Celebrating A Calgarian Tradition In Mexico – Yeeh ha!!!!

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IMG_1018My last post was about the Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.  Well with the help of some amazing people we decided to bring a little of that tradition south to Mexico.

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This is me (in black, red hair) with my expat-gals,  thank goodness for Sam’s Club!

We thought a “Stampede Breakfast” which is a HUGE DEAL in Calgary would be fun to celebrate with our office in San Juan Del Rio.   everyone has been working hard and a break would be fun.   So we made a plan, invited all employees with spouses and children, bought food, gifts/hats/bandannas, entertainment and gathered a few cooks.

The day began early, I mean 6:00am….. my amazing neighbour Edda, my beloved husband and bless the other early risers who started preparing breakfast before the others arrived for a 7:30 am meal.  Pancakes (banana & blueberry), with real maple syrup brought from Canada in our suitcases,  bacon (turkey too), eggs with chorizo (so delicious), juice and coffee.  Unlike Stampede in Calgary NO BOOZE!

Every guest was given a Cowboy hat and bandanna, breakfast, DJ and even a bull to ride.  I LOVE the Mexican spirit, any reason to have a party/fiesta.  The event was a blast,  even the boss rode the pretend bull.

Here are some pic’s of the event ……

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Oh oh oh,  which hats to buy, they are all so cool!

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Edda & Ken flipping pancakes and they were delicious!IMG_1184Preparing the delicious combination of food!  Thank you Karla & Janett

IMG_1185 The best dressed couple goes to Ernst & ElisabethIMG_1207 My buddy OctavioIMG_1208 Uh oh, trouble!IMG_1262 Happy facesIMG_1264 IMG_1265Winner of the best Mexican/Stampede outfit.

IMG_1275 IMG_1376 IMG_1295 Riding the bull, way to go FernandoIMG_1364 GuapoIMG_1031

 

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The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth/Come Hell or Highwater

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Calgary Stampede was long ago named “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth” and after this past June/July I totally agree.  Not because of a over the-top,  glittering, or huge numbers of people event but the fact that there even was A STAMPEDE!

Anyone who watched the news during June and July 2013 was well aware of the devastation Calgary endured due to flooding.  I was one who stayed glued to my computer (in Mexico) watching daily events unfold and feeling helpless to do anything.  I arrived in Calgary in late June and I will never forget the view from the airplane.  The farmland below looked like hundreds of little lakes and then the overflowing rivers were surreal.  i have never seen devastation,  the power of water,  the dirty filthy sludge that annihilated  everything in its path. Rich, poor, old, young the wrath of the water chose all.  Many areas of the city and far worse outside of Calgary were totally ruined or vanished.  The ever famous Stampede grounds were underwater including inside the Saddledome (up to the 10th row I believe), and only one week before Stampede was to begin.

Twice in a matter of a few days,  I was totally overwhelmed with pride for Calgary!!!!  The city stood and pulled together to clean, assist, feed, rip apart, donate, drive, care for anything it could possibly do to help others.  Two young men I know (Ben & Richard) gladly gave of their time to wade through waist-high water and clean out people’s homes.

COME HELL OR HIGHWATER!!!!!  The show will go on, was the slogan adopted by Calgary Mayor and Calgarians certainly did.  The Stampede opened until cloudy skies but NOTHING could damper the “Spirit of Calgarians”.  Yes, the numbers were down, weather not the best and some of the buildings closed but WOW, truly astonishing.

Here are a few of my pics.  Thank you Calgary and for your amazing strength & spirit!

DSC_7358 DSC_7341 DSC_7367Flooding along the Bow River

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Getting geared up for the Parade and the GREATEST OUTDOOR SHOW ON EARTH

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Watching the parade I was overwhelmed with the enthusiasm.  There was a young man  from China standing beside me,  he was so happy to be part of the Stampede.

DSC_7815 DSC_7838 DSC_8541Below are 2 photo’s of my friend Karla who is from Mexico and enjoying her first Stampede,  look at that smile!!

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COME HELL (IT DID) OR HIGHWATER (MORE THAN IMAGINEABLE) THE SHOW WENT ON!

O (Oh) Canada!!!!!!

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This past July I travelled back to Calgary to visit family and friends.  I also had a great time celebrating Canada Day (July 1st)!!!!!  I am proud to be a Canadian,  I love Canada but in the past have never participated in Canada Day events.

This year I read about “The Living

It was ……..  I overheard a lady speaking spanish and of course I had to meet her,  since i am currently living in Mexico and speak a limited amount of “Spanglish”.  She explained that she was visiting from Colombia but is now living in Spain and was so happy to be part of this event.  I say so, she was dressed in full Canadian regalia and bless her enthusiasm!!!

