Tag Archives: Winnipeg

Nomad On The Move Again

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Nomad On The Move Again

The weekend at my son’s flew by all too quickly. The highlight of the weekend, and of my entire visit to Winnipeg, was spending Mother’s Day with Kyle. I am so glad that I listened to that gut feeling I had back in November and booked a flight to Winnipeg. But goodbyes are harder each time as I have no idea when we’ll see each other again.

Nonetheless, I found myself on an early morning flight to Vancouver on Tuesday. And with the time change I gained two hours. Another short flight to Seattle, and I was on the Wenatchee Valley Shuttle into Peshastin, minutes away from Leavenworth.

My friends are always telling me that they envy the traveling that I do. Yes, it’s enjoyable and even fascinating, but there are times when I wish I could just put roots down somewhere and stop searching for somewhere to settle down.

Flying has become a tedious form of travel. I remember the days when I loved flying, especially the magical moments of taking off and landing. But that was back when two hours wasn’t required to clear security and customs, although the free WiFi does help pass the time.

The first security clearance was in Winnipeg. Long lineups of harried travelers. Laptop needs to go in a separate tray from my backpack and my purse. My state of the art supersonic knees always set off alarm bells, but it’s a small price to pay for being able to walk pain free. Now if only the body scanners were ever up and running at 5:30 am in Winnipeg………

To my delight Starbucks was conveniently located close to my gate. It’s amazing what a jolt of caffeine does to the body so early in the morning. By the time we boarded, I actually felt human again.

I slept through most of that flight and groggily sauntered through the Vancouver airport and stumbled upon a Carl’s Jr. A breakfast sandwich and another coffee soon revived me and I began the long trek to the wing housing the international flights and USA Immigration.

I lost track of the countless times my boarding pass and passport were checked. And then there was an additional security clearance, although I was already in a secured area. This check was a lot more thorough than the on by the Canadians in Winnipeg. Shoes off. Laptop and cell phone to be checked separately. Once again the knees performed their magic. Next was the computerized passport check. And I always manage to chop part of my head off in the photo.

And now it was time for my two favorite questions——–Where’s home? How long will you be in the USA? The answer to the first, according to my son, is that his mother is a nomad and has no real home. My reply to the Immigration officer was that Winnipeg was my home. The answer to the second question is in actuality until the snow flies. My reply to the Immigration Officer was that I’m really not sure, but at least one month.

Thank God there was another Starbuck’s close to my gate, although something a little stronger was definitely in order. But I knew that there was a Mack n Jack with my name on it in Washington. And I was getting closer. Just another short and uneventful flight to Seattle.

I was amazed that my bag was first off at the carousel and headed outside to get some fresh air. The sun was shining and it felt good after all that stale airplane air. But it soon clouded over and the rain began. The ride on the shuttle was rather interesting weatherwise. The rain turned to fog and then to freezing rain and then we drove for miles through a blizzard. Yes…….SNOW and lots of it! But at that altitude it isn’t uncommon. As we got closer to Peshastin, once again it was rain and then tapered off to heavy cloud.

Steve met the shuttle and loaded my bags into his SUV. We went in to Cashmere and had a wonderful dinner. I chose the chicken pot pie, quite suitable for a cool and rainy day, comfort food.

I woke up in Leavenworth this morning and did something rather rare for me. I unpacked my suitcase and my backpack! Maybe it was the brilliant sunshine that inspired me, but I smile because I know that I am finally somewhere that I want to call “home” for a few months. 

 

Winnipeg Part 3

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Winnipeg Part 3

I arrived at Carolyn’s early Monday afternoon. She lives in an apartment in North Kildonan with a spectacular view from her twelfth floor balcony.

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We chatted away for hours. After all we had two years to catch up on. The next day we went out for lunch with our friend Brenda. The three of us met when we were doing physio at Concordia Hospital after having knee surgery five years ago.

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On Wednesday Carolyn and I went out to St. Vital Center. This is another tradition when I visit Winnipeg. Lunch at Moxies. My friend Joan also joined us.

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Thursday found us back at Concordia Hospital. Carolyn has recently had knee surgery again and was having physio. We had a short visit back at Carolyn’s after and then my son Kyle picked me up. I’m staying with him for the weekend before I fly out to Seattle.

