As the thunder and lightening rolled over our once perfect and paradisey skies here in Puerto Vallarta, I am reminded of the ever so dreaded summer that is to come.
Summers here consists of flooding, hills turning into downward rivers, absolutely unbearable heat paired with an exhausting amount of humidity, topped off with a daily dose of intense tropical rains, which are a welcome change that cools everything off in the late afternoon.
However, last year the rain created horrible flooding that did some major damage to some crucial infrastructure that the locals heavily rely on, such as 2 of the largest bridges.
Perhaps my winters may have gone from 7 strait months of −30 degrees and snow storms to a perfect high 20 somethings with a lovely ocean breeze surrounded by jungle tropical happiness.
But in good balance, I am now preparing to trade my summers of camping with friends and family, mountain adventures, Folk Fest, floating down the Bow River, and spending memorable afternoons on the Ship & Anchor Pub, with the harsh reality of a tropical location in rainy season. (Or as actually described by a few of my good friends here, ‘a complete mess’, ‘totally brutal’, ‘so humid you never dry off after a shower’ or ‘so rainy, you could kayak down to the grocery store’). That being said, people spend the months anywhere there is air conditioning, and I hear the movie theaters do very well during those months.
It was easy to not miss Calgary when I clearly had the advantage when it comes to weather and lifestyle, but now the tables are about to turn, I am flooded (no pun intended) with so many wonderful memories of Calgary in the summer.
And their summer up there are really heavily celebrated by all as they have suffered such a long and harsh winter. So, when summer happens up north, the city completely comes alive with BBQ’s, hikes, zoo trips, river floating, walking, biking, rollerblading, shopping, actually enjoying 17th avenue, perusing farmers markets, outdoor festivals, concerts, plays, and simply soaking in and indulging in every gorgeous day they have.
That’s the great thing about only having 2 or 3 months of nice weather, the people really soak it in.
Here in Vallarta, there is not the same kind of excitement about the weather, as it is hot year round. As well, many folk who live here, myself now included do not have the money for fun and adventure.
I feel trapped by my lack of financial independence, and am feeling an overwhelming amount of sadness that I will not be able to spend summer with my friends and family, and Canada.
Like any good Canadian, I took summer very seriously. Before the end of April, I had always completed a calendar and lists packed full of my hopes and dreams for the summer. Then at the end of September I would look back and the mostly crossed off list, stained with iced tea rings and sun. I would always have hundreds of new photos and a kind of happiness that I can honestly say I have not yet felt here in Vallarta.
My summers usually went something like this (In no particular order):
– Trips to BC
– Trips to Canmore and Banff
– A weekend at Jackie’s Cabin in BC with the girls
– 4 days of amazing music, friends, beer, and sunshine at Folk Fest
– Many BBQ’s and days in the sun with my family and little niece
– Rollerblading around the bike paths with B
– Meandering around the shops in Kensington with a caramel frappachino and treating myself to a bit of shopping
– Afternoons with Jenn at the Ship & Anchor pub
– Shopping on 17th Ave, constantly.
– Trips to the Zoo
– Sitting by the fire in Tammy’s backyard
– Spending afternoons in the back yard, soaking in the sun, usually with a chilled chardonnay
– Sun and Salsa festival in Kensington
– Patios, beers on patios, many many patios
– Running through Marda Loop and Mission or wherever else I felt like running
– Backyard dinners and parties with music and friends at Bradon’s house
– General backyard relaxing at Bradon’s house
– Hours of reading in the sun
So, there is my fast point form rendition of what summers used to mean to me, and I know I am missing tons. And this summer I will be hiding in random air conditioned spots, trying not to go out much, trying to stay dry, trying to stay cool. And, all the while being completely broke and having very few people around, as most here had to good sense to go home, be with their friends and family, and make some real money and enjoy a real summer back home, wherever back home is. And to add to that, B will be in Canada for 1 month in July, to make some real Canadian money.
I have entertained the idea of going home for a little while, however B thinks it will be too expensive for me to go back, with me not having a job. He is probably right.
I think to make the best of the situation I will spend the summer working on getting Mi Amor Occasions off the ground, and practicing my Spanish, so when fall comes again, I will hopefully have more money, and the language won’t be such a constant struggle for me.
To all my peeps up north, I hope you all have the most amazing summer and soak in every last beautiful warm moment. You know I will be thinking of all of you.
Some of my favourite Canadian summer moments: