I can’t believe it’s December already. The months have flown by quickly and 2015 has been quite a hectic year filled with activity. In reality, the older I get the faster the time flies by.
In January I was living in Tlaquepaque and teaching at Avery Franz De Witt. I was working on the final edit of my second book, Alive Again. And I bought a pair of mitts and a headband because it got so cold at night in Guadalajara with lows of zero degrees. But the fountains still flowed with water in the daytime.
February was another busy month of teaching and writing. I celebrated Valentine’s Day with Carlos. Then I found myself traveling to Manzanillo for a few days by the beach.
When I returned to Guadalajara I began the arduous process of preparing for a book launch in Winnipeg. March was the first of many stressful months. I had to book flights to Winnipeg and arrange a variety of appointments while I was there. I had medical matters and financial issues to deal with in addition to the book launch. I had to sort out accommodations and ensure that I had time to see my friends.
April was insane. Right after Easter, I headed to Culiacan for a visit with my family. Off to Mazatlan next where I reunited with Larysa whom I hadn’t seen in over twenty years. I also accepted a teaching position at a language institute. I headed south to Sayulita to visit with Debbie who now owns a bed and breakfast there. We also spent a day in Bucerias before I headed back down to Puerto Vallarta to catch my flight to Canada. Yes, four different beaches in just one week!
I flew to Winnipeg via Calgary. David met me at the airport and I moved in with Donna and Loris for a few days. Next it was Audrey, Nancy, Kyle, Carolyn, Kyle, Donna and Loris, then back to Mexico. I had my book launch at McNally Robinson, spent time with my friends and had a myriad of medical and other appointments.
I flew back to Mexico at the end of May and rented a room with a Mexican family in a working-class Mexican neighborhood. It was a fabulous opportunity to get immersed in the culture and practice my Spanish skills.
In June I taught staff English at Hotel Torres. July was a holiday month from teaching and left me time to explore Mazatlan and do quite bit of writing. I also volunteered at The Vineyard Church making sandwiches to distribute to the poor people out near the dump.
The months flew by and I was soon on my way to Toronto. I spent a couple of days with my friend Deb whom I hadn’t seen in years. I then joined my daughter Kimmy and the rest of the group at the airport and was on a flight bound for Punta Cana, the destination for her wedding.
What an amazing week that was! I spent many happy hours by the pool with my daughter and her friends and new family. Kimmy had organized a fabulous group event that included everything from cigar-making displays to horseback riding and everything in between. There were also family dinners, a bachelorette party and then finally it was the wedding day.
A friend of Kimmy’s performed the ceremony on the beach Thankfully the rain held off until after the big event, but the dinner on the terrace was moved indoors. And then it was off to the disco for dancing.
One more day of relaxing by the pool and then we were heading back to Toronto. Except that WestJet had mechanical problems so our return flight was delayed by a day.
I returned to Mexico and had a very busy November. I started teaching again and then made plans to move into a condo with another woman from Canada. But the condo wasn’t available until early December, so I wound up moving in with another friend for three weeks.
December was another busy month. I moved into the condo and began to settle in. There is a pool so it has been nice to get back into the water again. And of course there is another new neighborhood to explore. Christmas was approaching and I found myself traveling again, to Guadalajara and Tototlan.
I am now back in Mazatlan and happy to be home. I’d like to wish everyone all the best for an amazing 2016, a year filled with peace, happiness and good health.
This year I took an overnight Turistar to Guadalajara. I arrived early in the morning and headed to the Jardin Hidalgo. The shops surrounding the square were just opening up as were the vendors’ stands. It was very peaceful and I have missed this pastime.
Next I went to Jahanve, a coffee shop I used to frequent. It was great to see Claudia again and I enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast. My friend Steffie was visiting from Switzerland and we hadn’t seen each other in three years. Another friend, Monica, also joined us.
That night I stayed with my friend Pedro, a former student, and his family. Pedro and I used to get into sparring debates in Conversation Club, and it was great to converse once again. Here is a photo of Pedro and his wife Mary.
