Friday, February 3, 2017

Women Talk

book club selection for this month

I facilitate a Seniors' Book Club in a local community centre. The members are women aged 65 to 90+ years of age. We are single, widowed and married; Welsh, English, Indian, Iranian and Canadian born. I started as a volunteer group leader about a year ago. I am amazed at how these women have bonded and how they so openly share their experiences and feelings. They meet outside of the group, share meals and visit other members who are ill.

The members do not always enjoy the books that they have chosen from the available bookclub sets at the library. But they always talk...

This month, we discussed  Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala, a memoir written by a survivor of the 2004 Sri Lanka tsunami. Deraniyagala lost her parents, husband and children in the disaster.  Wave dealt with her emotional state for the 11 years after the tsunami.  My group members found the book "too negative" and upsetting to finish reading but it did inspire an interesting discussion of women's roles.

One of my older Indian widows shared that she was much "freer" now that her husband was gone. She enjoys swimming, fitness classes and the seniors' centre in a way that she could not imagine when she was a wife. We talked about mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relations in different cultures. We talked about single adult children, long-distance parent/adult child relationships and the absence of grandchildren.

The book club is an example of women from a variety of cultural backgrounds having an opportunity
to talk about books but, more importantly, to feel empowered to speak openly about their own experiences and feelings. When we speak with others, we develop the understanding and compassion
needed to survive in troubled times.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas with blues skies and seas
Merry Christmas to all! I haven't written this fall. It seems as though months pass in my retirement life with visits with friends and family, reading and book clubs (3), church and with enjoying our young dog, Tilde.

Monsieur and I are spending two weeks in an apartment just outside Puerto Vallarta. We have a couple of small restaurants nearby but we need to take a bus or taxi to go to town.
morning view from our balcony

Each day is peaceful and sunny. I wake up early to watch the sun appear through the morning mist.
Reading, an excursion to town, great seafood and salads make up my days. 

Today, we will be joined Monsieur's sister and niece. They have not travelled much in Mexico so
we'll probably do more tourist activities.

I am thinking of family and friends at home and wish you Feliz Navidad!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Four Weeks Of Travel

Ring of Kerry, Republic of Ireland

It is almost four weeks since we have left Vancouver. Dublin seems a lifetime ago! Our first travelling companion left us after our Republic of Ireland tour and we have been joined in London by my daughter. 

This vacation has been all about touring the countries of our ancestors. During other post-retirement vacations, I have had a base (usually in Paris) where I could leave the bulk of my belongings. This year, we have used bus, train and domestic airlines to travel around The Republic, up to Belfast, north to Shetland and finally to London.  

the Burren, Republic of Ireland

We have been grateful for the assistance of strangers at every turn. Whether it be with an offer of help with a heavy bag,  of advice about directions in an unfamiliar town or of  a seat on the Tube, local 
people have come to the rescue.

The Giants' Causeway, Bushmills
Sometimes, when things are really going wrong.....we were locked out of our flat (tricky door)
or the owner has failed to appear at our booking (no mobile phone), I have knocked on stranger's doors. Certainly, not something that I would do at home!

We are spending a week in London and I appreciate the slower pace.  I have confirmed that I am a woman who enjoys reading signs on buildings, wandering through residential streets,  and gazing into windows of shops. I don't need a destination or an agenda for each day. 

These graves in St. Pancras' churchyard  were moved to make way for the railway .

Do you remember Louise Bates Ames? She was a founder of the Gesell Institute of Child Development and she chronicled child development from 2 until 9 years of age.
During the 1970's, when my daughter was young, I read each of her books and I marvelled at the
accuracy of her observations. I wonder that, at a time when so much of the population is ageing,
that there is so little written about the later years.

During this trip, I have experienced more physical discomfort in my knee and hip. Stairs, escalators
and long corridors are part of independent travel. My travelling buddy will attest to the fact that I have probably developed sleep apnea as I make a symphony of sounds and no sound at night.
I try to eat my largest meal earlier in the day and I am more aware of wine consumption. As I get older, I am less tolerant. I'm not fond of crowds and I have always been prone to falling so I don't
like to be jostled. I am becoming my grandmother and my mother. Who would have guessed

Home in Camden
Today, we will visit the Covent Garden, Soho and West End areas of London. We're attending a matinée at the Apollo Theatre and will have a light supper before returning to our Victorian house in Camden.