Posted by: gljcm2 | December 20, 2012

CAN WE EVER HELP ENOUGH

Sometimes its hard to accept the differences between cultures. Like foreigners who come to Canada we might think we know what is best for someone else’s country. And so we try to make those changes. I was thrilled to get my 1st garbage can purchased, painted and put out on a corner. People are using it already. Perhaps there will be less litter on the street. I look forward to returning and offering English classes in Jan. Knowing English can help these people get better jobs makes this an important change.

But yesterday when I left for Canada my heart broke! I stopped at one of my neighbors – a very poor family with two little boys. They are only poor because the dad doesn’t want to work. However, its his wife and children who suffer because of this. So I asked him to clean up the weeds in front of my house for me. It was a short job and not too difficult. Before I left for the airport I stopped by to pay him.

When I called his name two beautiful little boys came running to greet me at the gate. They are 2 and 3 years old. Despite their dirty little faces and hands, blonde streaks stand out in their dark hair that curls at the ends. Big smiles covered their faces as they saw me. I asked them where there mom was and they told me she was gone. And so I asked for the dad. He was gone too. This 2 and 3 year old were home absolutely alone.

This is only the most basic of homes. Concrete walls, one main room, no fridge that I know of, no stove. I have seen them cook their supper over a fire. Their yard is all dirt and they share it with 4 very hungry dogs and a goat. There are lovely green trees for shade, and they each have a little riding toy. In the back they often burn branches and other garbage. I thought I had smelled smoke from their fire earlier.

But their they stood at the gate, home totally alone. I had no idea how long they would be like that. How or if they would find lunch in half an hour. Someone suggested maybe the dad went to the next town to hunt through garbage. Sometimes they find things they can sell. Perhaps mom was cleaning at someones place. It didn’t sound like she would be back soon and somehow she has to provide food for these children.

It killed me to say goodbye and leave them. Their little fingers were meshed in the chain link fence and their beautiful brown eyes stared through the holes. I wanted so badly to stay and be with them. They couldn’t get out because of the chain link fence. Nor could I get in. But as I walked away down the dirty dusty Mexican road getting closer with every step to Canada where we know this happens sometime, but we are so unlikely to see it, my heat was crying. Suddenly it seemed like a garbage can or an English class was so small.

But is it? Every little step, every time we reach out and make one small difference it makes this world a better place. Now I am aware these children are left alone. Perhaps in January I can help make a difference there. I hope so. Its not the first and it won’t be the last time they’ve been left that way. But each little step is one step closer to creating our loving world.

Posted by: gljcm2 | December 15, 2012

CHANGING THE WORLD ONE STEP AT A TIME Garbage Cans

The push is on in Bucerias this year to make it a cleaner, friendlier place. On the tourist side of town there has been a huge work action taking place to clean up the streets using machinery donated by the government and labor volunteered by the people. Its wonderful to see so many Mexicans and gringos out working together to enhance our community. (excuse my word gringo, but its hard to find a word that fits. We are all Americans, North Americans; we all live here for varying lengths of time; so what term is appropriate??? )

Over on the Mexican side I am also trying to do my part. Two weeks ago Bob was out cleaning the garbage on the street corner when I came home from choir. I suggested he let the 4 kids watching him help. They were thrilled to join in. Four bags later the street looked so much better, but three days later the garbage bags were once again torn open by the dogs and garbage strewn about. While the garbage pick up in Bucerias is wonderful, there is a huge lack of garbage cans.

After a search I have now purchased 2 metal barrels – one for each corner of my street. Hopefully they will stay there and not be taken as people do come by in the night and steal them sometimes. They are old barrels, but I will paint the street address on them in bright orange letters and hopefully this will reduce some of our problems. I’m really excited about this. When people see others creating change in their communities hopefully more people will become active as well. Looking forward to a cleaner friendlier street in my little part of paradice too!

Posted by: gljcm2 | December 14, 2012

LEARNING MY LIFE PATH

Our ChurchAnyone who knows me really well knows that I have struggled for a long time finding my way. When I taught, led choirs, coached gymnastics, had my children, my marriage, my family close by, life was simple and somewhat predictable. But when those things end, change, leave – sometimes we are left with a huge void. And as a result, for a long time I have asked

WHAT AM I HERE FOR? WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE MY LIFE MEAN SOMETHING? HOW DO I REGAIN MY FOCUS?

This fall I began a journey… a quest. I will create the focus that is needed to create the life I long for. And an important part of that is my desire to know what God has in store for me. What is my mission in this life that he has set for me.

