Tag Archives: Spanish

Tienguis

Standard
Tienguis

One of the things I really enjoy is strolling through the tienguis on my street on Thursdays. Basically this is like a street flea market. It has a real mixture of both new and used items. And of course there is food.

I’ll start with food. This week there were three different areas where food was being cooked. Two of the areas had the usual tacos and tortas. The third one appeared quite popular. I have no idea what it was but it was some deep fried unhealthy looking I’m not sure what. As wonderful as the aroma of meat and onions is, I don’t eat at the tienguis.

But I do pick up my weekly supply of fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition to the usual broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, onions and potatoes, I was excited to find mushrooms. Fruit this week was watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe and apples. And I must admit I buy other fruits and vegetables whose names I don’t know in Spanish or English but I do know how to prepare them.

Now for the non-food items. This is where I really get to practice my Spanish vocabulary. There are always several people selling used tools, cell phones and all types of other technology. One guy had a Dell laptop. He told me it didn’t work but if I went to the plaza de technoligia, he was sure someone there could fix it. A tienguis isn’t where I’d go computer shopping but apparently some people do. I’ll have to check back this week and see if he actually sold it.

Lots of jewelry and toys, new and old. And interesting people to talk to who are selling these items. Of course these items in the used category are often interspersed with tools and books, all laid out on a blanket.

Perfumes, creams and lotions. New and used here too. Housewares including BetterWare. Toiletries and cosmetics. Paper goods. Candy. Furniture. Incense. Wallets. Purses.

And then there are the clothes and shoes. Racks of new and used. Great places to practice asking for sizes and colors. Amazing how a new blouse goes from 150 pesos down to 95 with a teensie bit of negotiation. The sellers expect you to bargain and they’re disappointed if you don’t.

The tienguis is like going to garage sales, except you don’t have to drive around and fight for parking spaces. You just stroll leisurely down the street. Much more convenient.

Sunday Sunday

Standard
Sunday Sunday

Now that I’m back in Mexico, every day feels like a Sunday. There are no scheduled classes to teach and no regular activities to attend. The only routine in my life is how I start my day. With Christian Gospel music in the background, I check emails and texts and play Candy Crush. Yes, I’m still hooked on that game after ten plus years. And of course I’m sipping coffee throughout all this.

Sundays in Washington. Church and brunch with friends and hanging out together in the afternoon. Yard sales, frozen yogurt, shopping, perogies……………….I’ve left that all behind until next spring. I haven’t found a Christian church that I like near where I live. So I do two things. The first is that I tune in to Sage Hills Church in Wenatchee online on Sunday mornings. The second thing I do is go to a Catholic church close by for mass. No, I’m not Catholic. But I figure God hears me no matter where I am. Of course I get rather strange looks from other attendees because I don’t kneel or go up for communion.

Now for the other six Sundays of the week. Routine is totally out the window other than the morning one mentioned above. I didn’t have my first cup of coffee until 12:30 pm on Friday. That’s what happens when you stay up all night writing. One minute it’s 11 pm at night and then suddenly it’s 4:45 am the next day. Yesterday was a little better. I actually was on my second cup of coffee by 12:30.

I’m trying to get back in the groove of immersing myself completely in Spanish again. This results in some interesting conversations with some of the locals. Next door to me, this elderly couple are always sitting outside with all kinds of clothes hanging from their front fence. The other day the lady was trying to convince me that I needed to add to my wardrobe with some of the stuff they sell. She opened the door to their home and I saw a front room that rivals the stock at Macy’s……packed with clothes. Of course, everything is very used and polyester and definitely not what I’d ever even consider wearing. So far no one has successfully talked me into buying a dress and my neighbor sure isn’t going to either.

My neighbor on the other side makes potato chips, the really greasy ones that taste so amazing. I first discovered those when I was up in the Copper Canyon on El Chepe. The guy himself is really nice and great to talk to, but I’m really going to have to watch myself with those chips. I’ve decided one bag a month is probably more than enough. Of course one a month is only the goal.

I was looking for a bottle of antibacterial gel to keep in my room. I have the small purse ones I buy at Bath and Body works in the USA. And I’m not interested in the industrial size that can be found everywhere here. That was one entertaining conversation with the lady in the farmicia. She was super impressed with my Warm Vanilla Sugar small ones. It took three visits, but she finally came up with just the size I wanted for my room. She has connections with other vendors.

