Winnipeg has changed. This is not the city I remember growing up in and raising my children in. This is not the city I would ever care to live in again. There is such a cold feel to it. Winnipeg may be my hometown, but it definitely is not nor ever will be home to me again.
When I think home, I think Washington State and I think Aguascalientes.
It is nice to see my friends again. It’s been a few years. We have lots to catch up on. It’s interesting to see where we have moved to and what we are all doing now as we’ve grown older. Retirement has meant different things to different people. And let’s not even contemplate all the compromises we’ve made that have been impacted by health issues.
We’ve gone for drives through neighborhoods from my past. New roadways and buildings. A multitude of new apartments and condos. Even the trees look different, and not because they’ve grown taller over the years. They’re new too.
I met a friend for brunch on Friday and wandered over to look at the high school I graduated from back in 1969. University of Winnipeg Collegiate still looks pretty much the same. That’s my feature pic for this blog post.
We drove by my old elementary school and middle school. We drove by the house I grew up in as well as the house I lived in when my two kids were born. And of course the cemetery was one of the first places I wanted to go to as well.
The Forks has seen a few changes. Many of the restaurants have changed. Shops are not the same. But the river is still there.
I’m currently staying in the downtown area. It’s sad to see the empty Bay building. Taller skyscrapers also dot the downtown area and many buildings have changed names.
Tomorrow I’m headed to a cabin with a friend for a few days so I won’t be posting on Wednesday. Looking forward to the peace and quiet possible with No Wi-Fi!
This is my last post from here for a while. On Monday I take the Wenatchee Valley Shuttle to SeaTac to catch the red eye to Minneapolis. From there it’s on to Winnipeg.
ArriveCan info is submitted. Have my confirmation. Now if only Delta would recognize it. So much for checking in online.
All my clothes are packed. I love the packing cubes I bought at Marshall’s. I should have got some years ago. So easy to organize everything now.
I will miss the Leavenworth ladies in my SAIL class. We’ve been together for six years. But I’ll be back before I head to Mexico this fall. And I’ll be teaching some new classes here in East Wenatchee.
A Matter of Balance classes ended on Friday. When I return in August I’ll be doing training to coach in the program. I’m looking forward to that as well.
Leavenworth Summer Theater has three productions this summer. My plan is to be back here in August for at least two of them, The Sound Of Music and The Music Man.
Time to sort through documents, the tedious part of traveling. And to pack my carry on. Mainly devices, chargers and meds. No backpack this time. Just a smaller and hopefully lighter bag.
It’s very different packing for a one month trip than a six month trip. Can’t remember the last time I did that. Hmmmmm…..maybe about five years ago, the last time I was in Winnipeg.
Monday morning was way too busy. I’ve been procrastinating about going to Canada and it was finally time to make some plans. First decision was when I should go. Health blip was taken care of and the fitness classes end next week. Guess I can go by the end of the month.
Next decision was how I go seeing as I am not flying on my broom. My first choice was Amtrak. But it got rather complicated when it came to crossing the border. Guess I’m flying.
Flights were tricky to book. My favorite airline, Alaska, won’t get me to Winnipeg. Air Canada flights and connections were a nightmare. Would have to claim my bag in Vancouver when going through Customs and recheck it. Guess it’s Delta.
Now I have to get to SeaTac. Best option is Wenatchee Valley Shuttle. And it will get me there late at night in time for the Red Eye to Minneapolis. One less hotel to book.
A long enough layover in Minneapolis before the flight to Winnipeg so that my cane can remain collapsed in my carry on. Another advantage is that leaves only one stop with one airline to misplace my bag. And it will go right through to Winnipeg hopefully. Inevitable delays in Customs will not result in a missed connection, just my friend Lise drinking way too many cups of coffee waiting for me.
Then there’s health insurance for the remainder of my time here in the USA. And settling the bill with Confluence for the health blip. And booking that last hair appointment at the salon. And a few other last minute phone calls and texts to get organized. And the obligatory FLIGHTS BOOKED announcement on Facebook.
Not bad. I started at 8:30 am and was done by 12:01 pm. Not even thinking about packing yet, although I did pick up some packing cubes last week. I guess I have to leave something for next week.