Here in Bucerias I am creating the supports and the environment where that life will begin to evolve. My new relationships at La Fuente will support me in making a difference in Mexico as part of a larger family rather than on my own as I used to do. There are so many areas for involvement and at this time, my heart is leading me into projects that will use my gifts and talents to make a difference in God’s world. I realized years ago that was my mission in life… my reason for being. And now I am once again putting it into action.

Lord, help me to follow the path you set for me. Please bring the people into my life who will support me, who will allow me to touch their lives as they touch mine. Our major role here on earth is to love… as you love us. Let me be a vessel that shares your love each day. I ask this in Jesus’ name.

Today my focus is on my current projects:
1. To purchase the 2 garbage cans for my street corners so that our neighborhood can be clean and welcoming. To show the children that when we show respect for mother nature by keeping her clean we are serving others.

2. To create my Life Rocks and have them used for the missions to give people a physical symbol of our love for each other.

3. To plan for teaching English in January. and that God will show me where the need is – English for the children or for the adults. I know both need it, but where can I make the greatest difference.

4. To do my best on Sunday as I direct our Christmas Choir. Finally, 13 years after sickness let to the end of my teaching and my involvement in music, I joined a choir and began to use my voice to sing again. Who would have known that I would end up directing. Such fullness back in my heart.

4 Bags of Garbage picked up in the neighborhood

4 Bags of Garbage picked up in the neighborhood

Life Rock Peace Pax

Life Rocks Love Amor

Life Rocks   Love on one side; Amor on the otherKeep it in your pocket close by or on a shelf to remind youthat love is an important power in our lives.Life Rocks Gratitude

Posted by: gljcm2 | August 31, 2012

Two years away… how the time flies

Ahhh the time has flown by and this Mariposa has forgotten to write. Two years since I last wrote at a time when I was living in Lacombe, learning to be on my own for the first time in 27 years. It was not an easy time, but change never is. Life is very different today. I have a wonderful relationship with Garry, but we no longer are together as a couple. My kids who are now 25-31 are living their own lives and have come to “accept” our separation. This was very difficult for them. So many thought we had the “perfect” marriage; if anyone was going to make it, we would. Fortunately we are still best friends and talk weekly. I am so grateful for that.
I have a new partner in my life and it is wonderful that he has also come to know and respect Garry as a friend. We are able to enjoy family celebrations all together – what a joy that is. It allows each of us to be who we are and not to miss out on special times and moments in each other’s lives.
I still travel to Mexico for six months each year, but last year I went only for two weeks as my brother was fighting cancer. It was a year of family time, special moments, of learning to live with some tears and alot of laughter. He showed us how to live every day and to accept his diagnosis; how to stay strong and treasure the time we have. In January, cancer took his life, but it also led to a family bond that was stronger than ever before.
This year when I return to Mexico it will be bittersweet, remembering why I wasn’t there last year, and knowing that I have my Casa Mariposa because of that brother. He supported my dream and helped make it possible.
And so, I hope to begin writing again. Perhaps to explore a little the events of the past year, but more importantly to explore what is important now in my life and in the world. Perhaps a new focus…. the mariposa is returning….

Posted by: gljcm2 | August 31, 2012

On the Road Again May 26, 2007

26 May 2007

Current mood:energetic

Here I am back in Los Angeles!!! Not the least bit sad to leave Alberta and the 16cm of snow we just received. And this is May 26th??? They call this spring? Actually the air felt so cool and clean, but the poor trees took such a bashing. Just think, even nature hurts nature. It’s all part of life.

I arrived in LA with shoulder breaking luggage all out of love for my sweet girl, Carissa. Her scuba gear, which I was bringing down to her, was in a bag weighing 59.8 pounds. Whoa… can’t get much closer to the 60 pound weight limit for checked baggage than that. Her laptop bag weighed 22 pounds… again the absolute limit for carry on. This girl must think she has traveling down to perfection. Course if mom’s carrying it, she really does!

So… a week in LA. A week to enjoy the warmth, lots of walking and meet up with my baby girl for a couple days. Will be wonderful to see her back from Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Tasmania. A quick visit though and then off to Catalina for her to teach scuba diving and back home for mom…. with ALOT less luggage!

An exciting week lies ahead. Perhaps a visit to the Holocaust Museum, an oppoortunity to see the Magic Castle, and who knows what else will arise. I’m happy and open.

Have a wonderful day!

