Sarah, Hopefully

Friday, October 29, 2004

Too much time to free my mind

Let me just begin by saying: I really, really want a hug right now.

That´s basically the end of what I want to say, too.

Okay, okay... I´ll give you some in-between.

I don´t know what my freaking problem is. No school today... I slept in until after 10, which was nice... I woke up because my back was hurting, which wasn´t so nice. Katie was spazzing out because Alfonso stood her up last night and hadn´t called last night or this morning... she finally reached him, but he was making no sense, so she just went over to his place. Still haven´t heard the full story on that one. Anyway... that left me to my own devices for the day.

I have spent way too much time in this computer place today. There was nothing else to do. I read all the Television Without Pity recaps of this new season of ER. I talked to a couple of people online. I wasted a hell of a lot of time. You know the drill... I went to the mall. I bought a T-shirt. I ate McDonalds. My back started killing me. Why on earth am I taking all this freaking medicine that makes me feel like I am on Mars when my back keeps on hurting?? It´s rediculous. I can´t do anything about it, though. Not until Monday, at least... the campus is closed all weekend.

I hate this medicine. I hate the way it makes me feel like I am floating all the time. It makes my mind wander all over the place. Mostly it´s wandering a few thousand miles north, to home, to my parents, to Lawrence, to Murl, to all of my high school friends... all of the things I am missing. Aaaaaaaaaaargh. 5 weeks. Only 5 weeks from tomorrow. 36 more days. I am seriously, seriously counting down. I need to make a tear-off calendar for my wall or something.

I am dying to see a familiar face. Even if it were just for 5 minutes... no, that´s not true. A few hours is the least amount of time I could handle, haha. Just to be able to sit there and chat with someone I´ve known forever, to laugh and eat and talk about people we know and things that we´ve done... aaaaaaaaah I´m killing myself here. I´m crying in the hole in the wall computer place full of 20-something Mexican gamers, for crying out loud! This is the epitome of my patheticism. Geeze louise.

I know, I know. This is a pathetic entry. I´m sorry for being such a baby... but... like I said. I just want a hug. :(

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I'm as high as a kite

I think the Mexican drugs are making me a little high. Seriously. I can't wake up in the mornings, I can't concentrate in class, and when I talked to my mom on the phone this morning, all of my words were coming out really slowly and slightly slurred. Um? If I couldn't feel the back pain looming in the background, waiting to overwhelm me with its evilness, I might try to cut back on my dosage or something... but as it is, I am stuck being sleepy, loopy, and slow until next Friday, when I go back to see the doctor. Thus is life...

Today I found something really, really cool. I know I want to get one for Courtney. I may just have to get them for some other people, too. They're not really... MEXICAN... but they are good gifts, anyway. I need to get moving if I am really going to buy everyone Mexican souveniers. Heh.

So, hanging out with computer lab guy is postponed until Sunday. That's cool by me. I'm skipping the school field trip to Chapala tomorrow (even though that would be a good shopping opportunity...) and I am planning on just taking it easy. Sleeping in, hanging around... just giving my body a chance to chill out.

I miss autumn. I miss Halloween. Remember Murl's Halloween party last year? (I almost just wrote last week. Drugs.) That was awesome. I mean... Mexico has the Día de los Muertos, but I´m not going to Patsquaro, where the big shindig is, so... I don´t know how much I´ll be in on celebrating that. I don't know. I miss home, damn it! What else can I say? Feeling like someone has been kicking you in the kidneys kind of makes you lose your enthusiasm for living in a foreign country for another 5 weeks. Bleh.

My friend Euleta from England is trying to change her flight schedule home so that she will be on the plane with me from Guadalajara to Houston. She`s deathly afraid of flying and wants someone she knows there... so she`s trying to get the seat right next to mine. haha. That could be interesting, I suppose.

I think the hardest thing right now is that lots of people have either taken little trips back to the US to visit their friends or family, or their friends and family have come down here and they`ve traveled around for a few days together. I know that it`s rediculously expensive to come to Mexico (even though we are right next door), but... I wish someone could come to visit me, you know? Anybody up for it? How about Thanksgiving weekend? Your parents could spare you for one year... you can even stay at my house, so you don`t have to pay for a hotel or anything. How about it?

I know, I know. I`m being pathetic. After all, it`s only 37 more days. I need to grow up and learn to tough it out. But....... I MISS YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!! Lots and lots. So... write me, please. shgarlow@yahoo.com (Sometimes I am a broken record. Who DOESN`T know my email address by heart now?) And if you were thinking of mailing anything snail mail (I know I posted that address a way long time ago, sorry!), you probably want to do that soon because mail takes a long time and you want me to get whatever it is before I leave, right? :)

Okay. Enough whining for one day. Have a good end of the week, everyone. May the dancing Pope save you from having poopy pants.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Eres un chulo sin h!

Haha. I am learning how to swear in Spanish. Not exactly something to be proud of, I suppose, but it´s amusing what you pick up.
Today after school I went out to lunch at this taco place near my house with Katie and Alfonso. There was a BOSTON TERRIER wandering around on the sidewalk outside. It was soooooooo cute! It made me miss Squishy a lot. :( After we ate I walked around outside to see if I could find the doggie again, but I couldn´t. I think it was from the vet´s office next door. *sigh*

I finally got my 1-page personal statement for KU all written up and typed and all. I just need my parents to look at it and tell me if I made any glaring spelling or grammer errors and I will send that thing off. One down, three to go. Woo.

The medicine the doctor gave me makes me really sleepy. I take two pills at night after dinner, and then I have a 45 minute window in which to do my homework or anything that requires brain power. After that I start spacing out and falling asleep. I take another pill with breakfast, and then I am kind of dazed during my first class. Oh well. At least my back is feeling better. Not perfect, but on the mend, hopefully.

Um. The girl on the computer next to me is looking at a picture that kind of reminds me of Tub Girl. It´s a woman who is in a swimming pool, probably doing a surface dive. Her bare butt cheeks are sticking out of the water, and she´s farting a fountain into the air. Ew. Pleasant image, eh?

Tonight I´m going to the movies with Eric and Gabe and some other people. Wednesdays are "Dos por uno" or 2 for 1 night at the theater... basically, you pay half price or your ticket. Definitely a good deal. I don´t know what we are going to see, but I´m still excited. Katie is just psyched that I am getting out of the house more lately and doing things with people, haha.

One of the guys who works here at the Cyber café offered to take me with some of his friends to the Fiestas de Octubre, which is like this giant carnival and concerts and stuff all month long here in Guadalajara. It´s not like a date... we were talking and he found out I haven´t seen very much of Mexico, so he offered to take me along when they go places. It will be nice to have a real Mexican tour guide. My friend Euleta (the Brit) told me she wants to go, too, so I think I will ask if she can come... it´s probably safer than going off by myself, even though I really think these guys are trustworthy. You never know, I guess.

Lala... just chillin´, waiting for my mom to email me some corrections. Oh... today in class some people were talking about the Wizard of Oz. It made me homesick. ;) That´s the only way anyone knows about Kansas, I swear! Oh well. Only 38 days left until I come home, can you believe it? I can´t. I still remember when the number was over 100... I thought I would never make it this far! Hehe.

Aight. That´s all for now. May the dancing pope bless you with boston terriers in your path. :)

Monday, October 25, 2004

Welcome to the Largest City in the World

Mexico City. What a trip! I know that Julia and Courtney are anxiously awaiting tales of my journeys, so I´ll just jump right in.

