Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Life is short

Recent events here in Manzanillo have caused me to think about my life, my path and the things that I am grateful for. These events have reminded me that our lives on this earth are sometimes very short. I have been thinking about this alot the last few days and as a result, have been reflecting on my life.

I am grateful for so many things. I feel very fortunate that I am able to be here in Mexico as this has always been a dream of mine. My savings are not going to last forever so I hope that I am able to find enough work here so that I can stay and build a life in this beautiful country. There were many times when I was not sure I would stay here in Mexico as things did not work out as originally anticipated. However, around December, there was a shift whereby I started feeling settled and happy for the first time in many months. At this time, I realized that I am meant to be here and I sincerely hope I am able to stay. Obviously this shift is a a result of many things.....I have met some very special people and made some amazing new friendships. This has helped my transition considerably. Volunteering for the animal organization has also been very rewarding and given me a great opportunity to contribute and give back to this community. I think I also realized that I can do this by myself and that I am stronger than I sometimes think. My Spanish classes have also contributed to this sense of well being.....I am able to communicate so much better.... with my local friends, when shopping in the markets and out in the community.

I am also very grateful for my family and the amazing friends back home that I consider to be family as well. You have all been so supportive and encouraged me to pursue my dreams and given me strength and inspiration when needed.

In addition, I feel very close to the spirit of my mother here. In moments of difficulty and when I have felt very low, I always feel here with me, encouraging me to continue on.

The other day, a friend of mine shared with me a song that is very special to her. This song inspires her and gives her strength when needed. I thought I would share a bit of this with you, as when I read and heard the lyrics, it really resonated with me and all the things I had been reflecting on the past several days. Some of you may be familiar with it already but as I do not typically listen to country, I am sure that I heard it many years ago but had never really listened to the words. Here is an excerpt (not the entire song)from the lyrics of "The River" by Garth Brooks.

You know a dream is like a river
Ever changin' as it flows
And a dreamer's just a vessel
That must follow where it goes
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...and

I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry

Too many times we stand aside
And let the waters slip away
'Til what we put off 'til tomorrow
Has now become today
So don't you sit upon the shoreline
And say you're satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance the tide...

And I also thought I would share a photo that gives me strength and inspires me. It is also my profile picture so you may recognize it. This is a photo of my mother, myself and several of my mom's dear friends. It is symbolic of the way my mom lived her life and the way I am trying to live mine.....living each moment to the fullest, because life is short and we only have one shot at this one.

Monday, February 16, 2009

J&J update

A few of you have been asking about Jackson and Jade so here are a few shots and a quick update.

While I was in Canada for Christmas, friends Shelley and Lance looked after the dogs here in Manzanillo. They also have a dog, an adorable golden retriever who is 6 years old. Even though she was the oldest of the three dogs, she and Jade became fast friends and played non-stop.

Here she is being pinned by Jade at the end of one of their rambunctious wrestling sessions.

Jade is still very much a puppy and has far more energy than I ever remember Jackson having when he was young. Every day, she brings a smile to my face with some goofy maneuver or spectular wipeout. In La Manzanilla, when Tara and I were there, we went for a swim while we were walking with the dogs. For the first time ever, Jade went in over her head and swam out to join us! Coming from a dog that would not even get her paws wet, seeing her swim for the first time was a very special moment.

You gotta love those crazy "Yoda" ears!

As for Jackson, he is doing great. He loves our daily trips to the beach and puts up with Jade's crazy antics. As always, he is very independent and trys to keep to himself most days. After being coaxed by Jade, he will play with her for a short time, especially after a bath.

Enough with the photos already...let's head to the beach!

Taking a break on the beach in La Manzanilla

Friday, February 13, 2009

More visitors

The new year has been busy and full of wonderful moments with good friends. I have been very lucky to have have had two sets of visitors already this year. As mentioned in my previous post, my good friends Barb and John from Seattle came to visit, along with a surprise visit from her two sons on her birthday. A matter of days after they left, my good friend Tara came to visit for one week. She is a very good friend of mine and we used to be roommates at one point also. We had a blast while she was here. I took her to as many of my favorite places as possible and we packed in alot of activities while she was here.

Here she is with her new favorite drink - the infamous lime margarita. "But I hate tequila" she says to me before trying the drink. Clearly, this is not the case anymore Tara!

One of the highlights was boogie boarding in some of the big waves on Olas Altas beach. It was Tara's first time but she was a complete natural. I, on the other hand, in my typical accident prone fashion, decided to take on a wave much too big for me and proceeded to smash my face into my board on the way in. Luckily, there were no black eyes or bruises....just a not so subtle reminder of the power of the ocean!

We also did a day trip to La Manzanilla with the dogs and walked from La Manzanilla to Boca de Iguanas - the amazing hotel/resort at the far end of the beach. It took us about an hour to walk there and then we stopped and had some lunch and cervezas before making the trek back.

Here is Jackson also enjoying the view while we ate lunch on the beach at Boca de Iguanas

How come you guys get the good drinks and I only get water?

While Tara was here, so many people asked us whether we were sisters. In fact, one man asked us if we were twins! He was a twin and said our resemblance was uncanny and he was surprised that we were not twins, let alone sisters.

All in all, it was a week chocked full of laughs, fun in the sun and some crazy nights out with all my friends. We did have one bad experience though. We went out for what I had hoped to be a nice send off dinner. The view was specatular and we enjoyed the evening up until about 2am when we both quickly discovered we had food poisoning. Imagine two girls violently ill with only ONE bathroom. It was quite the night. Fortunately, I had these chinese herbs that are meant for this very purpose, but had only been used to combat hangovers in the past. We decided to give them a try and after we took them, there were no more trips to the bathroom for either of us! Hallelujah......they are miracle pills and I was so happy to have them. Thanks to my good friend in Calgary for recommending them in the first place. They were a lifesaver!

The view from the restaurant

Post Super Bowl party festivities with my friend Mike (another canuck)

I was very sad to see Tara go.....one week is way too short but we packed in as much as we possibly good. Thanks Tara for coming and all the lovely goodies you brought from Canada. Red licorice......hmmmm, they are almost gone! The dogs love the treats and I cannot wait to read all the English books you brought.

Guess what....I have more visitors coming! My brother Trevor comes next Friday and he will be here for 2 weeks! Also, my dad and his girlfriend are coming next Saturday. I am very happy and full of anticipation as this is the first time my family has come to visit since I made the move here.