Linda

Posted by: gljcm2 | October 6, 2010

Back in the Cocoon October 6, 2010

Our lives are ever changing. Some changes are smaller; some bigger, and some revert to what we’ve always been.
Today I take another step on the path of change. For two summers I have lived in a special little place in Lacombe that I have created for me. It has been my cocoon – yes once again a cocoon has held me while I grew inside waiting to come forth once more as the butterfly I know I am. My little house has been a sanctuary. It’s a rental house Garry and I own, and my space has been the main floor. I furnished it with furniture and things I found on the internet, personalizing it, making it home. Its walls sheltered my tears, my learning, my joy, my new experiences. It gave me shelter but my kids wouldn’t come visit; it gave me a place where Garry and I could still work together in a different way than we had for the past 28 years. It allowed us to learn that we can be apart and still love one another; help each other; and be who and what we need to be with the other’s support.
Every day is different… some free, others painful. Its truly a time for one day at a time.
It has not been easy – far from easy. The pain of leaving is something that no one will ever understand. The hope that things would improve in our marriage was never realized and that pain was debilitating at times. I feel like I have been wearing an invisible coat of sorrow that covers my arms and soul, ready to appear at any time.

Posted by: gljcm2 | March 15, 2010

Disallusioned in Mexico

I am frustrated tonight, a little angry and somewhat scared. It has been a very different year here in many ways. But the hardest part is feeling that I have been victimized too many times. For me, this is hard to admit, for I have always believe in the good of people.
Those who know me well believe I trust too much. My heart is open to help those in need. I have always acted on the belief that when we are kind to others we see so much good in the world. But this year, having had my wallet stolen in December and my laptop stolen from my house in January, my faith in people has been somewhat shaken. I recognized my responsibility (or lack of) when my wallet disappeared; I am much more careful now about my purse when shopping at Mega and other places.

When my laptop was taken, it was a whole new learning curve. This time I had welcomed people into my home, bought them medicines, groceries, watched their son only to have my laptop disappear the day after they were in my house. I believe they took it to pay for their rent, although they say they did not. It has never been found. I no longer invite people into my house.

But tonight when my neighbor came to the door to tell me my water meter had been stolen, which also means that I cannot get water from the town, I was totally shocked. WHY would anyone want my water meter? It turns out that these can be sold for 100 pesos – $8.00 in a new by town. Why? I have no clue. but today someone came down our street and stole the meters for my friend who have the laundry, my neighbors across the street, and mine. It means that we must now contact the water company in Valle and wait to have them replaced. I do not know yet if I will have to pay for the replacement.

The bottom line is my disallusionment. I am not naive. I know bad things happen to good people. However, as I spend my time here working with the children, offering food to those who come to my door, and being friendly to all I meet, it hurts when someone disrespects the things that are important to me. Could this happen in Canada? Yes… but the fact is that it has not. Could it happen that I might have 3 incidents in 4 months as i have here? Perhaps… but again it has not.

It is possible to allow this to affect my feelings about living here. I don’t want it too, and I will attempt to just move forward, but i wonder how often one can have these setbacks and not give up.

Tonight I am just feeling disallusioned. Tomorrow is another day. I just hope that something good will happen too…. I could use that.

Posted by: gljcm2 | March 13, 2010

Ahhhh, My Mexico

Ahhh my Mexico, you are so beautiful, funny, eye opening, and delightful. You are not the Mexico of the hardworking tourist who arrives for a week to luxuriate in an all inclusive. You are the Mexico of the people…. the Mexico that welcomes those with a sense of adventure, intrigue, and a love of learning into the lives of those who really live here. You are the Mexico that tests my openness, challenges my adaptation, and frees me to be me in all things.

The BIG BLACK CRITTER entered my life today and disappeared just as quickly, scurrying under my bed, afraid of me, as I was of him! What was he???? Who knows, but as he hid under my head, I climbed down from the top of it to get my Home Defence out and draw the line. Turista and critter will not meet again. Home Defence will take care of that. I think perhaps he was a cucaracha. Years ago I SANG of them; NOW I really know what they are.

Speaking of critters, my buzzer rang about an hour later. Two men with big tanks on their backs and another official looking fellow waited while I did the “Where’s my darn keys” dance? Here if you misplace your keys, you’re LOCKED IN as much as you are LOCKED OUT.