The following day I headed out to Parque Mirador, my favorite place in all of Guadalajara. The canyon is amazing, and I have spent hours gazing out at the beauty of this marvelous creation of nature.
That night we headed to Indio Rock to hear my friend German’s band play. Barbershop is an awesome band with fabulous renditions of 60’s and 70’s English rock. The guys posed for a photo before their performance.
The next morning found me on a bus to Ocotlan, where I met my friend Omar. We went grocery shopping and then headed to his home in Tototlan. We enjoyed a traditional turkey Christmas dinner, visited, watched movies and relaxed.
We also ventured out around town on his moped. We had a delicious lunch one day near the plaza. Omar has a large family and we visited with his aunt and several of his cousins. We then headed up the mountain to the temple and the view of the town was spectacular.
All too soon I was headed back home to Mazatlan. The days had flown by far too quickly. It was indeed a Merry Christmas.
Earlier this month I moved into a condo in a gated community here in Mazatlan. My neighbors have all been busy decorating for Christmas, and last night I took a walk around the development.
There is no snow here in Mazatlan, but the twinkling lights and festive wreaths perform their magic. The are is being transformed into a Christmas wonderland. Although electricity is expensive here, many homes feature elaborate displays. My favorite is merely steps from my own condo.
Another framed his garden with lights.
Santa is quite the popular fellow too.
And I adore this cute little snowman.
Palm trees adorn the streets in a variety of colors.
And these decorate lollipops are amazing!
One of my neighbors is setting up a nativity scene.
Less than two weeks until Christmas, one of my favorite holidays. While we have no snow here in Mazatlan, the Christmas spirit is very much alive. At church last Sunday a brightly lit tree and other festive decorations adorned the sanctuary. People are up on the roofs of their houses inflating Santas and reindeer. Of course none of the lit up homes here hold a candle to Clark Griswold.
The malls and department stores have elaborate displays of Santa’s village. Children line up in anticipation of spending those few treasured moments on Santa’s lap, whispering their hopes and dreams in his ear. A flash from a photographer’s camera captures this moment in time, and a candy cane is offered by a smiling Mrs. Claus.
But the true spirit of Christmas has little to do with lights or decorations or visits with Santa. Christmas is all about love—-God’s love for us and our love for others. We celebrate out of gratitude for what God has done for us. We honor the birth of Jesus Christ by worship and we also embrace the spirit of giving to the less fortunate we encounter in our lives.
I have a small decorated tree in my bedroom, very different from the large elaborate ones I had when I lived in Canada.
I am spending Christmas with a friend in Tototlan. We will indulge in a traditional turkey dinner but will spend our time relaxing, visiting and watching movies together. And in all likelihood we will also attend a church service.
Whatever your plans may be, I wish one and all a very Merry Christmas!
Today is moving day again. I feel like I’m always packing and unpacking and then packing again. I wonder if I’ll ever settle down again in one place for a long period of time. In the last seven years I’ve lived in Oak Bluff, Winnipeg, Culiacan, Irapuato, Guadalajara and now Mazatlan. Three different places in Guadalajara and now three different places in Mazatlan.
In addition to moving house, I’ve done a considerable amount of traveling back and forth to Canada, around Mexico and most recently to the Dominican Republic as well. Indeed my suitcases have become my best friends.
Not only are they my best friends but they also contain nearly all of my worldly possessions. My life is in these bags. They are filled with clothes and teaching materials and the odd small momento of my travels. This makes it easy to be transient.
I think of the places I’ve lived in the past seven years. I left my home and my heart in Oak Bluff. That was supposed to be the home where my husband and I would grow old together. Instead we divorced.
My apartment in Winnipeg never felt like home. It was just somewhere to sleep after going to school and volunteering during the daytime. It held no memories. Other return visits to Winnipeg for surgery found me living in a variety of different places as well. And the odd time I return for a visit I move from friend to friend to friend.
Here in Mexico I have few friends who actually stay in the same place year after year. It has its benefits. New areas to explore, new people to meet, and new adventures in abundance. But I must admit that a small part of me is beginning to yearn for a “home”. That’s a feeling I haven’t had in a long time. My heart has never yet zeroed in on that one place where I would like to settle down.