Monthly Archives: February 2015

Monday Monday

Standard

Monday morning! I remember when I used to dread Monday mornings. But that was another lifetime ago when I worked at jobs I did not enjoy. Here in Mexico it’s a whole different story.

I usually wake up a few minutes before my alarm goes off at 5:30 am. It’s still dark outside but my mood is light. Now, if only the temperature would warm up in Guadalajara. The mornings are quite cool in the winter and the mercury frequently dips to 5 Celsius or less.

 

By 6:30 I am on the street corner waiting for a 275 or a 275B. These are interesting buses as there are no schedules here. Usually they show up two at a time and then begin to race each other as they head towards Centro. Drivers are not paid a salary. They receive a percentage of the take. So the more passengers they can cram on the better.

Twenty minutes later finds me in Centro. It’s a short walk to Plaza de Universidad, where I await a Tur bus. This second bus costs twice as much as the first one, but it’s very comfortable and not as crowded and gets me to within three blocks of the school in Zapopan.

Time permitting, I walk through La Estancia Park. I enjoy watching people walking their dogs or themselves. People are friendly and I am always greeted with “Buenos dias”. Such a wonderful way to begin my day!

IMG_2675

Time to head for school. I teach an Advanced ESL class with two adult students who are both accountants. They are delightful and are eager to learn English. They often surprise me with culinary treats. This morning they ordered in a delicious breakfast from a restaurant. On other days they have arrived with tamales or cookies or pastry. But what I like the best are the bright smiles and laughter that always pervade the classroom.

The two hours pass quickly and I am soon on my way back to San Pedro. The bus ride usually takes longer than it did earlier in the morning. The traffic in Guadalajara is unbelievably congested. To make matters worse, if an accident occurs, cars are not moved out of the way until the police arrive. This morning our bus took a completely different route to Centro, as traffic was backed up and our driver had no patience for traffic jams. Bus drivers here like to lean on their horns in an effort to keep traffic flowing. Not that it really helps. It just encourages cars to honk as well.

In San Pedro there is a street market on Mondays close to my house. It stretches for blocks and the variety of merchandise is astounding. Everything from pirated movies to tacos to fresh fish to clothing to tools can be found here. And the vendors love to haggle!

IMG06860-20121112-1103

I return home and begin the tedious task of washing vegetables in Microdyn. I store them in empty yogurt containers, which we laughingly call Mexican Tupperware.

While  the vegetables are soaking in the Microdyn, I take out my laptop and check emails and Facebook. And I begin writing a blog post.

I then take a walk to the park where I do some reading and journaling. I enjoy watching the children play in the playground and have fond memories of my own children at that age.

IMG_8822

Then it’s off to Jahanve, my favorite coffee shop, to meet my language partner. I definitely need to practice my Spanish, and he is eager to improve his English.

I leave for home at dusk, contemplating what I will have for dinner. By now many of the street food vendors are out, and the tacos, tamales and birria are quite tempting. But today I have decided to cook some of those fresh vegetables along with some chicken.

After dinner I visit with my housemates and often phone friends back in Canada. And then it’s time to read and head for dreamland.

Mondays are great days!

 

 

Advertisements

My Dad, My Hero, In Heaven

Standard
My Dad, My Hero, In Heaven

On February 8, 1977 I was excitedly packing a suitcase. Four days later I was to leave for San Diego to visit my parents. They wintered down south as my dad had a heart condition and Winnipeg winters were far too strenuous to endure.

I fell asleep that night but was startled awake in the middle of the night by a pounding in my heart that actually caused me to sit up straight in bed. And I could not fall back asleep again. About an hour later my phone rang, and a voice at the other end informed me that my dad had passed away of a heart attack.

It was Wednesday, February 9th. And I would never see my daddy again. I would never hear his voice or the sound of his laughter again. I would never see him smile again. I would never feel a hug or a kiss again. My world was shattered and my life would never be the same again.

My dad taught me how to tie my shoelaces and how to ride a bike. He taught me how to drive a car. He impressed upon me the importance of getting an education.  And he taught me a lot about life. 

He left school at the age of fourteen as his own father became ill. He was the sole source of financial support to his parents and three younger siblings. His sisters and brother all went on to obtain a university education. He always put everyone else in his life first.

