Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Beauty

We are so blessed with where we live.  I say that, realizing that if I think about where I am from, I feel even more blessed.

Aside from the whole, living in Mexico thing.  I mean, we live right in front of a huge park.  When I go for a jog, the outside path if just under 5K.  It is a really lovely green space.

We often head out to the park for a walk, as it gets Ernie away from his computer and from sitting too much.

Last week we went with the precise intention of taking pictures to make a Christmas card.  Only to be told we weren't allowed to.  His reason? Professional picture taking was prohibited without a permit from the park office.

I guess we looked professional with the Canon camera and a tripod? Ernie wrote to the park and they apologized for the error.  They would give a clearer explication to their employees.

We headed out another day, this time without the canon camera, just our iPhones, and took more.  We had fun.  It was a beautiful day, the only kind Guadalajara has.  Here are some samples.



I think the pictures are both great.  We prepared for the above ones and just happened upon the bottom ones.  Gorgeous park.  God is creative and knows how to make a lovely day.




Christmas season is upon us.  Parties have begun.  I have one this Friday, ladies only.  One next Friday, ladies only.  And so it begins.  May we point others to the real reason for the season...Christ's birth...the arrival of our Saviour.


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

A little this and a little that...

Life is full of ups and downs.  Every day has good in it and often times a little not so good.  I think many things are one or the other, based on one's attitude or perspective.  Let me share some ups and some downs.

Let me add here that I am constantly amazed at how I view things as a Canadian, and how Mexicans view things.  So, these ups and downs can also have a cultural component to them.

Firstly, relationships.  Mexicans have a more up close and personal view of friendships.  If you notice someone didn't show up to the gym, you text to check on them.  If someone puts a comment in the chat, a response is needed.  Even if it's just a thumbs up, or a happy face {My sons chat group was discussing how annoying all the thumbs up/likes were, and to just quit it}.  My personal view would be very similar.  Here, if you don't thumbs up/like at all, in a chat, they want to kick you out of the group for not participating!

But, while that whole thing bugs me, their view of relationships is much appreciated.  I am often amazed that people notice my absence and that they check on me.  I love the care they take to nurture their relationships.
Y might have noticed that I 'breakfast' a lot. A very common event here, because relationships matter.  So you call, you participate in the chats, you emoji everything ...

  

Next is a negative, which from my side of the car is all about attitude, Ernie's not so much. When we get into our car to head out to an event, to go to the grocery store, or even to the gym, we are driving in a city of 4-7 million! So needless to say, traffic is chaos. I once made the comment that they have no traffic norms here.  They say they do ... they just don't follow them! 

We never have an uneventful drive.  There is ALWAYS someone doing something crazy.  Right hand turn from the extreme left lane! Running a red.  Stopping in the middle of the road. Wrong way on a one way.  Never mind using your blinkers, or just normal courtesy. 

That said, if you make eye contact, asking to do some such crazy thing, or even just so they let you in, just hand gesture, no worries.  It's all good, no horn honking.  Crazy. 

Ernie tends to get agitated and talks to the passing vehicles.  He gets a little hot.  Attitude.  I must admit, he drives 80 % of the time and he is always in a hurry.  Not sure why, as you are NEVER late in Mexico!

Lastly, is parties or celebrations. This is a huge attitude and perspective thing.  I think its great that they celebrate everything.  They love to have fun.  There is always great food, live music, or karaoke. Laughter and good times being had. 



Now it may look like great fun, celebrating friendship with a birthday party.  But add the mariachi music - insert loud. The whole loud music thing can get overwhelming at times.  It can be hard to converse.  That is the negative side (did you come to converse or party?). The other side is, they all know all the songs, so it's sign-along. Dancing and singing. They can go all night. It is fun to watch.  I am trying to learn to sing along, but I've got a ways to go.



The other thing that for me is a little tough...I am a morning bird.  These things start at 8 p.m. and go till the next day, 1, 2, 3 in the morning.  I am not at my best at that time.  I try to choose people who are like me in this aspect, who leave early...like 1 a.m. ish.  

The last thing I love here, now, is that I found me a great hairdresser. His salon is my happy place!





Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Chiquiada

We arrived in Guadalajara in early January. Coming from Manitoba, in January! Let's just say, we thought we had arrived in paradise. Sunny, warm and not windy!

We would head to the park, to go for a walk, and found most everybody in jackets, toques, and even mittens! WHAT?

I was told that people from Guadalajara are 'chiquiado'.  This was further explained to me.  If it gets just a little warm, they start taking clothes off and complaining about how "HOT" it is.  Then, when it gets just a little cool (read cold), they start putting clothes on.  Their hot/cold meter is just a little wacky!

We are entering 'winter' in Guadalajara! As you can see from the weather app for the week! So if you head to any clothing store..it is filled with sweaters, jackets and even mittens and scarves.

I was wondering if I should buy a jacket as it goes down to plus 11 at night! That's cold!

They thought our children were crazy, the first time they came...shorts and flip flops...IN DECEMBER.

Now, having acclimatized to this wonderful climate...I admit...much to my kids embarrassment...that when it gets down to 12 in the evenings, I put on a thin sweater.  I feel it - it's cool.  But when I see them wearing down jackets, I shudder.  They have tried to sell me sweaters...really! I am itchy just thinking of wearing that at 26 above.

