12 Jan 2017 Leave a comment
Autistic. Yeah you heard that. I really am convinced he is. He doesn’t tick every box but I would say he is on the spectrum.
- Repeating the same behavior – paces around the dining room table – alternating the direction he goes each time.
- Awkward social interactions – withdraws from social situations; goes to the park where other dogs are playing and sits on the bench; at community BBQs or parties if he can’t be on my knee he will just lie in the middle of where people are standing with his head on the ground and not interact with anyone; when we are out walking and he sees someone else walking a dog he will go around the dog and head for the person.
- Limiting behavior – doesn’t like toys and will ignore new toys brought into the house; will only really play with toys made from my old t-shirts; does not play new games or like going to new places.
- Lacks eye contact – doesn’t like to look anyone in the eyes.
- Lack of enthusiasm for longer than a couple of minutes at a time. If he does play, loses interest very quickly.
- Attachment issues – separation anxiety; needs to be touching; will come and press his face against the back of my leg and hold it there when I am cooking in the kitchen.
- Irregular eating pattern – he won’t eat every day and barely likes food; won’t eat treats; one day will eat one thing and then the next he won’t; spits food out on the floor.
04 Jan 2017 Leave a comment
This Thanksgiving, I headed off to Mexico City with a couple of friends for a few days. While there, I had an experience of connection that moved me to tears. We were wondering around by the Teatro de la Cuidad and there were some indigenous Aztec dancers performing. We wandered around and found a spot against a wall and just watched.
I was immediately transported home. Saskatchewan is home to almost 200,000 First Nations people (out of a population of a million) and growing up in a home that valued multiculturalism and diversity, we have attended several different Indigenous People’s events including powwows. I have always found the drumming and dancing captivating to say the least. The beat of the Aztec drums was the beat of the Plains Indian drums. There was a sameness. A peace. A connection.
The most interesting part of the clothing I saw here was the shoes. They had bells of some sort attached to them. They sounded like the jingle dance. I could not get a good look at them. So I waited for one woman to stop. I asked her in my broken Spanish if she spoke English. She did not. I felt compelled to speak with her and my Spanish is brutal. I was compelled. I had to.
Using my limited Spanish skills, I asked her to look at her zapatos (shoes). The bells looked like little shells. They were ayoyotes nuts. I explained to the woman how I am from Canada and this reminds me of the Indigenous people there. Because I was struggling for words, I spoke about hermanos (brothers). I told her I very much loved the dancing and just put my hands to my heart and said, “Gracias. Mucho gracias.” She looked me straight in the eyes, held my gaze for an extra moment, hugged me tightly and said, “gracias. I love you.” When I pulled back, both of us had tears. I walked away and the tears came again. I am not sure why, but I was so very moved by this interaction; this connection and I will hold this moment in my heart. Always. As I walked back to my friends, I just thought: “This is why I travel.” Well that…and the food. We went for tacos after. Oh my days, they were something else.
22 Dec 2016 Leave a comment
I have lived in Saskatchewan, the Canadian Arctic, England, Kuwait and Guatemala. All of those moves have been easy. But China is my next move. I guessing this will be so not easy. After 13 years on the international scene, one would think I would be used to moving. This one worries me. In order to alleviate some of this crazy, crazy fear, I will do what I LOVE to do. Make a list.
Clothes: Pants and Shorts:
- Jeans – 2
- Old Navy Khaki Style – blue, black, green
- Old Navy Dress Pants – red, grey, black
- Yoga/Exercise -3
- Shorts – blue, pink, black, hiking
- Plain T-shirts – black – 2, white, blue, red
- Random T-shirts – 5
- Blouses/Work Shirts – 10
Skirts and Dresses:
- Maxi – black, black and white striped – 2,
- A-line – grey, black, striped Navy
- Dresses – 10
- Black fleece
- Black North Face – 2
- Red Hoody
- Flip flops
- Toms – black, blue, red
- Boots black, grey, red
- Winter Boots
- Coconut Oil
- Castile Soap
- Sleeping bag and liner
- Blowup coach
- Some mugs
- Guate placemats
- Evil Eye
- Van Gough Candle Holders
- 2 Cameras
- External Hard Drive
TO DO BEFORE I GO:
- Renew passport
- Extra passport photos
21 Dec 2016 Leave a comment
So don’t get me wrong, I love my dog. Love him. He is cute and cuddly and full of love. But….well, he is a complete nutjob. He brings me joy and absolute anger. Some mornings he has anxiety attacks and when he does, I put him on a shelf in my closet. It calms him immediately. He wags his little tail and just watches me get ready.