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As we assembled to create this flag I became overwhelmed with gratitude for everything I have and the feeling of being proud of Canada but also happy for the life I now have in Mexico.  When everyone stood and sang “O Canada” tears ran down my face,  tears of happiness and I was not the only one.

I had such a wonderful time watching people and snapping away with my camera.  So here is how I captured the event.

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Look at all the people !!!!!

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This is my buddy Ela and me :),  what a great time we had.  If you are in a city who participates and you are feeling patriotic we highly suggest this event!

Look What I Found?!?!

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IMG_0914Good morning to me,  this is what I found on my dining room floor.  Wow, that was a first for me, never ever in my house have I seen anything remotely like this!  It is a precaution to have your home fumigated every 3-4 months here in Mexico and mine was last Friday.

Well…. I opened the patio door and the guy scurried outside.  Thank goodness.  Now I need to find out what kind of spider he was and also is he dangerous?  Anyone know????

Karma – Fate – Whatever?!? I Say Perfect Timing!!!

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I love the colour and details!

I love the colour and details!

Since I returned from Canada,  I have been somewhat uninspired to write on my blog.  Settling back into a “routine” and also having small renovations in my home has left me blank!

I have not been working with my students, trying my best to “teach” (which I am not) english.  I have questioned are they even interested or why should I continue.

Literally….. sitting here in front of my computer with these questions and my two dogs begin barking because there is someone at my front door.  8:30 in the evening and there before me is Eduardo, one of my shyer but eager students.  He has gifts for ME, pictures/art he has created.  I want to cry,  what a surprise!

I explain to him,  that tomorrow in class we are going to bake cookies.  A learning experience in so many ways for all of us, time, temperature, ingredients, working together, etc.  Eduardo is so happy and excited but myself even more.  This could not have happened at a more perfect time!!!!! Gracias Eduardo.

What do you think?

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Why I Choose To Travel ……..

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In my last post I expressed my feelings concerning air travel and the problems.  However,  I do feel the positive out weighs the negative.  Every year, (normally in July) I return to where I grew up, Picton Ontario Canada.  A small town of 4,000 in Southern Ontario about 2 hours east of Toronto.  Picturesque, quaint, friendly and my family.  My mom and my sister live there but my bro and his lady live north of Toronto.

This visit was to surprise my Mom for her 70th birthday,  which she was.  I arrived at her home 8:30 am.  She had NO idea and was so happy!  the photo above is me stopping along the 401 freeway at 7am for a needed coffee (30 hours no sleep).  The photo below is Mom and I.

IMG_0183Another reason I love to travel, is to see my sister Fay.  Fay is 1 year younger and severely handicapped.  She cannot feed, groom or clean herself and lives in a group home.  She gets to visit my Mom 3 days a month (overnight) with the assistance of some amazing “red cross” women.  Bless their hearts, they work very hard!  It was by chance that Fay was visiting during my time there.

IMG_0138Words cannot express the feelings I have for my sister.  She has been a blessing an inspiration in my life.  There have been numerous times she has been so sick and we had prepared ourselves for the worst.  Somehow-someway and certainly for some reason she is here.  I believe to show us strength, compassion, love and faith.

IMG_0142Fay being lifted by a harness after sitting and hugging me xo.

IMG_0124Fay’s favourite colour is red, so I brought her a traditional blouse from Mexico.  So pretty!

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This is what happens when she gets excited, her big toe always curls up, ha ha ha.

IMG_0178Another reason…… Oh my God, the lilacs the smell is divine.

This week has been so good.  I have spent quality time with Mom and Fay and in 2 days I shall be heading home to Mexico.  I will return in July ……. “Girl-time”,  this is when us 3 sisters celebrate our birthdays, July7/8/18th.  Our poor bro Charles, his is in January but he celebrates with us.

I hear lot’s of different stories about “families” some good some not so much.  Every family has difficulties and challenges but also love and I would not change mine for the world!

I love you Mom, Fay, Kim and Charles.  Ken, Talia, Jason.  Laura, Kura. Lori & Hubert.

The Joys Of Air Travel (Or Not!!!!)

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IMG_0116Okay,  here I sit waiting not so patiently for my flight.  The Air Canada flight was supposed  to leave at 6:30 pm.  Once we boarded (late) and were seated we were told there was a problem, with one of the screens.  I am not at all sure what that means but better safe than sorry.  A mechanic replaced the part, 3/4 of an hour late we were set to go.  Taxing down the runway we almost made it however no such luck.

Sorry folks we need to return another problem, not good.  30 minutes later we were asked to disembark and given a 10.00 food voucher.  Thanks Air Canada/United for your generosity but now all the food kiosks are closing and people are getting upset.

So…… here I sit with a stale chicken sandwich, a bottle of water and my trusted computer.  It could always be worse but I sure would like a glass of wine right about now.

