Maria Ruiz

Traveling to Huamantla, Mexico

by Maria Ruiz

While traveling around the world from 1998 to 2008, we visited fifty-seven countries, and five continents. Because we started out in an RV through Central America, used an RV in Europe and Western Europe, and used local transportation to do China, Southeastern Asia, and some of the hundreds of Islands that make up Indonesia and Malaysia, we were able to see more holidays and other religious ceremonies than we even knew existed. We were in for some real surprises.

Being Safe While Traveling

by Maria Ruiz

Before we started traveling, I read every article about traveling and safety. I ordered catalogs offering bags with hidden pockets, belts with hiding places for extra cash, wires and little padlocks to tie all luggage together, shoes with hollow soles, underwear that could be washed out at night and dry by the morning, Tilly hats that would float if dropped in water, etc. There were more and more little things I could buy to be safe and most of what I bought was abandoned as we traveled.

The Stinky Save

by Maria Ruiz

While living in Mexico, I struggled with the language. We lived in a Mexican neighborhood and the kids all knew me as “‘The American Lady.” I was invited to join in all street events and into one home where they spoke a little English. One day, as I was working outside in the small garden, two little boys ran up to my gate. “Lady, lady, bla bla bla” That’s what I understood but their agitation and their pointing down the street, made me want to find out what was so important. I walked down the street and the boys continued trying to tell me something.

Crossing Streets

by Maria Ruiz

Now, one would think that crossing the street would be the same all over the world. Well we learned that is far from the truth.
After Costa Rica we flew to Europe. The first country we stopped at was Holland. Our hotel was on the commuter train route that would take us into Amsterdam. We rode the train to town with our little dog, Sherman, in my lap and began walking. We needed to cross a small street that was one way.

Leaky Hot Water Bottle

by Maria Ruiz

INDIA. The name alone brings up ideas of exotic animals, women in colorful saris and men on elephants. Ever since I read any of Kipling’s books, I was hooked. Then I got there. It was nothing like I had imagined. A billion and a half people means that everything and every place is crowded. We didn’t even try using the metro system as each car was literally packed full. The line for the bus snaked around the block and even walking meant avoiding the children who lived in the cardboard boxes packed on the sidewalk tight up against the buildings, that were home to whole villages.

Life in the Time of Covid 19

by Maria Ruiz

I had never heard of it before March, 2020. First, the talk was all about coronavirus. I looked it up on Google and found that most influenzas were coronaviruses. Well, I don’t get any flu easily so I didn’t worry. Then, they found that this is a new virus, one that no one has any immunity for.

Big Heads, Little Heads

by Maria Ruiz

The train was slowing, and as I looked out the window, I couldn’t see why. There were no galloping giraffes, no wildebeest or gazelle, nothing. A few thin women with pitiful offerings of a tomato or a couple of potatoes on a hub cap or woven plate, a few thin and raggedly dressed children running along the side of the train. The train pulled into what seemed to us like the middle of the African Continent of NOTHING. A chain-like fence kept Africans away from the train and kept the tourists (like us) from leaving the train.

The Day that Changed my World

by Maria Ruiz

“Help! Help! Someone please.” I heard the screaming right outside my motel room. I had been napping when I heard the woman scream. I jumped up and ran to the door. Flinging it open, I saw the woman in the next door unit running back and forth. In her arms she held a little girl, about a year old.

The Blue Sweater

by Maria Ruiz

Knit, purl, knit, purl. I can do that, I thought to myself. My youngest son needed a sweater and I wanted to expand my skills, so I leafed through the knitting patterns in the book. There was a Norwegian pattern with white snowflakes and reindeer at the top. I had never knitted a pattern with two colors, but I was going to try.

A Bee in the House In Costa Rica

by Maria Ruiz

I noticed a bee in the house we were renting in Jaco, Costa Rica. I put it outdoors and gave it no more thought. Later that day, I saw another bee flying around the living room. Those were the first two bees I had ever seen inside the house. True, there wasn’t any glass in the windows, but generally bees don’t find the insides of houses have anything to offer them.



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