learning Spanish

Update on life and projects

A few weeks ago I wasn’t feeling so good, I had pressure in the chest that would last about fifteen minutes and then go away. I got worried and drove back to the US and went to an ER to get checked out. As a prior heart patient I thought it was the prudent thing to do. The kind folks there checked me out and kept me overnight to be safe. In the AM my Cardiologist checked my tests out and made an appointment the following day for a consultation. Then I was scheduled for a stress test the next day. The results of the stress test didn’t come in until the following day. The results show I have some scaring that may be causing some problem with the arteries contracting therefore I’m another medication to help keep the arteries open. The medication seems to be working.

On another note; I had to have some work done on the house. The roof need to be recoated. Every five years the roof needs a new coat of roof sealant . While the men were here coating the roof I had some garden work done. I had trees planted and other trees and bushes pruned and the garden cleaned up. All day there was work being done on the house and garden. The garden looks neater now and I feel better after having the roof sealed. We don’t get much rain here, but when we do it is a gully washer and a leaky roof causes a lot of expensive damage.

Here are a few photos, nothing dramatic, about the work that was done. The truck was filled up with debris from the garden twice.

I am getting close to having lived full-time for six years in Mexico at the same address. I have never lived that long in one place in my life. I also have never been happier. Mexico isn’t for everyone there are lots of differences between Mexico and the USA some nice some not so nice. I am still learning the language, and finding out things about the culture yet my desire to remain here is as strong as ever. I’m an odd duck,  I am happier living in a country other than the one of my birth in a land who’s culture and language I don’t fully understand than in the country of my birth. I wear the label Expatriate with pride !

As an aside I’m writing this as my housekeeper is cleaning my house and we are chatting back and forth about the house who called what her children are doing and what I should buy in the store for cleaning supplies, all in Spanish! Which gives me a smidgen of satisfaction as I flunked Spanish and French in High School ! So take that you teachers in High School !

 

Categories: Baja California MX, learning Spanish, Mexico, Retiring to Mexico | Tags: | 2 Comments

Somedays part 2

I saw the Cardiologist this afternoon at a very nice looking hospital the EKG tech was so handsome. I got an EKG and consult for 675 pesos or $36. The Cardiologist changed my meds and how I take the meds as now my blood pressure is too low (110/60. I hope this evens out this weekend and I can get back to my normal. I love this country besides the lower cost of living doctors take time with you and explain what and why they are doing things even give you their cell phone number in case you need them. I still get tired hoping this change in meds helps.
I took another exam today in Spanish and I blew it this is too much too fast still I’m learning something just can’t prove it on the exam. On top of that my health problem didn’t help; two coordinators for the school checked on me today while in class I was impressed with their thoughtfulness.

After the appointment with the Dr. I went across the street to the plaza in front of a big church, there is this cute restaurant there with tables that have umbrellas and I had a treat and just sat and watch the sun start to go down.

Tomorrow I aim to take some photos of the neighborhood surprisingly there are a lot of late-model cars in this town very few clunkers.

Categories: Health care, learning Spanish | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Half Way Point

I have been in Guadalajara for two weeks now and nine days of school which comes out to 26 hours of face to face instruction as I’m still the only student! It looks as though that will continue for another week. In some ways it is good in others not so good. One doesn’t learn from the mistakes of others you have to learn from your own mistakes. This past week I had two hours a day of class with a teacher and spent an hour a day with other students in a conversation class; half in english and half in spanish. I wasn’t to sure about this conversation class as what would I say? Most of the students are very young and at least half are Korean. I did get to say something and what the class does is get you to speak on your own. Sure you make a lot of mistakes and so do the other students and yet we communicate. I also got to use the computer lab and in some ways that is helpful and in other ways frustrating as the information you’re looking for you are unable to find, at least for me.

