“If you go alone, you go fast, but if you go together, you go far”. This African proverb so aptly applies to my first 65 years. I’ve been blessed with friends all along the way and many were able to join me for a week of bacchanalian fun in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Donna, the original, la loca, who I first encountered at a cheerleading competition in southern Saskatchewan in 1970. A few years later, in the washroom of the Sharaton Cavalier bar, I would meet her in Saskatoon, recognizing the booming voice and big personality. Knowing Donna has made all the difference in my life. She supports, encourages and emboldens me in myriad ways and I would not be who I am today without her. Muchas gracias por todo, amiga!
Shelley took me in when I moved from LA to Calgary in 1979. She & Donna welcomed me into their duplex, their lives and their social circle. Through them I met the people who would become my Calgary friends. I met Shelley’s then boyfriend Jim, who would become my part-time gardener and the brother I never had. Thank you girls!
The Big Chillers: Donna, Ron, Shelley, Jim & Don. What began as friendship in the 80s has evolved into something more like family, without the drama. Over the course of more than thirty years we have lived, loved and partied together, celebrating our bond with an annual Big Chill event. We’ve added kids, who we call the Little Chillers, a few of whom wondered why they weren’t invited to this party. Jeanne, you were missed!! And you missed a good one this time.
My fellow neonatal nurses, Janice and Seonag, who extended their friendship and professional support when I first moved to Vancouver in 1986. We’ve stayed friends through ups, downs and everything in between. Peter & Geoff are the bonus friends! The ones you get when your girlfriends marry someone you like.
The WGM crew: Marilyn & Wayne, Jelana & Kim, Sharon & Ray. A love of travel and the epicurean life brought us together way back in the 90s. All these years later we continue to connect over shared interests and values, be it in the Caymen Islands or Vancouver Island. And now, here in the middle, in Mexico.
The stolen friends, Steve & Lisa, who we met through Craig’s bro Curtis and his wife Wendy, and who subsequently became our friends. Travel, politics, family dynamics, social change, culture, the environment … there is never a shortage of conversation when we are with you two. It’s scary how much we agree on most topics. We’ve crossed paths in Nicaragua and India and now here in our beloved PV. Who knows where in the future?
The villa people: Sharon & Ray, Bev & Larry, Ron & Julie. Italy 2008, Sharon’s 50th, we arrive a day late to a party in full swing. It does not take long for the group to bond and decide to start a tradition of international villa travel. A week in a villa with these live-wires is a great way to form lasting friendships. Brian & Rene, you were missed. And you missed a blast of a week.
Puerto Vallarta is a second home (ok, third after the cottage) for us and even though we travel far and wide, we always return to this sunny, warm, friendly home-away-from-home. No where else would fit the bill for my 65th fiesta compleanos.
Our villa in Conchas Chinas, La Casa Villita, was perfect in every way but one, the ruido. The noise!! OMG! Fortunately most of the time, we were noisier. And the evenings on the roof, the dinners in the dining room and the early mornings on the decks were sublime. Not to mention afternoons by the pool or on the beach or wandering in town or just down the beach to Lindo Mar for lunch.
The villa staff could not have been more simpatico. Fili runs the show with style and unflappable aplomb. Victor serves a mean margarita and is happy to give impromptu Spanish lessons. Maria Guadalupe’s food is mouth-wateringly delicious. Claudia and her daughter cleaned our messes. The care and attention they showered us with made the week incredibly relaxing. We were completely pampered!!
Although gifts were explicitly forbidden, some of you disobeyed. I thank you for making it necessary for me to buy a bag to cart these treasures home.
The best gift is your presence, not just at the villa, but in my life. You are the “familia de mi corazon”, family of my heart. And because of you I have gone far. Maybe not fast, but far! Many, many thanks.
Finally, Craig. My rock. My rock star. His tribute to me finishes with a quote from a Sarah McLaughlin song. Maybe at the end of the day we are together in part because we are the one true thing that we believe in.
The party was a bit of a loco idea and I know Craig experienced more than a few pangs of anxiety in the months of planning. But his “go big or go home” attitude prevailed and we are all the more fortunate for it.
Thanks to all of you for making the effort to rendezvous. November in PV is a much easier sell than Saskatchewan. My childhood birthday parties were a bit of a bust as it was dark early, often freezing cold, or icy or blizzarding or too close to Christmas. I was always envious of my sister’s huge July backyard pool parties. Every kid in town would be there. Several bar-b-ques on fire. Hot dogs and ripple chips. An angel food confetti cake. We’d party late into the still-light evening.
Puerto Vallarta, November 2018, is my requital. All because of all of you.
So “hasta la vista” my friends. Until we meet again. And, happily, we will!
Not surprisingly, there are more photos. They tell the story of an amazing week, in an amazing place, in the company of amazing people. Fiesta en!!!!