Friday: Got next to no sleep, got up at a really rediculously early time (Ten ´till 5) so I could be at the school at 6. Ugh. Soooooo early! I got there and managed to find a seat mate in Nicole, one of Katie´s friends. She´s cool... she has dreadlocks and dresses like a hippie, but she really isn´t very hippy-ish at all. Unless you count her being a vegetarian. Anyway... by about 6:30 or so we were on the road. Everybody passed out and slept for the first hour and a half or so because it was still dark outside. I woke up about 8 o´clock because this guy (who I didn´t know then, but I made friends with later) was talking kind of loudly behind me. Then I got caught up in listening to what he was talking about- the mob, car theft in Sacremento, and other such things. Um... the trip was really uncomfortable because I had zero leg room. They played us "The Butterfly Effect" and "Cheaper By the Dozen". I slept through half of CBTD, which was okay by me. I was tiiiiiiired... by the time we got to Mexico City, my back was killing me. I think it was the evil bus. Anyway... we got there, got our room keys, and dropped off our bags. We had 30 minutes to get back on the bus. My back hurt a lot, but I got on the bus anyway.

We took off toward downtown. This lady from UAG was acting like our tour guide. It got annoying really fast. She would talk on the bus microphone and say all this annoying crap that nobody paid attention to anyway... argh. But anyway. First we went to what I think is the Government Palace or something like that... it is full of murals by Diego Rivera, which were cool. In a lot of ways it reminded me of the government building in downtown Guadalajara. After that we took off down the street to visit Tenochtitlán (excuse the spelling, it could be off), or the Templo Mayor. Basically what happened is that one day some guys were messing around under the streets downtown and discovered some ruins of pyramids and stuff. They realized that when the history books say that Mexico City is built on the ruins of the Aztec civilization, they were serious. Anyway, they tore up four blocks of city buildings and revealed the place where the Aztecs used to make daily human sacrifices, etc. It was pretty cool- all these ruins right in the middle of skyscrapers.

After the templo mayor, we went to check out some random church nearby... at that point I was feeling pretty awful. It hurt to stand up straight, so I kept bending over and leaning on my knees or finding places to sit down. My head was starting to ache along with my back. While in the church, I started talking to this cool guy named Eric who is from Canada. Funny guy, too. Outside the church I bought a bottle of water in case I was getting dehydrated, which is what people kept telling me it was. I don´t really know. Then they made us walk a few blocks to this city collection of artwork. No cameras allowed, but oh well. I hung out some more with Eric, trying to teach him some stuff about art (what little I could remember from Humanities class, haha!) Finally it was time to leave and go to dinner, which was good because none of us had eaten a real meal all day!

The adults on our trip kind of sucked at the tour guide thing. The dumb redhead lady would ramble on the bus microphone, dropping important information like where we were going and what time to be there in the middle of her boring lectures when nobody was paying attention... and then when we went somewhere as a group (there were almost 40 of us!) she would just start moving on to the next thing (a few blocks away) without bothering to get anyone´s attention first... so people kept getting lost. Not cool. Anyway. We went to dinner at Sanbornes, the original one. It was in a cool old building. Our food choices were limited, and we had to wait forever for our food. By that point I was feeling horrible. My head was killing me. When our food came out, my head hurt too much for me to eat... it just made me nauseus. That stunk, but this nice woman named Jen who is from Montana helped me out... took me outside to get some fresh air, etc. By the time we left the restaurant, I was READY. Then the dumb redheaded lady started chatting on the bus mike about absolutely NOTHING... her voice seriously brought me as close to throwing up as I was that day. Ugh. But finally she shut up and we got back to the hotel and I was in bed within 10 minutes, not even caring that everybody was parting in the room directly above mine. Woo!

Saturday: Got up, showered, felt tons better. Went to this hotel across the street at 8 to eat breakfast. Amazing breakfast buffet. Tons of breads, french toast, eggs, cereal, yogurt, fruit, bacon... I ate all of that, and some of those more than once. It made up for not eating dinner the night before. By 9 o´clock I was on the bus with my backpack and rarin´to go! First we went to visit the Virgin de Guadalupe. Apparantly this woman appeared to a mexican guy a bunch of times and asked for churches to be built, and then to make the archbishop do it she told the guy to collect rose petals in his mantle... when he took them out, her image was on the cloth. It started a huge conversion of the Mexican natives to Catholicism, and now the mantle hangs in this church. It was okay, I guess. Kind of hard to see. It was actually this big complex of three churches around a huge courtyard. I was hanging out with Eric and this girl named Euleta (she´s British!!!) and checking out the churches. We decided to go into the little "religious objects" store that was between two of the churches, not thinking we would find anything. Boy, were we wrong. We found the coolest thing I have yet to buy in Mexico.

Holographic cards of the Pope. When you move it, he crosses himself, but he looks like he´s dancing. There were about 5 of us who all bought one. How can you resist John Paul breaking it down in your wallet? So that was pretty amazing. After that we had to hit the road again... out in front of the Virgin´s church we ran into Eric´s roommate, Gabe, who was the guy who had been talking loudly on the bus on Friday. I started talking to him, and he was really cool. Very into taking pictures... he has a really nice digital camera with different lenses and stuff. Anyway... back on the bus, and off to our next stop for the day. It was this big monestery in the country... very cool building. I really loved it there. They had some exhibits and stuff on the ground floor that weren´t as appealing to me, but upstairs you could wander through all these old rooms and hallways where bits of old wall paintings showed through... there were all these hidden courtyards and things. Very awesome. I hooked back up with Eric, Gabe, and some other people out on this outdoor roof thing... Gabe was taking pictures of these sheep in the distance, pretending like he was a sniper or something. There was this empty pedestal in the middle the floor that we all took turns posing on as if we were statues.

After the monestary it was time for the big stuff... Teotihuacan, the pyramids. We got there and I immediately bought things from the little huts by the parking lot... I´m sorry, but they sell some gorgeous stuff there! Hehe. I found some people to chill with and we started our tour. Basically all the pyramids and things are spread out down this mile-long road... the big daddy of the pyramids, the Pyramid of the Sun, is about halfway down. I was chilling with Euleta, Mateo, Eric, Tim, and Alyssa. We made a good team. Took lots of pictures, managed to avoid the crazy vendors who kept harassing us, etc. Euleta and I paired up to climb the Sun. There are all of these flights of stairs, all insanely steep, most of them without railings (or having railings monopolized by the people DESCENDING the pyramid, I can´t blame them!) We finally made it to the top... what a view! I slathered on some more sunscreen, took some fun pictures of Eric and Tim smoking their "we made it to the top of the pyramid" cigars, etc. Then we went back down... a hard and treacherous journey! Very scary, to feel like if your knees give way you would just keep going and going and going...

Then we had to trek down the rest of that mile-long road. Tim, Mateo, and Eric all decided to crawl through this little tunnel instead of walking up and over this small pyramid-type-thing across the road... it was funny, but strange. We finally reached the end of the road, where I met up with Nicole, Jen, and Gabe. I decided to hang out with them at the little shops by the parking lot instead of hiking up the smaller Pyramid of the Moon. Can you really blame me? Haha. Bought some more stuff... good stuff, yeah!

