2014 The Year That Was

Standard

It seems like just yesterday I wrote about the year 2013, and now 2014 is drawing to a close. Once again the months have flown by, and I am now into my fifth year here in Mexico.

January began cloudy and blustery. Despite the cold temperatures in the  wee hours of the New Year, throngs of people still crowded the streets smashing at pinatas and carrying suitcases in hopes of travel, both Mexican traditions at this time of year.

IMG_1181 

I took advantage of afternoon sunshine and warmth and headed for Parque San Rafael. After an enjoyable half hour walk, I arrived at the park. The swimming pool was drained, but several joggers were on the track. There were also soccer and raquetball games in progress. It may have been a cold winter day, but the park was just beautiful.

IMG_1476

Winnipeg…….you have competition. There was a watermain break just around the corner from my house.

Jan 11th (2)

One Saturday afternoon we heard music and the boom of fireworks. We went outside to investigate and were amused to see a crowd of people throwing eggs filled with confetti. A woman with a huge wicker basket was handing out bags of candies and nuts. She explained to us that it was the celebration of the baby Jesus and that new godparents had been chosen. The couple pictured below received that honor. And no, that is a doll, not a real baby.

IMG_1650 

We also had a party at our house in January, complete with dancing and beer pong. Here is one of my housemates dancing up a storm.

IMG_1700

The weather in February was considerably warmer. On Groundhog Day I ventured out to Lake Chapala and Ajijic. I played tourist and took a ride on the tram.

IMG_2116

The following weekend I spent the day strolling the streets of Tonola.

IMG_2243

Another day trip later in the month found me in Tequila. Samples were mandatory on tours.

IMG_2547

My thoughtful housemate Omar surprised me on Valentine’s Day with this bouquet:

Flowers from Omar (2)

The Virgin of Guadalupe parade in my neighborhood found the streets covered with alfalfa as the procession made its way to the church.

IMG_1808

Renovations in our house were finally complete and all the debris was hauled away.

IMG_1780

March was highlighted by my daughter’s announcement that she and her boyfriend were now engaged. They are planning a wedding in 2015 in The Dominican Republic.

Kimmy & Tarrant Engaged!

I stayed in Guadalajara the entire month teaching and writing. Spring was definitely on the way, along with some gorgeous flowers.

IMG_2748

April arrived and I remained in Mexico rather than returning to Winnipeg as I had in past years.. Instead I made a quick trip to Texas as my tourist visa was about to expire. Upon my return to Guadalajara I visited Hospicio Cabanas and was delighted with the amazing murals, statues and other artwork on display.

18

I also participated in a Via Crucis before Easter where we walked approximately 5 kilometers in San Pedro and visited twelve churches.

Another day trip found me in Zapotlanejo, a small town renowned for its clothes shopping. Many of the stores featured live models. But the town also has a beautiful as well as very old church.

3

And of course I visited my beloved Parque Mirador.

image_4 (3)

May began with a bang with celebrations for Day of the Holy Cross. Around the corner from my house was a festival complete with rides, food , music and, of course, fireworks.

26

I visited my friend Omar in Tototlan, a small town close to Guadalajara. It was very relaxing and also a treat to have someone cook breakfast for me on Mother’s Day. Here is a view of the church in the plaza.

Church (3)

I celebrated my birthday in May as well with my friends and housemates. My actual birthday fell on a Friday, my day off, so I was also able to spend a relaxing afternoon at Parque Mirador, my favorite place in all of Guadalajara.

May was also Teacher’s Day in Mexico. Below is a photo of two of my students who presented me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

IMG_3712

I spent the month of June checking out churches, squares and statues in Guadalajara. I also went to the Regional Museum and marveled at the artifacts, statues and art throughout the building.

IMG_4100

IMG_4112

IMG_4349

July began with a fourth of July celebration at St. Mark’s Church.

IMG_4714

It was also another touristy month for me here in Guadalajara. I visited churches, admired statues and checked out more museums. Templo Espiatorio is an amazing church not far from Centro.

IMG_4958

At the Museo De Las Artes I was overwhelmed by the magnificent Orozco murals.

IMG_4867

And of course I visited my beloved Parque Mirador again. I also spent a relaxing afternoon at Parque Agua Azul. The fountains were not flowing, but the scenery is lovely and it’s a peaceful place for reading.

IMG_5348

The end of the month found me in McAllen, Texas for my interview at the Mexican Consulate.

Consulado Mexicano McAllen

August was highlighted by reunions with two dear friends. When I lived in Culiacan, Carmen and I were neighbors. We had brunch together when she came to Guadalajara for a conference.

IMG_5952

Miriam returned from Norway and we went out for pizza, along with her boyfriend Cristian.

IMG_5854

I continued exploring Guadalajara. I visited more churches, returned to the canyon, and found this delightful elephant at Centro Magno, a shopping mall.

IMG_6072

September was an exciting month here in Mexico as Independence Day is celebrated on the 16th. A friend and I sat at The Parian sipping tequila and had an awesome view of the government building. The gritto was followed by fireworks and music.

IMG_6182

IMG_6215

September was also exciting as my work visa finally came through after months of documents, visits to Immigration and waiting.

Mi Tarjeta!

October in Tlaquepaque means preparing for Day of the Dead. The streets are colorfully decorated and extravagant altars are displayed in El Refugio.

IMG_6884

But the highlight of October was traveling to Culiacan to spend Halloween and Day of the Dead with my family. I also was delighted to meet my newest nieto.

IMG_6907

My next stop was Mazatlan, my favorite beach. Although Hurricane Vance stopped by for a brief visit, I still had time to bask in the sunshine on the beach.

IMG_7388

And then November arrived with blusteringly cold temperatures. Overnight lows of 0 and 1 convinced me that it was time to buy some gloves.

But there was lots to do indoors when the temperatures plummeted. El Refugio was a haven from the cold when the Oaxaca exhibit was held. An abundance of music, dancing, food and vendors prevailed.

IMG_7500

In Centro a multitude of vendors set up in stalls to display their Christmas items.

IMG_7442

IMG_7451

Around the corner from my house a neighborhood celebration was held with music, magicians, luche libre, and rides for the children. And on another evening these characters came to visit courtesy of Coca Cola.

IMG_7636

December has passed by quickly in preparation for Christmas. My favorite coffee shop, Jahanve, has these festive angels on the tables along with the usual sugar and serviettes.

Angel at Jahanve

I went to Sueno Magico at Clover Lawn Mansion, an amazing winter wonderland with a magnificent display of lights and awesome entertainment. Rides and activities for the children as well as a visit with Santa Claus were also featured here.

IMG_7923

Just blocks from my house in Tlaquepaque this amazing tree shines brightly.

IMG_8349

Tomorrow I am off to Tototlan to spend Christmas with a friend. It will be interesting celebrating this holiday in a small Mexican town. We are preparing a traditional dinner complete with turkey and all the trimmings, different from the usual pozole and ponche which is the norm here in Mexico.

As this is my last post before Christmas, I would like to wish my family, friends and blog followers a Merry Christmas. Enjoy your holiday celebrations wherever in the world you may be. May they be filled with family, friends and fun.

IMG_7573

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s