Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat or Tequila

So it's October 31st, Halloween, All Hallow's Eve, Samhain. Tomorrow is the first day of the "Dia de los Muertos" celebrations. I take great pride in learning all about the traditions of Mexico and I particularly love the Day of the Dead celebrations and their connection to Halloween. Long, long ago this day was considered the time when the spirits were close to the living world, a time when the dead could connect with the living. Christianity decided that these were "evil" spirits and thus Halloween was born, a time to don costumes and make jack o lanterns to scare away the "demons". Not very respectful if you ask me, but hey, in this century it's a great party! The idea of trick or treating is to please the spirits with offerings, to keep the evil at bay.

Day of the Dead on the other hand welcomes the spirits back to earth for a fiesta! Altars are created to present the offerings of food, tobacco, flowers, tequila and other earthly delights that were special to specific ancestors. People go to the cemeteries with their offerings as well, clean off the grave sites and party with the dead. Every school will have special events and altars, even McDonald's have altars in their restaurants! November 1st is set aside for honouring the children who have died and November 2nd is for adults. It can be for those that have past this year or two hundred years ago. Many towns have parades and parties and bonfires. It's quite a happy time for an event that is about the dead! This is a really unique Mexican experience, other cultures may embrace the dates, but Dia de los Muertos is pretty darned Mexican.

I'm so pleased that my son will have the best of both cultures and is able to celebrate both Halloween and Day of the Dead. We aren't doing an altar at home this year because he's two and he's a TERROR, but he is dressing up as a vampire tomorrow and making presentations to the altar at school. That's plenty for this year.

Here's a calavera that "we" made for the school decorations. BOO!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First blog, a bit about Da Canuck

Alright, so how does one go about starting a blog? Um, I guess by making an introduction post so, here's a story, of a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely er, cats.

As a divorce recovery tool, I came to Mexico in October 2003, expecting to stay in Cozumel for a month at a yoga hostel, then perhaps heading down to Central and South America for a while. I had quit my job and gotten rid of all my stuff, anticipating traveling a few months then heading back to Toronto and starting over. Two weeks into my trip and I hadn't done any yoga but I had done a lot of drinking at a bar called "Viva Mexico". I had seen a handsome man there who everyone seemed to know and he was always surrounded by people, making them laugh. I went to the beach alone one day, he was there alone and we started talking. And didn't stop. I kept delaying my flight home, got a job bar tending and got the cutest little apartment with a view of the ocean if you looked at just the right angle. We played, we worked, I got pneumonia and a notice of deportation. Hubby came to me one day to tell me he had received a job offer in Cancun. I said "Great, when do we leave?". He was a bit surprised by that but said we could move in together on a trial basis. So, we left our island paradise and came to Cancun in February of 2004.

Fast forward to July and my first encounter with the in-laws, all eleven of them. At this point I spoke pretty much zero Spanish and their English was limited, but we had a great visit. Hubby had been asking and asking and asking for us to have a baby and it was the last day of the in laws visit when I agreed and we created our MexiCanadian. Life changing moment indeed! Fast forwarding again in order to make a really long story short-ish, our son was born April 12th, 2005 and he is the most amazing, lovable, frustrating creature alive.

Ok, other random info, I teach ESL to adults, mostly people who work in the tourism industry here. We have a wild kitty and a crazy doggie. My Spanish is improving poco a poco, it's something very important to me. Our son is bilingual and I know I will have lots to share about raising a bilingual kid! I have been kicked out of Mexico twice so stay tuned for immigration nightmare posts. We have creepy crawlies of all shapes and sizes, thank goodness I actually like lizards! I have survived a couple of big hurricanes including the Mama Hurricane of All Time, Miss Wilma of 2005. I am not a bad girl, but not a good girl either. I studied dance at university. I love salty foods and Coca Cola is a life sustaining fluid for me. I have an aversion to long hair. I used to manage comedy clubs and produce live comedy shows in addition to working in the film and television industry. I love pirates. I hate onions.

Alright, that's all you get for now, if you read it, wow, thanks for finding me, perhaps I will actually stick with this thing and finally get on the blog bandwagon "fer real" as they say.

D is for Dengue, Depression and Dread

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