Pumpkin Expectations

Last weekend, I went with a colleague to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, for an early childhood teacher’s conference. While I didn’t originally decide to write a traveler’s guide to Monterrey for my column this week, I think this is a good time to share a few interesting things about Monterrey for those who haven’t gone. I imagine you might be tempted to go because if you troll pages like Vivaaerobus or Volaris for last-minute getaway (from the endless searing temperatures we are experiencing in Vallarta) flights, you will see that tickets are often pretty reasonable. 

Here are my thoughts about Monterrey: 

  1. Right now, it’s cooler than it is here, which is a huge draw for me because I am in That Time of Life. It’s not always cooler, but on the flip side, it’s a dry heat.
  2. The city is surrounded by mountains. GORGeous. Honestly.
  3. There’s a park called Parque Fundidora where you can get in a little boat and go on this delightful little tour through the park. At night, the trees are lit with fairy lights. The Christmas decorations along the way were spectacular. And I had to wear a fleece jacket, which was glorious.
  4. If you like shopping malls, just like the ones you grew up with, you might like Monterrey. Except these malls are fancier than the ones you grew up with, by a whole lot.
  5. I thought I was hallucinating when I stumbled upon a Tim Hortons cafe, but I wasn’t. It’s not even that much of a coincidence because there are, apparently, forty-two locations in Monterrey. Random? Yes. Delicious? Just like I remembered from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Unfortunately, I was at the conference most of the time, so I ended up eating at the nearby Cheesecake Factory three times, which was about two-and-a-half times too many. But I always love to visit new places in Mexico – that part never gets boring for me. 

As I mentioned, I went to Monterrey for a conference. The conference was in Italian, and we received the translation through a listening device. The translation was only available in Spanish. Suffice it to say, I found this a pretty mentally tiring exercise, even though I did enjoy the conference. Not only that, being in a different routine and trying to learn how to get around and where to go was also taxing. Cheesecake Factory three days in a row didn’t exactly accelerate my energy levels.

So, when I arrived back at the PV airport, my dear husband and daughter took me back to the house, delighted to see me. And that’s where I spent my afternoon, unpacking and then processing an entire giant pumpkin.

Yes. that’s right. I decided that, after a tiring weekend, I should develop my arm strength by hacking up a whole pumpkin, boiling, baking and instant pot cooking its various parts, then blending it up into puree in my tiny blender while roasting its ten thousand seeds. 

Not one person asked me or expected me to do that. No one even cast their eyes at the pumpkin while in my company. But in some dark part of my psyche, I must have felt that I had had enough time gallivanting around not caring for my perfectly capable family members, and it was time to do the work of a pioneer woman to make up for my absence.

For some reason, I suddenly remembered that gutsy monologue in the Barbie movie where American Ferrera talks about the impossibility of a woman’s role in life. I recalled where she talked about being a career woman while always looking out for everyone else (even when they don’t have any expectation of pumpkin pie as soon as you walk off a plane).

Wow, ladies, let’s put down the pumpkin and lie down for a bit this week, how about? I know I will. I also know we had some incredible pumpkin loaf, but that’ll do for now. I’m pretty sure my loving husband and child are just happy to have me around.


  • Leza Warkentin

    I have been living and teaching in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, since the turn of the century. I am a Canadian with a musician-Mexican husband and two Mexican-Canadian patas saladas who are growing up way too fast.

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