After the Pyramids, we actually had an afternoon off- wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles! About 3/4 of the group wanted to go to Coyoacan, where Frida Kahlo´s house is located. We went. It was... not as impressive as I had wished. The movie was still good, though. Anyway... after the museum, Nicole, Gabe, and I decided to hang out together. We walked a few blocks down the street to the big marketplace in the middle of Coyoacan. Bands playing, food vendors, and stuff stuff stuff to buy. It was really interesting! After an hour or so of wandering we decided to eat some dinner at this little french place. Gabe had some amazing iced tea, he and Nicole ate crepes, and I had a yummy (albeit strange) salad of spinach, apples, bacon bits, and a tamarind dressing. Then Gabe had another glass of amazing iced tea. Good for him. :)

We chilled around the marketplace a while longer, admiring and taking pictures of the guy on stilts. Gabe bought some gifts that he stashed in my backpack, and we ate churros. Real churros! I had one filled with chocolate, mmmm! Then we haggled with taxi drivers until we found one who would take us back to our hotel for 90 pesos (because it`s really hard to split 100 pesos three ways!) On the way back we talked about Peru, Machu Piccu, The Motorcycle Diaries, and other great topics. At the hotel, we each split to our respective rooms for a bit, then Nicole and I went down to chill with Gabe in his room and eat tons of sour gummi worms. After Eric came back with his Mexican girlfriend, Nicole decided to go to bed and Gabe decided to come up to my room with me and Lindsay, the girl I was rooming with. We wound up staying up until 1 am talking about everything... Gabe told us the entire love story between him and his girlfriend of 7 years. He´s completely crazy about her, it´s so great to watch. She´s coming to visit this weekend with his mom and his sister, and he is ecstatic. It was great conversation, though. Gabe is hilarious and smart and friendly and everything. Anyway... around 1 he left to let us get some sleep, which was good, because Saturday was a long day!

Sunday: Woke up and ate the breakfast buffet again, then headed back to my hotel room to pack up all of my stuff. By 9 am I was on the bus. I made the magical discovery that the left side of the bus had twice as much leg room as the right side. Oooooh but that made the ride home 39087 times better than the ride there!!! They drove us to go visit the palace where Porfirio Diaz lived. It´s on the top of this big hill and in the middle of some woods. The bus dropped us off on the completely wrong side, so we had to walk something like 6 blocks to get to the entrance. Then we had to walk up the enormous hill. Yay... everyone loved that, especially the day after hiking up the Pyramid of the Sun. Anyway... we get there and they basically give us some free reign to look around. There was some great views of Mexico City from the balconies and such. You weren´t allowed to take pictures inside the building, which kind of stunk, because it was cool... that didn´t stop Gabe the Picture Master, though. I think he got told by every single security guard in that place that no pictures were allowed. Haha.

Some people apparantly weren´t listening when they told us what time we had to meet up to leave the palace, so we wound up waiting for like... 20 minutes. Finally they decided to take the big group of us on ahead and leave one of the adults behind to wait for the others. On the way down the huge hill, Gabe and Alyssa stopped to (what else?) take some pictures. I managed to trip backwards over some flower pot thing and fall on my butt... it was amusing, but a little painful. Oh well. Anyway... with all of that, we kind of fell behind the big group. Remember what I said about their great job of keeping us together? We finally caught up to them by jumping over this fence instead of winding around this crazy market type thing. Then we had to walk all of those blocks back around the palace hill and over toward the Anthropology museum.

Before going into the museum we took a time out to watch these Flyers... basically these four guys climbed up a huge tower and then hung down on ropes as the thing unwound. And played instruments. While hanging upside down. Hehe. Then into the museum, where all of us were waaaaay too tired to really care... I think really we just went through all the rooms so Gabe could get his photo ops. We decided to cut our fascinating museum tour short (I swear... it was so boring. It was like a children´s museum or something) and get some lunch. I had a really good club sandwich and a really cold coke, yum.

Quick note: The owner of this place just walked through, brushing his teeth. That strikes me as amusing, somehow.

After lunch we were back on the bus for our 8-ish hour trip back to Guadalajara. Gabe discovered the joys of the left-side legroom and came up to join me, yay! It made for lots of fun times on an otherwise boring bus trip. They started playing this HORRIBLE movie called Dobermann. With two n´s. It was in french and german and spanish, it had no actor you have ever seen, and for some reason they jacked the volume up to nearly unbearable levels so no one could sleep or avoid it. I did managed to tune it out by turning on my headphones realllllly loud and reading a book. Gabe as hilarious afterwards as he sang, "D-d-d-doberMANNNNNnnnn!" and quoted, "Kill the woman first." Oooooh what a bad movie.

After our break, they put in "Cold Creek Manor." I really, really hate scary movies. Really. I don´t know why people insist on playing them. Gabe was nice, though, and let me beat him on the arm and shake my head in his face and yell, "Noooooooooo that´s sucha bad ideaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!" Hahaha. He also let me trade seats with him so I could use the overhead light and finish reading my book. (The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks. Kind of a sequal to The Notebook. Oh, so good!!!!) He was just an amazing guy to sit by... totally hilarious. In the afternoon he "Macguivered" the bus curtains by pinning them closed with his key ring. He asked questions like, "If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?" and then, when asked the same thing, replied, "Right here. I know I´m exactly where I need to be." Such a good guy. He made sure I got a taxi once we got back to the school around 11. He made sure Alyssa got one, too, but hers turned out weird... the driver was like, "I just bought this orange juice and need to take it home" and was driving totally away from her house... she just asked him to let her out and got another cab, though, so it turned out okay. Weird, though.

So... to be more up to date. Last night I felt fine, went to bed... woke up two hours later in excruciating pain. My back again, but a different place and kind of hurting this time. It was horrible. I took advil and was sort of getting to sleep when katie got home, so I talked to her about my trip... didn´t sleep very well last night, though, needless to say. I got up this morning still in pain, took a really hot shower that made me sweaty in an effort to make the pain go away (didn´t work), only ate half of my breakfast because it hurt to sit and breathe... blech. I took 3 advil and went to school though. I made it through my first class okay, but by my second one I was in a lot of pain. My teacher kept looking at me strangely because I was making these tortured faces of pain and agony... she at last asked me if I was okay. Maybe she thought I was reacting to her teaching. Hehe.

Okay... this guy in here keeps making REALLY weird noises. Like... cats and ducks and things. Weird.

Anyway... after school I went to the doctor. I had to wait for 30 minutes for him to get there, by which time I was in tears because I was in so much pain. Pretty much the same drill as last time... except this time when he was done popping all my joints, I didn´t feel any better. He put some Bengay or whatever on my back- the stuff that burns and tingles and smells minty. He also gave me a prescription for 2 more kind of pills. $25 worth of medicine... it had better work! I hate feeling bad... it sucks, I hate whining at people and having them feel sorry for me, and I want to be able to have a good night´s sleep, dang it!!! Bleh.

Okay... I think that if my back gets better, it will actually be a good week. I was hanging out with Gabe and Eric today at school... I´m so happy to have made some more friends! There were so many great people on the trip... I think that because someone else organized it and was in charge, we were all free to relax and mingle with one another. I really enjoyed it, despite feeling poorly on Friday. Saturday and Sunday more than made up for it. I took a bunch of pictures (I´m up to 60 on my digital camera, woo! I am not a failure!), I bought some souveniers, I made some friends, I saw some awesome places and scenery.... yup. Good times, good times. Pray that my back gets better, because this is NO fun...

Sorry for the enormous entry, but I´m sure you appreciate the thoroughness of my adventure-telling.

May the dancing Pope shed happiness and joy upon you. ;)


Thursday, October 21, 2004

A small note before I leave...

Let me just say that the techno version of Sarah McLachlan´s "Posession" is... well, it´s desecration of something sacred. Yeesh. The weird stuff they play here!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Misunderstanding

Romans 7:15 I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate.
This pretty much sums up the way I feel right now.

