Friday, July 10, 2009

La Gran Aventura: The First Few Days

Leaving home was both harder and easier than I thought it would be. First came the hard part: leaving Rhett and the boys behind at the airport.

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I knew I would be sad to leave them, but I had no idea the heartbreaking sadness that would attack me. Even now, I am fighting off tears just thinking about them, so let's move on...

I tend to panic in new situations, so I was very nervous that I would have a total meltdown before I ate my first taco. I've surprised myself at how well I've adjusted, even with the few hiccups I've already had in my plans.

When we arrive in Guadalajara, going through immigration and customs was a breeze. We were picked up by Beto, a very nice man who works for la Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara (UAG).

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We learned quickly to hold on tight when riding with Mexican drivers. Later a taxi driver told us that in Guadalajara the cars are fast because life is fast. Maybe the cars weave in and out like wild-eyed squirrels because life is crazy. With the wind blowing through our hair, we got our first glimpse of México.  I tried to take pictures of the scenery but we were moving so fast, none of them were more than a blur. I did get pictures of my classmates from UALR, though.

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Lauren, Chantal, Kirby, and Jennie

My host family was our first stop. However, when we arrived, my potential host mom had no idea who I was or that I was coming. I had been in Mexico less than an hour and already I was homeless! We went to Lauren and Chantal's host family, and their host mom, Hilda,  said I could stay there for the night. Being homeless may have been better, though, because Hilda had two really big dogs; the entire house was covered in an inch-thick layer of dog hair and smelled like dog pee. I started to regret ever coming to Mexico, and within a couple of hours I was an itchy, watery-eyed ball of allergy mess. Thankfully, the next morning UAG arranged another host family for me--and Lauren and Chantal as well.

My new host mom, Guille, is absolutely wonderful!


I live two blocks from the church, so I'll be able to walk.  My new room is clean and completely free of dog hair. (Plus I have wi-fi!)

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Even though there is no air conditioning (my room is usually about 80 degrees), it seems like there is always a nice breeze, and I have a fan.

I took my placement exam today, and I placed at level 6 (there are 8 levels total). Most of the students placed around level 3 or 4, with just a few at the low or high end. I'm the only level 6 student, but there are two at level 7, so I may ask if I can move up and just study harder.

Tomorrow we tour downtown Guadalajara, and next week we are going to an archeological site not far from here. Classes start Monday.

That's all for now! I'll update more when I can, but I am trying to live in Spanish as much as possible, so I don't want to spend too much time writing in English.

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