Monthly Archives: March 2017

Four Whirlwind Trips To Guadalajara

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Four Whirlwind Trips To Guadalajara

Last month I was in Guadalajara four times related to my cataract surgery. And I took advantage of every moment to spend time with friends and to visit some of my favorite places. I loved living in Guadalajara and if it had an ocean I’d still be there.

On my first trip, I headed out to Parque Mirador for the afternoon. The view of the canyon is breathtaking, and I used to spend hours here gazing out at the spectacular scenery and writing, while sipping my favorite Bohemia.

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I spent a fair amount of time in the Jardin Hidalgo in San Pedro, the area where I used to live. It is so peaceful there early in the morning and the pigeons are a delight to watch. The two churches are busy places with people coming for early mass. The man selling cheese and the lady selling bread have their usual spots. The shopkeepers have not yet opened their doors and the garden is a perfect place to relax.

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In the evening the Jardin Hidalgo is a busy place. Salchichas, tortas, churros, ayot and hamburguesas are only a few of the offerings here. What I enjoy is plopping down on a bench and watching people. And of course there is the added spectacle of the churches lit up at dusk.

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I stayed with my friend Pedro and his family and it is always a delight to visit. Pedro is a former student and we used to get into quite the conversations in the classroom. My students always tell me that they are so grateful to have a native speaker of English teach them, but I feel privileged to have students like Pedro as I have learned so much from them. Here is a shot of Pedro, an avid cyclist.

Pedro

On a sad note, my favorite coffee shop closed down. Claudia and her mom ran this place for eight years and their lease was not renewed. The ambiance was awesome and I treasure the memories of hours spent there with friends over the years. The food was outstanding and always cheerfully served. I was able to enjoy one last meal there in February just before it closed.

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Another one of my friends opened up a cantina and I spent an enjoyable night there with friends. I highly recommend Alaz Luchas for cold beer, great music, interesting decor and of course wonderful food.

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I enjoyed a morning in the Centro Historico although the main street was ripped up by the construction for the third line of the Tren Ligero. Here are some shots I took of the cathedral and the area nearby.

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One morning I headed to the mercado for a delicious breakfast of pizole and tacos. The lower level is where the crowds of locals come for traditional Mexican fare.

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I also squeezed in a quick trip to Forum Tlaquepaque, one of my favorite shopping malls in the area. I had planned on seeing a movie, but time just got away from me.

The main purpose of all these trips was the cataract surgery. The following photos are of this amazing clinic in Zapopan where I saw the opthamologist and had the surgeries done.

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I miss you Guadalajara. If only you had an ocean. I look forward to returning again soon, but this time it will be all pleasure and no medical issues to contend with. I intend to spend time with friends and revisit my old haunts.

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Dia de San Patricio 2017

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Dia de San Patricio 2017

March 17th is synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day. I used to teach my students in Mexico all about the legend behind this day, but close on its heels is the holiday celebrating Benito Juarez’s birthday, and a school holiday here in Mexico. Needless to say, the students were always more interested in getting a day off from classes.

Last year we succeeded in finding green tequila in Sabalo Country. This year we found green beer at Twisted Mamas, one of the gringo restaurants in the Zona Dorada. Combined with good friends, a live band and delicious food, it was a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year.

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The servers were all decked out in green.

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The menu included traditional fare of corned beef and cabbage as well as Guinness beef stew.

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Even yours truly got into the spirit.

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And that was St. Patrick’s Day here in Mazatlan.

Happy Birthday Pedro!

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Happy Birthday Pedro!

I was on the phone yesterday morning with a friend from Leavenworth and our conversation turned to how God has done awesome things in our lives by having amazing people cross our paths. In this post I would like to share with you one of these amazing people who came into my life almost four years ago when I lived in Guadalajara.

I had just returned from having my second knee replacement in Winnipeg. While I was glad that I did not have to contend with ice and snow, I was a little apprehensive about leaving my security blanket of medical expertise back in Canada.

I was teaching English at a school in Miravalle and Saturday was Grammar and Conversation Club. One of my new students, Pedro, is a doctor who was an orthopedic surgeon. His specialty? Knee replacements! Of course he often chides me that I should be using a cane and that I walk too much, a very different philosophy than that of my doctor back in Winnipeg.

