Monthly Archives: October 2011

After all these years…

Vancouver: October 2011

In 1971, I graduated from Delbrook Senior Secondary. I cannot quite get over the fact that such a chunk of time has passed…  there’s been a lot of living packed into my last four decades, and on Saturday night, I found out that I’m not alone.

My best friend from high school invited me to the 40th anniversary class reunion. She and I fantasized about making a grand entrance by squealing up to the door in her sweet ride (a TT Audi Quartro convertible) with “Wild Thing” booming out at full volume. But thanks to traffic on the bridge, we were late… it was too cold to put the top down… and her sound system was on the fritz.

Oh well. No big deal… we unfolded ourselves from the low lying bucket seats, stretched our hips and flexed our knees to get mobile…

We walked into the reception, and I tried to keep the dazed look off my face… Who were all these people? At first, I didn’t recognize a soul. But the organizing committee had tacked a big print-out from the year book to the back wall, and we all received tags with our names and a picture of our former selves. I found myself in good company. At the start of the evening, everyone inched through the crowd peering at everyone else’s chest (where the name tag and visual clues were pasted) Mine kept falling off…

About 100 of the approximately 300 graduates showed up at the Seymour Country Club. I am not even going to try and mention the names of my former classmates because I’ll inevitably forget someone… But truly, it was such a pleasure for me to see each and every one.

I did not have expectations of what the evening would be like, but some of the scenarios I’d heard of did not materialize. The class heart throb did not reacquaint with the former homecoming queen, and incite excited giggles… the Math nerd did not show up with a clone of Cindy Crawford on his arm… As far as I could see, no one has become a rock star, an astronaut, or a celebrated politician.

What I encountered was a roomful of friendly, open, almost 60-year olds, who seemed as blown away as me. How has so much time has gone by. A lot have been married to the same person for 30+ years… most have children and grand children. If they are not yet retired, they are looking towards that. Many have traveled… some to Mexico. Those I spoke with seemed surprised that I had lived there for 36 years.

Most of the group still lives in British Columbia, and a good number of them in North Vancouver. That surprised me. But it should not have, after all this is a beautiful part of the world, why would one move away?

Last night, that question was put to me a couple of times, and once back home,  it meandered through my mind as I drifted off to Dreamland… why did I leave and just as importantly, why did I stay gone?

Initially, I wanted to see the world because I am a curious person. I got an opportunity to go to Peru and work as an assistant English teacher and I couldn’t wait to get on that plane. I guess that I made the break at such an impressionable age, and my time in that Andean nation changed me forever.  A few years later, the romantic start of my life with Jorge in Yucatan turned my head still further. New cultures, people, languages, food, music, and so on were (and still are) very attractive to me. Have I missed my native land?  Oh yes! Very much… but there’s a price to be paid for everything.

Will I ever come back to live in Canada? Probably not… my life is in Mexico, but I totally enjoy every opportunity to return and touch bases. I sincerely thank the reunion committee for all the effort they made to provide this gift to us all. If there is a 50th, and I’m still kicking… I will be here!

*Photos: These were all taken at the reunion, mostly by me… I hope you enjoy them!

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Vancouver Actually

Up at 2:00 am in Cancun, I joined a large group of passengers waiting outside Terminal III at the airport. Something seemed to be wrong with the sistema… we stood in front of the big glass doors, and after half an hour we formed a new line… inside. The American Airlines staff had to check us in manually which took a l-o-n-g time. But eventually we got on our way and arrived into Miami on time.

From there on, it was more of the same… my day involved lots and lots of waiting. I brought my sketch pad, and so I passed the time drawing… the bar at the Cancun airport… a Frida-inspired allegory, and finally… a copy of a portrait of some woman from the in-flight magazine. I enjoy drawing when I’m traveling; it passes the time, and it’s a good way to meet people. They wander over to see what I’m doing and we chat a moment…

I had very interesting company on both the Miami – Dallas flight, and from Dallas – Vancouver. It’s funny how you get talking on planes sometimes, and have quite long, engrossing conversations…  My two seat companions made my journey go by much more quickly and pleasantly.

Have you seen the movie, “Love Actually”? Well, last night YVR could have been called “Vancouver Actually. ” It looked like the scene where all the people are re-united at the airport, and they’re laughing, hugging, crying… I walked beside a young Indian woman who told me   “I haven’t seen my family for a year and half.”  She and her baby were engulfed by at least 20 extremely happy family members who waited for her just past the gate. A sexy young Latina threw her arms around a guy just ahead of me; and the Italian family who were on my flight from Dallas was also met by a whole contingent of loved ones.

And there stood my friend Mary. We held out our arms and joined the happy group with our own big rocking-back-and-forth hugs. It feels wonderful to be here!

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Still In the Pink…

I am in my hotel room at the Hotel Plaza Caribe in downtown Cancun. This is a great place if you need to get to the airport really early… the bus depot and taxis galore are right across the street. I have checked everything out, and yes, there will be cabs available at 3:30 am… the time I need to head to the airport for my flight to Vancouver.

Yesterday, the post about my pink hair caused quite a bit of commentary. Thanks to all who wrote to commiserate. As Marianne said, “It’s all about attitude!” But Janice had the best suggestion, “Say you did it to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month!”

Here’s one more pictures of me sporting the new hair…

I’ll let you know what the old school chums think!

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Filed under Family and Friends, Vida Latina, Writing