Tag Archives: teaching

Happy Sunday!

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Happy Sunday!

Leavenworth Summer Theater’s production of The Music Man was spectacular. It definitely is one of their best performances yet. The weather was perfect, a clear and starry night, and the smoke hadn’t yet rolled in.

However the following day it did roll in. And the day after that it had filtered in to East Wenatchee. It isn’t that bad yet, but the fire risk is still extremely high.

I’ve been spending more time on my new laptop. My WIP is completely transferred over and I’ve sorted through well over 4000 photos that were on my Seagate and my phone. Of course I’m constantly taking photos and I know there will be more.

The hot temperatures continue with no relief in sight. There was a tease of a few raindrops yesterday but it was very short-lived. Mainly intermittent cloud and smoke.

Did I mention that I live with seven chihuahuas? No. They aren’t mine. They belong to Christina and Danny, the people I live with when I’m in Washington. I’ll take a photo one day if I can ever get them all to pose together.

It’s great to be back teaching fitness classes again in Leavenworth. And this coming week I start new classes here in East Wenatchee. I really missed these classes when I was away in Canada.

September long weekend is coming up. My daughter and granddaughter are coming from Kelowna. I haven’t seen them since before Covid so I am quite excited. Yes, Madeline, I am a real person and do not live in a phone. And Grandma cannot wait to hug you!!!!!!

What Happens When

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What Happens When

What happens when you ride Link Transit and have a conversation with a perfect stranger who happens to be the activities director at one of the largest personal care homes in the valley? You wind up volunteering to teach SAIL classes at that facility.

What happens when you go to a book sale at the local library? You wind up on the Friends of the East Wenatchee Library where you help decorate for the kids’ summer reading program.

What happens when you attend training sessions in another fitness program? You are invited to take further training so that you can become a coach in that program.

I think I see a pattern here. Retirement has given me the opportunity to travel, explore new places and meet amazing people. Volunteering goes hand in hand with this.

I love my life here in East Wenatchee!

Countdown

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Countdown

Please tell me another week has not gone by already. I need to start thinking about packing.

Facebook reminded me that on June 17th in 2013 I was having surgery in Winnipeg. Glad it’s now 2022 and I was leading the exercises in fitness training this year instead on June 17th. Even Walmart didn’t annoy me on Friday.

On my commute by bus to Leavenworth to teach SAIL classes on Thursday, I met an activities director of a personal care home. She noticed the shirt I was wearing and asked if I’d consider teaching at their facility. I told her I’d touch base in August when I get back from Canada. I still have more training to do so that I can coach A Matter of Balance.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever envision myself teaching fitness classes at this stage of the game. Add it to more stories to tell my grandkids.

Writing is going well. Actually it’s going so well that I haven’t found time to catch up on reading books in English, usually a favorite pastime when I come up from Mexico every spring. I do go to the library, but it’s mostly to print out documents.

I’ve also given Duolingo a rest. I received an email the other day telling me how sad Duo is because I haven’t been checking in every day. Poor little owl!

I met a guy the other day who is up here from Florida to be in Leavenworth Summer Theater. So happy to hear that I won’t miss all of them when I’m in Canada. My favorite is still Sound of Music. The surrounding woods and the mountains are the most amazing backdrops.

Que tengas un buenisimo domingo!

All About Me

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All About Me

I’ve written hundreds of blogs posts but have never done an “All About Me” post. I’m not sure just why I haven’t, but a friend called me on it the other day. So here goes.

I go by a variety of different names depending on which country I’m in or which website I’m on. I prefer to just stick to “Karen.” Here in Washington my friends have me in their contacts as “Karen Mexico” or “Karen Canada.”

I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and lived there all my life until 2010. My son still lives there. My daughter and my four year old granddaughter live in Canada as well, in Kelowna, B.C.

In 2010 I went to Culiacan, Mexico to teach English. A family there adopted me and I am now abuelita to four nietos ranging in age from three to twelve years old.

