Monday, July 28, 2014

Kids, Ya Gotta Love ‘Em!



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In the Biblioteca


Children are universal creatures. To them culture is not important. Language is not important. Appearance is not important. They understand each other on some basic level at which, as adults we can only marvel. To us, who can never return to that blissful state of naiveté, their enthusiasm is infectious. They are our future. They are our last hope of a united world. So let’s try not to f_ _ k them up!

Where is all this coming from you ask? Well it began with an English class that I began teaching today for a group of kids at the local library, and for some reason I was reminded of my step-son when he was very young. He used to bring his friends home from school, of course, like every other kid. But it struck me one day while a group was visiting, that perhaps I was witnessing the beginning of an era of tolerance.



Alexander McIntosh


The school kids were from a VERY diverse background. There were kids who stemmed from Iran, India, China and a couple of indigenous kids in his group of friends.What was brilliant was that to them, they were just all Canadian. It occurred to me then that if the world were integrating at such a rate, then perhaps I really was seeing the beginning of something wonderful.

That was over twenty years ago. My step-son Alexander, is now thirty years old, married, living in Australia and about to have a child of his own. And what has changed in that time? Not much that I can see. Oh I imagine that the children of the upcoming generation will be raised with more tolerance than those of generations past, due to the integrated upbringing of their parents, but is that enough?

I had completely forgotten my ruminations of that day, many years ago, when I watched Alexander and his friends playing around the pool in our apartment complex in North Vancouver. I suspect I would have been surprised and disappointed to discover then how little the world would have changed in over twenty years.


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Today I looked into the happy innocent faces of these Mexican kids who welcome a different appearance and a different culture with open curiosity and enthusiasm. Oh they are aware that the world is full of haves and have nots, and I am sure it seems to them that the world is conspiring to see that the have nots don’t get any. But still their eyes are filled with joy, hope and expectation and they have yet to develop the biases and bigotries that come with experience. 



Children make me happy!




I can’t help but think of the sad, desperate parents here that send their children north alone in the hope that if they survive the journey, they may have a chance at a better life in the USA. I’m sure it never occurred to them that the kids that actually made it that far would be met with rejection and refused entrance to the great US of A. What kind of a message is that sending the youth of this country? Not to mention the kids in the US.

Many countries in the middle east are still trying to blow each other off the map, Africa is…..I don’t even want to go there, and passenger planes are being shot out of the sky over the Ukraine.

I think it may take several more generations of integration before my naïve expectations of a more tolerant world come to pass. I do still believe, though that our children and our children’s children will be our salvation. That as they interbreed our differences will minimalize. If we can just stop poisoning our kid’s minds long enough for them to accomplish this we may just make it.

As is becoming the norm, all the photographs in this post are courtesy of Todd McIntosh.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Chicken, Chatting and Chess





On Thursday afternoon Todd and I were invited to a BBQ at the home of local artists, Joe Miller and his wife Pat. Todd knows Joe, Pat and their gorgeous home well as he is the photographer for the San Miguel de Allende House Tour and the Miller’s home has been on the tour many times. However I had never met these lovely folks or seen their amazing house.

Among other works of art Joe makes giant chess pieces and has a huge chess board set up in his back yard that you can just see at the bottom of the photograph above. Being the airhead that I am I forgot to bring my camera and I am very lucky that Todd has some wonderful pictures of the Millers property.



All set up and waiting for players!


The day was beautiful and warm, but not too hot, perfect for backyard chess. Although I love to play chess, I didn’t actually play as it is a little hard for me to move the pieces around the huge board with my walker, but I enjoyed watching some of the other guests playing a round or two. We had  barbecued chicken and ribs, slow cooked baked beans and couscous salad, all of which was finger lickin’ good.



Even the front door is an intricate piece of art


Todd and I only knew a couple of people there which always makes for an interesting time, chatting with new people and learning about their lives. The guest list was made up of several visitors to San Miguel as well as some long time residents. The wine was abundant and the conversation was lively and fun.




The inside of the house is extraordinary with every room a gallery unto itself. Large and airy with an open floor plan, it houses an eclectic array of beautiful art and furnishings that somehow blend effortlessly into a whole that is striking, yet also warm and welcoming.



The rooms are alive with colour and light


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Every little nook and cranny has been used to full advantage to showcase the Miller’s unique and creative collection of art.





Wall up


We had a wonderful afternoon, met some delightful people and I felt privileged to have been included. We are so lucky to live among so many talented people here in San Miguel.


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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Canada Day in San Miguel de Allende



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July first was Dominion Day, or Canada Day if you prefer, in our native country, but it also made quite a splash right here in San Miguel. The party was held in the beautiful Antigua Villa Santa Mónica. The Canada Day Committee, (who knew there was such a thing!?) organized the heck out of the affair, and the result was a terrific party in a beautiful venue on a warm sunny afternoon. Even the Canadian Consulate put in an appearance.



Tons of great info from the Canadian Consulate

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Rene and I getting ready to hand out name-tags before the party began


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Courtyard/Dining Room of the Hotel Santa Mónica


Even though so many of the “snowbirds” are north of the border at this time of year I think we had 50 or 60 people in attendance. I didn’t realize that we had so many Canadians living here until the party. I even met someone that used to swim at Princess Park, across the street from the house where I grew up in North Vancouver, when we were kids. I’m always surprised when that kind of thing happens, it really is a small world.


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Red and White were the colours of the day


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When it came time to gather and sing the Canadian  Anthem we were led by our  compatriot, Juno Award winner, Johnny Favourite. Johnny who is the owner and operator of the La Noche Piano Bar, lives here in San Miguel but hails Newfoundland, Canada.



Johnny Favourite


What a great day it was. Todd and I don’t usually get involved in this kind of thing, but I think we may have to rethink that. Now I’m looking forward to Canadian Thanksgiving!


* I am getting very lazy being married to a great photographer and all the photos in this post are courtesy of Todd McIntosh.