Happy New Year! I hope you had an enjoyable holiday and are now embracing the new year with open arms. I know I am and can’t wait to see what’s in store for me in 2023.
Have you thought about new year’s resolutions? I have and am sure not going to make any. I’ve talked to friends who are eagerly writing some down. The way I see it, no matter how realistic they look on paper, they never seem to pan out the way they were planned.
The only resolution that makes any sense to me is to be a better person than I was last year. And that is something I need to keep in my heart rather than write down on a piece of paper.
I keep seeing on Facebook pics of all the snow in Washington state. The mountain passes seem to be closed more often than they’re open. Keep safe up there people!
I’m headed for the bus station later today to buy tickets. I’m planning on going to Culiacan to visit my family later this month. I can’t wait to hug my grandkids! I saw them last February before I headed back to the USA. I’m sure that two of my four grandsons are now taller than me.
Friday is King’s Day. My Mexican friend Angie told me the story behind it. There’s a lot more to this day than looking for the baby Jesus hidden in the bread. Catholics believe that the Three Wise Men were looking for the baby Jesus to protect him. Pilate was afraid that Jesus would take over his kingdom so he ordered that all children under the age of two were to be killed.
That’s it for week one in January.
Have a great Wednesday!
December. Winter. The end of the year 2022.
My friend Ann in Leavenworth texted me a photo of the snow the other day. Quite a heavy blanket covered her car. Reports of two feet of snow. Chains needed to head over the mountain passes.
It’s very different here in Aguascalientes. Sunny and warm with temperatures hovering near 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It does cool off in the evenings. When I go out for my walks I need a light sweatshirt.
I was talking to David yesterday. It’s cold in Winnipeg. Temperatures are in the minus 20s Celsius. Not sure how to convert that. I’m still in American Fahrenheit mode.
My featured photo is one I took in Leavenworth two years ago when I spent a Covid winter there instead of returning to Mexico. I miss those gorgeous trees. That Bavarian village is a spectacular winter wonderland.
I remember my first December in Mexico back in 2010. I was living in Culiacan and it was extremely hot. My students didn’t like the air conditioning in my classroom and started wearing hats and gloves to class. I took the hint. Off went the air conditioning. The teacher got to roast so the students didn’t have to freeze. As soon as class was over I ripped off my uniform and changed into shorts and a tank top. I stopped at the first tienda and bought an ice cold Coke to put up against my cheeks to cool me down. It was much hotter in Culiacan than in Aguascalientes with temperatures soaring around the 100 degree Fahrenheit mark.
When I lived in Guadalajara the temperatures in winter were much cooler. Yes, there were nights when it dropped down to the freezing mark and we actually used the fireplace in our house. And I wore gloves and a hat. Atole was always welcome. And then there was one year when it actually got so warm that we had a thunderstorm on Christmas Eve.
I must say I enjoy seeing all my friends’ posts on Facebook with the photos and videos of snowfalls. They’re beautiful to look at from here in Mexico. But I sure don’t miss shoveling snow or driving in it. When I lived in rural Manitoba I rolled two cars off the highway due to black ice and totaled them both. I also do not miss the treacherously icy sidewalks.
So wherever you live, readers, be cautious and aware of inclement weather. Be prepared and stay safe.
Have a great Sunday!
November ends today. That means there’s only one month left in 2022. I need to start working on my year end blog post. This past year was packed with activity.
Here in Mexico Christmas decorations are already visible. Displays in department stores and shopping malls are being set up. Santa is on his way too.
My friend Karen posted a beautiful video of the snowfall in Leavenworth. Almost makes me wish I was back there right now. Almost.
On a sad note, I had two friends pass away in November: Joan in Winnipeg and Adele in Leavenworth.
On a much happier note, my son Kyle celebrated his 42nd birthday in November. And I actually spoke to him rather than just leaving the usual voicemail.
I’m enjoying my courses online and have a new one this month. It’s an Advent bible study with Church of the Rock in Winnipeg.
I’ve been the world’s worst correspondent lately. While I do have a long distance plan, I’ve been using What’s App and Messenger a lot and texting instead of talking. I encourage people to read my blog and check my Facebook posts instead.
I’ve been spending most of my time writing. The perfect ending as well as an amazing title for my book are what’s occupied my time lately. And that’s all you get for now.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!
The movies have now gone from murdering cheerleaders to selling babies. Tell me again why I watch them late at night and then sleep fitfully. But my goal is to watch five movies in Spanish a week in order to hopefully improve my comprehension of the language.