I get to school everyday early and work in the computer lab and review my homework. Yes, there is homework assigned. It isn’t a lot but it does reenforce the lessons. Some of the topics such the Cinema I have no knowledge about; they talk of European Cinema; directors and actors and I don’t know anything about who is who in this field and what is more I don’t care. To play along with the program I look up on the internet as to who is who and what awards they have won to at least look compliant with the program. Aren’t I such a nice person? I still don’t give hoot if they won Oscars or BAFs or what ever. By the way this is mostly in Spanish with some subtle help from the teacher so sometimes I’m not sure why we are talking about these people, other than it give us something to talk about in Spanish.

I have been enjoying the neighborhood I live in it is the “Old Town” of Guadalajara very close to the U. of Guadalajara. There are lots of restaurants a few bars and a real middle-class neighborhood. I went into a local bistro the other night and the theme in this place was Cats! There were ceramic cats, photos of cats and everything cat, but a live cat! The place was almost full of people, it didn’t look like it from the outside but inside there were lots of small rooms with tables and chairs and sofas and folks eating and drinking and what appeared to me to be a meeting of a book club. These people all had the same book in their hands and each one would discuss something and another would put in their bit in turn. This town is very book oriented. There are bookstores both new and old some right next to each other all over this district and it isn’t unusual to see folks carry a book or enjoying a read in a restaurant or park bench.

Today being saturday I had off from class and I went shopping (imagine that) and so did the whole city ! The streets and sidewalks were crowded with people and traffic the plazas and restaurants, stores were full of people coming and going carrying bags and stuff. I got right into it with them and found a place with my size and the stuff I bought was on sale! I got four new tops for three hundred pesos at 19×1 you figure it out it was a deal! In short I had a wonderful day shopping and having lunch out with the rest of Guadalajara  and best of all using my Spanish 🙂

Next week is the start of my third week and I just know things are going to get more complicated as we head into parts of Spanish I have no idea about, oh well that’s why I’m here.

 

Categories: Adventure, Guadalajara, learning Spanish | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Sunday 070216

About three blocks from the hotel is a church and plaza and across from the church are several restaurants I had an omelet in one on the second floor this morning. The coffee was a little unusual as it had cinnamon in it and with milk and sugar it was good with breakfast this morning.

After breakfast I went for a walk around the church plaza and got see the vendors there and there are quite a few. I have some photos of them.

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This the church and being Sunday there were a lot of Masses being said and the music was nice. In the foreground there are vendors

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More vendors selling different stuff some sell Indian crafts others food.

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Book venders book selling in Guadalajara is popular and I see folks with real books in their hands reading.

Later in the day I made another tour of a nearby neighborhood and found a new, to me, restaurant that piqued my interest its claim to fame was roasted Cabrito. Around the corner from this restaurant was a little place where there were three small cafe’s I decided to enjoy a Latte and a crape with nuts and cream sauce it was delicious. I went back to that restaurant for dinner.

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first shot of a restaurant I was curious about.

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Restaurant Nuevo Leon where I had dinner it was Cabrito and it was delicious

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This is were I had lates and a crepe yes those are lovers in the corner

I did some study today and I’m sure it wasn’t enough so I’ll get scolded when I get to school tomorrow, oh well 😦

 

Categories: Adventure, Guadalajara, learning Spanish, Mexican Restaurant, Spanish School | Tags: | Leave a comment

I took a day off

I had breakfast here at the hotel and I went to the corner store and bought some laundry soap and used the hotel’s machine to do load of laundry. Of course the machine’s directions are in Spanish and I didn’t have a clue how to operate the washing machine a young man who works here came over and set the machine up for me. He also cleaned the lint out of the drier so it would be ready for my clothes. By the time my clothes were done I was ready to go for a walk and do some shopping.

About nine blocks from the hotel is a shopping area there is a whole street blocked off and at either end is a plaza. The area was crowded with shoppers and there are stores of almost every description. I saw some ladies go by with a big dish of ice-cream with chocolate sauce on it and sprinkles and all of a sudden I wanted one. The ice-cream stand was very close and I resisted the temptation to get the same size as the ladies had and settled for the smaller dish. I found a bench to sit and enjoy the dessert and watch the people go by. It is very nice that there benches conveniently located in shopping areas here it keeps the shoppers rested and gives the locals a place to watch the comings and goings.

