It’s that time of year….. Winterlude is here!

I love how Ottawa has festivals and activities year long! I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to get away and enjoy any of the events planned for Winterlude this year, but just knowing that I could makes me smile.

The only Winterlude activity that is penciled into my calendar is Confederation Park. I plan to take a walk through Confederation park later in the week and hopefully get a few good shots of those gorgeous ice sculptures. Promise to post my favourite shots!

According to WiartonWillie spring will come early this year. Enjoy what is left of winter!

Mexico Nowadays

As a Mexican citizen living abroad I often get asked if the media is exaggerating the amount of violence in my home country. Most people can’t conceive that so much violence can be real and it saddens me to have to confirm that what they have read is true. The situation is even worse than what most of the world realizes. Be-headings, mass graves, kidnappings, drive-by shootings, car jacking incidents, bodies dumped and found with signs of torture are an everyday ordeal in some parts of Mexico.

According to one of the most read and highly regarded newspapers in Mexico, El Norte/Reforma, up until July 9th of 2011 there had been 6,924 assasinations linked to organized crime in 2011. That puts the death toll around 30,000 in the last five years.

I’m afraid the country where I grew up in is turning into a graveyard and the world has been, in my opinion, slow in their reaction to this tragedy.

Millions of Mexicans are united in a shout of protest but their voices seem to be drowned out by noise and gone unheard. Countless numbers of families have been touched by this outpour of violence and plenty of damage is being left behind.

As the population desperately screams for justice and dignity by blogging, tweeting, commenting, marching for peace; it seems that the world turns a blind eye and continues about their business as usual.

Why isn’t there more attention given to the matter?

How many more deaths will it take to get the world’s attention?

Why isn’t it being called what it is; continuous mass murder?

Why isn’t Mexico on the list of countries considered for the UN Peacebuilding fund?

Where are you NATO? Aren’t peace and security your mission? Isn’t one of your strengths to undertake crisis management through military operation?

It worries me that the embedded social problematic stemming from these extremely unstable years in Mexico might take generations to recover from. The physical scars will heal way before the social issues are resolved, the sooner the healing process starts, the sooner Mexico can return to be the country it was meant to be.

It is clear that many things must be fixed from within the country.  I do believe that t is the responsibility of the government to continue to build strong institutions so to avoid a fertile soil for a violent climate. The underlying causes of these conflicts must be addressed and eliminated, BUT that shouldn’t discard international involvement.

Whatever progress is being made is not being quick enough. It seems to me like a stronger leadership is needed. The upcoming political campaign  to elect a new President in 2012 will surely be full of passion about the subject.

Stay safe and please spread the word – Mexico needs help!

7 things I learned from my boss, the Ambassador

1) Empty your Inbox  and reply to ALL e-mails everyday

The Ambassador set the example well and would stay in his office as long as he needed (sometimes even until midnight) so that he could accomplish this. Having a blackberry glued to him 24 hours a day helped him accomplish that as well. He used the technology tools available to make sure that when he went home at the end of the day, he had dealt with most

2) Don’t let papers pile up

His desk was almost always spotless, even the drawers were practically empty. He kept his desk as clutter free as possible and focused on one thing at a time. This also meant that my desk got most of his files dumped on, but I quickly learned to sort through the seemingly unending piles and decide what to archive, what to follow up on, what to delegate and what to shred.

3) Do more than what is expected of you

Many times he asked me to go “far beyond his call of duty” to give excellent service on his behalf. If he thought there might be a chance to “do more”, he always asked his staff to strive for it. He got calls from people from all walks of life, from an unemployed high school dropouts to Presidential candidates and he made it a point to take each and every call. He never once refused to talk to somebody, and like I mentioned before, he would try to help all those who he crossed paths with.

4) Include time in your life for things you enjoy

Book some time in your schedule to do things you enjoy and help you grow. He was the one that motivated me to exercise more and ever since I worked for him I try to find time in my life to “recalibrate”.

5) Be as specific as possible

Don’t accept vague answers, don’t assign responsibilities vaguely either. The more specific the goal setting of objectives is, the better the chance of the diplomats and staff to clearly understand what was required of them and therefore could deliver the results expected of them.

