Monthly Archives: May 2014

What Should I Write About Today?

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Friends often ask me how I decide what to write about in this blog. I once took a course in Creative Writing and our instructor encouraged us to write about issues that were pertinent to our lives. And of course it’s always a good idea to write about topics of which we are knowledgeable. As a writer I am guilty of an overabundance of contemplation which greatly influences my writing. Ideas just seem to come easily and the words flow most of the time, aside from the occasional dreaded writer’s block. 

This blog on WordPress is my first attempt at any type of blog. It’s true that I have published a book previously, and that I am currently editing my second book. But this blog is a place where I can test the waters. I value the feedback I receive from people, and I realize that on occasion I have hit more than one nerve. However this is all a part of learning and growing.

I have written my own personal journals for many years. I often express sentiments in writing that I would never verbalize. Here I not only vent my frustrations, but I also reflect on the many blessings in my life. I do not write every day as that would be forced. I write when I am inspired. It may be a few words or a few pages, but it is me.

Ok, so I don’t sit on top of a doghouse with a typewriter like Snoopy. I prefer to pour my heart out to my laptop. Indeed I encourage everyone to indulge in this exercise. In the game of life,  nothing lasts forever and writing is an excellent tool when dealing with change.

Our lives are complicated journeys where the unexpected often dominates the carefully planned itinerary. This is especially true of my life in recent years.

I  always envisioned my husband and I growing old together and reveling in the accomplishments of our children. I imagined numerous holidays and celebrations spent together as a family. Divorce created an insurmountable roadblock to that plan. But it also cleared the way for the most incredible Plan B.

With an open mind and a renewed zest for life, I embraced the many changes and moved forward. I published my first book, graduated from university and embarked on a new career in a foreign country. The challenges of a different culture and an additional language are both amazing and sightly overwhelming at times. But I have met incredible people and traveled to fascinating places. I am finally truly living life to the fullest.

But most importantly, through these experiences I have rediscovered myself!  Buried for decades within the confines of an unhappy marriage, my confidence has returned with a vengeance along with a sense of self-esteem that has risen to the highest of levels.  A renewed enthusiasm for life has replaced the depression and anxiety that were once so prevalent in my past. 

I cherish the present, and look forward to a spectacular future. Every day brings the promise of an exciting adventure, ensuring that there will always be something to write about ……………………

 

 

 

 

 

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Mother’s Day…..Dia De Las Madres

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Mother’s Day in Mexico is celebrated on May 10th, regardless of the day of the week it falls upon. In Canada Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. This year Mother’s Day for me was two days in a row this past weekend.

My children are both in their 30’s now (this photo was taken 6 years ago) so we have celebrated many of these days together. I have beautiful memories of cards and gifts they made me. I can still feel the hugs and kisses. They always made me feel special. And I thank God every day for the gift of motherhood, and that I have been blessed with two wonderful children.

June 15 2008

Because I live in Mexico, and they live in Canada, we no longer are together on Mother’s Day. The Email and Facebook Messages  I received from them this year brought tears to my eyes. It just doesn’t get any easier over the years and I wonder if we will ever be together again on Mother’s Day.

Last year I was in Winnipeg awaiting surgery on Mother’s Day. Kyle, Krista and I had a fabulous lunch together at Montana’s.

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Unfortunately Kimmy was living in Ontario and unable to be with us. The last time I was with both of my children on Mother’s Day was in 2009. Kimmy made a beautiful brunch for me at her home in Oak Bluff.

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One Mother’s Day that stands out was May 12th, 1996. This was the last time I was with my mother on this day. She passed away just over a month later.

I remember that day vividly. We had brunch together in my house in Tuxedo. I remember the menu……….mandarin orange almond salad, baked french toast casserole, lemon jello mold and a trifle for dessert. But what I remember most is regretting that we didn’t take any family photos. Instead I carry in my heart the memories of my children, my mother and myself together that one last time.

Nettie 1981

Day 1 of Mother’s Day this year fell on a Saturday. I taught my class as usual that day, even giving an exam to my class. I’d like to share a Facebook post from one of my students:

Hi teacher, Happy Mother`s day, a thanks for all the things you have taught me.
God bless you for ever.

I am so thankful for my students here in Mexico. They are such a joy to teach and so appreciative of their foreign teacher. This post really tugged at my heartstrings.

After class, I headed for Central Nueva and caught a bus to Tototlan. One of my former housemates moved there about a month ago to open up an English school, and he invited me to come out and visit him. Omar arrived at the bus station on his moped and we headed for his house.

Omar is an ambitious young man in his twenties, and we had many stimulating conversations when he lived in Tlaquepaque. And our time together this past weekend included chats about family, careers, religion and everything in between.

We walked down to the plaza via the cemetery, stopping for delicious tacos along the way.

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We sat in the plaza talking for quite a while before heading to a coffee shop.

On Day 2 of Mother’s Day Omar cooked a delicious breakfast for us.

Omar Making Breakfast (2)

We watched a couple of movies, and before I knew it, we were back on the moped heading for the bus station.

And that was Mother’s Day 2014. I wonder where I’ll be for Mother’s Day 2015………

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I’m Not Going Back

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I’m not going back. This is the first time in three years that I am not returning to Canada in the spring. I am staying here in Tlaquepaque. I’ve lived in this house longer than anywhere else in Winnipeg in the last five years, and this feels like home now.

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This is also the first time I have stayed here for Semana Santa. In the past I’ve always been in Culiacan with my family. Instead of going to a Mass at a church, I participated in a Via Crucis in the streets of San Pedro, along with hundreds of others. 

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Instead of the usual chocolate eggs and rabbits that are common in Canada, I enjoyed the empanadas offered by the local vendors.

Centro Tlaquepaque April 16th (3)

The spring semester began at school, and my students informed me of a number of special days that are celebrated here.

April 30th is Children’s Day. In the elementary schools, parties are held with music, food and special activities.

May 1st is Labor Day here. Government offices, banks and schools are closed.

May 3rd is celebrated by Catholics as Day of the Holy Cross. One block away from my house there was a street fair, complete with music, games, food and fireworks.

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Cinco de Mayo surprisingly lacked the festivities that I had envisioned. Schools were closed, but it was a regular work day for everyone else.

Mothers Day in Mexico is celebrated on May 10th regardless of the day of the week it falls upon. May 15th is Teachers Day and classes are cancelled. And May 23rd is Students Day.

With the month of May filled with all these fiestas, I look forward to the summer months here in Guadalajara. I am certain that there will be more special days to come.

And although the rainy season is approaching, the days are mainly still sunny and warm. Spring this year has actually been unseasonably hot.

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As I write this, I hear the strains of mariachi music in the distance. Across the street a group of men assemble chairs in their home. Banda music blares from a car radio as one of my neighbors paints his car out on the street. A horse and wagon pass by with a load of tree branches. Children scurry by on their way home from school. Dogs and cats freely meander about. The hours pass by quickly yet time seems to stand still. This is my life in a small town in the midst of a sprawling metropolis.

I’m not going back. I’m staying right here in Tlaquepaque, where smiling faces greet complete strangers with “Buenos dias” , where roosters crow at the crack of dawn, and where birds chirp loudly. Here, even on a cloudy day, the sun shines brightly in my heart, and I am happy.

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