I did a little shopping myself. I got some goodies to take back to the hotel to munch on and I bought a pretty gold scarf and some silver-colored earrings. I thought the prices were reasonable. I also had lunch; a Greek Salad and a soda. I think I’ve been neglectful of eating veggies lately and I hope the salad makes up for it. When I came across a coffee Cafe I had a Latte and it was delicious I would like another.

I ambled on back to the hotel and left a plate of chocolate chip cookies at the front desk for anyone to enjoy the two youngsters manning the desk had helped me before and the helped themselves right away. I guess it is the Grandma in me I enjoyed doing that.

I used Spanish in the shops and only once did I not know what was said and later I realized what was said and felt foolish as I know the phrase well. Sometimes my brain takes a break.

Here are a few photos; of the plaza at the end of the shopping area;

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So ends the first week of Spanish School

This was a short week in Spanish class because of the holiday and I had it made because I was the only one in class, that came to end. Next week I’ll be the only one in class but the class day will be shorter. The school was only going to give me an hour and half a day with an instructor, but I didn’t think that was enough so I bought more time with the instructor so I’ll have two hours of personal instruction for everyday next week and I’ll attend a group conversation class for an hour a day; half of the time in english and half in Spanish as well as an hour or more in the language lab using their computers to practice things like verb conjugations and grammar. I will have a different instructor the one I had was very nice. I also had an exam today and I was told I did very well. As for the instruction so far has been excellent I enjoyed it and got to us Spanish a lot everyday, just what I wanted.

After class today I did a little browsing in the neighborhood of the school and there are so many bookstores some sell new books others sell used books and they are reasonably priced, I thought. I bought a Spanish version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin to try out one day when I know more Spanish. I also found a Chinese restaurant for lunch and it was inexpensive and good I had the buffet and a soda for 80 pesos. I was full after lunch and needed to rest when I got back to the hotel.

I took some photos of the school. This school has a lot of students learning English or Spanish most are foreign youngsters this term they are from Korea; a lively group of youngsters enjoying their experience living in Guadalajara Mexico.

Here are the photos;

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I am going to do some review this weekend and a couple of walking tours around the neighborhood and take some photos of things I find interesting here in this part of Guadalajara.

 

Categories: Adventure, learning Spanish, Mexico | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

01 Feb 2016 Constitution Day

This morning I had a little breakfast with some of the folks staying here there was a wonderful couple from the Netherlands and a young man from France. Great conversation about their travels they are going to some place more south today and left just after breakfast.

Today was a national holiday in Mexico so there was no school. I made the best of it by walking to the school to see how long it takes so I know when to leave the hotel tomorrow morning. The walk is supposed to take nine minutes, it is seven blocks from the hotel; nine minutes-that’s if you are very spry, I’m not, I’ll give it fifteen minutes to be safe. There is a very busy street to cross and one has to time it just right to get across safely and I will. I walked right past the school, of course. I noticed my error and went back to where it was and it even had a huge sign! Some days I think I’m in another world. Unfortunately there is a pastry shop near the school with the most delicious looking pastries so of course I bought some and I’ve been on a sugar buzz ever since. When I got back to the hotel I just sat in a chair and waited for the sugar high to calm down before attempting to climb those stairs!

I also walked around the block so to speak to see what was in the neighborhood. The University of Guadalajara makes up the bulk of the biggest buildings then there is the church and plaza. Today being a holiday one of the main streets that bisects the University area is closed to vehicles so people can use the street for walking, running, skating, bicycling; anything human powered. There are quite a few people out there using the street hundreds and hundreds having a great time. I took a few photos but they don’t do it justice. There is music and the restaurants are open, venders too.

I had brunch at small restaurant and ate too much I had to go back to the hotel and take a nap to digest all the food I’ve eaten today. What will I do tonight? Go out and eat of course!

Here are some photos of today’s events I have to learn to carry my camera with me I miss some interesting photo ops.