At home our freezer was always filled with ice cream, a treat he loved but had enjoyed so rarely as a child. Money earned was always for others, but never for himself.

My dad was truly a self-made man and worked long hours, successfully building up his company. He would sit at the kitchen table doing the accounting for his business and I would play the piano providing a musical background he enjoyed. Sometimes in the evenings he would go back to work to do some manual labor, and I would grab my homework and come along to keep him company.

When his health deteriorated, I often drove him to medical appointments or to go shopping. We spoke often on the phone and sent cassette tapes back and forth when he was in San Diego.

Sadly he never met his grandchildren. He would have adored them and loved them as only a grandfather can. My children have definitely missed out on not having a grandfather to dote on them and spend time with them.

I learned a lot from my dad, and I hope that I have instilled some of these values upon my own children. He always said “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” and that has been one of my mantras throughout the years.

Love you forever and always in my heart.

IMG_0137

IMG_0011

May   1973

 

 

 

Monday Morning Musings

Standard
Monday Morning Musings

Monday morning. Dull and gloomy here in Guadalajara. Dark clouds threatening yet more rain. It’s also Dia de Candelaria. And it’s Groundhog Day. It’s February 2nd and this cold, rainy weather is getting old.

IMG_8991

 

I went to the street market earlier and stocked up on veggies for the week. I’m contemplating cooking soup yet again. It goes well with the oatmeal I had for breakfast. This is my fourth winter in Guadalajara and I don’t recall it ever being this cold and rainy in the past. But then it’s definitely not snow.

I had an interesting What’s App message from my daughter asking me what name was on my passport. I actually had to pull it out of the drawer and check it before replying. It seems that since I have moved to Mexico, I now have a variety of names. The most common are my maiden name and my married name. But the name on my INAPAM card is my mother’s maiden name and my father’s surname. And when I go to IMSS they insist on calling me by my middle name. There are times when I feel like changing my name to “Amiga”, another way in which I am often addressed here in Mexico. 

 

I’m returning to Winnipeg this spring. Of course I have yet to make any definitive travel plans. I’ve gotten used to this Mexican way of life where long range plans seldom exist. I plan on teaching until Easter break, and then I want to do some traveling. So I have no idea exactly where I will be flying out of.  

There are so many places I want to explore. I’d like to head south to Oaxaca and Chiapas. I’d like to head to the coast to San Blas, Bucerias and Sayulita. But I don’t think all that will be possible in less than one month.

Just ran out to the tienda on the corner. The rain has started again so I think I won’t venture out again for a while. I did have some errands to do but they can wait. Although I will miss my favorite capucino at Jahanve.

So if the groundhog saw his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter up in the north. Does it mean six more weeks of rain here in Guadalajara?????

rain

Time to switch over to Duolingo and practice Spanish, a great activity for a rainy day.

Adios!

 

 

Museo Militar…………..Military Museum

Standard
Museo Militar…………..Military Museum

I am totally against war. I have no use for the senseless killing of innocent people, especially children. If all the money directed to nuclear weapons was instead used for health services and education, the world would be a far better place. But there is no hope of that happening in my lifetime. Violence and terrorism are all too commonplace.

When I first arrived in Guadalajara over three years ago, I took a Tapatio Tour Bus for an overview of the city, and the Museo Militar was one of the sights highly recommended by the tour guide. 

IMG_9017

The front entrance and the rear courtyard are visible from the street, attracting the attention of anyone driving or walking by. The front entrance features aircraft, vehicles and statues. Here are three of the several on display.

IMG_9015

IMG_9021

IMG_9020

 

There are some magnificent displays of vehicles, artillery, guns, equipment,uniforms, flags and banners in the indoor area. There are also statues and artwork. Some of the rooms open up into the rear courtyard.

IMG_9029

IMG_9098

IMG_9083

IMG_9044

IMG_9182

IMG_9026

IMG_9091

IMG_9169

IMG_9179

On display in the rear courtyard were more aircraft and artillery. One of the aircraft was open to the public for viewing and I eagerly climbed aboard to inspect the cockpit and the interior.

IMG_9110

IMG_9117

IMG_9126

IMG_9137

The museum also has a second floor of displays. But that will be for another time. The time passed by far too quickly, and it was time to head for home.

IMG_9070