After a year in Culiacan, I taught briefly in Irapuato before settling down in Guadalajara for four years. I called Mazatlan home for just over three years and then decided to explore more of central Mexico. After three months in San Ciro de Acosta I discovered Aguascalientes, which has been my Mexican home six months of the year since 2019.

In 2016 a friend I met in Mazatlan invited me to come visit him in Leavenworth, Washington. My two week visit turned into four months when the snow chased me back to Mexico. And that was when I turned into a snowbird, spending the other six months of the year in Washington state.

While there, I’ve lived mainly in Leavenworth with short stints in other towns. This year I’m living in East Wenatchee with my friends Christina and Danny, who tell me that this is now my “forever home.”

As far as teaching goes, I officially retired in 2016, although I had worked extremely very part-time since 2012. Occasionally I selectively take on private students, but have not taught at all since Covid arrived.

This is my sixth year as a volunteer in the SAIL program in Leavenworth where I teach fitness classes to seniors that geared towards fall prevention. Both church ministry and volunteering at the senior center ground to a halt during Covid and are just now starting up again.

I enjoy traveling both in Mexico and the USA. Last summer I took an Amtrak along the coast from Seattle to L.A. I loved it and can’t wait to plan another train trip.

I’m taking a break from Duolingo but I have my gel pens, pastels and water colors to amuse me. And I have been doing a lot of writing lately. Fiction is a new genre for me which I am enjoying immensely.

I am especially blessed to have family and a wide circle of friends in three countries. The time always fly by all too quickly before I find myself once again packing a suitcase. My days are filled with adventure and making memories.

Other trivia……I’m a Gemini, my favorite color is green, I’m a chocoholic as well as a coffeeholic and I love country music.

All About Me

Saturday Now

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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 carnicería. 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.

How Do You Do It? Part 1

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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.

Saturdays Then and Now

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Saturdays Then and Now

Do you remember back when you were a kid………..Saturday morning cartoons! Somehow it was easy to get up on Saturdays when you weren’t trudging off to school. My favorite was, and still is, Beep Beep The Roadrunner.

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As a teenager, Saturdays were spent hanging out downtown with my friends. We’d take a bus to Eaton’s and meet at the statue. That was THE popular place to meet in Winnipeg. We’d check out clothes and makeup and then snack on fries and Coke in the Valley Room or over at Hudson’s Bay (as it was called back then) in The Paddlewheel.

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In the early years of marriage before kids, Saturdays were spent shopping for groceries and other items we never had time for during the week as we both worked. Stores and parking lots were always so crowded. I much preferred doing my shopping during the week, even with kids in tow.

Once the kids came along, Saturdays took on a new meaning of hectic. I was busy chauffeuring them to activities such as ballet, bowling, music lessons and birthday parties. When the kids grew up and began to drive themselves around, Saturdays became my own again.

Saturday mornings meant garage sales, flea markets and auctions hunting for treasures for my Ebay business. I became quite familiar with the small towns surrounding Winnipeg. But my Ebay business ended when my marriage ended. I lost my storage room, shipping room and supplies and moved into a cramped one bedroom apartment.

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That then gave me the opportunity to teach Aquafit classes at the YMCA on Saturday mornings. I enjoyed this and often went out for lunch with friends afterwards. The afternoons were often spent studying as I was now back at University earning more letters after my name.

When I first came to Mexico, Saturdays were days of exploration as I taught full-time during the week. When I moved to Guadalajara I began teaching in language institutes where I quickly discovered that Saturdays were THE most requested class times.

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I’m now retired and Saturdays are my own again. Mornings are leisurely and then I head out with friends. I’m off to a 60s rock party today in The Gold Zone. I heard this group play in Centro a couple of weeks ago and they were amazing. The 60s was MY decade and the best years ever. And the memories the music conjures up………flower power, free love, hippies, peace, sit-ins, caftans, bell bottoms, love beads and much, much more. 

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