It was November 2007 when I walked into DIRTT Environmental Solutions to start my new job as the Executive Assistant to the CEO & President and the CFO, known less formally as #11. I was given a number because so many people had given up on the job that it simply wasn’t worth knowing my name. I was known as Janna Moore, had been married for just over a year and had two dogs. My brother was terrified I would screw the job up and give our family a bad name. And I was petrified of branching out into a world I knew nothing about.
It is difficult to believe that it was over a year ago that we arrived in Todos Santos (and that I started this post 2 months ago…) I suppose if time were measured strictly by life experience, it would be the equivalent of five years. We seem to have achieved a lot of growth in a short time. The Janna and Chris of one year ago are certainly not the Janna and Chris of today. When I read our individual blogs detailing our journey, the key events and key achievements, I can see the individual stepping stones that all added up to where we are now.
It seems that as with most things in life, it’s the big events and occasions that consume the bulk of our attention. But what about the daily joys of each and every day? I admit, it is easy to find them here. From the moment I wake up and see the incredible colors of the sky over a field of cactus with a bougainvillea bloom waving in the breeze outside my window, those moments are never far away. So the focus of this post is to celebrate the every day. The things that we love about our life here in Todos and to give those who aren’t here with us a glimpse into what it looks like.
I’ve been very busy the past few months, and for some reason have not found the time to write. I guess that feeling of ‘busy’ and wondering where time went is experienced by both dogs and humans alike!
I have settled into my Mexican lifestyle quite well. Morning walks on the beach are my favorite part of the routine. Mom always throws the ball for me, and I get to run as fast as I can through the sand. I am now working to train Mom. If the ball is too close to the dunes and piles of seashells, or if it goes too close to the water, I refuse to chase it. I lay down in the sand and wait for mom to go fetch it. Sadly, despite my attempts to train her better, she still doesn’t understand when she’s being a bad girl, and she continues to throw it in the wrong places. I am confident with more practice, she will eventually learn.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all! I hope that 2014 was filled with many successes for you, and that 2015 brings more of the same (or better).
During this past year, Janna and I were lucky enough to experience life in Baja. We decided to take action and do one of the things we had always talked about which was to immerse ourselves in another culture and live a simpler life. Overall, this has been a dramatic success – we now own a home on the Pacific ocean where the weather is unrivalled 98% of the time, we have developed life-long friendships with our neighbours (Lynn and Dave, this means you), and we have learned a lot about Mexican culture. It is very clear that if you have friends and family, you don’t need much else to make life great. I feel that our perspectives on this have been permanently changed, all thanks to the people of Todos Santos. Continue reading
Pop Ryan had been ill for some time, and Chris planned to fly to Newfoundland for the funeral. When we got a text late one night from Sylvia, we knew that it was very likely that Chris would be flying the next day. Pop passed peacefully that night, and the next morning we booked flights for Chris to return home to Newfoundland as soon as possible.
I had prepared myself for this, knowing he would go and I would be on my own for the first time in Mexico. I don’t do well on my own as it is, but this presented an entirely new challenge for me. It all happened so fast, and I was so intent on supporting Chris and assuring everyone I would be fine, that when I arrived home from driving him to the airport, I burst into tears. The house felt completely empty without him, and I felt completely alone, terrified and helpless. The stark realization was that this was my home primarily because it was where Chris and I lived. Without him, it was just a grass roofed duplex in Mexico full of bugs.
Having missed my scheduled trip to Canada in September due to Odile, it had been nearly two months since I had returned to Canada. It became clear to me that a trip was necessary! I was under the impression the airport was still closed, but learned some airlines were operating, and it was possible to get to Calgary. I booked my flights and was off!
I was curious how re-entry into my Norte Americana life would go. I have faced some challenges settling into my Mexican life (some of which are ongoing) and wondered if returning to Canada would be easy. Would the escape from giant bugs, snakes, mosquitoes, spiders, bo-bos and mice be a relief? What would it be like to speak the language everyone else was speaking, and to communicate freely? What would I eat first; a falafel, bowl of pho or a Tim Horton’s steeped tea? How would it feel to be cold? (Although truth be told, I’d felt cold the last few nights in Mexico, and had even worn my flannel PJ pants and a sweater. However, it was still 26 degrees out, so experiencing 5 degrees would be a true shock to my acclimatized system.)
Our apologies in advance for an extremely lengthy post, but we thought it was important for both of us to convey our individual experiences of Hurricane Odile. This was an event that changed the lives of many people in Baja and devastated many communities.
As experienced by Chris…
On the night of Sunday, September 14 2014, the state of Baja California Sur experienced a direct hit from Hurricane Odile. This hurricane was forecasted to travel parallel to the peninsula, but at the last minute deviated and slammed head-on into Los Cabos. It travelled northwestward up the peninsula and devoured everything in its path, including our town of Todos Santos. Odile heavily affected La Paz, Loreto and Mulege (as well as many others), and eventually made its way across the continental United States in a lesser form. Rain and wind effects were even experienced in the northeast Atlantic Ocean in my home province of Newfoundland, Canada days after it flattened BCS.
I wrote this blog post a few weeks ago and was going to post it on Sunday, September 14th. That day ‘things changed’ as we rushed to prepare for the fast-approaching Hurricane Odile and I never had the chance. After re-reading this outdated post, I reflected on some of my comments and realized they set the stage for the next two weeks of my life. For that reason, I decided to publish it, knowing it will provide some additional background for the posts to come from both Chris and I.
Well, for anyone who had bets on how long I’d last before I had a meltdown, get ready to check your pick and possibly cash in. The Melt Down officially happened on Thursday, September 4th, 2014. Whoever won can buy me a margarita when they come down to visit.
Over the past few insufferable days, I have been violated in some of the worst ways imaginable. First, I suffered the indignity of being stuffed into a bag with vented sides, and paraded past the three male cats I have spent the last two months of my life trying to dominate. My caregiver Brooke, whom I struggle to display my true affection for, waited on the street with me. Waiting on someone else’s timeline is not my forte, and I was far from impressed to be subjected to the elements.