Oh Canada in Mexico


The largest flag we travel with.








July 1st is the day Canada celebrates what is commonly referred to as ‘her birthday’.  It actually is in recognition of the joining of the colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada into a federation on July 1, 1867, becoming a kingdom called the Dominion of Canada. From that time until 1982, the British parliament and Cabinet slowly surrendered its limited political control over Canada.

Our family usually attended a Canada Day Parade, often dressing in red and white like our national flag, or wearing something with the maple leaf emblem.  Face painting or temporary tattoos of a maple leaf was commonly worn on cheeks and foreheads.  We were always proud to sport our patriotic Jeep.


Our proud Canadian Jeep out on a hike with Rauchelle and Everette (BC 2006)

In Mexico we don’t have much for Canadians around us, but we decided nonetheless people are more than willing to have a party.  And it just so happened to correspond with Creative Ice Cream Flavour Day…..good reason to celebrate.

So Maret took it upon herself to initiate a party.  The Johnson’s provided vanilla ice cream as the base and others brought toppings.  Typical sundae toppings (chocolate, butterscotch, strawberry syrups) along with chopped strawberries and mangoes.  There were Oreo and maple cookies, chopped nuts, bacon and maple syrup.  And cajeta, which is a Mexican topping made from sweetened & caramelized goat milk.Canada-Day-Celebration-in-Mexico

We invited my sister and brother-in-law up for the party (cuz their Canadians, too, eh!!) so Gatsby came along, always happy to saunter thru the grounds and take in the freedom he’s allowed here.

Bob (from USA) wanted us to sing the National Anthem that he initiated, looking at the lyrics on his phone, singing to a slightly different tune so none of us Canadians really sang along….then accused us that we don’t know our anthem.  Fair enough, Everette said we know how to bang our hockey sticks on the ice at the end of the anthem, and Game On!!

Instead, Mitchell, Gaelyn and Anders sang “Canada’s Really Big” which resulted in the usual chuckles and cheering from the audience.


Tina with puppies Edmund and Lucy

It seemed like it was actually a bit of a dog party.  Most of the residence here have their dogs, and Tina is usually fostering extras.  I think a lot of the residence recognize others by the dog that they have.

From my rough counting, there were about 7 dogs at least, only  2 of which were Canadian.  13 Canadian-humans out of about 25 of us (9 of them were our family, plus one Swiss/Cdn).  Not bad for being here in small-town Mexico.


Beautiful British Columbia on Caffeine

Everette and Mitchell are once again in BC working their buns off….and try and take time to visit family and a few friends.  Driving up island Everette got a visit in with his sister+  and then yesterday he was able to meet his mom and niece, Tasha….and if I say so myself, Grandma J looks happy to have some of her Boys around!  Everette is her only son; Mitchell, her eldest grandson….actually, our 3 boys are her only grandsons!


They picked a picture perfect day today for traveling BC Ferries to the mainland.  Work, and more work.  And then off to Portland and back to us.  Busy week for the guys.  But an hour+ of quiet on the lazy ferry, Everette gets his Canadian/ferry treat…..a Coffee Crisp.  However, I have a suspicion he’ll be a bit too jittery to just sit and read that Branson book!!!


Have I told you recently, Everette and Mitchell, how much we appreciate ALL you do for us?  All of your hard work  (and God-awful hours) to provide for us…..a Life We Enjoy!!  THANKS!!!!

Renewing Our Canadian Passports Abroad: A Mexican Version

With such a large family it can really hurt the pocket book to have all passports applied for at one time…so an option is to have them staggered, but not too much so that keeping on top of them becomes a nightmare.  We had 11 of ours limited to just 2 different expiry dates, but now the eldest two girls have flown the coop and so it is not my concern when they expire, or even if they have them!  (well, actually that isn’t true since they need them to come visit us!)

Everette was heading back to Canada so he just did his Renewal back in BC.  Straight forward and simple…and cheaper!  Well, the same cost as other Canadians would be paying if applying for renewal while on Canadian soil.  The savings, however, didn’t warrant a trip back to Canada so the youngest 3 kids and I did ours here in Mexico.

First step was to get our passport photos taken.

We stopped at a photo shop in Chapala where we met the delightful and talented Paulette.  She made the kids comfortable and welcome, making the photo-shoot easy.

Collage Passport Photos

Although a man at the Cdn Passport office in Victoria raised questions about Everette’s photo being taken in Mexico, he was just an uninformed employee who pre-views to make sure you have all the pertinent paperwork before you enter the actual line-up.  When Everette presented all his paperwork to the actual person that accepts the application or renewal, having the photo taken in Mexico seemed of no concern.  It was signed and labeled by a professional photographer as required and that’s all that seemed to matter.