Thank you to my computer guru Laura for once again coming to the rescue. Like I’m not having problems enough adjusting to Windows 11, my taskbar disappeared last night. Of course she instantly found a link and solved my problem. While I love technology it also scares me. But my WIP is safely backed up every night onto not one but two external hard drives.
The weather here is still hot. Many of my friends back in the USA and in Canada are now dealing with that fluffy white stuff and plummeting temperatures. So I won’t complain too loudly that I’m not walking as much as I’d like to right now.
Apparently I can no longer call myself a nomad. I was talking to a friend and he remarked that I’ve gotten into a familiar pattern of dividing my time between Aguascalientes and the upper valley in Washington. And as Christina and Danny often remind me, I now have my forever home in East Wenatchee.
Two events are coming up in Mexico this month. Revolution Day is an official government holiday on November 20th. But the big one is Buen Fin, the Mexican equivalent of Black Friday in the USA. It goes from November 18th-21st.
My Uber awaits and I’m off to Ags Ladies to meet up with my friends. Today is lunch rather than breakfast.
Did you set your clock back last night? Here in Mexico we did it last week. It was bad enough losing two hours when I got here, but now for one week I had to remember who was one hour back or one hour ahead instead of the usual two when I phoned friends up north. Glad that’s over with.
Dia de las muertos has come and gone for another year. The Catrinas have been tucked away and the vendors are nowhere in sight. Some of the bakeries still have pan de los muertos but that’s about it. The parade on Wednesday officially ended the celebrations.
I met friends for a drink last night on Carranzas. That street is always busy. There are lots of bars, coffee shops and restaurants as well as a variety of other shops. It’s a great place for people-watching and practicing my Spanish as I meander in and out of the shops.
I’m now watching Lifetime movies again in an effort to improve my Spanish. The odd one I’ve seen in English before but most are new so it’s a challenge. Some of them are pretty bizarre. I watched one the other night that was about murdering cheerleaders, most conducive to nightmares if there were any teens out there watching.
Apparently I’m not the only one doing any traveling. My driver’s license has been on the move since September when it was sent to me from Winnipeg. It never did arrive in East Wenatchee and has surfaced once again in Winnipeg this week. I’ve told my son to keep it there as sending it here to Mexico is an exercise in futility. I mean, it couldn’t even make it to East Wenatchee so I don’t expect that it would ever find its way to Aguascalientes. Besides, I’m enjoying using my Mexican Costco card as photo ID.
My friends back home tell me the smoke has cleared and the temperatures have cooled. They’ve even had some snow. It’s still in the 80s here and I’m looking forward to it cooling off a little. Of course, they can keep that white stuff up north. I know some of my Mexican friends are excited about snow but I keep telling them I’d rather watch it on the videos my friends put on Facebook than to actually be there and have to contend with it. That one winter in Washington during Covid was more than enough for me.
Speaking of Covid, there aren’t nearly as many masks on the streets here now as there were when I first arrived a month ago. And the shops that had signs up requiring masks are now letting people in without masks although some still have signs up. Yours truly was a bit of a rebel and totally disregarded the signs anyways.
Alexa’s joke today. A grasshopper hops into a bar. The bartender says, “I’m going to serve you a drink named after you.” The grasshopper responds,” You have a drink named ‘Steve’?”
My friends in Washington are telling me how smoky it still is there. My friends in Puerto Vallarta are telling me how wet it is there after Hurricane Roslyn hit. Here in Aguascalientes the air is clear and it’s sunny and hot.
I went for a walk to the pharmacy on Monday. I picked up six months worth of blood pressure medication for under $10. Yes, it’s exactly what I get when I’m in Wenatchee. But it’s nowhere near as expensive. It really makes you think about the pharmaceutical industry. The markup is ridiculously high.
Day of the Dead is coming up next week. Marigolds are everywhere. I always loved marigolds even when I was a child. My dad was quite the gardener back then but he always made sure there was a special space for my marigolds. When I was older and had my own garden, my marigolds always had a prominent place.
I was saddened to learn that one of my friends in Winnipeg passed away. We were both working towards our accounting certifications back in the early 90s when we first met. She struggled with several health issues and spent the last few years in a personal care home.
I finally switched over to my Mexican phone chip yesterday. It’s usually one of the first things I do but it somehow got put on the backburner this time around. So my friends up north….you’ve been warned that when you see the country code 52 it’s me. I’m not a scammer or a telemarketer.
Have a Wonderful Wednesday!
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.