6) Keep things in perspective

Enjoy work and take pride in a job well done but don’t take things too seriously. No one is going to die if you are having an “off” day. It’s ok to crack a joke, laugh at yourself and enjoy the time spent in the office.

7) Cultivate relationships

Stay in touch and continue to cultivate relationships. The Ambassador would always remember the birthdays of his close friends, staff and contacts and congratulate them on their birthdays. He would do this for all levels within the Embassy, and not just the top tier of diplomats.  He left the Embassy of Mexico in Canada over two years ago but still contacts many of the people that worked for him to congratulate them on their birthdays. Isn’t that sweet?

It was an honour and a pleasure to work so closely with Ambassador Emilio Goicoechea. I learned many other things from him, but the ones I mention above are the ones that I notice I have integrated into my own personal work ethic. Thanks boss!

The perfect office

Some people dream about traveling to the perfect vacation spot, the day they retire, or owning the perfect home.  I am human and dream about all of the above, but I also have a dream about working in the perfect office space someday.

I dream of an office space that would have a desk that you can sit at and a desk/table that you can lift so that it is at a comfortable height so that I can chose to stand while working if that suits me. An office with a great view, en-suite restroom, a hidden kitchenette with a state of the art coffee maker and a fountain in full view. A space with couches and pillows, and maybe even a rocking chair.  Tech gadgets, lighting choices and surround sound come to mind. Big windows and large plants. Possibly a fireplace and definitely a large balcony or terrace so that I can step outdoors and hold meetings outside.

Wouldn’t that inspire you too?

¿Quieres visitar Canadá?

Canadá es un país espectacular, si quieres información sobre que visitar te recomiendo que veas la página de Turismo en español.

Para visitar Canadá como turista algunas personas necesitan visa de turista, o como le llaman aquí: temporary resident visa. Para revisar si los ciudadanos de tu país requieren visa, ve la lista oficial publicada por el gobierno de Canadá.

Los pasos para obtener esta visa los puedes encontrar aquí. Hay visas de una sola entrada y hasta por 5 años.

Si estás en México, te recomiendo visites la página de internet del Centro de Solicitud de Visas. Como podrás ver hay oficinas en Monterrey, Guadalajara y la Ciudad de México donde puedes llevar a cabo el proceso para la visa de turista:

Prefiero no escribir los requisitos pues estos han llegado a cambiar y siempre es mejor corroborar las políticas actuales en las páginas oficiales del gobierno de Canadá.

¡Mucha suerte y buen viaje!

Solicitar la residencia permanente de Canadá

Para pedir la residencia canadiense, puedes solicitarla por diferentes vías. Aquí está la liga para que veas los requisitos:

Canadá quiere inmigrantes de calidad – sin antecedentes penales, jóvenes, con estudios de universidad o habilidades específicas, de preferencia que hablen uno de los dos idiomas oficiales, y que se puedan adaptar fácilmente a su nueva vida en Canadá.

Aunque mandes todo completito y todos los papeles están en orden se pueden tardar entre un año y cuatro años en darte la respuesta sobre la residencia.

El proceso para obtener la ciudadanía es bastante sencillo una vez que haya pasado el tiempo reglamentario dentro del país, lo más difícil es este primer filtro: obtener la residencia.

Otra manera de pedir la residencia para Canadá es hacerlo a través de una provincia específica y no a través del gobierno federal.  Si decides hacer el proceso de solicitud de residencia permanente por Quebec, tendrás que comprometerte a vivir en Québec y pagar impuestos en esa provincia durante un mínimo de 3 años. Después de 3 años ya te puedes ir a vivir a donde quieras en Canadá y también puedes solicitar la ciudadanía Canadiense.

Aqui está la página de internet para que vea los pasos que hay que seguir para pedir la residencia de Québec:

No son procesos rápidos, pero así es como funciona el sistema.


NOTA: Como he comentado anteriormente, NO soy experta en imigración ni me dedico a esto, simplemente soy una residente permanente en Canadá que ya pasó por el proceso.

¿Emigraré a Canadá, o no?

Antes de comenzar a explicar el proceso de cómo emigrar a Canadá, creo que deberías de analizar el porque quieres llevar a cabo tu cambio de residencia. No todo es fácil, y tampoco todo es difícil. Comparto con ustedes los pros y contras (mi opinión personal) de emigrar a Canadá.

