For me the year 2018 was marked by loss. My January trip to Mexico coincided with the illness and passing of Alejandro's mother, María Luisa.
María Luisa was my "Mexican mom", and I mourned her death along with Alejandro and his family.
In May my sister-in-law Barbara passed away after a brave, six-year battle with cancer.
But the year was also filled with what I love to do the most... traveling. I continued to divide my time between Ohio and Mexico City. The condo that I have been renting down there has been a wonderful opportunity, and, as I have mentioned before, I am not sure any more which place is home... Olmsted Falls, Ohio, or Mexico City.
I truly enjoy playing "tour guide", and this year for the first time I had the opportunity to show the sights of Mexico City to friends. Nancy and Fred came down for a twelve day visit during the Day of the Dead season. I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive. Would they find monstrous Mexico City an overwhelming assault on the senses? When Fred told me beforehand that he was not a fan of big cities, I thought, "Oh dear, you're going to the BIGGEST city you have ever seen." As it turned out, they both loved their trip, and even Fred said that he had changed his mind about big cities... or at least about Mexico City.
Now the New Year is just around the corner, and I already have two trips reserved and another one in the planning stage. And I am going to continue my role as "tour guide". In a little over a week, I will return to Mexico, but this time I will fly to Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatán. Those of you have read my blog for several years, know that I have taken numerous friends and relatives down to Mérida. This time I will be joined by Meredith, a former student of mine, and her husband Chuck. We will spend four days there, and I will show them the sights in that lovely city. We will also have a driver take us on a day's excursion to the Mayan ruins of Uxmal. After they return home, I will fly (on my favorite airline, Interjet) to Mexico City. There I will spend a little over a month at my condo.
I always go to Mexico City in April to celebrate Alejandro's birthday, and this year I will be there for Easter as well. The week after Easter, a couple more friends of mine will be visiting me there, and I will do a reprise of the "tour guide" gig in the big city.
The reservations have not yet been made, but this summer I plan to go to Europe. My cousin Gail and her husband are taking a two week guided tour of Switzerland... the ancestral land of one branch of our family trees, and the home of many distant cousins. Their tour will end in Zurich which is close to where our Swiss cousins live. They are going to extend their stay for a couple days, and I am going to join them there. I will introduce them to our Swiss family and take them to the little town from which our ancestors came.
After some time in Switzerland, I am thinking about doing some more sightseeing in Europe and visiting a couple countries that I have never seen. I would like to travel by train from Zurich to Salzburg and Vienna, Austria, and then continue on to Munich, Germany. Since Cleveland now has non-stop flights on Icelandic Air to Reykjavik, I am considering flying via Iceland and seeing a bit of that country.
To all my readers I wish you a very happy new year, and I hope that 2019 is filled with the joy of travel!