Duck or deer?

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?

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22 thoughts on “Duck or deer?

  1. Hi, I can’t open your latest post with the link. Perhaps it is just me. I’ll try again later. I’m in Germany and sometimes the internet is difficult here. I love your posts. Jane

    Changes

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  2. Joany, I can’t make the blog come through on wordpress. Just gives me “Now that’s . . . . . I am doing.”

    It’s never acted this way before. ????????

    Alice >

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  3. Great update Joanna and, of course, the deer are always beautiful:) Sorry we haven’t had more ‘talk time’ since you have been here but maybe we can connect one of these days. I’m going to be in Chelem for two weeks at Xmas so hopefully we can connect for a meal then at my new casa. Mama G. will be coming along and she asks about you often.

    All the best.

    Allan

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    1. Hey Allan… time differences make conversation a bit difficult, but you and your family are often in my thoughts. We will definitely have a day together over the Christmas holidays. Good luck with college start-up … and a BIG HUG to your mom.

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  4. Just booked my flight to Victoria for Oct. 1, and 3 months in an apartment hotel! Changes coming up with me as well.Lovely talking with you the other day!

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  5. Hello dear friend. Of course you have half of your heart there and the other half with us in Merida. You will learn to accept your new lifestyle. Enjoy both and know that you are loved and missed when you come and go. When i am hete i want to be there but in my case my security is here and I have accepted that. I will not be going back to the adult courses at the local college but will enroll in different ones for baking which I love. Summer has been fun and healthy. I thought Jorge would be with you by now but surely he must be worried at the beginning of a new semester. Take care, enjoy all and remember you are terribly missed by your gringa bestest friend.

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    1. Ah Kathy… I think of you often and how you would LOVE the walking here. Maybe next summer you will visit me? I am enjoying Kamloops and I will enjoy Merida when I get back… the best of both worlds. Thank you for your email today. I am always happy to hear from you. My love….

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  6. Oh My! Duck foie gras or Elk sirloins…I’ll take the duck…the other one looks like a deer in the headlights. Going home is not always easy but moving to a new country, as we have both experienced, is a big challenge. It’s not quite like riding a bicycle or playing the piano. Things have changed and so have we, but things work out in the end. Bi-coastal – puts you in a whole new ball-park of experiences. Check out my latest blog and see what your think.
    Best wishes – we miss you.
    The Merida Boys

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  7. Just to add another, “we miss you” to your impressive collection. I can’t imagine how your family pines to see you. On another note, as I realized years ago, you can’t really go back to where (or when) you were born. Canada, and my birthplace, Maryland, are different entities in so many ways from when we were growing up. In the case of central Maryland, it has moved from being a highly cohesive farming community where time was calculated in how many generations you and your family had farmed the land, a place where as a child you knew who lived in every house as you came home from school on the bus, to being an upscale bedroom community for Baltimore and Washington, DC. Parts of it are no longer recognizable to me. At this point, I would not be a duck or a deer, just a groundhog hiding in my burrough!

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    1. Thanks Chloe for your comment… I do miss everyone at home in Merida, and I know what you mean about the changes in our birthplaces. North Vancouver was a village when I lived there as a child… today it is trending… But Kamloops is a good fit for me. I think it about the size of North Vancouver in the 1960s. People are friendly and I can see there is lots I’ll get involved in over time. We go slowly…

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    2. I can well identify with what Chloe says as I grew up in a rural farming community where I knew who lived in every house in the township. Today when I visit my brother who lives in the “old homestead”, things have radically changed. The community remains the same in size but the cohesiveness that made the village a community is gone. With both parents working and driving distances to their jobs and the old church basement, town hall or orange hall no longer fit for events and the closest gathering place expensive to rent the old halcyon community way where everyone knew everybody is no longer. It is sad. My brother, who is a more gregarious person than I, does not know many who live in the village anymore.

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      1. All true… but if the old stomping ground is no longer a happy place for us, we have to find a new community. Merida has been that for you. I have found a wondrful community in Kamloops. I live right downtown and I walk everywhere. I talk to people and they all smile and talk back… I look out my window and see my lane… I am enjoying myself here. I think the BEST part is not having to drive… See you soon my friend.

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