Greetings! This post kicks off my first monthly wrap-up in 2019. I plan to write a wrap-up for each month so I can look back and see how well the year has turned out.
January was a wonderful month for me, with a mix of fun activities and events at home and in Guatemala. We had a beautiful New Year's Day. The weather was mostly mild and sunny for the first two weeks of the year. My adventure in Guatemala took me to Antigua, Chichicastenango market, Lake Atitlán, Santiago village, and Guatemala City. The trip went very well from beginning to end. When I returned home, we had two major snow storms in a week but Mother Nature has since returned normal temperatures to us. Without further ado, here's my January with the topics in alpha order :)
In January I saw a lot of beautiful and interesting art work at the Nordic Glass exhibit in Toronto, an art gallery in my hotel in Antigua, and another art gallery in Santiago village in Guatemala. Antigua Guatemala is a UNESCO World Heritage site so the whole city is living art, mostly in colonial and baroque styles, as I posted here.
|Nordic Glass exhibit in Toronto|
|Ironwork in Antigua Guatemala|
|Painting seen in Antigua Guatemala|
I blogged about my goals for 2019 here, a progress update on my Winter Fun List here, what made me smile here, a fit and fun post for the first Wellness link up of 2019 here, and my sightseeing in Antigua Guatemala here. The next Wellness link up is on Wednesday, February 13, with Healthy Heart as the optional prompt. Please feel free to join in on the fun.
|A fit and fun walk in Allan Gardens|
I enjoyed reading the following three books in January:
- On Writing: Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King, 288 pages
- The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland, 400 pages
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, 316 pages - This story was made into a movie with the same title, starring Emily Blunt. Have you seen the movie yet?
I listened to three unique concerts and watched a dance under the Discover Dance program. Each of the performers listed below has very impressive biography. If you look up their names on the Internet, you'll see what I mean. I'm so grateful that I can experience these amazing cultural events for free.
- Aiyun Huang, percussion and Mark Fewer, violin
- Payadora Tango Ensemble: Rebekah Wolkstein, violin/ voice, Drew Jurecka, bandoneón, Robert Horvath, piano, and Joseph Phillips, double bass
- Judy Loman, harp and Nora Shulman, flute
- Louis Laberge-Côté, dancer, choreographer, and professor of dance
My family had our first long weekend getaway at the end of January. It was quite relaxing as we stayed in a hotel and ate out. No housework to do, just family time! There was an overnight snow storm during our getaway and it was winter wonderland when we woke up in the morning. We enjoyed walking on the fresh snow and checked the foot (or boot) prints we left behind :)
I had three fun meet-ups with my friends in January. Two of them were coffee chats to catch up, and the third meet-up included a gym workout with my friend. A fourth meet-up was cancelled due to a snow storm and to be rescheduled. I also wrote a letter to my longtime pen friend in the UK.
I was consistent with my fitness activities in January. When I was in Guatemala, I stayed at three different hotels and one of them had a usable gym. My rooms were all very spacious and comfortable so when I didn't have access to a gym, I did strength workouts or yoga in my room. In total, I did:
- Meditation: daily, fifteen minutes each time.
- Walking outdoors: 6x per week, forty-five minutes each time. Plus walking around to get from A to B or to do sightseeing.
- Strength workouts: 13 sessions done, one hour each.
- Yoga: 10 sessions done, one hour each (seven yoga classes and three do-it-myself sessions when the classes were cancelled).
- Swimming weekly: 4 sessions done, forty-five minutes each.
|A hotel gym in Guatemala|
I continued learning French and Spanish on Duolingo, 15 minutes per day for each language. While I was in Guatemala, I took advantage of my time in a Spanish-speaking country to read all the billboards, street signs, and store signs in Spanish and also to speak basic Spanish to local staff.
I discovered that Antigua has many Spanish schools that offer Spanish lessons, cultural activities, and lodging with a Guatemalan family for a complete immersion experience at reasonable prices. I visited one of the schools and picked up a brochure just in case I decide to pursue this option in the future.
I watched five movies in January, four of them with my neighbours, and one in-flight when I flew home from Guatemala. I enjoyed all of them, except the first one.
- The House with a Clock in its Walls, starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett
- What They Had, starring Hilary Swank and Blythe Danner
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, starring Lily James
- First Man, starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy
- The Wife, starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce
I took a trip to visit Guatemala and had a wonderful time. The weather was perfect with sunny days and cool nights. The scenery and local people were nice. The food was tasty, with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. Guatemala produces good coffee and rum. The Mayan culture and their vivid colours are captivating. You might like to see my post on Antigua here, and do virtual shopping at the open air market in Chichicastenango here. More posts on Guatemala to come.
|Crafts in Guatemala|
While in Antigua, Guatemala, I saw Fuego volcano spewing ash every ten minutes or so. I've seen volcanoes in various countries during my travels but this was the first time I saw a volcano that is very active. Can you see the ash coming out of the Fuego volcano on the left in my photo below?
|Active Fuego volcano, Guatemala|
Next, on my return flight, I got a perfect aerial view of another active volcano near Mexico City. It's Popocatépetl (or Popo) volcano, which is the second highest peak and the most famous in Mexico. I could see the smoke coming out of the volcano. According to Wikipedia, Popo volcano erupted two days later on January 22, 2019 and spewed ash up 4km high.
|Active Popocatépetl volcano, Mexico|
On the same flight from Mexico City, I got to see the January 20-21, 2019 Super Blood Wolf Moon for several hours, and the total lunar eclipse by the time I arrived home. This is the last total lunar eclipse until May 2021 so I was thrilled to see both the super moon while I was at 40,000 feet altitude and the total lunar eclipse. Amazing and unforgettable sights!
January was a wonderful month with a mix of fun activities and events at home and abroad. I gave it an A+ for sensory experiences. I'm on track with my goals for 2019 at the moment. I look forward to enjoying February.
How was your January? What good things happened? Let me know in the comments!
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