Just passing through......

Musings of a lowly pilgrim
Humour | Life lessons | Photography | Stewards of our planet | Travel

It’s a new day

June 1, 2018

Well, now you know a whole lot more about me than I ever imagined I would share. It is so cleansing to expose oneself for all to see, warts and all. I’m sure I have more fiendish creatures lurking beneath the surface of my skin and when they seep through, I will be sure to unmask them for you. No matter how good any of us think we are, we all have ugly parts. I wonder if the world would be a better place if we could reveal the repulsive regions of ourselves and thus cleanse our own souls instead of looking outward and condemning others? Or even instead of trying to improve ourselves. Wouldn’t it be better to purge ourselves rather than putting on layers of virtue?

Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings.                                                                                                                                                       1 Peter 2:2 KJV 

I love the language of the King James Version of the Bible. And just so you know, I don’t imagine for a minute I am that person. I could work on myself for the remainder of my life and I would never become that person. All I can do is recognise myself for who I am and look to that Greater Being to work on me. When I belonged to that religious group, I tried really, really hard to be a “good Christian”, until I realized it just wasn’t possible. We are what we are, let God do the changing. Only then will it be true.

Male and Female Mallard, Bowness Park, Calgary

This week has brought about a new beginning. I have moved into my little apartment, the first permanent habitation since I sold my house last June. I have committed to staying in Calgary for the next few years. And I have a part-time job as a nanny, something I am very well suited for. I was considering becoming a nanny, but before I even had a chance to look for a position, one fell into my lap. This will give me the opportunity to continue pursuing writing and photography, but still have a small income I can rely on.

Costa Rica

As I will be heading to Costa Rica for the month of September, I have been looking for a snorkel and mask. Because I have a really tiny mouth I thought I would buy my own instead of using one provided by tour companies. I have discovered that there are full face all-in-one snorkel masks that eliminate the problem of swallowing vast amounts of seawater and choking, as I usually do. These masks have a wider angle lens and are apparently fog resistant. This is the one I have ordered, the Ocean Reef Aria Full Face Snorkel Mask. I am excited to try it out and will report back on how well it performed. My brother is joining me from Scotland. We will be staying on the Carribean side of Costa Rica, a short walk to Puerto Viejo and very close to the Panamanian border. The location is near the beach but also in the jungle. I am so looking forward to this and am sure I will drive my brother batty, forever lurking around the property, camera in hand, trying to capture every living being for my catalogue. I can’t find the words to express just how much I love this kind of trip. The ocean, the beach, the jungle, oh my goodness! And, yes, I had all of that when I was drowning in despondency in Mexico, but this is my point. Travelling fulltime leaves a body with nothing to look forward to. I was lost, drifting out on an ominous ocean, alone without a purpose.

Me and my camera (photo credit: Bethany Pauls)

I am now building a brand new life, one that I can sustain, and which can sustain me. I am still lonesome, but I have a four-month-old baby into which I am able to pour the love I have within me. I have a child to nurture and observe as the world around him reveals itself. I delight in little children and their comical ways. It is precious to see a tiny mind grow and learn and become the person that dwells inside. This child is not mine, but I have been given the privilege of watching him grow. I am feeling more grounded. It will still be a while before I can say I am stable, but I am moving forward, one step at a time. My children are close by and I have the pleasure of seeing them from time to time. I’m very grateful that there are six of them because I think I might wear out my welcome if there were just one or two. They are so gracious to me.

Hannah and me swimming with whale sharks! (photo credit: Cancun Whale Shark Tours)

Back to my tiny mouth and the snorkel. Hannah, my youngest, and I went to Cancun, Mexico, a few years ago and, as a special treat, went swimming with the whale sharks. What an adventure! Whale sharks are the largest fish on the planet, they have no teeth, are filter feeders, feeding on plankton, and pose no threat to humans. Hannah loves sharks, she has been an advocate for them since she was in junior high school, and has fought against shark finning, presenting our mayor with a petition against the practice. She was fortunate enough to meet Canadian filmmaker and conservationist, Rob Stewart, before his untimely death in 2017. Rob made the documentary “Sharkwater”, and literally changed our mindset on sharks. He single-handedly caused a revolution in the shark-finning industry. Paul Watson, founder of  Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, joined Rob in Costa Rica to expose the shark fin industry there. If you ever have the opportunity to watch Sharkwater, (click on the link) I highly recommend it.

Rob and Hannah in Calgary, 2012.

So this was a moment to remember. Upon returning from the middle of the ocean where the sharks were, our guide stopped to let us snorkel through the coral reef in the shallow waters by Isla Mujeres. I have dentures, (one of the reasons I was in Mexico) and when I removed the mouthpiece at the reef, something didn’t feel right. I suddenly realized my denture was gone! Unless you have been through this you have no idea how I felt in that instant. I swam around looking to see if it was visible in the water and, thanks be to God, it was. But as we were all required to wear lifejackets, I couldn’t swim down to retrieve it. I’ll tell you, I have been in some pretty embarrassing situations in my life, but this one might just be on the top of the list. I had to ask one of the guides to swim down and recover it for me. So I am really looking forward to trying out my new all-in-one snorkel mask!


  1. I am looking forward to our tropical paradise so much, Tina. Sometimes we are allowed back into the garden of Eden and I am so grateful for that. I will gladly surrender all the modern “conveniences” and technology for a quiet simple life (though I do take my wee radio for the luxurious company of local music since I can’t play an instrument). Roll on September. Love, R.

    1. Yes, we are so fortunate to be able to do this. Technology has its uses, but for the most part, we misuse it. These little journeys into simpler places and times enable us to strip our lives down and revel in the glorious natural world.

  2. Looks like things are coming together! Yay!
    I love the new snorkel/mask idea! I’ll be anxious to hear how well it works.
    Love the denture story. How come you never shared it before? lol

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