I hung out with Mateo this afternoon- not intentionally. Pretty much just confirmed to myself that he is a very, very weird guy who I don´t especially think I need to get to know much better. He still doesn´t quite understand that I was SERIOUS about the Just Friends thing. He kept asking if we were "friends with benefits." Are you stupid? Did someone drive nails into your head that are interfering with your proper brain functions? NOOOOOO. Blech. I keep screwing myself over... I need to just learn to leave things be. I try to hard sometimes.

What can I say? My classes are totally uninspiring, I have a big test tomorrow over spanish punctuation that is going to kick my butt, and I feel soooooo unmotivated to go to my classes. Bleh. I will be home 6 weeks from Saturday, can you believe it? I`m already pretty much halfway done with this level of Spanish... Iunno. I still miss home and people- I saw all the photos on Jesyka´s OD of her fall break, and it made me realllllllllly sad because I want to see all those people too!!!!!! My time will come, I guess. December 4, Sarah arrives home- mark your calendars! Actually, I probably won`t be home until around 10pm or so, so maybe mark your calendars for December 5. ;)

Working on college applications still. KU deadline in less than 2 weeks, yikes. That`s a really early decision deadline, so nobody else panic, okay? Haha. Personal statement: I`m in Mexico! Woo woo! Yo hablo español! Very impressive, I`m sure. I´m going to have to be sure to use the apostrophe substitute that looks more normal...´ instead of `. Right? Right.

Mexico has seriously made me lose my mind. Who am I anymore???? I really, really don´t know.

Okay. That´s all... maybe I´ll write tomorrow, maybe I´ll wait until Monday when I´m back from D.F. We shall see!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Piddle Party (updated)

Haha... Katie was talking about "pijamadas" (that´s Spanish for pajama party) and it got me thinking about Piddle parties. Any of my girls remember that? Of course you do. How could we forget? Good times, good times.

I am a cookie monster. Seriously. I have cookies on the brain... far more than any normal person should. Save me! I have been eating a bunch of Cuernitos lately... they´re croissants, basically. Prepackaged, two per bag, very moist and yummy. I´ve been eating them with a V-8 Splash (Zarzabroso!), and this morning I had them with this really cute 20.3 oz bottle of Dr. Pepper from the 7-11. Yum! It was real DP, too. No fakey sugar. Hehe.

I´ve decided that I must be cursed or have some sort of weird aura or... something. Whatever it is, I seem to give off some sort of vibe that makes older men attracted to me. Yesterday I was chillin´ at the Plaza Galerias (I am there WAY too often). I had just finished my McDonalds and bought an apple pie from the dessert window when I saw these guys that looked familiar. One of them did, anyway... Katie and I met and talked to him last week while we were walking to the bus stop. The thing about these guys is... they´re both about 7 feet tall. Yeah. They play for the professional Tecos basketball team here at UAG. Anyway, they spoke like... 2 words of Spanish, so I had to help them out (read: show them where the bathroom was). We were talking and stuff and they invited me to hang out with them. We went to the movies. They bought my ticket and they bought me a drink and then they paid for the taxi home. Nice guys. One of them asked for my phone number, haha. Do you think it´s a bad thing that I don´t remember either of their names? Hehe. One of them is from HOTlanta, Courtney! Anyway... that was fun.

Oh yeah... on Saturday I went to the movies also... that time by myself, though. I saw The Motorcycle Diaries. I guess because I had seen it advertised in the US I assumed it would be in English. I think the US version must use subtitles, because it was all in Spanish. That´s okay- I understood it anyway. It was actually really good. I´d kind of like to read the books it is based upon. It´s this story about two guys who travel the entire length of south america- from the southernmost tip of Argentina to the northernmost part of Venezuela- on a motorcycle. They work at a leper colony for a while and stuff... very cool. Go see it, but check and make sure it has subtitles, first. ;)

Okay... I gotta go catch up with Katie. Check back here later, because I am not done outlining my adventures for you. ;) I´ll just edit this post later this afternoon.

...............................................................................

Okay. I´m ready to finish this now. Today wasn´t the greatest day (what Monday ever is?). I hardly got any sleep last night... partly because my mind wouldn´t shut off, and partly because Katie had Alfonso´s cell phone for some reason and about every 40 minutes it would beep really loudly and send us a message that told us that he had no new messages. Um? It was annoying. So, tiredness. Then on the way in to school I got something in my left eye that was irritating it for about 3 hours. NO fun. Then I tried to email my homework to my teacher like I was supposed to do this weekend (oops) but the mouse would only move a fraction of an inch... absolutely impossible to click the "send" button. Tabbing skipped right over it, grr. So I didn´t get all of my homework done, I was really tired, and I could only see out of one eye. Geeze. Great way to start the week.

Anyway... I just went down to my service. I realized... much as I feel totally superfluous there, the people are great. From Claudia, who still wears the strawberry scented body spray I gave her for her birthday; to Rogelio, who likes to flirt with all the girls; to Miguel, who likes to sneak up behind you and tickle you; to Mario, the boy with the mental disability and chronic ear infections who loves to play the guitar; to Julio, who acts like he´s really tough and mean until one day you get lucky and find him singing at the top of his lungs along with the radio while he mops the kitchen floor or playing with Mario´s hair. It just amazes me... these kids who have nothing- no money, no family, no real place in society- are incredibly beautiful.

I have a confession. I bought another tin of the Danish butter cookies. I know, I know! I didn´t MEAN to do it... it just sort of... happened. Ooh! But guess what else I found while i was at Wal-Mart? STARBURSTS! A whole bag of them! I`m chowing down on those while I write this. :)

I don`t know what it is... I´ve been struggling with homesickness and feeling kind of useless here... but then I look around and see all the things I love about being here. The weather is gorgeous today. I can walk around in a T-shirt and jeans all the time, while I know people back home are beginning to pull out the jackets and sweaters. I can talk to people now. I can go around by myself, and do it rather often. The food is different, yeah, but it´s still good. I should enjoy it while I can. There is an entirely different culture here. It´s subtle, but it´s there... the way Mexicans are crazy about text messaging. All the cell phone commercials are about the amazing text messaging technology, not about making actual phone calls. It´s completely normal for middle class famililes to have a woman come in to help with the cooking or the cleaning. The car alarms here are rediculous. Everyone has them, they are all loud and annoying, and the are all extremely touchy. They are sensitive to loud noises as well as touch- so if there´s a thunderstorm, you can hear car alarms wailing between cracks of thunder. There is no such thing as garages here. Everyone has gated driveways- some with roofs, some with other kinds of covers. It`s really hard to walk down the sidewalks here because everyone parks half on the street and half on the sidewalk. People also do that on busy streets, meaning that buses and cars have to weave into the next lane to pass. The use of emergency lights on cars is much more common here, as well as the use of the car horn. All the trees are pruned into shapes- cubes, circles, whatever. Dogs are way more common than cats. You walk past the gated drives and jump a mile high because some doberman is barking at your side. There is a specific way that you hail the bus. All of the kids in school wear uniforms. Everyone goes home to eat lunch in the afternoons. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day. Instead of stopping at intersections, people just honk as they drive to let people know that they are passing through. If there is a game of fútbol being played, the television WILL be on. When men and women greet each other, they grasp hands and kiss one another on the cheek. The same goes for being introduced and sometimes when girls greet other girls. When you walk out the door, you say "Nos vemos" or "Que te vaya bien" or "adios".

I love that I am waking up to the subtleties of this culture. That was why I came here: so I would know all those silly, mundane details. The little things that make everything fit together. It makes me feel... like maybe I belong. Like I´m starting to fit into this cultural tapestry, one thread at a time.

