Tag Archives: relationships

Half Time

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Half Time

I just crossed the border at Nogales. What do you mean I’ve been back in the USA for three months already?

That got me thinking about all the changes since I first arrived in Leavenworth in July of 2016. I’ve always lived primarily in Leavenworth but I’m now living in East Wenatchee. But I still commute to Leavenworth to teach fitness classes.

Covid caused a lot of changes. The Senior Center in Leavenworth has yet to reopen. I went there often for lunch and I also volunteered in the kitchen. I played bridge there and went to craft afternoons.

Covid also affected the library programs which all switched over to Zoom. The rumor is that in person programs are starting again next month. And I am looking forward to those, including book club, craft programs and speakers.

I now attend a church in Wenatchee and have a new life group as well. It’s a much larger church than the one I used to go to in Leavenworth. It’s also a Free Methodist rather than a Nazarene church.

My attorney has told me he’s retiring at the end of the year and my doctor has told me she’s moving on to a different clinic. More changes.

Over the years I’ve met a lot of people and have developed close relationships with many who I now consider as part of my extended family. Friendships are especially important to me considering my nomadic lifestyle. And those constantly change depending upon where I happen to be living. But my extended family changes very little.

There are constants in my life here as well. This is my sixth year teaching fitness classes in the SAIL program. Next month I’ll be taking training in A Matter Of Balance. But more about that in a future blog post devoted to the program.

Another constant is the beauty of the mountains. I am as much in awe of it today as when I first came here six years. This is truly God’s country!

Why Am I Here?

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Why Am I Here?

I was sitting outside the other day enjoying the warm Washington sunshine and wondering why it is that I’m meant to be here. Have you ever done that? Wondered why you found yourself in a certain place or in a particular situation? I mean, you know how you physically got there, but it’s the why you came to be there that is so totally fascinating.

I vividly remember sitting in a bar one night in Guadalajara with my then boyfriend more than one decade younger, listening to a Mexican band playing music from the British invasion. As a teenager back in the 60s listening to the same music while living in Canada, never in my wildest dreams did I envision myself ever having this experience. It’s now several years later and I still wonder why I was meant to be there at that time, other than the obvious reason that I was teaching ESL in Guadalajara.

Just last month I was in Culiacan with my Mexican family. Although I am not Catholic, I always go to mass with them when I visit. My nine-year-old grandson did a reading and I was so very proud of him. The service was outdoors in the evening and I found myself distracted from the priest’s sermon by the stars twinkling above. It was as though they were smiling down at me and telling me that I was meant to be there and there was no need to even ponder the why.

I’m having great difficulty putting the finishing touches on this post as I have an Australian sheepdog and a cuddly cat vying for my attention. Thank goodness the fish are in their own tank. I wonder why I’m pet sitting in a home along the river in Peshastin, Washington aside from the obvious reasons that my friend needed a pet sitter and I needed somewhere to stay. Six years ago I’d never even heard of Peshastin, Washington.

I guess I’m always going to wonder why I’m meant to be where I am.

And that’s okay.

Because I have complete faith in The One who does know.

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.

Thoughts

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Thoughts

I’m now in Culiacan. Gracias ETN for yet another smooth journey across this beautiful country.

I usually head to the USA at the end of April, not the beginning of March. But Covid threw everything out of whack. So the Jacaranda trees aren’t blooming yet.

Aguascalientes is home to me here in Mexico. My third time and it has really grown on me. I was here for the Ferria three years ago and will miss it this year. Covid affected that too. There was no celebration in 2020 or 2021.

I’m having a wonderful visit with my Mexican family. My grandsons have all shot up in height since I was here three months ago and the youngest turns three on Friday. I absolutely adore the curls!

My granddaughter in Kelowna turned four yesterday and we had a video call. She went swimming and then out for sushi. Today she’s having a party with her friends.

I spoke to my son in Winnipeg yesterday and was totally devastated to hear that he tested positive for Covid. He says he feels fine but I’m  thousands of miles away, feeling helpless and concerned. A peril of living in different countries than your kids.

And now Russia has invaded the Ukraine. Why can’t we live in peace?

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!

Voodoo Lounge And Pozole

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Voodoo Lounge And Pozole

As I write this I’m eating a bowl of pozole and listening to Voodoo Lounge. They don’t go together? In my world they do. I know I’m in Mexico because it’s pozole. And I’ve been a fan of The Rolling Stones  for decades.

But as I listen to The Rolling Stones I’m magically beamed back to a hot August night in 1994 mildly buzzed as the smell of pot wafts through the stands of the old Winnipeg stadium. Down below Mick Jagger is strutting his stuff across the stage just as he did back in the 60s when I was a teenager.

Amazing how music can make you travel back in time like it was just yesterday.

So how is your 2022 going? I actually am beginning to wonder why we were all so eager to slam the door on 2021.

With the advent of Omni, I find myself no closer to going back to Canada than I did last year. I have way too many friends now struggling with family crises. I’ve had a few small blips on the radar screen myself this month.