He had a rec room built since my last visit and it is amazing. My son has been a fan of the San Francisco Forty-Niners since he was a child, and he now has his dream retreat in his home.

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I have begun the enormous task of sorting through photos and albums. It just isn’t practical to haul these heavy items along with me to Mexico or Washington, so I am selectively taking photos of photos. Quite emotionally draining as I recall when many of these were hanging on walls or displayed on shelves in another lifetime when I actually had a home here in Winnipeg.

I’m looking forward to spending Mother’s Day with Kyle and only wish that Kimmy were here too. 

Winnipeg Part 2

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Winnipeg Part 2

I can’t believe that a week has gone by already. On Thursday I moved again. Donna drove me to Audrey’s where I dropped off my suitcase. We visited over a glass of wine and then headed to my favorite Greek restaurant on the Corydon strip. I have been going to Nikos for years, and it’s always a must when I visit Winnipeg. The souvlaki and moussaka are outstanding, and I have yet to find Greek food in Mexico.

After dinner, our destination was a Immanuel Pentecostal Church for an event sponsored by Bridges For Peace, a Christian organization that supports Israel and promotes relationships between Christians and Jews. The featured speakers were fabulous and the two hour program felt more like two minutes.

On Friday Audrey took me out to the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery. It was a warm  and sunny afternoon. The flower beds were being prepared, and it was nice to have a real visit with my parents rather than virtual one which is the norm for me in Mexico.

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Our next stop was VJs Drive Inn on Main Street, another must when I come to Winnipeg. This is the home of the best chili burgers and most awesome fries. Lots of memories of coming here over the years when I lived in this city. We sat at a picnic table outside and I have fond memories of sitting on the hoods or on the trunks of cars when there were no picnic tables.

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Saturday was an incredibly special day. I had lunch with my son Kyle. He informed me that it was the first day off he has taken in almost four months. Because he is an accountant, the income tax deadline in Canada means he is deluged with work. His work as an auditor also finds him flying to Toronto today for a meeting with  client tomorrow. Later on this week I will be staying with him for a few days, and I am really looking forward to spending time with him. The main purpose of my trip is to spend Mother’s Day with him. Kyle despises having his picture taken, but I did snag this one and he won’t notice as he tells me he never reads my blog.

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Today promises to be a leisurely day and this evening I’m going out for coffee with another one of my friends. And then, you guessed it! Packing! Moving again tomorrow! 

Winnipeg Part 1

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Winnipeg Part 1

Back in Winnipeg. It’s been almost two years. I had an enthusiastic welcome from Immigration. Yep. Spot check. Searched my backpack, went through my suitcase, but surprisingly didn’t check my laptop. Tons of questions about what I’ve been doing for the past two years. And how long will you be in Winnipeg?????

And people wonder why I choose to travel to other places rather than return to Winnipeg regularly. Oh well…………..

Amazingly there was no snow on the ground when I arrived. Of course 15 degree heat wave in Winnipeg means nothing to me. I’m used to 30’s. But the sunshine quickly lifted my spirits.

David picked me up at the airport. For the first few days I’m staying with Donna and Loris in the Westwood area. I felt like I had come home when I stepped through the doorway. Although I talk to Donna on the phone often when I’m in Mexico, there is just always so much to talk about once I’m back. And it feels like we’ve never been apart. We went out for pizza that night and began our catching up.

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With no snow on the ground, the next day we decided to venture out for a walk with Tessa, Donna’s golden retriever. The path along Sturgeon Creek goes by Donna’s son’s home, so we picked up her granddaughter along the way.  Ella is a delightful four-year-old and was only too happy to ride her bike with us. Here is a shot of Donna along with Ella and Tessa.

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The water level was very low. I recall other years where the bridge going over the creek was flooded in the springtime. They have extended the walking paths for several kilometers and it was nice to see so many Winnipeggers taking advantage of the seasonably warm weather.

We went for a drive and I was astounded by the the growth and development of new housing and roadways in the city. Once desolate areas are now crowded with homes on small lots. The quiet area where I used to live now has condos and a higher volume of traffic. I wonder where all the people are coming from considering that population growth here is not really increasing.