Life. A sequence of events where unplanned by far outnumber the planned. And when you get to Plan Z, you start over with Plan AA, Plan BB, Etc.
March was when I arrived back in Washington. I expected to go to Kelowna in March but Canada still had too many Covid restrictions. The next plan was May but that isn’t working out either due to my daughter’s work schedule. Another plan was May in Winnipeg but a minor health issue got in the way. I thought maybe June but there’s some fitness training all month that I really want to do here in Wenatchee. So now it looks like July in Winnipeg. There is always another plan.
I hope you check out the above link. It’s an old John Denver song I came across the other night. And I can’t get it out of my head. It really takes me back in time and I realize now that none of my plans back then have ever come into fruition. And that’s okay because there is always another plan.
So…….why make plans at all if they never seem to work out? I’ve come to the conclusion that long range plans don’t work for me. Even short range plans don’t always come about. But I still continue to make plans because I have learned to become extremely flexible. I don’t stress out when plans fall through.
To quote John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
My plan for today is, hmmm, that isn’t going to work out either. Oh well!
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.
I worked remotely from home decades before Covid arrived. I wanted to be with my kids when they spoke that first word and took that first step.
I was an active volunteer in their schools and also in their extracurricular activities. Akela of a Cub pack, music librarian for ASYC and organizer of buses for a YBC provincial bowling tournament were some of the more memorable times.
The time flew by and my daughter moved to Ontario and I moved to Mexico, leaving only my son behind in Winnipeg. Then I started dividing my time between Mexico and Washington and my daughter moved to Kelowna.
When Covid arrived in March of 2020, I was in Mexico and was interviewed by a Winnipeg Free Press reporter. One of the more pointed questions he asked was how I felt about my decision not to return to Canada although my family was there.
While I’ve enjoyed the last ten plus years of traveling and living in other countries, it is hard living far away from my kids, and it has been even more so during the pandemic.
I still feel the sadness when I phoned my son from Culiacan on his birthday in 2010. He turned thirty and it was the first time in his life I wasn’t with him on his birthday. Over the years, the pain lessens, but there’s always a tugging at the heartstrings.
I did come back for their university convocations and I went to Punta Cana for my daughter’s wedding. And I do go back to visit as neither of my kids come to Mexico or Washington. And I have a three-year-old granddaughter who thinks I live in a phone.
Earlier in the week my daughter was evacuated due to wildfires. Last night she told me that they are able to return home but they are still on alert. I always have a TO GO bag packed in my closet due to all the fires around here. But I felt so helpless when she called me the night they were evacuated as she hurriedly packed up my granddaughter and the three cats.
Texts and video calls are great. But what I want more than anything are REAL hugs, not virtual ones. That day can’t come soon enough for this mom.
Every day on Facebook I check out the Memories section. And I reflect on my life and all the different places I’ve been. I also can’t believe how fast the time has gone by and how much I’ve changed throughout the years.
Two years ago I was volunteering at Camp Heartbeat in Peshastin. It was the beginning of my annual children’s ministry experience at LCN.
Three years ago I was in Toronto visiting my friend Deborah. I recall long walks along the lake and the beautiful view of the water from her backyard.
Four years ago I was in Puerto Vallarta enjoying walks along the malecon and gazing out at the ocean from my lounger on the beach.
I found another memory where I was actually in Winnipeg at this time six years ago. That was a year before I discovered Leavenworth.
And then I found a memory from ten years ago. On my way back from a visit to my friend Rochelle in Los Angeles, I had stopped for some beach time in Mazatlan before returning to Culiacan.
Today I’m moving from Leavenworth to Dryden, a town about 10 minutes away. Not quite as exotic as other places I’ve been, but it will be a memory nonetheless to look back on one day.
When I talk to my friends in Canada I feel like I live in a completely different world. Yes we still have Covid here but we have a lot more freedom. I enjoy a quality of life far superior to what I’d experience if I were back in Winnipeg.
I know we’re far from out of the woods yet. However it is encouraging to hear that 80% of seniors in the USA have been vaccinated. And almost 30% of Americans have been vaccinated. Perhaps herd immunity is on the horizon.
Traveling is once again on my mind. In April I enjoyed a couple of short trips in Washington state. And I’m planning two more short trips within the state in May.
But my plans do not include travel to Canada at this time.