But, ever the optimist, I’m looking forward to the future. February will be a bittersweet month as it’s countdown time until I head up north. It kind of feels like 2020 again when I didn’t know where I was going or how I was getting there.

My playlist for meditation time today will include Matt Redman and Josh Groban in addition to the usual Pachelbel. Lots to contemplate. Lots of people in my life who need prayer.

It’s all about FAITH.

Writing In 2022

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Most of what I write about in this blog are stories of my travels and my life while living in numerous different places. Occasionally I write about my family and friends. I also tend to shy away from politics and religion. And I also try to leave Covid on the sidelines.

In 2022, I’ve decided to write a little more introspectively. Is that even a word? I’m not sure just what that means at the moment. But it will be interesting to find out.

After having published two self-help books, I’m currently writing fiction. Imagination rules where fact once presided. A very different style, both enjoyable and frustrating at the same time.

For the time-being, I’ve shelved the idea of writing memoirs for my granddaughter. She turns four next month, so she won’t be ready to read them anytime soon. Thanks to Covid she believes I live in a cellphone. But videocalls are the best way available to maintain contact because we live in different countries.

Years ago I wrote poetry. However I don’t feel quite as creative these days. The idea of deciding if words should or shouldn’t rhyme has lost its appeal.

While I will still write about my travels and my life, in 2022 these posts will be interspersed with topics of a more serious nature. When the mood hits.

Perhaps this post is one of them.

Happy New Year!

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This year I’m writing my last post of the year from Mexico City. It’s been quite a year and I must say I’m looking forward to 2022.

Back in December of 2010 I took a train trip in the Copper Canyon and met this amazing family. Nine years ago I came to Mexico City for New Years and although we’ve kept in touch, we haven’t seen each other at all. And it’s been a fabulous reunion!

Angie and I are about the same age. When we met, we were both teaching English here in Mexico. Her son Ventura and his wife were also on that train trip, along with her daughter Kamira. Ventura spoke some English, but Liliana and Kamira spoke only Spanish. I had only been in Mexico for three months, so my Spanish was extremely very limited.

Today I can hold my own and converse fluently in Spanish with everyone. However they are all learning English now and are interested in practicing this language as well. So it’s been great talking in both languages.

I arrived in Mexico City yesterday and am staying at Ventura’s. Tomorrow we are going to Jilotzingo where we will spend New Years Eve with Liliana’s family.

On Sunday we return to Mexico City. Angie and I will then travel to Pachuca, where Angie lives now. So my first post of 2022 will be from Pachuca.

To all my readers and followers, best wishes for a Healthy and Happy New Year. May all your dreams come true in 2022.

A Christmas Memory

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A Christmas Memory

I’ve spent Christmas with a variety of different people in numerous places in Mexico and the USA. But one of my favorite memories dates back to the 90s, when I lived in Canada and my kids were still young and living at home. And Koal was still with us too.

My friend Lesley had invited us over on Christmas Eve. When I had a thyroidectomy, my vocal folds were nicked during surgery. Lesley was my speech therapist who worked with me to get my voice back, and we became good friends as the months went by. My kids were delighted to meet other kids at this Christmas Eve gathering, and it was a most enjoyable evening.

On Christmas Day I prepared my usual bacon and eggs breakfast, and then took my coffee into the living room where we opened presents. Of course Koal got the most gifts. That dog was spoiled rotten by all of us, and was always given way too many treats, toys and t-shirts to add to his wardrobe.

A lazy afternoon included card games and siestas, although I did spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen preparing a traditional turkey dinner.

After dinner we watched Christmas Vacation and laughed ourselves silly at the antics of Chevy Chase. I also remember the first time we saw that movie. We were in Phoenix, Arizona.

The last time I had Christmas dinner with my kids was in 2009. And I often wonder if we’ll ever do it again. We live in different countries. With the world crazy with Covid, nothing is certain anymore.

Now, more than ever before, it’s important to practice mindfulness. If you are fortunate to have family and good friends, celebrate with them NOW. A year from now, we may not all be around to get together. Nothing is promised.

Merry Christmas to all my readers and followers. May you and your families enjoy great times together, in good health, over this holiday season.

Proud Of Me

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Proud Of Me

Yep. That’s me. And oh the changes I’ve made in my life! And how wonderful I feel about myself! And then there’s that peaceful feeling in my heart!

There was a time when I lived my life for others. I never put myself first. I was afraid of doing the wrong thing and offending someone. It was easier to do what others expected of me rather than what I would have preferred to do. And I was caught up in the world of creating a good impression.

Does this sound familiar?

One of the most difficult changes I made in my life was learning to say No! and not just when asked to do something I didn’t want to do. Closely related was venturing off in a completely different direction than the one others had advised me to take.

Conformity is no longer a word in my vocabulary. I am free to make choices and couldn’t care less about being judged or criticized by others. Bring on the adventures!

It’s not an easy path that I’ve chosen. It is filled with struggles and challenges. But it is more than overflowing with strength and growth.

Here’s the result.

And I wouldn’t trade her for anything!