For someone who despises routine, I apparently do have one that includes packing, moving and unpacking. And it seems to be done on quite a regular basis. In the past month, I have repeated this process on my journey to Leavenworth from Mazatlan which included stays in Culiacan, Frankford and Toronto. And I have just moved again here in Leavenworth. While I am getting more efficient in organizing this whole process, it’s nice to finally unpack with the idea of staying here for a longer period of time.
My room is quite comfortable and is bright even on a gloomy, rainy day like today, a day very conducive to writing. It’s nice to slow down after a hectic week of packing and running around. Once I get this post up on my blog, I hear my characters calling in my current work in progress.
I once again joined the Bavarian Book Club at the Leavenworth Library. These meetings will be held immediately after my memoir writing class at the Methodist Church, so Mondays will be busy days. The book we are currently reading fits right in as it is a memoir of a family and culture in crisis entitled Hillbilly Elegy by author J.D. Vance.
I spent all day Tuesday at Grace Lutheran Church in Wenatchee with other fitness instructors. It was a most informative professional development day with presentations by physical therapists. It was also a great opportunity to interact with other SAIL instructors from across the state of Washington. The SAIL program is aimed at seniors and focuses on preventing falls as well as remaining fit.
Wednesday was moving day in the morning followed by lunch and bridge at the Leavenworth Senior Center. And then it was major unpacking and organizing my bedroom. No idea where I found the energy but somehow I got it all done.
Yesterday I unexpectedly taught the fitness class in the morning as the scheduled instructor was unable to teach. Then it was off to Wenatchee to do some shopping in the afternoon. Dinner with a friend rounded out the day. We ate outside and to our delight saw a deer wander down the street.
The rain began last night and has continued throughout the day. It’s a great day to stay in and write. Skies are predicted to clear tomorrow so I intend to pursue some outdoor activities.
The view from my bedroom window at sunset, just a tad different from Mazatlan.
We’re halfway through May and I’ve been back for two weeks. My calendar is filling up but I found myself fully immersed in Maifest over the weekend. This is a festival to celebrate May Day. Downtown Leavenworth was a sea of both tourists and locals for three days.
Friday featured a parade in addition to music and dancing. On Saturday afternoon I found myself down by the gazebo enjoying Alpine music and the Tyroleon dancers. Sunday there was dancing around the Maypole, followed by more music and dance performances.
Yesterday was also Mother’s Day, a bittersweet day for me. Last year I was in Winnipeg with my son. But this year I’m in Leavenworth and my children are back in Canada. How I longed to hold my new granddaughter in my arms………
My life is a flurry of activity here in Leavenworth. I enjoy having lunch at the Senior Center with my friends during the week. There are fitness classes, craft afternoons and bridge games. I’ve joined the Bavarian Book Club at the library and next month will start a memoir writing class. Tomorrow I’ll be in Wenatchee for a professional development day for instructors in the SAIL program. Planning meetings for Vacation Bible School in July are now underway. And I’m moving on Wednesday.
I’ll leave you with a few photos of the town that I took on my walk today.
It’s been over a month since I’ve written a post. That’s what happens when you travel and are distracted by things to do and limited internet access. But at least I remembered to take photos, and I am now in the process of organizing hundreds of them.
Here is a Coles Notes version of the past month. In future blog posts I will expand upon my adventures. But I did want to assure my readers that I have not merely dropped off the face of the earth.
I left Mazatlan on April 8th, the final day of Moto Week. The night before I had been hanging out with friends watching the motorcycle parade. Thousands of cyclists converge upon Mazatlan annually and the roar of engines is constant.
I arrived in Culiacan and spent a couple of days with my Mexican family. I enjoyed watching the kids frolic in a wading pool that first afternoon. The following day spring break was over and everyone was back at school. On Tuesday evening I found myself at the airport and boarded a flight for Mexico City.
I had a two hour layover before boarding the next flight to Toronto. I arrived in Toronto at 6 am to gloomy, cloudy skies. By the time my daughter came to get me at the airport, the rain had started. But my spirits brightened when I caught my first glimpse of my new granddaughter asleep in her car seat.
We headed to a mall for a while before heading out on the highway to Frankford. Once at my daughter’s home, I finally got to hold my granddaughter for the first time. It was amazing! This sweet little face gazed up at me with questioning eyes. Who are you? Why are you holding me?
After that any opportunity I had I held her in my arms, whether she was awake or asleep. My daughter is nursing and had expressed milk, so I even found myself giving Madeline a bottle in the aisle of Home Depot one afternoon.
The week I spent with them was a fleeting dream, and I soon found myself on a train heading back to Toronto. The hustle and bustle at Union Station at 5 pm was a tad overwhelming, but I found the next train that took me to a station close to where my friend Deborah lives.
My visit with Deborah was round three of an emotional journey. The first part was leaving my Culiacan family and the second was leaving my daughter and granddaughter. My friend Deborah almost lost her life last year to an infection last year and defied all odds by surviving emergency surgery and then learning to walk again. The time we spent together was special, but I soon found myself back at the airport.
I flew to Vancouver and then on to Seattle. It was a short two hour drive to Leavenworth. The three hour time change took its toll. I crashed for a few hours and then dove right into my usual routine. Exercise class, lunch at the senior center and then a craft afternoon.
Suddenly it’s Saturday and my first week back has flown by all too quickly. Only one photo for this post but many more to come in future posts. So stay tuned.