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The front of the hotel there is a small sign and you are given a key to get in on your own as the door isn’t always manned

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This photo doesn’t do the event justice there were a lot of folks taking advantage of the closed street

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The upper flight of stairs if they don’t kill me I’ll be in better shape after a month

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The first flight of stairs thank goodness there is a hand rail compare stairs to the books 8-/

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View from my seat at a local restaurant watching the folks use the closed street

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There were lots of dogs enjoying the free street today every kind and size

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The street the hotel is on the blue is part of the hotel, parking is at a premium

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Large wide sidewalk this is not normal only on main streets is this so

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They people controlling the foot and bicycle traffic when it crossed major streets everyone obeyed the traffic guard

 

 

 

 

Categories: learning Spanish, Mexican food, Mexican Holidays, Spanish School, Uncategorized | Tags: | 1 Comment

Trip to Guadalajara (Spanish School)

This is my first of many posts about my trip to Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico to learn Spanish. My, dear neighbor, with very good humor drove me to Mexicali where we stayed the night at the Colonial Hotel. This was a recommendation from another good neighbor and he was right on. The hotel was clean and comfortable and the price was very good.

My flight was very early in the morning and for some reason that escapes me now I thought it was going to a little plane and few passengers. Upon arriving at the airport I was surprised to see so many people there, at first I thought there might be other flights but no this was my fight all these people were getting on. After schlepping my bags around and getting a boarding pass that I didn’t think I needed (Yes, you do Julia) I finally get to the ID control were I was confronted by Mexican Immigration. Turns out they were as puzzled as I was as to why I didn’t have my new Resident Visa Card and after the three gentlemen gave me the once over and put up with my broken Spanish I was sent on my way to go through security. The same type of security in the states, but I didn’t have to take my shoes off and it was (thank goodness) quick, I had to use the bathroom. That was a neat trick with a a bag and a purse in cubby to small to change into my superwoman costume if I had too.

Once out of the bathroom I got a cup of coffee and wouldn’t you know it no sooner did I get settled in a chair with my coffee it was time to line up for boarding the plane and it wasn’t a little turbo prop either. I found out the ticket checkers and fight crew didn’t speak english so my immersion started off already 🙂 No problem, serious announcements were recorded in both English and Spanish and they were the usual directions of following the directions and pointing out the exits in case of the plane crashing sort of thing. The plane ride itself was boring and my tummy wanted food. I did buy a muffin and a drink when offered to keep the grumbling beast at bay. I was so bored I read the inflight magazine or at least the parts I could with my broken Spanish.

Upon arrival at Guadalajara Airport we were bused to the terminal and lined up, yes all of us at the wrong baggage claim area and an employee herded us to the correct one which of course was much further from the exit. I claimed my bags and was even checked by an employee to make sure I wasn’t taking the wrong bags. I schlepped three bags and a big purse towards the exit where I asked a man at a Taxi booth about my voucher for a Taxi and he knew nothing about it. So I dragged my bags and I outside found a safe place against the building and like a paper boy of old started waving my voucher in the air while calling out TAXI ! One of the men who I assume controls the Taxis came over and read the voucher and went and asked another man about the voucher who looked very disinterested. At this point I thought I was going to have to pay for a ride out of pocket when a Taxi driver had a chat with this man and directed me to a Taxi. Wouldn’t you know it I get a Taxi driver who hasn’t a clue about vouchers or where the hotel is, had to go get directions from other taxi drivers on how to get there. I’m getting a little concerned at this point until he came back to the Taxi all smiles. I asked him if everything was okay and he said Si. So what are you going to do but sit back and enjoy the ride ? Obviously we got to the hotel in good order so it was much ado about nothing.

The hotel is small and in the historic (Old) part of town near a cathedral, in case I feel the need for spiritual help passing a test I imagine. The desk clerk took me to my room which of course is on the second floor with two flights of stairs a goat would enjoy running up and down. I thought I was puffing a bit until I heard the (Young) clerk huffing and puffing more than I was and I have almost a half century on the the poor boy! He was still puffing when he left my room and I had recovered. That young man needs some exercise, just my opinion not a judgement, but sheesh when a 71 year old can out do you on your own turf something has to be improved. Nice kid we’ll get along just fine. I might even challenge him to a foot race later and see who goes the hospital first!