There’s a new chicken place nearby. Chicken is a huge of my diet as I seldom eat red meat. Rotisserie chicken is one of my favorites so I was delighted to discover that I now have one close to where I live. I struck up a conversation with the owners. One of them gave me a card and explained to me that they will sign the card after every purchase. When the card is full, (I think it’s four), the next one is free. That will definitely be an easy one for me.

I also checked out a breakfast place this week as I was craving a bolillo. So many fillings to choose from! I told the guy that I’m not into spicy anymore and he let me try samples to make sure the heat wasn’t too high. Naturally he asked me where I was from. And naturally I answered Washington State. Canada wasn’t even close to being on the radar.

That’s my Sunday. Hope yours is a good one.

Three

Standard
Three

It’s been an interesting week. It’s nice to be back in Las Flores. It hasn’t changed much since I left in the spring. Most of the tiendas and restaurants are as I remember them. And on my walks I’ve discovered new ones as well.

On Wednesday I went to breakfast with the Ags Ladies group. It was great to see my friends again and I also met new people. And yes, we all talk in English. A rare time when I do talk English. In my neighborhood everyone speaks Spanish. Some are eager to learn English but haven’t quite grasped the fact that when I tell them I’m retired, I really mean that I am retired.

I was wandering through the tienguis the other day when an adorable little boy asked me if I’d teach him English. I guess I’ll always sound like a gringa speaking Spanish. He overheard me talking with a woman selling fruit. In my opinion my grammar leaves a lot to be desired, and I don’t roll those Rs well, but I am pretty fluent.

The weather here is similar to when I left East Wenatchee. Temperatures are in the 80s but it’s sunny here instead of smoky. And I really should switch back over to Celsius from Fahrenheit. And I should also trade out my American chip for my Mexican chip in my phone.

I’m excited. My characters are still talking to me. I’d been writing up a storm back in the USA and I was concerned that they might be affected by the move to Mexico. But they seem to be quite content here. And of course I’m enjoying my new laptop. Much better for writing than on a tablet.

Final thoughts for today. There are three big differences between Aguascalientes and Washington state. In Mexico masks are still very visible and are required in some tiendas. People smoke cigarettes in Mexico. No vaping. And there are no pot shops in Mexico where I live.

Happy Sunday!

It’s Smoky Out There

Standard
It’s Smoky Out There

The featured image for this post is a photo my daughter sent me from Kelowna last year when they were evacuated. But there are areas in Washington state that look like that today. Highway 2 is closed due to the fires raging at Stevens Pass. That’s about one hundred miles away from where I live, but the smoke is thick here in East Wenatchee. The mountains have all but vanished. And it may be time to once again start using a mask.

In Cashmere on Sunday the turnout for the 9/11 service at Spirit of America was much lower than in past years. The air was thick with smoke. Combine that with the extreme heat warnings and it was definitely not a good day to be sitting outside. But it was a very moving experience for those of us who did attend.

I still haven’t booked my flights yet. I know that I’m going back to Aguascalientes for the winter. But right now I need to decide which airport to fly into. Last year I flew into Guadalajara and was happy I did. It’s hurricane season now on the west coast and flying into Puerto Vallarta could be tricky. I’ve flown in there before in the aftermath of a hurricane and it was not a good experience. Likewise for Mazatlan. Flying directly to Aguascalientes means going through Dallas, not one of my favorite airports. Okay, Alaska Airlines. You’re my favorite airline so I’ll check out the connections through LAX.

Tomorrow is Thursday and it’s our last binge with Virgin River to finish off the season. When I’m in Mexico I only watch TV in Spanish. English is reserved for my time here in Washington. Speaking of Spanish, time to get back to Duolingo. I’ve taken a break over the summer.

Interesting the impact of Queen Elizabeth’s death on some of my American friends. In all honesty, it had more of an impact on some of them than it did on me. And I’m Canadian. I still have haunting memories of singing God Save The Queen back in elementary school. But her death marks the end of an era. And she has definitely left her mark in history.

That’s it for humpday today. Hope you have a good one.

Ready?

Standard

Look what I found the other day right here in Aguascalientes. Is this a sign as to where I’m going once I cross the border? For those of you who don’t know, Seahawks are Seattle’s football team in the NFL.

On the other hand, up in Canada, Manitoba just announced the loosening of Covid restrictions. My hometown is in that province and my son lives there. But it’s still a waiting game. Things appear to change daily.

