Whew! You can say that again.

I6 month

The North and South Thompson Rivers merge in Kamloops


This morning I scrolled through the posts I’ve written since arriving in Canada. Pickings are slim – there has been a lot going on, and I’ve not had a lot of time to blog.

Living in Kamloops and living in Merida are as different as you can imagine. Both places have their own beauty, and their own challenges.

Merida is hot and humid for much of the year, but the winter months are glorious. The city lies just 30 kilometers from the Gulf of Mexico and the topography is flat as a pancake. My garden is lush and tropical. Kamloops is cold and dry in the winter, but during the summer months, the days are long and lovely. It is far from the ocean, but a string of lakes are close by. Sage and Ponderosa pine cover the surrounding hills.

The ancestral people who settled in the Kamloops area, called it, T’kemlups, which means, “the meeting of the rivers”. Indeed, right alongside downtown Kamloops, two major rivers join – the South Thompson, flowing from the warm interior – and the North Thompson from the frigid high mountains. The merging causes the water to rise and spill over the banks to form Kamloops Lake. Later the lake narrows and becomes a river again. A few hundred miles further downstream, the Thompson River meets the Frazer River in a gorge called Hell’s Gate. After a series of deathly rapids and undertows, the mighty river calms and meanders its way west until it reaches the Pacific Ocean.

Oh the parallels I could draw from this tale of two rivers! I lived fulltime in Mexico for more than 40 years. Through my family life and my involvement in the community, I grew to feel at home there. Nonetheless, memories of my Canadian home and that identity never left me. Most of the time, the loyalties I feel to both Canada and Mexico harmoniously coexist. Nonetheless, there are occasions when my emotional equilibrium feels like “Hell’s Gate”.

A bicultural life has its share of turbulence – my decision to live in Canada for half the year created a good deal of inner conflict. But after three months here in Kamloops, I think my two “halves” are fusing again. I feel strong and peaceful.

And guess what? Even though my Canadian stay is not finished, I will be traveling to Merida for two weeks. I have some paperwork to look after and I long to see Jorge, Carlos and Maggie. I want to swim in my pool and see how my garden is growing.

Jorge will fly back to Vancouver with me, and before his return flight to Mexico, we’ll spend Thanksgiving, Halloween and Dia de Muertos with each other.

Changes in our Lives – Whew! You can say that again.


Published by Changes in our Lives

I am originally from Canada but have lived in Mexico since 1976. My husband is from Merida, Yucatan and we raised our family here. We both worked for many years at Tecnologia Turistica Total (TTT), the tourism, language and multimedia college we founded for local and international students. Now retired, we enjoy spending time with family and friends, My other interests include spending time with freinds, reading, painting, cooking and travel.

8 thoughts on “Whew! You can say that again.

  1. Two weeks will hardly give you enough time to visit with all of your friends here in Merida, but I hope we will have a chance to say hello and share a glass of wine. My new book, D.G. Heath Mystery Collection, will be out next week. The first story, Double Martini, is dedicated to you. I hope you are still writing while in Canada. There is so much there to write about. How about “Return to Roots” – A Memoir.
    Your family and friends here have missed you.


    1. How lovely David… I can’t wait to see your book! I am writing, but in a limited way. I have been busy settling in hre and getting to know the place. I know I won’t have time to see everyone when I am in Merida, but come December, I will be home for a long stretch… If we don’t manage to catch up now, we will then. A big hug to you and John.


  2. On the coast, for the Family, it is more the flow of the sea, rather than rivers. Salt Spring Island, on the other side of Sansum Narrows, is like Maple Bay was 60 years ago. The Gulf Islands are the closest to ‘going back’ that I could find. Duncan and the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island have marched on. Out of the 100 members of the lawn bowling club, I think I am now the only one who was born and grew up in the the Cowichan Valley. There were two of us, but the other one got voted out (for the second time in 20 years) last fall. The gentrified in-comers felt no need to accept his differences. Growing up in Maple Bay, way back when, everyone was eccentric – I just thought that was normal, that all people were like that.
    When I lived in Alberta, I was accepted in the mountains, I worked hard and I was capable and reliable; in Calgary, I was always an outsider tripping over obstacles in the then puritanical way of life. In the late 60’s in Montreal, I was without doubt part of ‘les anglais’, there was no choice in the political climate of the day. One day I asked one of Mark’s French Canadian co-workers in the weather office, why he would drop in for coffee after work, but we were never invited back. He replied that in his neighbourhood he couldn’t be seen fraternizing with the English. In Ontario, most of our friends, although living across the country for varying times, originally came from west of the Ontario-Manitoba border. Canada does have an ‘East is East and West is West’ mentality. Despite what many people say, you can flow back and forth, as long as you accept that you are formed by both parts, and can follow the changes of both parts.


    1. Well said Alice. Eccentricity is a gift… what a shame people do not see this. Being eccentric offers an escape from boredom, self-importance, and selfishness. On the other hand, conforming to society makes those qualities all too common. Unfortunately, the gentrified invasion happens all over… but what are you going to do? You are a wonderful example of woman who knows herself and celebrates her age, abilities and place in the world. I am so lucky that you’re my auntie.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Joanna, what a joy to share in your insights. Grateful for whenever you are able to blog.

    Your post reminded me of that Ugandan proverb, “Where two rivers meet, the water is never calm.”

    Or, as Garth Brooks sings in “The River”:
    “Trying to learn from what’s behind you
    And never knowing what’s in store
    Makes each day a constant battle
    Just to stay between the shores”

    Here’s to not resisting change in our lives! (Because it sure is tempting to do!) Thank you for the continued inspiration. And motivation.

    “Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tide.” —Garth Brooks


    1. Hello Harold, I have been offline for a couple of days and only just saw your comment… what interesting quotes and comments. Another friend of mine, Aline, says that country & western lyrics contain some of the best metafores… your quotes from the Garth Brooks song sure prove that point. Thank you for commenting… “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
      ― Jalaluddin Rumi

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank for the Rumi reminder, Joanna. Very timely. At a crossroads right now between the two. Best to “let it begin with me” as another song lyric goes. (Feels much more peaceful!) Grateful.


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