My friend Mitch commented on my wall the other day that it has been just over ten years since the auction closed down. Auctions were a big part of our lives back then. Mitch worked at Wachniak’s in Winnipeg. And my friends and I went to these auctions hunting for treasures for our E-Bay businesses as well as for ourselves. We’ve all had so many changes in our lives since then. Partners, occupations and residences have all changed. All that is left are the memories of another lifetime.
Today my friend Kathy posted that her dog is still enjoying the many toys I gave her when Koal left us. And that was just over nine years ago, although sometimes my heart aches like it was just yesterday. My life has changed so much since then. Travels and people and adventures have made the time pass by way too quickly.
The last time I had Christmas dinner with my children was eight years ago. We actually enjoyed it together a week early, as a friend and I were off to Cuba for Christmas. I envy my friends who are able to celebrate the holidays with their families back home. For me it has just become an impossible dream at this point in my life.
Just over seven years ago I arrived in Culiacan to teach English. Juan was a colleague eager to improve his English, and my Spanish was non-existent. We became great friends and he and his wife adopted me into their family. Indeed their entire extended family has welcomed me. Over time, Juan and Lucila’s family has grown and I now have three precious nietos (grandsons). I am off to Culiacan in two weeks to ring in 2018 with my family. I can’t wait to see how much the kids have grown since I last saw them in April before I headed up north for the summer.
Do you recall that proverbial question that was asked at all job interviews……Where do you see yourself five years from now? Well, five years ago I never would have predicted that I’d be dividing my time between Mazatlan, Sinaloa and Leavenworth, Washington. Five years ago I was living in Guadalajara and had never even heard of Leavenworth.
So now I cannot fathom where I will be five years from now. Can you? But I am enjoying where I am right now………………
I am back in Mazatlan. Winter has arrived and Leavenworth had its first snowfall. I admit that it does look kind of pretty, but I haven’t seen snow like that in 8 years.
I took the Wenatchee Valley Shuttle to Sea-Tac and had a layover at LAX. When I arrived in Mazatlan this was the view at sunset just a block and a half from my house.
Of course the price one pays for leaving snow behind is sweltering temperatures in the 90s along with high humidity. But it’s been a week and a half now and I am acclimatizing nicely.
The area I’m staying in this winter is called Los Pintos and is close to the Centro Historico. Everything is within walking distance as opposed to last year where buses were the norm.
Zaragoza Park is about a ten minute walk. Saturday mornings an organic market is popular and on Thursday evenings dancing and music prevail. I stopped by the park this afternoon and met these little guys. Unfortunately the iguana was camera shy and hid in the shadows.
I’ve seen two excellent movies at El Recreo this past week. This coming Tuesday evening I plan on attending an art and music event there. Last weekend I met some friends atop the Freeman Hotel for drinks at sunset. And I’ve also found a new card group here in Centro. Our Red Hat group had its first luncheon last week and it was nice to see so many return this winter.
But what convinced me to move here two and a half years ago was the ocean. And I certainly am enjoying my long walks along the malecon.
Autumn has long been my favorite season of the year. Trees and bushes show their glorious fall foliage. Once they fall to the ground they make a crunching sound under my feet as I walk along the street.
When my son was a toddler, we would head for Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg where we would collect leaves. He would squeal gleefully as he darted about looking for different colors and shapes. We would take our treasures home, wrap them in saran, and place them carefully in one of my heaviest cookbooks to preserve them. I actually saved that one cookbook with the last leaves we collected and it’s hidden beneath some photo albums in a bin stored at my son’s house. A beautiful memory.
Two years ago I spent a couple of days in Toronto. My friend Deborah lived by the lake and I recall our wonderful walk among the colorful trees in the neighborhood. I hadn’t experienced fall in a while as Mexico has a totally different climate and vegetation.
Last summer I discovered Washington state and I returned again this year to enjoy the summer and fall. Busloads of tourists come to Leavenworth to admire the amazing display of color at this time of year. The Autumn Leaf Festival held two weekends ago attracted hundreds of tourists. The Salmon Festival also happened recently. But we are now in the midst of three weekends of Oktoberfest, which means thousands of people flocking to Leavenworth.
Oktoberfest! This quaint Bavarian village is synonymous with the Oktoberfest celebration. Lederhosen and dirndls are worn by many. Entertainment abounds at three different venues. Bratwurst on a bun is just one of the many items on the menu. And of course there are numerous types of beer to choose from. Hotels and campgrounds are booked solid. Driving through town is more like a congested parking lot.
This weekend Apple Days was held at the Pioneer Museum in Cashmere. Yours truly got caught up in the spirit and volunteered in the vintage railroad ticket station. Entertainment varied from gymnasts to mariachi and more. Shoot outs were held on the hour. And of course an apple pie baking contest was featured. This gentleman was serving up sarsaparilla in the bar.
A wind blew in yesterday and a shower of pine needles has covered the ground. The aroma is heavenly. And my favorite tree in Cashmere has begun to change color.
Fall has arrived and the annual Autumn Leaf Festival took place on the weekend. This is the longest running festival in Leavenworth and celebrates the turning colors of the autumn leaves. It originated in 1964 when the town adopted the Bavarian theme. The parade is a highlight where floats as well as bands come from all over Washington state as well as British Columbia. Hundreds of people crowd the streets to view this spectacle and Highway 2 is closed down for several hours. Restaurants and shops are filled to overflowing, and parking spaces are at a premium. Indeed Icicle Road has become a parking lot all the way down to the golf course.