¿Por qué emigrar a Canadá?

  • Es un país de primer mundo y democrático
  • Las personas son amigables y respetuosas
  • La economía (actualmente) está fuerte
  • Existen oportunidades laborales
  • Oportunidades de buen nivel educativo incluso en las escuelas públicas
  • Sistema de salud universal
  • Acceso a fuentes de financiamiento
  • Buena calidad de vida
  • Baja criminalidad (poca violencia)
  • El sistema de justicia y las cortes
  • Trato igual para ambos géneros
  • Libertad de practicar la religión de tu elección
  • Prestación de año de maternidad en las empresas
  • Es hermoso

¿Por qué NO emigrar a Canadá?

  • Nunca será como tu país de origen
  • Extrañarás a las personas con las que creciste
  • Hay que aprender a adaptarse a una nueva cultura
  • Hay que aprender a adaptarse al clima (los inviernos son muy fríos)
  • La vida será en otro idioma (ingles, francés o ambos)
  • Habrá barreras culturales que hay que sobrepasar
  • Hay que llegar a buscar nuevas amistades y círculos sociales
  • No hay garantía que podrás practicar tu profesión
  • Hay muchas trabas que hay que sobrepasar para obtener licencias profesionales
  • El proceso para la residencia permanente es largo y puede llegar a ser costoso, y además no hay garantía de éxito (el gobierno es el que determinará si considera que serás buen candidato para obtener la residencia)
  • Todo lo anterior requiere de mucho trabajo, compromiso y flexibilidad por parte del inmigrante

Antes de que consideres cambiar tu lugar de residencia recomiendo que analices tu caso específico y tomes una decisión lógica y que no solo sea una decisión emocional.  Lee lo más que puedas sobre la experiencia de otros inmigrantes. Nadie mejor que tú sabrá si eres un buen candidato para iniciar el proceso.

Te recomiendo que visites el Blog de los Ziegler.

One answer to many e-mails

Since I moved to Canada I have received a crazy number of e-mails (probably in the thousands by now) from foreigners that want to move to Canada asking me questions about how to go through the immigration process. I want to help them find the information easily, but I am not an immigration expert or a consultant of any sort and I seem to have less time to reply to e-mails on the topics.  I have decided to dedicate my next couple of blog posts to the subject of immigration and visas and will try to answer as many questions as possible with the posts. In the future when I receive e-mails on the subject I will simply redirect questions to these blog posts which will link to official government of Canada websites.

To my English speaking readers and friends, please don’t be annoyed by the fact that I will be posting on on immigration in Spanish over the weekend, it will be a one time thing. I will only dedicate a couple of blog posts to this and will soon be back to entertaining you in English!

Have a fantabulous weekend y’all!

A Stranger to some

Stella Garcia at the Ottawa TulipFest 2011

I don’t particularly enjoy having my picture taken, but when I heard about the “100 Strangers” project, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about it.

Kym Schumsky has been meeting with strangers in Ottawa for over a year and capturing their essence. Not only does she take fabulous photographs, but she writes an excerpt about them on her blog as well.

It’s a fabulous experiment that gives tribute to the wonderful people the roam the streets of the capital of Canada. Kym is a beautiful woman that radiates a “je ne said quoi”; lovely and very talented. She has clear goals in mind and with this project would like to raise funds to support medical missions abroad.

Doesn’t it sound fantastic? I know. That’s why I felt I had to volunteer, and that’s how I became one of her STRANGERS.

What I loved MOST about the 100 STRANGERS project?

1) Kym & her very supportive husband.

2) Creativity in action!

3) Commitment in support of a good cause.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kym Schumsky ( or find her on Twitter at @relishing

The happiest day EVER

You have probably heard people talking about the “end of the world”. According to someone somewhere, today will be judgement day. I try not to worry about things that are out of my control, and I’m definitely not one to panic.  But it did get me thinking about what the happiest moments in my life have been until now.

I love reliving the happiest day of my life, and so I watched our wedding video again today.  Here’s a sneak peek video of the behind the scenes footage on our wedding day:  Wedding day photo shoot

Without a doubt, sharing our love with those closest to me was the happiest day of my life!

P.S. – I love you more everyday, RLM!