I still miss home. I still dream about Yellow Sub and Chipotle and Jimmy John´s. I still imagine what it will be like to eat my next Arby`s cherry turnover. I still want to see familiar faces, get hugs, tell old jokes, hang out in all the familiar places. I still want to sleep in my own bed and see my parents. I still miss Lawrence and driving and being able to eavesdrop on the conversations around me at the store. But there will be time enough for that. For now I need to absorb what is around me.

This Friday I go to Mexico City. Woo woo! D.F., here I come! (In case you don`t know, it`s called México D.F., meaning Districto Federal. Kind of like Washington D.C.?) I promise to take lots of pictures to make up for my complete and utter lack of picture taking thus far. Hehe.

If you get 5 extra minutes, please shoot one my way. shgarlow@yahoo.com . I miss hearing from you guys. Eat some doritos for me. Nacho cheese, straight up. No jalapeño allowed.

Friday, October 15, 2004

¡Me encanta la comida!

I am such a pig this week! I ate a HUGE thing of cookies... a couple of dozen at a time... oh, but they were soooooooo good. Hahaha.

So the muscle relaxers are helping my back, but I woke up REALLY confused this morning... I didn`t hear Katie come home last night, I didn`t hear her alarm go off this morning, and I didn`t hear her get up and get in the shower... so when MY alarm went off around 6, I thought it was HER alarm, that she hadn`t come home yet, and that I had to turn it off. So I was scrambling around on our bedside table trying to find her alarm clock... it took me a good minute to realize that it was, in fact, my own alarm clock making all the terrible noises. Craziness.

Ew. On the bus this morning, this nasty smelling guy was standing next to me, and when I got up to get off the bus, he like... rubbed his shoulder against me and was like, "ooh, mama, adios, mama!" Eeeeeeeeeew ew ew. I could NOT get off that bus fast enough!

Anyway... I skipped a class again today. I`m getting really bad at that. After my grammer class, I was soooooo hot and tired and falling asleep that I just could NOT go back for the other two hours of Spanish. I am a "mala niña", as Jennifer (the girl who says I am 12) told me. Oh well... I went to class Monday, so I have a day off that other people already used up. Yeah.

Finally saw Mateo today... I think he was avoiding me all week. He was fine- friendly, but not overly so. Hopefully he won`t be weird or a pain or anything. Not something I need.

After school I went to lunch with Katie, Alfonso, and this girl named Sybill. She´s apparently my age... she spent her senior year of high school studying at UAG, and now is back taking classes in teaching ESL at this satellite school here, and taking a class in German at UAG (so she qualifies as a student and can use all the facilities.) It was... interesting. We went to Sirloin Stockade, which is a cherished childhood memory for me. ;) It`s really not that different in Mexico. Alfonso and Sybill seemed to be having problems with the whole "all you can eat buffet" idea. They kept asking... "So... we can keep going back? As many times as we want?" Hehe.

So we`re sitting there stuffing our faces, and this guy comes and sits at the table next to us... and he is DRUNK. Don`t know what his name was. He was from Finland, and thought Sybill was incredibly gorgeous, even though he couldn`t pronounce her name. He was talking sooo loud and everyone was staring at us, and he kept saying all this raaaaaaaandom stuff. It was rather hilarious. We filled out the little card they leave on your table where you are supposed to rate the restaurant`s service, and in the "comments" section we wrote, "Don`t give alcohol to drunk blonde men." In English, of course, so they wouldn´t understand. OH! But then the drunk guy came BACK, but this time with his friend, and they tried to write their phone number ON THE CARD... we had to steal it out of their hands so they wouldn`t read it, haha! The guy from Finland kept coming around and kissing us on the cheeks to say goodbye... man, he was so drunk. Haha.

Anyway... not the greatest week on record. Hopefully I`ll get out and have some fun this weekend, but we know I`m not exactly Mexico`s social butterfly. We´ll see, I guess. ;)

Okay... back to the bat cave, woo.

To know you

It’s well past midnight
And I’m awake with questions that won’t wait for daylight
Separating fact from my imaginary fiction
On this shelf of my conviction
I need to find a place where You and I come face to face

I feel like I have spent so much of the last two years just... wandering. I had a falling out- with my church, with God- and I am left with a desperate wanting. I want to be different. I want to go back to having a well of faith inside of me to draw from in the hard times and the good times. I want to have the joy of being right with God again... but my doubts and my guilt and my insecurities keep pushing my goals to somewhere just beyond my reach.

Thomas needed proof that You had really risen undefeated
When he placed his fingers where the nails once broke Your skin
Did his faith finally begin?
I’ve lied if I’ve denied the common ground I’ve shared with him

I wonder what it´s going to take. I´ve been broken. I don´t have my church to rely on anymore. I don´t have friends to rely on anymore. I am in a foreign country where I know no one, where the language is not my native language, where 90% of the population is Catholic... I am truly alone. No one here can tell me what to do or what is best for me, becaues no one here knows me. The only people who know me here are me and God. That´s scary.

And I, I really want to know You
I want to make each day a different way that I can show You how
I really want to love You
Be patient with my doubt
I’m just tryin’ to figure out Your will
And I really want to know You still

I have all sorts of free time here. I don´t have friends to call so we can go hang out. I don´t have a car to go driving around in, and this city is too big and dangerous to go wandering off by myself into the unknown. I have a lot of time to myself to think, which can be... unnerving. I have too much time to ask myself questions: Who am I now? What do I want? What is going to happen in my future? Where do I go from here? I wonder if I my confusion is all part of God´s plan and if He will lead me to where He wants me to go, or if I am going to make the wrong decisions because I am too afraid to ask Him for help. I wonder if I am going to screw up my life, all because I have forgotten what it is to talk to my creator.

Nicodemus could not understand how You could truly free us
He struggled with the image of a grown man born again
We might have been good friends
Cuz sometimes I still question, too, how easily we come to You

I grew up in the church. I learned all the "right answers" about God´s grace and mercy, about how Jesus died so that we can speak directly to God, how our sins are forgiven. Yet, I tell myself it can´t be that easy. Surely God doesn´t want me. I´m a sinner. I am sinning every single day, and I know better. I went to church, I learned right from wrong, I know exactly what it is that I do. How could he accept me when I come to him, knowing that I am sinning, and knowing that I am probably not going to change any time soon? It can´t be that easy. I have to get my life on track first, and then I will be worthy of talking to God.

And I, I really want to know You
I want to make each day a different way that I can show You how
I really want to love You
Be patient with my doubt
I’m just tryin’ to figure out Your will
And I really want to know You still

I know that my thoughts aren´t right- I know deep down that there´s no real way to get my life on track if I don´t have God in it first. The contradictions- of sin and forgiveness, of guilt and freedom- leave me stuck in this in-between place. Wanting a better life, wanting a relationship, wanting to give the responsibility of managing my life to someone who can do much better than I can. Feeling guilty, feeling trapped, feeling unworthy and unwanted and ashamed. What can I do? What should I do? I try so hard and nothing changes. I do nothing and nothing changes.

No more camping on the porch of indecision
No more sleeping under stars of apathy
And it might be easier to dream
But dreamin’s not for me

I need to figure this out. I need to actually follow through. It´s so hard. I feel like I am starting to get somewhere, and then something comes out of the blue and knocks me off track. I start to work on my life, and I get distracted. I just need to get it done!

And I, I really want to know You
I want to make each day a different way that I can show You how
I really want to love You
Be patient with my doubt
I’m just tryin’ to figure out Your will
And I really want to know You still


Thursday, October 14, 2004

No Java?