This morning, I was getting ready and eating watermelon. So I gave him a piece. He gobbled it up. He loves watermelon. So I gave him a few more. Gobbled them up. Then I gave him a bigger piece that had a micro-sized bit of white rind on it. Not green but white. He literally ate all the red bits and spit out the white. Spit it out. How in the world is that even possible? I have heard of fussy dogs, but this takes the cake.
01 Dec 2016 Leave a comment
21 Oct 2016 Leave a comment
We have a week off of school for fall break. So 2 of us headed off to Flores, Guatemala to start out or fall break and then onto San Pedro, Belize. This trip offered up several life lessons and observancess about life in general and particularly, life in Central America.
Here are a few.
1) Mayans were freaking smart. Tikal is incredible. How they built it when they did is beyond my belief.
2) Esta Bien is always a good answer especially when you have to be patient. We took the night bus from Guatemala City to Flores. We went on the Fuente Del Norte line. It was great. There was wifi, huge reclining seats, tonnes of space. Most importantly, it was clean and air conditioned. I was super grateful I brought a wrap. We got to our hotel and the fuy on the shuttle (we got off the big bus in Santa Elena and got on a shittle for Flores) jusr started talking and talking about tickets and shuttles and whatever. He had already kicked 2 people off of the shuttle for who-knows-what and it was 6 inthe freaking morning. I just wanted to be done with this dude.
3) There is an overwhelming beauty to be found in connecting with people if you try to speak their language.
4) I want to live near water.
7) Stick with where the locals go. Tourists go to stupid places. Even if the locals are expats, they make better choices.
8) Fishing is hard.
9) Many cities suck. Especially capital cities. Guatemala City and Belize City – not so great. Get out of them. Go somewhere else. They are hard. Real beauty is to be found elsewhere.
10) Take cash before you go.
11) Alway trip with someone you can laugh with.
12) Always get the poutine.
13) Always s get a place with a pool.
15 Oct 2016 Leave a comment
So I made my second trip to Semuc Champey a couple of weekends ago and what a trip it was. As much as I dislike big group adventures, I offered to plan transportation for anyone at work who was interested. Why? Who knows? In the end, there were 18 of us who loaded onto a private shuttle at 6:30 am to make the 7-hour drive to the small town of Lanquin. I got on the bus with my cooler (whose name is Michael Bolton) and the latest Harry Potter and hoped for the best.
I love road trips in Guatemala. So much goes on in my head. It is almost too much to take in – the natural beauty, the poverty. It’s hard to come to terms with the Guatemala in which I live and work and those of the indigenous, rural Guatemalan.
We stayed at El Retiro in Lanquin. The place is fantastic. I love it. It is so peaceful (except for the roosters and toads). The location is unbeatable – on the outskirts of the village, right on the river.
Last time I was here, I opted not to do the cave tour. I was chicken. This time everyone was going but I decided to go along. There has been a lot of rain in Guatemala lately. So after I get my life jacket and candle we head into the caves.
Bloody hell. A gong show. The first 20 minutes are fine then the guy tells me to climb up under a waterfall. I was terrified but everyone was going. So…I kept inching forward with growing fear. The guy in front of me says, “I am out” and gets out of line. Praise to you Lord Stanley. I quickly followed him.
We waited in the dark. Talking about how this is the perfect setting for a murder. Or a river shark attack. Standing in waist deep water, our candles quickly burning out. No guides. Alone. Slowly but surely people started coming back from the waterfall. Person after person talking about how dangerous it was – overcrowded, dark, excessive water. For once I was glad I was too scared to participate.
We spent the rest of the day, floating down the river in tubes, jumping off bridges and sitting in the pools. It was a glorious day. But, the entire time, there was something hanging over us. Or, hanging around us. Guatemala is poor. I know that. I have heard the figures – 75% of children are either malnourished or undernourished. I don’t know if that is true but this was one of those times it feels that way. As soon as we get out of the trucks we are surrounded by kids. They are all younger than 12 and all selling stuff – generally chocolate and beer. Part of me hears those voices saying that buying stuff from these kids perpetuates the cycle of poverty but the other part knows they need food. They are just pulling at my heart strings. We head down to the river to jump in and two of the young guys come with us. The scoooped their little feet in our tubes and plied us with beer the whole way down the river. You then pay them for whatever you drank at the end. It is really a convenient system.
The rest of the weekend was spent in a state of bliss. Good friends. Good food. Good booze and good hammocks. Nothing else is really needed in life.