When I tell them that it's snowing at 'home'; they ask if it's cold.  Well, what's cold?! They think that Canadians stay inside all winter.  That we don't go out when it's minus 30.  They get a confused look on their faces when I tell them that my son turns his truck on with his cell phone so he never needs to get in a cold vehicle. Or that my mom has a heated floor, that you can be barefoot inside the house even when is minus 30.  Normal is relative, as is hot and cold!

Soon everybody will start putting out their Christmas decorations.  I often laugh. Snowmen abound.  Signs about snow days... ...reindeer... lots of cold decorations.  Many have only seen those things in pictures.

I remember when my cousins visited Steinbach from Australia and said Canada needed a disclaimer.  I was confused.  Then said that in every movie, when it snowed, everyone went outside to make a snowman.  Only to find out that the conditions for making a snowman are exact...that not ALL snow could be make into a snowman!

So I shake my head and say... 'chiquiados todos'.  I would say...I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...but not true.  I love my daily weather challenges. 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Down Time in Nuevo Vallarta


This past weekend Ernie and I headed out to Nuevo Vallarta for two reasons... one was to relax, just the two of us, and the second one was to commemorate our 29th anniversary.  Not everybody makes it to 29 - so it is worth celebrating.  And what a view to do it by... ...

We stayed at an all inclusive, as I didn't want to cook, and it is just more relaxing.  We ate breakfast on the outside patio, supper in the various restaurants, and just relaxed.

The weather was hot, a little too humid, but hey, who's complaining?  Not I. Especially when I see the weather at 'home'.

Now, while we went to relax, our lives are always about people.  If you know Ernie well, add about a hundred to my number.  He can make friends on the elevator ride to the sixth floor!  He exchanges contact information wherever we go.

So, as you can well imagine, he made a few new acquaintances, and met up with old friends.  We had stayed at this same resort when our children came to visit.  Mike, our son, is very much like his father in this area.  Never met a person who couldn't become a friend.

It was nice to meet up with these friends, staff from the hotel, who we had all met prior to this visit.  For them to not only remember us but remember our kids...and smile!

To the right is Jiovany.  He is the supervisor at the hotel's restaurants, or the 'captain'.  On our first visit, we made friends with him (he is very similar to Ernie and Mike).  One night we had not signed up for supper. He said, no worries, come here and I will have a place for you.  He had set up a lovely table with rose petals, away from the other guests.

This year, we told him we would go for dinner in which ever restaurant he was in.  Then we told him we were celebrating our anniversary.  Once again, a table with flower petals covering it.  Our assigned waiter... his younger brother.

The other person we got to know was Suleica. She was/is a waitress.  She loved our boys because they were funny.  Every time she came for our beverage order, they would ask for 'agua de la llave' - tap water.  As a matter of fact when she saw us this weekend she asked about her 'primos' (cousins) - 'agua de la llave!'

The third friend left before we could get a photo of him - he was given time off as his wife was to give birth.  But he too, got a big smile when he saw us, and he asked about our kids.

I always say, treat everybody like royalty and they will have good memories of you.  Everybody is a potential friend.  A soul in need of a Saviour.  Make sure you bless every life you touch.  I at times forget that, as I am a little less of a people person.

The only drawback to this little trip ... the four hour drive to get there.  Half the way is okay, a 4 lane, divided road.  The last half is two lane, with bumper to bumper traffic.  If you get behind a slow truck or bus...patience is required.  This is something my husband is in short supply of.  Then one also has to watch out for the crazies who pull out to pass in a very dangerous area (most are).

I tell Ernie, don't miss the joy of the journey because you are too focused on arriving at the destination.  It is quite a lovely drive if you are not in a hurry.

As you can hear...he talks to the passing vehicles... ... :-)

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Sometimes you just gotta have fun...

Alejandra, Pati, and myself

Sunday was a time of just plain crazy mess fun! Every year ColorMeRad comes to Guadalajara and if a group goes, I go.  

See, I don't actually LOVE running but I enjoy doing things with people I love.  And, as you can see by the above photo, we have a lot of fun.


This is the group I ran with...John and Connie (who seem to enjoy running), Rick and Alejandra, Penny (they are all from Reimer's cell) plus Ale brought a cousin (who we had previously met) and a friend.  

The race is a short 5K, so its easy enough to run.  But they have several stations where they throw powdered paint at you and several where they have water pistols with coloured water. So you get wet and painted, as you can see by the picture.

We all started out together but we ended up running randomly, according to pace.  Then after tossing more paint at each other....

We headed out for more pictures, even posed with a bridal couple who were doing a photo shoot.  We ran after the couple and the photographers snapped pictures.  Fun.

They we headed out...out for breakfast.  

SO really the whole thing is about being together, having fun, and just enjoying one another.  Building friendships and community.


Just in case you were wondering...Ernie was there...but as the designated photographer...the whole dry paint/dusty air thing doesn't work for his allergies.  

We were celebrating our 29th year of marriage.  Fun anniversary date.

Actually we are headed to the ocean on Thursday for a weekend to get some much needed R & R.

Blessings.