Tag Archives: Volunteering

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

Volunteering in Mazatlan

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Volunteering in Mazatlan

Volunteering has always played an important role in my life. Back in Winnipeg I was actively involved in volunteering my time to a variety of organizations from YBC to the YMCA and everything in between. I was a scorekeeper, an Akela, an aquafit instructor, a fundraiser, a music librarian and a Tball coach. I organized pre-school programs, chauffeured hundreds of students around, baked, cooked and taught ESL. And I know I’m still missing a few things from this list.

I’ve been living in Mazatlan for over nine months now and feeling truly blessed that I am able to volunteer here as well. This past weekend was amazing and I spent the entire time volunteering with two organizations.

On Saturday I arrived at La Vina at noon. Along with several others, we prepared food and packed coolers. We then headed out to San Antonio, a very impoverished colonia here in Mazatlan. Many families live in squatter shacks with no electricity or running water. Most children do not attend school and eagerly anticipate our Saturday activities.  They help carry chairs and tables to our meeting area, which is basically rocky soil with a couple of tarps set up to shade us from the sun. Music is followed by a bible study for the older kids and coloring for the younger ones. Then we served them tacos, watermelon and cold water to drink. The children then helped take the tables and chairs back to the storage area and were rewarded with cookies.

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On Sunday I arrived at Las Flores Resort to help with the Ducky Derby. I belong to an organization called Vecinos Con Carino, ( Neighbors Who Care). Funds raised at this event pay for school inscriptions for needy students. Attending school is optional, but many are unable to afford the necessary uniforms and supplies. Funds raised are also allocated to a program in Teacapan where medicine, diapers and clothing are provided. Children are left unsupervised all day while their parents go out to work. Many are ineligible for government healthcare as their births were never recorded. It was most gratifying to see the support from the community at this event, which also featured chicken shit bingo along with the actual duck race.

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There is no end to the number of organizations here in Mazatlan that rely on the efforts of expats and snowbirds in order to run successful programs to assist the poor. I am actually astounded at the extent of the poverty here and am thankful that I am able to do my part in helping the less fortunate.