I’ve done more writing in the last couple of weeks than in the entire last year. I’ve actually set aside the WIP I was working on and have shifted way back to something I started writing way back in the 70s. My characters are absolute screaming their stories to me and I’ve had to put alarms in my phone to remind me when it’s time to meet friends or even eat. Breakfast can be anytime between 5 am and 1 pm. Often the first cup of coffee is at around 3 am. And I love every minute of this chaos!

I’ve just about met my goal for Spanish this winter. Just a handful of irregular verbs left to conjugate in the simple past and perfect tenses. And my notebook will be complete. I’ve been doing more texting in Spanish and I’m even dreaming in Spanish.

Just checked the Winnipeg Free Press online. Once again they’ve quoted me. This time it’s about the effect Covid has had on my life. My claim to fame has been seeking asylum in two foreign countries during a pandemic. I guess you could say Covid has impacted my life somewhat.

I’ll leave you with this.

It’s Been A Fun Week

Standard
It’s Been A Fun Week

There is no such thing as a typical week for me here in Aguascalientes, or for that matter anywhere I live. I do not thrive on routine. To me the word “routine” is a four letter word, along with the word “normal”, neither of which can be used to describe my life.

My characters are still talking to me so I’ve been doing a lot of writing, sometimes at 4 am. I do prefer to write during the day, but after experiencing writer’s block for several months, I’m extremely grateful for writing time regardless of the hour.

I did my usual morning run to the lavenderia. The day varies as I’ve grown quite accustomed to sipping that first cup of coffee and lounging around in bed checking emails and playing Candy Crush before I head out. But when I get close to running out of clean clothes, I brave the cold 40 degree mornings and go to the lavenderia. My reward is to pick up my clothes a few hours later, clean and neatly folded and ready to be put away.

I had a four hour fitness training on Zoom the other day from Washington. It was great to connect with everyone again and I’m looking forward to teaching again when I get back.

Joanne and I hit Costco the other day and here are two of my treasures……cheddar cheese and everything bagel. No idea how many steps we got in, but it was quite a few.

Joanne and I go for some pretty wild drives and have seen some really interesting areas in this city where I’m guessing most gringas don’t venture to. But we do!­čśť

Went for a haircut the other day. Last one with Paulina until I come back in the fall. Delighted to find a stylist here who actually knows how to layer hair like they do in the USA. And I also enjoy the banter all in Spanish.

I went to the park with Gloria and her daughter Romina. Gloria moves to Tulum next week. I will miss our intercambios and, of course, her delicious empenadas.

A project I’ve been working on this winter is condensing eleven plus years of notes on Spanish grammar and vocabulary into one notebook. And I’m almost done! It’s been a tedious task and I’m grateful to Gloria, Raul and Pedro for their help with grammar. I really understand why my students struggle with learning a second language.

I introduced my friend Carole to Country Break. We had a delightful lunch and I picked up a salad to take home. This amazing salad lasts at least three days and has become a staple in my fridge.

Time for internet church. Have a great Sunday!

This And That

Standard
This And That

Wednesday, Hump Day and January is more than half over. This week is shaping up to be a lot better than last weekend was.

I watched the two Mamma Mia movies, in Spanish of course. I love the music. The one time I saw Mamma Mia live was at the Concert Hall in Winnipeg. My daughter was with me and I recall that she introduced me to steamers during intermission.

I’ve been in writing mode and my character in crisis is finally settling down. This means less tears for me and a much improved mood. Can’t wait to head up north in March and get my hands on a laptop. I love my tablet, but it isn’t the greatest for writing.

Despite the fact that schools are closed here, it’s been quiet at the park. I enjoy the quiet as I can focus more on my Spanish grammar. I’m consolidating three notebooks I’ve compiled over the years into one and want to make sure I don’t leave out anything.

Sharon and I went out for lunch yesterday and I was delighted to find some decent pizza. However nothing compares with the woodfired pizza in Tlaquepaque. That was the best!

Speaking of Tlaquepaque, I’m planning on heading there next month to visit with friends. Other than the airport, it’s been three years since I’ve spent any time there.

Thanks to social media, this has also been the week of reconnecting with friends who I lived with over the years here in Mexico. They’re now in Bali, Australia, Texas and Maine.

My friend who makes the most amazing empenadas is in Tulum and I’m going through withdrawal. Hope she gets back soon.