Finding the keys allowed me to continue on to step 2 of the next adventure. There they stood patiently waiting, tanks on their backs, spray guns in hand. No the PEST BUSTERS had not heard of the big black critter. They were here because of the little critters on my orange tree! Who would have thought! They show up unannounced, tanks attached to chase away my next batch of critters FOR FREE!!!!! Guess they could tell by the leaves on the tree that this was not a happy citrus. Stepping back from the spray zone, I watched as my tree was given its own level of protection. And the amazing part — they THANKED ME for letting them do it! Have an awesome day, Amigos.

The highlight of today is another helping of DUSTY FRIED CHICKEN!!!! NO, it’s not really fried, but Col. Sanders has nothing on this chicken! Roasted on half barrel grills OUT ON THE STREET by the ladies, these flavored chickens are wonderful. They can’t help but absorb some of that street dust as the cars drive by. For a mere $6.00, I purchase my sumptuous homemade chicken just a block from my house from a lovely family. After literally CHOPPING the whole chicken into sections, they place it on a styrofoam plate, add a sandwich bag of tasty Spanish rice, enough fresh tortillas for a HUGE Mexican family, a sandwich bag of coleslaw and another big plastic bag of a sauce I’ve yet to taste. You might say at this point there are TWO CHICKENS… me and the one I’m looking so forward to eating. Today’s DUSTY FRIED CHICKEN was as delicious cold as it was last night hot! What a way to dine!

And now I will enjoy some relaxation time on my new patio. Completed this year it is a sanctuary on its own. The sound of the fountain, scent of the flowers, and the opportunity to sit and swing in my hammock chair offer a peacefulness and joy that is so welcome. Here I can think about family so far away; make plans for my upcoming days; talk on my skype phone, read or even have a sleep. The sun shines and yet I am protected in shade as gentle breezes blow.

Yes, today this is my Mexico. I’m happy I’m here.

Posted by: gljcm2 | November 23, 2009

CELEBRATION MEXICAN STYLE

Music … dance… they are such an important part of the Mexican culture. Last night we celebrated the first anniversary of Hugh and Simone at the Twisted Rose in Bucerias- The Cuban Salsa Band kept the dance floor full as Mexicans and Gringos partied together. Colorful balloons, candlelight, and palm trees in this open air bar and restaurant lent an air of romance, community and the Mexican spirit. As always Hugh greeted every person making them feel like they were part of family. This is why I love Mexico so much. If you are open to the spirit, you can´t help but feel you belong here.

But not all celebration in Mexico takes place in the local restaurants, bars, and cantinas. Little did I know when the evening began that at midnight I would experience another form of celebration. The music which has been filling the air the past week late into the night drew´a friend and I out to Colonia Las Brisas. a Mexican area a half mile east of my house. There we found the partying going strong. This is a time of many fiestas here in Mexico as we just celebrated the Revolution with a parade and national holiday. Young people danced as the band played, famlies sat on stone walls as their babies slept in their baby chairs, and all around there was the vibrant life of a Mexican fiesta. Brightly colored rides for the children were finally still, tables and chairs held those who enjoyed a late snack of tacos, and a brightly lit market stayed open, but it appeared the shoppers had moved on to other things. Today though the rides and markets will once again be alive with the voices and laughter of the people.

It was a magical place… a glimpse into how the Mexican people celebrate. Evidence that family still comes out together. That something as simple as music and dance in a community plaza square can bring community together.

As my friend and I danced, a pair of young couples with their babies, watched our attempt at the dance that is so common with the young people today. They smiled, then laughed as they commented to each other. While I couldn´t hear them I know they had noticed the damcing gringa with blonde hair… the only blonde in the plaza. My friend who does not look very Mexican possibly also passed as a gringo. Giving me the thumbs up sign and a smiling nod they shared their approval. Later we danced along side of them, smiling, making eye contact, only to stop and chat while we admired their babies before we left. Even in the colonias we were welcome….Yes, music, dance, and beautiful people. Not only did they know HOW to celebrate. THEY are my reason to celebrate today.

Posted by: gljcm2 | September 16, 2009

LIFE IN TRANSITION

Heart breaks, tears fall
Loss courses through my veins,
Longing to hear a simple phrase
I love you …

Marriage ends; bonds break
Loss overwhelms my soul
Longing to hear a simple phrase
I love you and miss you …

Children gone, From roots to wings
They’ve taken flight.
Longing to hold a tiny child just one more time
I love you, miss you and long for that time

Me? Who am I; where have I gone
No longer the mother, the friend, the wife
Longing to find a place and my soul
Loving myself; yet feeling alone.

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