Now that’s an ambiguous title for you, but you’ll see the point after reading a bit further. Many thanks to everyone who has written to ask how I am doing.
In some ways, my Canadian experience has been exactly what I figured it would be. I’ve reconnected with friends and family and met new people too. We have enjoyed concerts and dinners, morning cups of coffee and evening glasses of wine – we’ve spent hours talking and reminiscing. But there have been differences too. I’ve had little time to concentrate on the writing and painting projects I had planned. Scheduling phone calls with my family is a priority – I bless Telcel’s long distance phone plan, facebook, whatsap and Skype! Hearing each other’s voices sometimes seems vital to our family’s sanity. When I think back to how limited communication was during my first decades in Merida, I don’t know how my mom and I coped.
Fixing up my second-floor apartment has been fun – “decorating on a dime” – as my sister calls my forays through yard sales, craft markets and “vintage” shops. Re-cycling, re-using and re-purposing are trendy in BC. An original late-1940s watercolor, painted in San Miguel de Allende by Leonard Brooks is my absolute top find. Who knows what else I’ll unearth in the coming weeks?
San Miguel watercolor by Leonard Brooks
(A little aside… Born in England, Leonard Brooks served as a Canadian army artist during WW II, but once back in Canada, he did not find the art scene to his liking. He took his veterans’ pay and set off for sun-drenched San Miguel de Allende. There, he and his wife Reva lived for 60 years – they were founding members of the informal artists’ colony that is now a magnet for English-speaking expat creative types)
Filling out forms at government offices and grocery shopping are usually on my daily to-do list. I don’t buy much at a time because I’m not driving here, and I need to lug home whatever I purchase. But when I don’t have a heavy load, one of the best parts of every day is spent just walking around town, getting my bearings.
And even while I am occupied with some or all of the above, I ponder the changes in our lives. Truth be told, I feel overwhelmed quite a lot of the time. Before leaving Merida in June, people (who are wiser than me) warned that it would be like this. What are you talking about – thought I – I was born in Canada, I have family and friends. I’ll be like a duck landing on a familiar pond.
True enough. I was born here and my Canadian friends and family are wonderful. If I need anything – anything at all – I know I only have to ask. But I feel like my balance is a bit off. I am not a duck gracefully gliding onto the water – I am more like the deer I see all around me – staring wide-eyed as they bound from one veggie garden to the next.
And another funny thing. I spend a lot of time cleaning. I’ve always found that getting my exterior surroundings all shined-up puts my thoughts in order.
It feels strange without Jorge and the rest of my family. But he will be coming to Kamloops this fall and Carlos was here a couple of weeks ago. The smoke from the wildfires will be completely gone by the time Jorge arrives – we look forward to spending Canadian Thanksgiving and Halloween together.
I have my return ticket to Merida booked for December 11th. I joke that I’ll be like one of the Guadalupe pilgrims, carrying my torch all the way from Canada.
Changes in our Lives – I did not realize how prophetic my new blog’s name would be – changes aren’t easy or exciting all the time. But they are impossible to ignore. It is not always smooth sailing as our family adjusts to new circumstances, but a little voice inside my head keeps reminding me that over the years we have successfully weathered many storms.
And after all, change seems to be a constant for everyone. When we reflect on all we have experienced in our lifetimes – it boggles the mind, doesn’t it?