Winnipeg is also home to a new outlet mall opening this week. I’d like to pass on that one. I’ll be back in the USA in a couple of weeks and I prefer to shop there. But for Winnipeggers this mall will be a big draw.

We went out for a drive to the north end of the city to a sprawling new grocery store that features a variety of ethnic foods. I checked out the Mexican section and chuckled at the Old El Paso products. But I do recall when I used to think this was real Mexican cuisine before I moved to Mexico.

I’m sitting here sipping hot cocoa in an attempt to warm up. While Winnipeg may think 15 is warm, to me it is cold. Loris went out to work in the garden in shorts. I’m inside bundled up in long sleeves and jeans. Yesterday Donna even turned on the gas fireplace in the family room for me!

It’s now three days later. How the time has flown by! I’ve had such an amazing time staying with Donna and Loris. I’ve enjoyed listening to Donna’s students when they come for piano lessons. Loris is retired and is quite talented in the kitchen. Here is a shot of him when he prepared some rosemary for me so that I could bake some bread. I had given Donna my breadmaker when I moved away, and nostalgically recalled that the last time I used it I had made rosemary bread for Thanksgiving a few years ago when Kyle and Krista had come over for dinner.

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I’ve enjoyed visiting with my friends. David and I had a relaxing Chinese dinner the other night.  Glenda, Ethel and I had lunch at Daily Grind yesterday. Last night Donna, Elinor and I went to a movie. And today I find myself once again packing! Later today I move from Westwood to Crescentwood and will be staying with my friend Audrey.

I will finally get to see my son over the weekend. He adores it when his mother comes back to visit during tax time. He’s an accountant deluged with work at this time of year, but unfortunately this is always the best time for me to come for a visit.

Stay tuned for Winnipeg Part 2.

 

It’s Fall…………My Favorite Season

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It’s Fall…………My Favorite Season

Until a few years ago, I lived in Winnipeg all my life and always took fall for granted. Summer was such a short season and I never really looked forward to fall. In fact, fall just meant that the warm weather had ended and that the snow was on its way all too soon. I never really took the time to appreciate the beautiful colors of the leaves. Last October I was in Toronto for a couple of days and it was absolutely delightful to hear the crunching of the leaves underfoot once again, a sound I hadn’t realized I had missed so much. 

Now that I’m in Leavenworth, I am taking the time to admire the magnificent colors as they change daily. Back in Mexico the vegetation is completely different and the only season that stands out is hurricane season due to the torrential rain. There are no gorgeous displays of colorful leaves. I am so mesmerized that I keep taking photo after photo of these beautiful leaves.

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I realize that summer has come to an end and I am determined to enjoy the fall season as I don’t know when I may have the opportunity to experience another one like this again. As for the snow, I hope to be back in Mexico before that arrives.

Still A Nomad

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Still A Nomad

I was talking to my son last night and he remarked that I am a nomad. Apparently what I consider a long period of time and what he considers to be a long period of time are miles apart. Fourteen months in Mazatlan to me is a long period of time. The move to Leavenworth for three months is a much needed change.

I glanced back over my blog posts and noted that I had already published Am I A Nomad back in January of 2014. And I have been on the move since then. Therefore I have titled this post Still A Nomad.

I actually did remain in the same house in Tlaquepaque until April of 2015. The plan was to visit my Mexican family in Culiacan and then fly to Winnipeg out of Puerto Vallarta. I was having a book launch for Alive Again and had a few medical appointments scheduled. Then I would return to Guadalajara.

While I was in Culiacan, I received a job offer in Mazatlan. So I decided to check it out. I stayed with a friend I hadn’t seen in years, and it was a great reunion. On the way to Puerto Vallarta, I spent a couple of days in Sayulita with a former housemate from Guadalajara.

Back in Winnipeg, my 10 days soon became five weeks. I stayed with my son and a variety of friends and lived in various areas of the city during that time. By the time I returned to Mexico, I’d been living out of suitcases for almost eight weeks.

I moved in with a family from Mexico and stayed there for 5-1/2 months. I then stayed with a friend for three weeks until I was able to move into a condo. I remained in the condo for eight months before arriving here in Leavenworth almost three weeks ago. I plan on staying here until sometime in October when I will return to Mazatlan for the winter.