On Saturday afternoon I flew out of Pangborn on the first of three flights to get to Aguascalientes. A layover at Sea-Tac, another at LAX and I arrived in Guadalajara Sunday afternoon right on time. Breezed through INM and my bag was one of the first off the conveyor. Grabbed a taxi to Central Nueva. Waited all of five minutes and was on a bus to Aguascalientes.
Needless to say I spent Sunday night and Monday morning sleeping. It’s great to be back in Las Flores. The neighborhood hasn’t changed much. I went to one of my favorite hamburger stands Monday night and visited with the owner. Tuesday morning I went to the gordita stand and was welcomed back. Yes, the English teacher is back. Somehow no one around here grasps the fact that I’m retired, although I’ve been telling them this since I first came to Aguascalientes back in 2019.
I finally got internet yesterday afternoon. And I feel like my right arm has been reattached. I haven’t changed over my American chip for my Mexican one on my phone yet, so that didn’t help either. It’s so nice to have Spotify back so I have music again while I’m writing. I’ve missed my music. Okay, I’ve missed Facebook too. Very happy that there is a new modem where I’m living.
To my friends back in Washington……………the air here is so clear. Not smokey at all. I sure hope that smoke vanishes soon up north. It was definitely maskworthy when I left. Speaking of masks, some places here in Aguascalientes still require them. I did bring a couple back with me and glad I did although I am not a fan of masks. People here are amazed that I’m both double vaxxed and double boosted.
Got to the ATM yesterday just as the bank was locking up. ATMs are shutting down early due to the homeless problem here. No longer available 24/7. That’s okay. I had my bodyguard Raul with me and he convinced them to let me in and use the ATM.
Temperatures here are similar to East Wenatchee when I left. 80s. I haven’t switched over to Celsius mode yet. Still in American Fahrenheit mindset.
Yesterday it felt really strange not to be on my way to Leavenworth to teach a fitness class. I must remember to take that reminder out of my phone. I won’t need it again for a few months.
Every fall it gets harder to leave. Temperatures in the 80s, the leaves changing color, scarecrow days, Octoberfest. It still feels like summer even though it’s October.
Linda and I had a last lunch at Agave Azul in Cashmere yesterday. And of course I visited my tree and took pics. But it’s going to turn a brilliant red after I’ve left. My friends all know which tree it is, and they are awesome about sending me pics even though it’s three towns away.
I only have one fitness class left to teach tomorrow. I’ve been with this class now for six years. And I will miss them when I’m in Mexico. I pretty much exercise alone there. I don’t live in a gringo area so most women my age are either looking after a thousand grandchildren or are still working somewhere. Exercising is the last thing they want to do when they have time for themselves.
I’ve been researching travel health insurance and am pretty sure I’m going to stick with the American company I use when I’m here in the USA. The Mexican quote is less expensive but I’m rather skeptical. I had an insane experience with a Mexican company a few years ago but they finally paid the bill. I don’t give in easily.
The smoke has really been awful. I actually voluntarily donned a mask yesterday. The mountains have vanished. It’s really eerie driving around in this. It’s like you’re headed for some type of oblivion. The air is so thick with smoke and air pollution warnings have become the norm.
I’ll be traveling on the weekend so won’t be posting on Sunday. This is my last post from Washington until March. Yes. I did buy a return ticket. I haven’t done that in more than a decade.
Stay safe out there and have a great week!
Where did summer go? The weather is still unseasonably warm for this time of year. But it’s already October. And a week from today I’ll be back in Mexico.
More goodbyes in the past few days. More last meals with friends in favorite restaurants. More classes have ended until next spring. More last minute shopping to do and of course the dreaded packing.
My characters have been talking up a storm. I hope they keep it up once I get back down to Mexico. They really didn’t have much to say last winter.
The fatigue is easing off and I’m glad I only teach two days this week instead of four. Fatigue seems to be a common symptom after the second Pfizer booster.
I’ve taken quite a few pics of my tree in Cashmere this past week. The leaves are changing color daily and I hope that brilliant red will be visible before I leave next weekend.
The smoke is still around, some days more than others. Highway 2 is closed again near Snohomish with no detour through the pass. Fires near Entiat have been contained.
Hurricane Ian devastated Florida and is headed inland to wreak more havoc. And a hurricane south of Mazatlan is threatening the Mexican coast. Glad I decided to fly into Guadalajara.
Off to Sage Hills for the last time until next spring. Then Clairesse and I will have one final brunch together. I’m sure we’ll find another shopping adventure this afternoon. We always do.