Pedro is an amazing student. He constantly reads books in English………classic novels, philosophy……….you name it, he is intrigued by it. He also introduced me to Spanish literary works, and encourages me in my quest to become more fluent in this language.  Here is a photo of him giving us an anatomy lesson.

Pedro in Conversation Club

And here he is proudly displaying his diploma upon completing a grammar unit.

Pedro with Diploma

When I moved to Mazatlan, we kept in touch via Facebook and What’s App. Pedro has also become a loyal follower of my blog posts. And he is now studying French in his constant search for knowledge. And he is an avid cyclist. I snagged this photo of him last month when I was in Guadalajara last month.

Pedro

Back in January I was faced with the dilemma of where to have cataract surgery. I was not confident with either of the two doctors I had seen here in Mazatlan. And if I went back to Winnipeg I was looking at a surgery date of September for the first eye. My anxiety level was at an all-time high and I could feel a cloud of depression about to descend.

What do I do when I’m upset? I write. So I wrote a blog post called Curve Ball. One of the first comments I received was from Pedro, wanting to know what my problem was. So I messaged him and explained. He asked if he could check around and help me. I agreed and the following day he phoned me with the name and phone number of a colleague at the hospital where he works.

I finally got the courage and entered the number in my cell phone. To my surprise it was a personal number complete with What’s App, rather than an office number. The doctor answered immediately and asked if I wanted to come in the next day. Taken aback, I explained that I needed to organize a few things before I could come to Guadalajara. So we agreed to a time the following week.

The rest is history. The entire experience was a great one, where everything went smoothly. I was impressed with the technology and most of all the professionalism of the staff. Everyone was most attentive, caring and compassionate before, during and after the surgery.

Back to Pedro. He welcomed me into his home, where his daughter gave up her bedroom to me when I stayed there after the surgeries. He accompanied me to my surgery and if I couldn’t see my own kids’ faces immediately upon leaving the recovery room, it was definitely a feel good to see Pedro’s face after the first surgery. Pedro’s wife Maria is also a doctor in an emergency room, and she was there waiting for me when I came out of the second surgery as Pedro had to go back to work. Needless to say, their support means the world to me. I could never have done this without them. 

Living in a foreign country with no blood family here, my friends are important to me and they become my family. I am both honored and proud to include Pedro and Maria among them.

I am truly blessed that Pedro came into my classroom that day back in 2013. Today is his birthday so I thought this blog post would be appropriate. I hope you have a fabulous day, Pedro, and an amazing year. Feliz Cumple!

 

 

Should I Or Shouldn’t I Part 2

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Should I Or Shouldn’t I Part 2

I had psyched myself up for surgery. I was to meet with the opthamologist  Thursday afternoon and the first eye would be done Friday morning. But the plan changed. It was explained to me that if I waited a week, lenses would be brought in from Germany and I would never need glasses again, other than for reading. Adios bifocals? I opted to wait the week.

At first I was disappointed that surgery was a week away. But then the advantages slowly sank in. And I headed back to Mazatlan for the weekend. The commute to Guadalajara was about to become a weekly event.

The first eye was done the following week. Six days later the second eye was done. And a week later I had my final checkup. Wow! That certainly beats waiting months back in Canada for the same procedure. And I will add that the technology here is state of the art and that the care I received during the surgeries as well as post-op was amazing.

I am now going through a major period of adjustment. I can see everything so clearly now! People have distinct features and are not merely shadows. I can read the channel numbers and descriptions on the television from a distance. Colors look different, more intense. OMG there are some gray hairs peaking through on my head! The one drawback has been that I have been reluctant to sit in front of a computer screen and write because now I actually can enjoy shopping and browsing again, and of course my favorite past time of people watching and taking photos once again. The next project will be to organize all these photos on my laptop once I transfer them from my phone. They have been piling up…………..

I feel like a different person. It’s interesting how we take our vision so for granted. We get older, we anticipate and then experience problems. But with modern medicine these conditions are very treatable. If you have been told that you require cataract surgery, just do it! Don’t procrastinate. Once I had that first eye done, I was excited about having the second eye done. Imagine that. Excited about having surgery.