Time to put on some 80s music and dive back into my writing.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

It Feels Strange

Standard
It Feels Strange

This is the first time in five years I’ve been in Mexico in late September. It feels strange.

Autumn Leaf Festival is happening this weekend in Leavenworth. I’m usually sitting out on the verandah of the Senior Center with friends watching the parade.

Instead, today I went to the park at the end of my street. I worked on some Spanish grammar for a while. I was about to leave when a man approached and asked if I knew the name of the park. And I don’t know the name of the park. It’s just always been the park next to the bull ring or in front of Expoplaza.

Anyways, a long conversation followed, all in Spanish of course. While we talked he kept a watchful eye on his children, ages 9 and 6, who were taking advantage of the playground structures.

He told me they had moved to Aguascalientes from Zacatecas two years ago. Zacatecas had become very dangerous because of cartel activity and was not a good place to live anymore.

He was curious as to why I had come to Aguascalientes. When I told him I was Canadian he admitted he knew next to nothing about Canada and had never even met a Canadian before.

He also told me he had never traveled outside of Mexico and didn’t speak any English at all. But he wants his children to learn English. He wanted to know if I still taught English even though I was retired. I told him Covid had put an end to that for the time being, although I have occasionally taken on private students in the past five years.

After close to an hour of conversation, he left with his kids and I headed for home. I was really pleased that my Spanish skills had improved so much that I didn’t have to ask him to speak slower or repeat himself. Not once did I say “no entiendo. “

I’ve come a long way.

Something Different

Standard
Something Different

This post is not about COVID-19 or Trump. I want to forget those for a moment and write about something completely different.

Monday night I went to a baby shower. I can’t remember the last time I went to one but I know it’s been years. It was such fun to see all the cute items for this precious new baby.

Yesterday was our exercise get together. We have now grown to five from three. My body really appreciates this as the colder weather has a tendency to stiffen up the joints.

Usually at this time of year, if I’m not already back in Mexico already, I’m shopping the summer clearance sales for clothes. Instead last week my purchases included boots, a toque, lined gloves and a cozy pullover sweater.

Although many of the trees have lost their leaves, there are still many showing off their glorious hues of red and orange. The recent rain has kept them hydrated.

While I turn to Duolingo every day and text in Spanish to some friends, I must admit I’m enjoying watching movies in English again. But I did go to my favorite Mexican restaurant last week and I always get to use my Spanish there.

I’m really enjoying my new tablet and am in the process of buying a new computer. However I became so reliant on technology is beyond me. It’s sure a different world.

And then there are the video calls. My granddaughter Madeline in Canada turns three in February and thinks her grandma lives in a phone. My grandson Juan Carlos in Culiacán is eleven and we converse in English regularly. Now if only I could convince my son in Canada to do video calls.

Today is another shopping trip to Wenatchee. More warm clothes for winter are very much needed. Somehow my usual wardrobe of capris and tank tops are not appropriate attire here in Leavenworth at this time of year.

The best part of being here is that I’m having a great time renewing friendships, meeting new people and making memories. My extended family just keeps on expanding. Life is more than good.

Saturday Now

Standard
Saturday Now

Saturday is a very different day than it used to be. One cup of coffee with yogurt and granola. Off in an Uber to teach English for a couple of hours.

Another Uber home and off to the carnicer├şa. He grilled the chicken I bought for me. I’d take a walk to the bakery and do any other shopping and then return to pick up my chicken.

After lunch (yes lunchtime was at around 4 pm) I’d head to the church to teach for an hour.

In the evening I’d explore the Expoplaza area. There were always numerous food vendors. I’d watch the children ride around the square on a burro. I’d listen to music and walk through the San Marcos park.

I’d have interesting conversations with people. A handful understood minimal English but it was a great opportunity for me to practice my Spanish.

Occasionally I’d attend a birthday party or another fiesta on a Saturday evening. And there were concerts close by as well.

Saturday now is very different. Lots of time for that second cup of coffee. I can leisurely make an omelet. No rush to get dressed. No reason to call an Uber. No students to teach.

I take two walks a day. One is before it gets too hot and the other is after it cools off in the evening. Daytime highs are in the low 90s.

This is what Expoplaza area looks like now.

I color, I watch movies, I write, I phone friends and I listen to music.

Actually Saturday seems pretty much like every other weekday now.