Apparently this dumb computer lacks a java virtual machine, so I can`t talk to anyone with AIM express. I am also positioned directly under a fan that is blowing my hair in my face and drying out my right eye. Grr. Not the best computer experience today.

Anyway... today after class I went to the campus doctor, whose office is located underneath the stadium, weird. I walk in, I tell him my back hurts, and he immediately puts me on the leather bench thing and got to work. I got a back massage (not really the kind that feels good, though... the kind that hurts because they are pinching every single inch of your spine, etc.) Then he proceeded to pop EVERY SINGLE BONE IN MY BODY. At LEAST once. Every joint in my fingers and toes, my back, my hips... then he went to work on my neck. Pulling my head and twisting it in weird directions... I was afraid he was going to break my spine, but oh my gosh. I didn`t realize your neck could pop that many times. After that he gave me a prescription for what I think are muscle relaxers. I guess he thinks I am just too stressed and tense and it`s causing me back and hip pain. We`ll see. I filled the prescription and it cost me 15 bucks. It had better be worth it! ;) Anyways, that was kind of fun... I´ve never had someone give me that complete of a relaxation session, you know?

So, yeah... the week is almost over, hooray. I`ve been pigging out on McDonalds and Danish Butter Cookies all week. I think Katie is starting to be a little afraid. This afternoon she was like, "Sarah. Put the cookies DOWN. No more cookies. NO." Heehee. She should talk... she was eating sour cream and onion pringles and diet coke this morning at 8am because "breakfast was too far away" (about 15 minutes.) She`s actually been kind of pissing me off this week because she has been getting up late and taking 40 minutes in the bathroom, which makes ME run late in taking my shower and getting dressed. Plus, she normally gets dressed while I am in the shower and then goes to the bathroom while i am getting dressed to do her makeup and stuff. This week, she comes back to the room and sits there watching CNN until I get out of the shower, so I have no privacy to get dressed in. She`s just chilling there in her towel, and doesn`t understand what I am talking about when I am like, "Katie, you need to hurry, we`re going to be late." Argh. I hate being late to class every single day. Whaaaaaaaaaatever... I think it`s partly Alfonso`s fault, because he guilt trips her if she doesn´t hang out with him every night or if she tries to make him bring her home at a reasonable hour (BEFORE 2 am on a school night, please?)

Okay, screw it, this computer sucks. :P

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Cross your fingers

My blog has been kind of nasty to me this week... randomly deleting entries I am in the middle of writing, not posting things until two days later, etc. Go figure.

My back is still being rather evil. I haven´t slept well for the past couple of nights, because I am only comfortable if my knees are up or if I am halfway sitting against my headboard. That´s okay for just chilling on the bed, but for an actual night of sleep, not so much. I just woke up from an hour long nap... I rolled my blanket up and put it behind my knees, but I woke up because I was cold, so that won´t work for sleeping. Bah. At my house I would have a billion extra pillows to work with, but not here.

Before I forget, the random quotage i promised Courtney:

Katie as bus passes by: He named his bus SHARK. That´s like naming your dog Spot. So lame.
Me: I think naming your big, ghetto-ass bus Shark is lamer than naming your dog Spot.
Katie: I would name it "Little Grandmother." Abuelitaaaaaaaaaa!

I thought it was amusing. Katie just about died on the bus this morning, too... I got a seat, but she was left to the mercy of the bus driver´s random and sudden stops, turns, and curb checks.

Let´s see... what did I do yesterday? I posted, but it disappeared. I think. Let me check. Okay, it´s not there. Lessee. I went to see the Hilary Duff Cinderella Story all by myself. I intended it to cheer me up from my homesickness, but instead it just made me miss my sister a lot. Then I wandered in and out of clothing stores wishing I had money to spare. I wound up buying a pretty tinted lip gloss instead. It cost a lot less, and i can wear it every day! That´s always good. I ran into Nicole and Bebe, a couple of Katie´s friends, and I think I kind of scared them because I was laughing at myself for being a hilary duff fan while almost bursting into tears and rambling about how I missed my sister. They left rather quickly. ;)

Katie got a package from her parents in the mail today, but they stole all of HER food, too. I don´t know if the FedEx people just get hungry or what, but apparantly if you send things normal mail, you can recieve food. It takes a little longer, I think, but you pay less, and all of your stuff gets there... verses paying a ton extra for them to steal half of the contents of your package! Grr. I am angry. I WANT REAL DORITOS!

How sad is it that I am considering taking a bus to school this afternoon so I can get a Dr. Pepper from the 7-11 outside the gate? It´s real Dr. Pepper, not weird Mexicanized DP. They have to import it or something. They don´t make it here. Okay... maybe I don´t really have the energy to go all that way. But McDonalds isn´t too far away...

I have a serious problem. Haha.


Monday, October 11, 2004

Monday, thou art mine enemy

Actually, today hasn´t been so bad... I´m just kind of tired and my back has been aching all day... making it hard to walk and stuff. It kind of hurt this weekend, but when I woke up this morning it was the worst. Blech.
My new classes aren´t bad... even though it was just me + one other person in them today. By wednesday everyone should be back, so that´ll be good, right? Right. Anyway... I think I will have a lot more homework this time. Be careful what you ask for, right? That´s okay, though. I don´t mind. :) Right now, anyway. I bought a V8 splash and it´s really yummy. Thank you, REAL juice! Actually, I don´t know what % of this is real fruit juice. It tastes good, though, so that counts, right? I also bought these little crescent rolls that were super good.

I´m whining to Courtney about the stuff I miss. Why am I so... not homesick... just... why am I missing things so much this week? It´s weird. I just want to chill with someone familiar. And eat something normal. The food is starting to get to me. Sometimes it´s okay, but sometimes... I don´t know. I want my mom´s spaghetti or a salad or some cinnamon toast. Just... normal food. I can´t even explain. I miss drinking glasses of milk, because the milk here is really gross... we just put it on our cereal. I miss having clean towels every day.

I need to stop. Stooooop!

The college application process has begun... my parents sent me my resumé, so I can fill in all the details of clubs I have been in, etc etc. I wrote down all the essay questions I have to answer, so I can be working on those at home. I have all the deadlines written in my planner so I won´t miss any important dates. Blech. I hate to be doing this all over again. It´s a little less stressful this time... I know what school I want to go to, and I´m excited about applying and getting in. But the stuuuuuuuupid fooooooooorms... blah. Okay. I´m okay. Really. ;)

Sorry, this is stupid. They were playing Enya in here earlier and it was pretty and I liked it and it was much more conducive to creative thought... but the music is off now and my brain has hit the wall. SPLAT!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Chilled on Sunday

I like Sunday. It´s a pretty good day. We get to eat yummy chicken and flautas for lunch, there is always a 4 hour marathon of good tv shows on Fox from noon to 4 (the last three weeks have been Tru Calling- I am addicted!) and... why else? I guess because it´s still the weekend, but because the weekend is almost over and I have to go to school the next day, I don´t have to feel as guilty if I don´t have any plans for my day.

My plans for today are to stay here for a while, maybe get working on the project for HyP that I have to do, then go to either Mega or Wal-Mart to buy some food and necessities, maybe swing by McDonalds for a snack around 6:30 or so... hehe. I´m pathetic, I know!

Yesterday was pretty good... I went to the bowling alley with Geni and her cousin (who I am almost positive is named Marco, just like his dad... but sometimes they call him Carlos, so I´m not sure what is up with that. He´s just 15, so don´t get any ideas.) We met up with two of Geni´s friends, Leslie and Raul. We didn´t wind up bowling because all the lanes were full, but we played a couple of games of pool. Quick note: The bowling lanes here are probably only half the length of the ones back home. Maybe it was just this bowling alley or something, but it definitely looked like people were making more strikes and things. Anyway... we played pool, and I was horrible at it, but it was still fun. I realized that I know almost no "playing games" vocabulary... like, how do you say "it´s my turn"? I didn´t know how to say any pool terms, either, like scratch or slop or anything. Oh well. It didn´t make that much of a difference.