I still haven’t found that perfect place yet where I might settle down. And I don’t know if I ever will. But it has been the most amazing experience traveling and moving around after spending decades in Winnipeg. Obviously there doesn’t appear to be any real stability in my choice of lifestyle unless you categorize change as stability. And that is an interesting thought to ponder as I sit out on the deck and enjoy this view:

View of 17th hole from the deck

 

 

Where Does The Time Go?

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Where Does The Time Go?

The other day I had lunch with friends who are returning to Calgary for the summer. They know I haven’t been teaching much and are amazed when I tell them that my first year here in Mazatlan has gone by so quickly. Whatever do you do with your time Karen? So it appears that it’s time to reflect upon what I’ve been doing.

Last year at this time I was back in Winnipeg. I was preparing for a book launch and I had a lot of loose ends to tie up so that I could return to Mexico for an indefinite period of time. My two week visit became five and I was more than ready to return to Mexico, especially when an unexpected snowfall graced us in Winterpeg.

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Living in Mazatlan is very different from living in Guadalajara. It is much hotter here and much more humid, although Guadalajara gets a lot of rain and some flash flooding. Mazatlan is a much smaller city and the air is much fresher. English is more common here, especially in certain expat areas. I actually have met people here who have lived here for years and do not speak any Spanish.

Because it is a smaller city, nothing is really far away. The traffic is lighter, and the roads are better as well. But the one big lure for me is the ocean. If Guadalajara had a beach, I’d still be there. I miss the museums, art galleries, parks and especially the canyon. But nothing compares with zipping along the Malecon here on a motorcycle with the wind blowing through your hair.

My friends have visions of me basking on a beach all day with a cerveza at my side. While I do make a point of going to the beach to relax, just the sight of the ocean from a bus window on a daily commute is calming and peaceful.  I teach, I write, I volunteer and even tried my hand at acting, but I most definitely do not lie on a beach all day long everyday.

I suppose you could say that my major focus has been on writing. I’m working on my third book and am writing fiction as opposed to self-help books. I belong to writers’ groups online. I also contributed to a book published here in Mexico extolling all the wonders that this country has to offer.

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At the moment I am only teaching private students. But I did find myself back in the classroom obtaining a CENNI examiner certification as well as a certificate to administer TOEIC exams here in Mexico.

I volunteer with Vecinos Con Carinos and La Vina. I also attended my first Friends of Mexico meeting this month.

I haven’t done too much traveling in Mexico. I went to Culiacan last September, Guadalajara in December and spent Christmas in Tototlan. My big trip was to Punta Cana in the Dominican for my daughter’s wedding last October. En route I spent a couple of days in Toronto.

I can’t believe I haven’t made it back to the aquarium yet. I went there a few years ago and it has expanded since. I also haven’t gone to Bosque de la Ciudad or to Stone Island yet. I also want to try out the ocean pool on the malecon.

Friends have introduced me to a multitude of restaurants and bars. And I have still have several on my list that I am eager to try.

But the best discoveries are all the beaches here in Mazatlan. Pueblo Bonito is fast becoming a favorite, although Olas Altas and Playa Bruja are also beautiful. These beaches are far less congested than the ones in Zona Dorada, and there are fewer hawkers to bother you as well.

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I checked out the art gallery here but it was pretty dismal compared with the galleries in Guadalajara. The Angela Peralta theatre is an elegant historic venue with a variety of plays and concerts to offer. And there was an abundance of entertainment on the streets during Carnaval and Semana Santa. Motorcycle Week featured four nights of bands and a fabulous parade. And of course fireworks are always part of any celebration.

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There are also markets featuring home-baked goods and crafts. The Plaza Machado has a weekly market and an abundance of restaurants. It was also the scene of celebrations during Day of the Dead and featured a parade.

The Malecon is an amazing stretch of about 20 km which I have yet to walk in its entirety. Beautiful statues, restaurants and bars on the beach, as well as artisans selling their crafts are found here. Benches are plentiful, and the view of the ocean, especially at sunset, is spectacular.

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My first year in Mazatlan is fast coming to a close, and I know that many more adventures await as I explore this coastal city. I’ve been hearing a lot about play readings……………………