E-mail Update - 2009-01-07

Quick Update - My new apartment and cell phone in Mexico

Hey Everyone,

Well I successfully arrived into Guadalajara Saturday night, after a pretty decent flight. I made friends with the couple sitting next to me and they told me all about Guadalajara and Mexico and even helped me learn some Spanish. As it worked out they live in Zapopan (which Lonely Planet call the Beverly Hills of Guadalajara) where I am going to university (Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara) and have my apartment. I have all their contact information and plan to meet with them in the next couple weeks again :) I spent the first 2 nights in Central Guadalajara at Hostel Guadalajara meeting fellow students and other travelers. As it worked out though I was getting a cold they day before I left and it was made worse by the flight. So I have kept a low profile up to this point. Even though I didn't go out much I did go walking around the city on Sunday (see attached picture - Guadalajara). I also have ate at several different local taco stands which have been great and I haven't even gotten food poisoning...yet! I love the quesadillas, gringas (quesadillas with meat) & tortas (sandwiches) here they are so good and so cheap :) Did I ever mention that Mexican is my favorite food? Although it is quite different here to what I am used to at home, I still love the real thing! The people here have been so friendly, it is amazing how willing they are to just strike up a conversation and they love that I know some Spanish.

On Monday morning I left the hostel, sharing a taxi with another student. I moved to the Zapopan area to Hotel Posada Sante Fe, which was twice the cost of the hostel, but nice because it was right next to the campus. It allowed me to see the university easily and better search for an apartment all while getting a feel for the area. After 2 days of searching I found an apartment that I moved into today and am typing this note from! Attached is a picture of my room (see - My New Place). It is really big and I actually have 2 single beds pushed together, plus a couch. And just in case you are wondering...guests are welcome :) It ended up being a great deal as everything is included (internet, washer, drinking water...) and it only cost me $230 per month. Plus there are 2 people living here, the person who is renting to me who is Mexican (Hugo) and an Italian (Joe). They speak Spanish to each other and now me when I can handle it, so I am going to get tons of practice. I originally wanted to live on my own, but that was because I was worried about living with other people who I would speak only English with. That is not a worry here and they both seem really cool, plus it cost way less than I had budgeted so that is cool. I have already been learning so much Spanish between my time talking to them, studying on my own and spending an hour a day at the supermarket studying (visualizing helps a lot!).

Here is my new address, starting with the name of the "landlord":
Hugo Jasso
Goya 32
Real Vallarta
Zapopan, Jalisco
Here is the Google map link if you are interested:
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=zapopan+map&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&resnum=1&ct=title

I also have a Mexican cell phone here is how you can call if you wish (but it would be pretty expensive I think):

To call from U.S. normal or cell phone
0115213314860152

To call from Skype
- Choose Mexico as country
- 13314860152

However, if you want to talk for free just install Skype (www.skype.com). My user name is genextsoftware, add me and we can talk whenever we are both online or at a setup time if you wish.

As for the pictures attached there are 3 extra ones since people have been asking me about my nephew John (wearing the backpack I got for Christmas), niece Shelby, and girlfriend Becky (taken on my 30th Birthday).

Hope everyone is doing great and sticking to their new year's resolutions! As always if you want off the list just let me know! This one could be the shortest update ever....

Love & Peace!