After that I went to my friend Alyssa´s house... she actually lives in a house, normally with her older sister who is in med school at UAG... her sister decided to go home to the US for a weekend, though. So it was just Alyssa... and her ENORMOUS dog, Kody, and this stray dog that she picked up a couple of days ago. Kody is so overjoyed to have a playmate... he kept going up to the other dog and like, sticking the dog´s entire head in his mouth. I´m not sure the other dog knew he was playing, haha. Anyway... we rented "Frida" and watched it. It was interesting, since she´s such a famous Mexican artist. Kind of a weird movie at times, but that´s what her life was really like, so... yeah. Between the movie and talking and such, I didn´t actually think about going home until it was 2am. It´s not really safe for girls to take taxis alone at night, so Alyssa invited me to just stay over. I got to sleep in her sister´s room and stuff. It was nice. I thought my host family might worry, but when I got home this morning they were like, "Oh yeah, we just assumed you stayed the night at your friend´s house." It´s nice that they weren´t upset or anything. Haha... I guess it just takes some getting used to.

I think tomorrow I will go to school, since I don´t have anything better to do, really. It couldn´t hurt... you´re only allowed a certain number of absenses per level, anyway, so it´s best that I don´t waste them. If I go to class tomorrow, then I can skip someday if I really want to, or if I´m sick or something. ;)

That´s all for now, amigos. Adios!

Oh yeah... one thing I thought was really funny about Frida was how she called it "gringolandia" instead of the US. Hehe. Gringo Land. Adios, mis amigos gringolandias.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

My life is fascinating

My weekend thus far: McDonalds, sitting in the mall reading a magazine by myself, watching hours upon hours of television, and this afternoon I´m going bowling with one of the girls in my host family.

YEAH killer social life.

Friday, October 08, 2004

On my own again

I´m surprisingly depressed, considering it´s a gorgeous day outside and I pretty much have a 5 day weekend. I don´t know. Not having anything to do or anyone to hang out with will do that to you.

I took the finals for Level 5 yesterday... super easy. Monday I will start level 6, even though I will probably be the only one in class since we have today and Tuesday off... everyone decided to skip monday classes and go on vacations and things. Sadly, I don´t have the financial means to do so... and nowhere to go, really.

Oooh... yesterday during my grammer class, we had an earthquake. It was only about 30 seconds and it wasn´t very strong, but it was definitely a weird feeling! Katie said that she jumped up and ran to the doorway... but she´s lived in places where they have earthquakes before. My teacher was like, "We´re having an earthquake. Don´t be afraid. We´re having an earthquake. Don´t be afraid." After that she gave us a 10 minute break right in the middle of class, which she NEVER does. I think maybe she was a little freaked out. ;)

So... yeah. Last night was kinda crazy. I think that the spirit of Julia posessed Katie for a short span of time. Mateo was being kind of a jerk and was trying to pull that really dumb "friends with benefits" thing with me, and she could see that I hated it, but she knew I wasn´t going to tell him that, so she took him aside and told him that he was being an asshole and needed to apologize to me and make up his mind. Hahaha. I just know that Julia would do the exact same thing in that kind of situation. Anyway... I did tell Mateo that I hate the way he just hangs out with me when it´s convenient for him, and that if he wants to be more than friends he needs to actually do it, but otherwise we´ll just hang out and have fun as friends. He was like... "I don´t want to, but I think for your well-being and mine we should just be friends." Thaaaaaaaaaaaank you. Now I can stop feeling like an idiot for not knowing what´s going on EVER. Heh. I do NOT need boy problems while I am here... it´s just too much drama and stress. It makes me feel like I am in junior high.

Anyway... Everyone I know has gone to Guanajuato for the weekend, so I am kind of left with nothing to do... I did get Alyssa´s phone number, and she and James are here in town this weekend... maybe we can hang out this weekend. I think I kind of have neglected those friendships since we got back from Mazetlán... which sucks, because they are awesome people. Hopefully they will give me another chance.

I really miss my friends from home this week. I don´t know why, exactly, but I wish I could just hang out with Courtney, go out to dinner with Murl, have a crazy adventure with William, just... spend time with all the people I love. I am missing American food like crazy... I just want to go to my favorite Lawrence restaurants. Chipotle, Arby´s, Bambino´s... aaaaaaaah. I can´t even tell you exactly what it is I am missing so much. I miss pasta and spaghetti and stuff... we don´t really eat italian food around here. I miss Pizza Shuttle or Pizza Hut pizza... we have pizza here, but it´s not exactly the same. I miss the public library and Hastings and Target... blah. I´m halfway through with my time here. As of tomorrow, I have exactly 8 weeks left. 2 more levels of Spanish. It will probably go pretty quickly. This is a long weekend, with no school on Tuesday (I will probably be one of 3 people to show up for the first day of class on Monday- everyone else took 5 day weekend trips!), in two weekends I will be going to Mexico City, and then comes Halloween (Or Día de los Muertos, here... not so much halloweeen), and supposedly November is full of celebrations and stuff... November will be my last month here and my last class, so I will start winding down in everything... December 3 I take my finals for Level 7, and December 4 I come home. Crazy.

I feel like... I´m not doing much here. I´m earning a few credits, but really I won´t have a whole lot to show for my semester spent in Mexico. I will probably wind up losing a lot of my spanish skills while I stay home next semester... :P I´m not really looking forward to that time, either. I think that after December is over and Christmas and everyone goes back to their proper schools, I will wind up being bored. Not that different from being here now, haha. It´ll just be a lot colder and snowier. I´m not really looking forward to that, either. ;)

In some ways I think that if it weren´t for the money, I might actually consider coming back here next semester... just to feel like I´m doing SOMETHING more than sitting at home. I don´t know what classes I would take, though. Bleh. I don´t knoooooooooooooow. I´m just... tired and lonely right now. I shouldn´t try to think about the future when I feel this way.

I miss Julia... Katie does well in a pinch, but she´s not my big sister, and as a roommate, I don´t really want her to be. I miss shopping with Julia. I miss SHOPPING! I haven´t found anywhere that sells good clothes for cheap here. The mall is kind of pricey. My clothes are getting really old, really fast. I just want an afternoon spent... eating lunch at Panera, shopping at Old Navy and Target or downtown at Maurice´s or something... listening to Hilary Duff or Ashlee Simpson, watching a girly movie together. Hm... I guess I could go to a movie this weekend. That´s something to do to kill time. Jenny, I´m reading Angels and Demons, so be happy. ;) I finished The DaVinci Code in one day, but I´m trying to drag this one out. I also bought a copy of Allure yesterday and read it... made me think of Courtney. ;)

Maybe I´ll spend next semester road-tripping around the US, visiting all my friends at their schools. Haha. I´m not sure my parents would want to foot the bill for that. ;) And if I got a job, I´m not sure they would want to be giving me that kind of time off! Um, there is this dog that keeps wandering in and out of here... strange. Anyway. If anybody has some free time this weekend and feels like talking about what´s up in their lives, I am dying for any bit of gossip or any good stories. ;) shgarlow@yahoo.com for those of you who don´t have it memorized yet. Ta ta for now, I need to find some foooooooood.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I´ve been watching, I´ve been waiting...