Since it was years since the last time we had to apply for the kids’ passports I had forgotten that both parents needed to be involved in the paperwork, so I neglected to get Everette to fill in the papers before he headed back to Canada.  So off he went to BC, applied for his renewal.  Weeks later I thought I should get our 4 applications sent in only to (re)discover that I needed his signatures on original papers.  So I waited for his return.

Weeks passed and when he received his new passport in Canada he booked a flight back and we ventured into the big city to have everything looked over.  We had to make an appointment for that.  At the Canadian Consulate located on the 8th floor of one of the World Trade Centers.

Collage Maria Bistro

Arriving early for our appointment we checked out Maria Bistro

Collage WTC

Everything seemed in order; we paid mucho dinero and made a stop at a DHL to have our package couriered off to the Cdn Consolate in Mexico City.

Collage DHL

We couriered them out on April 6/15.  One day to get to Mexico City, one day to return to us at Chapala, the rest was time spent at the consulate.  We received them May 21/15.  Thirty-nine days!! 6 1/2 weeks.

And I’d like to point out that the one Canadian brochure we received about our passports….was in French!!  I got a chuckle out of that.  I guess I need to brush up on my French.


We are thrilled that they were all approved and finally received.  These ones at least are good for another 5 years (mine is good for 10 years) and we only have a few others to worry about I think in year 2017.  All the adult kids can worry about their own.

Because our passports didn’t arrive before our T.I.P. was to run out on our van, our border-run was only partially successful.  Some of us couldn’t cross the border so Everette (& Danaka) did the van business and applied for their own tourist visas*.

By the way, for those that are curious, our T.I.P. costs about $42US (the actual permit) with a deposit of $300USD (either cash or credit card).  Prices are dependent on the age of the vehicle, so I don’t know how the deposit varies.


* Every time Everette (and Mitchell) fly back from Canada, included in their airfare is a new tourist visa for 180 days.  In essence, Everette didn’t need a new tourist visa as he had only been in Mexico 5 weeks.  But as the driver bringing the vehicle into the country (since I couldn’t cross) he needed a visa for the duration of the permit of the van.  A tourist visa costs approx $25US so it isn’t a biggie, but a necessity.


Home Tomorrow

Everette and Mitchell return to Canada several times a year to keep our specialty detail cleaning business alive and well, and taking care of our major  bills.

British Columbia doesn’t claim ‘Beautiful’ on our license plates for no reason!  Besides the beauty of the forests, Coastal Mountains and the Pacific coast, we have pretty cities, too.  The below pics are of Victoria’s harbour from where Everette and Mitchell embark on the Black Ball Ferry to traverse to Port Angeles, WA to take the leisurely drive down the Olympic Peninsula.

Collage Victoria harbour

In the bottom left photo (above)is the Parliament buildings with the copper (green) roofline.  In the bottom right photo you see the famous Empress Hotel which Everette treated me to a weekend there back in about 2003 when we attended a marriage conference.  Great memories.

Now Everette and Mitchell get the biggest treat of all….a visit at our daughter’s place in Portland, OR where they get to snuggle with our 2 granddaughters…and do yard and house work with those that they love!

Call me Jealous!!

Collage GardenBut at least the men arrive home tomorrow.  Just one more sleep, and I can live with that.  Just wish he could squeeze the 4 Burkes in his suitcase!


Fire Fighters Equipment $3M Worth!

3 MILLION Canadian dollars worth of fire fighting gear arrived here at Ajijic-Chapala from the far north.  Organized by firefighters from afar: collected, organized, packaged and shipped.  Received here at Hotel Perico where organizations like The Royal Canadian Legion, The Red Cross & Lake Chapala Shrine Club came to divi it up, to deliver to communities around the lake who need basic equipment like this.Collage Clothes

There are basics missing from each of the local fire departments situated around the lake.  Without appropriate jackets, helmets, even fire hoses and jaws-of-life, men and women commit to helping and protecting their community.  They hop in pick-up trucks armed with fire extinguishers if that’s all they have.

The department might own old fire trucks but engines don’t work or water pumps are out-of-order.  Total disarray in some situations, but the commitment to serve is there.

Fire fighters and Paramedics will be thrilled to have some of this equipment at their stations.  Gas masks/tanks, footwear, insulated pants, jackets, suspenders, even sleeping bags (donated by Coleman).  All of it precious to those who have done without, who make-do.  Canada’s cast-offs put to good use.

Collage Equipment

Supplies have just arrived, but more will be needed in the future.  Maybe you could help?

We met several of the great men (& women) who came to organize & distribute this equipment, and there’s no way I can remember all the stories and organizations we heard about.  But I know John Kelly (left in pic,president of The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #1) could put you in touch with the powers-that-be who help make this sort of thing happen.  If you think you or someone you know could help in a similar manner those around the Lake who are in service to others by donating equipment that is past its use north of the border why not contact John rclchapala@gmail.com or jkelly203@gmail.com

Collage Personnel