From Canada to Mexico – Just Like the Monarch Butterfly, Eh?—Part 1
Every year, the Monarch butterfly makes one of the longest migrations in the insect world. It flies from forests in Canada and the United States located east of the Rocky Mountains, to Southern California and Mexico. I grew up on a farm outside of Edmonton, Alberta, and would see these striking butterflies every year. I didn’t know about the migration of these little creatures until just a couple of years ago.
This November, I was able to visit the place they migrate to: a small area of forest in Michoacán, Mexico, where between 600,000,000 and 1,000,000,000 Monarchs spend the winter! If you search for pictures, you’ll see that the trees appear to be made of butterflies. They make this incredible 3,000 km journey every year because they—being smarter than most Canadians—realize that Canada is far too cold a place to live in the winter.
In September 2013, I finally learned from this little insect (that was created with more common sense than me) and moved to Mexico. What I have found so far is much more than good weather, and I’d like to tell you about it through this series.
By the way, Edmonton is not having an easy winter. They have already made it to -40 degrees Celsius, on a day when it was +28 degrees Celsius in our lovely new home. As my wife kindly pointed out to our friends back in Canada, that’s a 68 degree difference.
The City of Edmonton is young, incorporated as a city in 1904. It has the “honor” of being the northernmost city in North America with a population of over one million. It’s home to a very large shopping mall, a very short summer, a hockey team that ruled the NHL in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, ice and snow. It’s quite clean for a large city in North America, but it has no buildings older than from 1905; and being in the Canadian Prairies, the scenery is nothing to speak of.
We moved to Santiago de Queretaro, founded in 1531, and it’s one of the oldest European settlements in North America. It’s not the Mexico you have heard about; it’s incredibly clean, very safe and economically prosperous. More about this next week. 🙂