Weekend Away With My Baby …….. Not In Tequis. Anymore

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IMG_0099I am sitting in the Houston Airport thinking about this past weekend with my daughter Talia.  We decided to meet in Houston for a girl’s weekend.  By now, you all know I live in Mexico but she dwells in Canada.  More or less halfway.

My favourite hotel in Houston is the “Houstonian”, old school class!  From the moment we arrived until we left the service was excellent, could not have been better.  I love the hotel not only for the service,  the surrounding grounds are lovely, (outdoor track around the entire hotel grounds), the gym is HUGE, the pro shop is excellent (clothing).  I have to mention Herman who runs the proshop, God bless his soul, that man is such a character.  He knows each and every person who enters and makes them feel special.  He kept calling my daughter sugar dumpling.

The Olivette restaurant is very good, we ate dinner and 2 lunches there.  We also had a drink at the bar, which was busy that evening.

This trip was my daughters first time to Houston and I was not sure if she would like it.  We both met amazing people who are truly kind and caring.  Many amazing experiences took place and they kept getting better.

I also must acknowledge the staff at the spa, wow those ladies are terrific.

Talia and I both left with a sense of how blessed our lives are and you certainly get what you give out.  Positive energy!!!!

Now, I sit and wait for my flight.  Not back to Tequisquiapan but Toronto.  It is my dear Mother’s 70th Birthday she has no idea I am going to surprise her.  So if you see her DO NOT tell her.

Health & Happiness

IMG_0058 Number 6 for me 🙂IMG_0051IMG_0060Matching tattoos, my daughter organized this.  “Fly me to the moon” – Frank Sinatra.  This was in honour/loving memory of my Mother in law who passed away one year ago, her favourite song and it was also played at her funeral.  We kept hearing it during our trip?!?

IMG_0046Scorpion Tattoo-Westheimer Rd. Houston, go to Little Gabe.

IMG_0042 IMG_0037Carrot cake and shrimp at Truluck’s restaurant.  This carrot cake is HUGE, enough for 4 people but so decadent and delicious.

IMG_0112Herman and Talia, he runs the proshop and is a doll.

IMG_0033My youngest of two kids, I have 2 amazing gifts.  Talia and Jason xoxox

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Finally, can someone please explain to me why the heck you would put these on your car?????? Dangerous, I think so.

Family Visitor!!!!!!

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DSC_6361I have been living in Tequisquiapan, QRO Mexico for 8 months.  I love it, Tequis. is a quaint, relaxed pace, safe pueblo.  However I am not fluent in Spanish so there are times when it feels isolated and lonely especially when your husband works a lot.  Above is my sister Kim and her man Rich.  They could only stay for 3 days but hey any time together is great.  It was Kim’s first visit to Mexico and she was smitten.  I know they will be back.
DSC_6368 DSC_6373 Tequis. has lot’s to offer and of course me with a camera, there are always photo opportunities.DSC_6376 The Happy Cow – Cheese shop, how to decide???????DSC_6382 Chico waiting patiently for a cookie from Rich.DSC_6389 DSC_6392 DSC_6396 Some shots of Tequis. lot’s of colours.DSC_6400 Shopping at the Artisan Market,  look at the ceiling of the building below, amazing.DSC_6402 DSC_6409 Hats, hats, hats.  Below, Kim at another market in Centro.DSC_6412 DSC_6418 I had to introduce them to “Banderra”, lemon juice-tequila-sangrita.DSC_6455 Chico waiting for me :).DSC_6457 San Miguel de AllendeDSC_6470 DSC_6475 DSC_6484 Mexican eggs and a margarita, yum.DSC_6498 A wonderful little bakery across the street from Sazon, mirror view.DSC_6503 I love this shot of Kim, such a wonderful sister.DSC_6514 Beautiful doorsDSC_6542 We ate delicious tarts from the bakery, while watching this couple dance in the main square.DSC_6555 details of another door.DSC_6620 Rich wanted to take the doors back to Duluth, sorry no!DSC_6637Time for a cocktail at the rooftop bar at the Rosewood Hotel.

Purpose – Part Two, Update

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DSC_6330It finally all came together!  Our group of Expats Ladies were able to co-ordinate the toy/school supply donation drive.  Large boxes were set up in 2 field offices and Mexico City, also a letter was distributed to employees explaining the event and what we needed.  There were approximately   70 students at the school age ranging from 6-12 years however we did not the details of specific ages and gender.

DSC_6331I was also given a substantial amount of money from employees,  to purchase more toys.  What fun!!!!!!!  Toys, books, games, art supplies etc all for “The Day of the Child”.

DSC_6340I was quite overwhelmed with the generosity from the people in the office in San Juan Del Rio but the very best part was receiving “after photo’s” from the school.  There was one photo of a little girl happily holding a new doll – that makes it worthwhile!

DSC_6350Not sure if these items were delivered by helicopter or van???