My American friends are appalled at what they read about forced hotel quarantines. “Just let them try that here” they tell me.
I’m not a big fan of FOX News, but I have to agree when they refer to the hotel quarantines as forced internment camps. There is no excuse for this violation of human rights and the deplorable conditions Canadian citizens are forced to endure.
Canadians were quick to condemn Trump for the mishandling of the Covid crisis. I think it’s time Canadians took a long, hard look at their own country and the disaster that has been created by Trudeau.
I not only worry about my family and friends in Canada, but I actually fear for them. There is something very wrong when sufficient vaccines are unavailable by appointment in Winnipeg, and here in Washington state people are encouraged to come by clinics as drop-ins to be vaccinated.
As much as I long to see my children and my granddaughter, I won’t be traveling to Canada under the current circumstances.
When I talk to my friends in Winnipeg, it sounds like we live in two completely different worlds, despite the fact that the USA and Canada share a border.
Friday night we went out for dinner to Wok About, a Mongolian Barbecue style restaurant. We bumped into my friend who was there with her two grandchildren. And we all sat at a table together to have dinner. Four different households at one table. A buffet style restaurant. And in Winnipeg if you want to share a table you need to produce ID to prove you actually reside at the same address.
Let’s talk church. They’ve been open here for a while now. And even when they weren’t supposed to be open they were open. Masks are optional in several churches. Attempts at physical distancing aren’t always successful either.
Then there is the other extreme here in Washington state. Masks are required on public transit. Masks are required to enter most stores although Safeway tends to look the other way.
I met with my immigration attorney earlier in the week. He took my temperature and I had to sign a health form. And masks were mandatory throughout the two hour meeting. I almost felt like I was in Canada.
Walking through downtown Leavenworth on the weekend I’ve noticed that the majority of people wear masks. Until they sit down at all the outdoor tables that line the main street. Lots of restaurant seating when the streets are closed to vehicular traffic.
Texas leads the way in doing away with masks and other restrictions. And I thought Washingtonians were rebels.
When I tell my friends here what’s going on back in Winnipeg and the rest of Canada in terms of quarantine and other restrictions, they don’t believe it. Until I show them the newspaper articles and other news reports. Their response is always “They could never do that here in the USA. We wouldn’t stand for it.”
Please don’t even get me started on the quarantine cash grab issue in Canada right now. This is yet another example of the disorganization and inefficiency of the way Canada is mishandling this pandemic.
For the time being, I intend to mask up when necessary and maintain physical distancing when possible. And I’m looking forward to getting my second shot on Tuesday, months ahead of when I’d be vaccinated if I were in Canada.
I was vaccinated yesterday. The first shot went well and I will have the second shot in three weeks. I thank God that I am in a country where the vaccine is available now and that I don’t have to wait several months. God Bless The USA!
Wind back the clock to September 2020. It was now possible to leave Mexico and head up north. The pandemic was raging throughout the world and travel was greatly discouraged.
I’m Canadian. Returning to Winnipeg from where I was in Mexico involved three flights on three different airlines and a minimum of two days of travel through four airports.
My other option was to come to Leavenworth. Only three airports. A flight to Dallas with a connecting flight to Seattle. I left Mexico in the morning and arrived in Seattle in the afternoon. Only about a two and a half hour drive to Leavenworth. Definitely a better option.
Leavenworth is home to me. I may only be here a few months a year but this is where my friends and my support system are. This is where my life is. I usually spend the summer and fall doing volunteer work so my time this year has been spent very differently. It’s winter and Covid is still around.
In Washington state the vaccine distribution program is working well. Appointments are made on the internet. I made mine on Sunday. Yesterday, Tuesday, my friend Linda drove me to Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee, a designated mass vaccination site. I didn’t even have to get out of the car. A symptom check and the actual vaccination took under five minutes. I did have to wait thirty minutes after instead of fifteen as I have a shellfish allergy.
I was given a card with my appointment for the second shot. I had received an email reminder yesterday about today’s appointment. By the time I got back to Leavenworth I had received another email congratulating me on being vaccinated and it also included my patient record.
I also registered for the follow-up program. I receive a text daily inquiring about my health and any symptoms I might be experiencing. Very reassuring.
Thank you Washington state for your efficient handling of the vaccination process.