E-mail Update - 2009-03-08

Halfway in Mexico & Summer Trip Plans, Plus Beyond

Hey Everyone,

First off a quick update about how things are in Guadalajara, Mexico. On Friday I passed Level 4 Spanish final exam for grammar (our first 2 hours each day are grammar class and then the next 2 are conversation). This means I am halfway done with classes here as I've completed levels 3 and 4. Level 3 was easier in a sense of what we were learning but there was just so much homework that it made things really tough. It was a more interesting class because some of the fun people who sadly went home after only one level. As you can see from the picture (SEE - Level 3 Class.jpg) half the class is American and the other half is mostly Korean. In my travels before I hadn't had a huge chance to get to know Koreans, but the girls in the class are a lot fun and always have something to say. Level 4 had less homework, but the material was tougher because it was all new for me (Subjunctive Verbs). A lot of the people here have been taking Spanish for years in middle and high school (some even before that) and in university. For me coming in with only one year in university makes things difficult because I have to pick everything up in one shot, where it is simply review for a lot of the people. It was also interesting because in the level 4 conversation class it is the Mexican teacher, myself and 7 other Asian girls, so there was no English to fall back on in that class, which is actually a good thing in the long run.

Since I have had to put so much time into the studying I haven't been as able to do things in Mexico like traveling as I had originally planned. Other than a quick visit home for 4 days (February 19 - 22) I have only been gone one other weekend. That is when my roommate Hugo and 3 of my other friends from school went to Sayulita, which is a small beach town on the west coast of Mexico. Two of the attached pictures are from Sayulita, one of which shows our group on the beach and the other shows an entree for the world's ugliest dog competition (SEE - Sayulita Group.jpg & Mexican Hairless Dog.jpg). We camped right near the ocean for 2 days and it was so cool and chilled. Other than that is has only been small events around Guadalajara (like Lucha Libre, which is Mexican Wrestling & professional basketball/soccer games). I have also hosted a couple house parties (SEE - House Party.jpg) in our apartment and we have done some small day trips through the university to places like Tonala (SEE - Tonala.jpg). On March 24 we are going to Santana in concert which should be great, especially when you consider that he is from here originally. I have also really taken to the salsa dancing here. It is nice because a lot of the swing dance moves that I know from back home translate well to Salsa dancing. There is a club that we like to go to on Thursday with live Cuban Salsa dancing called Mutualista. Other than that my time has been spend studying, hanging out with friends here, talking to people back home over Skype and planning this summer's trip. As for classes next up is level 5 for the next 4 weeks. Then is when my plan gets a bit complicated and no I don't expect anyone to remember all this! I will be back home for 2 weeks in April for Easter break from April 4 to April 19. While I am back home I will get to see both sides of my family, friends and will be inducted in The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi at UWP. After my time back home it is back to Guadalajara for Level 6 which will last for another 4 weeks until May 15, which is the end of my semester here. So on May 18 I fly back home to the US�for one week :)

On May 25 Becky and I are flying to La Paz, Bolivia. Becky will be traveling with me until she flies home June 30, from Lima, Peru. We will travel mostly in Bolivia, but also in Peru and maybe the very northern part of Chile. Thanks for all my traveler friends who sent me information about South America in the email I sent out a couple weeks ago. It helped us to plan and for Becky to feel more comfortable with the idea of going to South America. Once I am solo I'll be moving onto Northern Peru as I have never been there before and then onto Ecuador (and hopefully the Galapagos Islands) before flying home from Bogota, Colombia on August 20.

Once back in the US I will be attending the University of Wisconsin - Platteville for my senior year! While being here in Mexico, assuming I pass the next 2 levels, I will have finished my Spanish Minor. That means that I would just need to complete my major which is Business Administration with a Finance emphasis. After taking 19 credits this fall, I would only have 12 credits of a class and a 3 credit internship (consisting of 240 hours) to complete in the spring. If I can complete all of this I would be able to graduate in May 2010. After that I would like to get a job,�yeah seriously I do plan to work again at some point in my life ;) Although if the economy is still bad or I don't find a job I like there is nothing to say I wouldn't travel again for a little while first ;)

My flights and tentative fall 2009 class schedule are listed online at: http://brockwaterman.com/itinerary.htm

Well I hope you all enjoyed the short update, keep me up to date with how things are in your life!

Love & Peace!