been with family and friends. But this year is different. COVID-19 has changed everything.
The last time I was with my own mother on Mother’s Day was in 1996. It’s been 24 years since she passed away but sometimes the waves of grief hit and it feels like yesterday.
I celebrated my first Mother’s Day in Mexico back in 2011. I was living in Culiacán. Juan, Lucila And Juan Carlos took me out for raspados and then to a park. Lucila made me a bracelet which I treasure.
2020 is only my second Mother’s Day in Mexico. I’m usually in Winnipeg or in Leavenworth. In searching my memories, the last time I was with both of my kids together on Mother’s Day was in 2008. It’s been a long time.
A year ago I was sitting out on the deck of the golf club in Leavenworth enjoying brunch with my friends after church. Today I sipped coffee as I did online church. No eggs Benny today. A quesadilla instead.
From my quarantine home to yours, Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing women out there, especially to my daughter who now has a daughter of her own.
When my children were young, a phrase often splashed across the TV screen. “Parents where are your children?” It’s now decades later and this phrase is still in my head.
A couple of weeks ago I actually emailed my current address to my children in Canada. Until now they’ve had only my email and phone number, as well as Facebook.
I move around a lot but I’ll be at my current address indefinitely. I’ve been self-isolating for more than a month now and Mexico has just entered phase three.
There were a number of factors that influenced my decision to stay in Mexico. First and foremost has to deal with my children. They may be in their thirties now but that protective instinct still kicks in. They are both asthmatic and have other inhalant allergies. I did not want to take the chance of my being a carrier and infecting them.
That leaves me with nowhere to quarantine and nowhere to live. I haven’t had a home in Canada in ten years.
The closest place for me to call home is Leavenworth, Washington. I spend six months of the year there when I’m not in Mexico. There I do have a place to quarantine and somewhere to live. But I am not American so the border is closed to me now.
Then there are the dangers of contracting COVID-19 or any other infectious disease by traveling through four airports to get to Canada from Aguascalientes.
Here in Mexico I am quite comfortable. I have a place to live. Food and other supplies are readily available within walking distance of where I live. My landlord Raul is the greatest and has provided me with a safety net should circumstances change.
My biggest challenge is in making my children understand the importance of more frequent contact. It’s not just that I need to know that they care about me. Hearing their voices is reassuring as I always worry about them. With COVID-19 I am even more concerned. I need to know that they’re okay.
It’s tough living thousands of miles away from your children in a different country during a pandemic.