I got directions to a local restaurant and guess what ? Yup, more stairs, but the food is good and cheap too. Nice view of that Cathederal with a busy plaza in front. After lunch I went back to my room to try out the bed with a serious nap. The bed is comfy and I had a good nap. Being Sunday the city is sort of quiet, I brought earplugs just in case.

Here are some photos of the inside of the hotel;

I like the colors and plants the church bells are charming the streets are narrow and one way so getting there is a problem when driving, but not when walking. Tomorrow is a holiday and I’ll take a tour of the neighborhood.

 

Categories: Adventure, Holidays, learning Spanish, Mexican Restaurant, Spanish School, Uncategorized | Tags: | 1 Comment

Signed up for Spanish Immersion Class

I have, once again, committed myself to learn Spanish. I have signed up for a class in Guadalajara that is full immersion supposedly no english spoken. I just took a test for class placement and promptly failed it, so now I’m dropped down to a lower level. I’m supposed to receive another test in email and we’ll see how that goes. The plan I signed up for is a month long course at I. M. A. C.  a well known Spanish language school. I will be staying at a local inn four blocks from school in Guadalajara. My concerns are that I’ll be in over my head, in a class full of smart energetic college students or smart, sharp business professionals and I’ll be the only less than stellar student. I’ll write weekly posts on my experiences while at the school.

I also plan to spend a few weeks in Lake Chapala to get a feel for the place once again and see if it is a fit for me. I may look for a house to rent for the summer to look over the area at a more leisurely pace before committing to moving there. The weather is a big draw for me as it doesn’t have the cold winters like Baja has and it doesn’t have the hot humid summers that San Felipe has. Also San Felipe is close to the border and if I need anything up north or to visit family it is only a day’s drive. Also I have lots of friends in San Felipe and I would miss them dearly, there is a lot to consider between the two places before making a decision.

Today I spent a little personal time getting a manicure. Before I leave for Guadalajara I will get my hair and feet done so I’ll look and feel good for my new adventure. Here is a photo my me getting my nails done at my favorite shop in San Felipe.

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Categories: Adventure, learning Spanish, Retiring to Mexico, San Felipe Baja MX, Spanish School, Uncategorized, Weather in San Felipe | Tags: | 4 Comments

Good news

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The weather has moderated just a little for a day or two, after we had rain-yes rain a rare occurrence here in Baja Mexico at least on the Sea of Cortez coast. Still it was a cold rain and my plants have suffered one is struggling to live. Today the sun was out and breakfast club with the other lizards was pleasant. I’m fortunate to have a group to socialize with and learn from as the ways of getting by in Mexico can be confusing if you’re trying to do it by yourself.

I am firming up plans to attend spanish language school, yes again, this time in Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico. This will be four weeks of intensive spanish only classes. I expect that my fellow students will be college students and professionals who are going to be very bright and committed to learning the language. I’ll have my work cut out for me to keep up. I am excited about the adventure ahead and I have high hopes this time my spanish will improve noticeably.

After the four weeks of spanish school I’m going to visit the Lake Chapala area for week or so before returning to San Felipe. I want to see how things have changed in the area and if I would fit in there. The draw for me is the climate it is supposed to be the second best climate in the world. Climate is not the only thing that would entice me to move, but after shivering my buns off this winter in San Felipe the idea has its appeal. I would sorely miss the friends and neighbors I have here so it better have a lot of charming attributes to make up for starting over, once again.

I also have to make a trip back to the old country to get a document notarized for the sale of my house last month. I’ll make a shopping trip out of it and buy some goodies for my comfort as there is a lot of winter left.

 

Categories: Baja California MX, learning Spanish, Spanish School, Uncategorized | Tags: | 8 Comments

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