They are playing some good music here in the hole-in-the-wall today. Mm, mm. Much better than "Total Eclipse of the Heart" being played 6 times. Much as I love the song... enough is enough. ;) Anyway. Today they are playing some good American music. I´m liking it.

I´ve been feeling kind of crappy the last couple of days. Not much fun. Yesterday I went to my service right after school, so my lunch consisted of a can of coke and one of those mini cans of Pringles. Not very healthy. I got home around 4 with a massive headache, and promptly went to sleep for 4 hours. Except when Katie´s alarm woke me up at 6pm... that´s why it didn´t go off in the morning. She had her clock off by 12 hours, oops! Anyway... I finally woke up at 8 when she got home. My headache went away and I was able to study for my tests today, but I slept really badly last night. So today I feel all tired and yucky again... kind of like someone kicked me in my kidneys. I didn´t go to my service. Instead I came home to eat lunch, which I am glad I did, because it was really yummy. I´m still hungry... maybe I´ll go get some food... I know, I know, the McDonalds addiction rears its ugly head again!

Actually, speaking of addictions... I am seriously attached to these amazing chocolate donuts they have at the snack counter at school. I ate two today, haha. One before school, one between classes. I gotta keep my blood sugar up! ;)

Two tests today... super easy. I can´t wait for the next level of Spanish so maybe I will be CHALLENGED a little. Geeze. I´m just feeling... bored. I have way too much time to myself... my classes aren´t occupying my mind... my afternoons are pretty empty... blah. I need to find something else to do. I don´t know what.

I´ve been making lists of things I have to do as far as college applications. I know, I know... feel free to laugh. My parents think that working on applications is the best way to spend all this free time of mine, though. At least I already know how this process works, so it´s nowhere near as stressful as last year. I can sympathise with Lauren and my other FS friends, though. It´s not a fun time.

I´m talking to Jenny right now... funny kid. Good times. I like talking to people. They make me laugh. Courtney´s blog is a source of constant entertainment for me. I fear that I am boring people out of their skulls when they come to read my blog. I don´t do anything interesting! Blah. You would think that a semester in Mexico would be fascinating... but a lot of this is just typical, day-to-day stuff that everyone else does. School, work, homework, etc. Boys, friends, teachers. And all that jazz.

Everyone in Mexico smokes. Why? Why? Why do they not believe in real juice or clean air or non-chili infected chips? Why??????

I´m done.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Skipping class

Woo woo... I am playing hookie from my conversation class. I don´t know what came over me, exactly... we have a 20 minute break between grammer and conversation, and i was sitting and talking to people, so i was already a couple of minutes late... and I got up one flight of stairs and realized I had to climb another to get to my class, and that I would be walking in late, and I think I got a sunburn over the break, and I am really really tired today, and gosh darn it, I didn´t feel like going to class! So... I didn´t. And here I am. Woo hoo.

I am soooooooooo tired today. I slept really badly last night... Katie didn´t get home from Guanajuato until about 1am, and after that the bug bites on my foot kept itching, or it was too hot, or my head ached, or my mind was racing with weird half-dreams... bleh. When the alarm rang this morning, I didn´t even realize it was mine. Katie´s didn´t go off, so she decided to skip our first class and come late. Blah. My grammer class is... so easy. Aaaaaaaaaah so easy! I was completely brain dead this morning and was just filling out worksheets automatically, and had no problems. We have a test tomorrow... I will be surprised if I don´t get at least a 98. (I am giving myself a little leeway in case I make a stupid mistake or two.)

Today right after classes I will be going down to Heidi y Pedro to work on that project... it makes for a long day with no lunch, but I won´t have to go there Wednesday-Friday, so that´s okay. I got to talk to my whole family on the phone last night, which was really great. I love that they are so completely supportive of me. They are always so encouraging and everything. I´m definitely blessed.

Okay... I´m writing an email to Mrs. Bushouse and the Free State choirs, so I´m going to wrap this up. Laters!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Que si me muero, será de amor...

Welcome to another entry where really I have nothing to say, but I also have nothing better to do than sit here and waste my money by surfing the internet for a couple of hours. Enjoy.

Bleh. It´s another one of those weekends that I spend all by myself, doing basically nothing but watching TV and coming here to check my email. It´s thrilling, I tell you. In some ways I am surprised that Mateo hasn´t called, but at the same time I am glad. Isn´t that messed up? I want him to call, but I am glad that he doesn´t. Maybe he found some other girl to be obsessed with and my problems will all be solved. Doubtful... but it could happen. Right?

Yesterday after coming here and writing my last entry, I gave in to my weaknesses and went to the Plaza Galerias. I first went to this store called Sanbourns, which just opened this weekend. I didn´t look around a ton because there were so many people, but they seem to have a little bit of everything, including tons of books and some english magazines. Anyway... I decided to buy a paperback version of "The DaVinci Code", which I hadn´t read yet. Then I went to McDonalds. Of couse. I really was in need of a pick-me-up yesterday, though... I was definitely feeling down and depressed.

I just don´t think I´ve ever been farther from where I want to be before... physically, mentally, or spiritually. If I could be anywhere right now... I actually think I would like to be in college. REALLY in college, not just... taking classes at a university. People tell me that I am in college right now, but it´s definitely not the same as if I were back in the US, away from home, living in a dorm, taking a full course load. Mentally... I don´t know who I am anymore. For some reason that seems to be my big question. Who am I? What do I want? Somehow I think those are the wrong questions, but I don´t know what else to ask. And spiritually... well, I´m pretty spiritually bankrupt. In some ways I feel like this huge hypocrite saying I want to remain a virgin until marriage for spiritual reasons... but I´ve lost so much faith, so much of my identity... I have to cling to the integrity and ideals that I still have. I just... I want and wish I was in a right place with God, but no matter what I do or don´t do, nothing seems to change. I keep thinking that maybe going to college will fix things... that being at a christian college, surrounded by Christians and people who teach about God... that it will force me to do what I don´t have the strength or courage to do myself. Maybe not. I don´t know. It´s probably just wishful thinking... who knows?

I just... wish I had something more to occupy my mind this weekend. I already finished reading that book... I was up until 2 am, actually. Haha... sounds familiar, huh? That´s what I did all summer... stayed up late reading and such. I´m tempted to go back and get another book, but I should save my money. I just... don´t have anything else to do.

It´s a gorgeous day... lots of blue sky, a few clouds, but it shouldn´t rain too soon... it´s really a nice temperature, cool but not at all cold, with a nice breeze. Yesterday I took a bit of a walk around the neighborhood. I walked past a house where the family´s pet duck was wandering around the front yard. How weird is that?

I don´t know what I want. Friends? Entertainment? Purpose? A challenge? God? Truth? All of the above? Blah. I think too damn much. I should just go to sleep until tomorrow.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Hey, güey

I really like how groups of friends down here call each other "güey" instead of "dude" or... whatever the American alternative is. It just sounds cool, and it´s also fun to write with the ¨ over the u. They don´t really pronounce the g, so it sounds a lot like "way." If anything, they glot the g. Only choir people are going to get that. Oh well. They glot the g of güey, okay?

I´m not in a very good mood today. I don´t really know what my problem is. This week has been... a real roller coaster. I´m ready to get off the ride now, please. Basically my thoughts come down to this: boys are problematic. They´ve caused me problems this week, anyway... argh. I just... hate myself right now. That´s really what it comes down to. I have no idea who the hell I am this week, and I really hate it.

I know I should be updating you on what´s been going on this week... I wrote a post on Thursday, but it failed to save. I don´t know. Wednesday I went to a school futbol game, but the Tecos (the UAG team) sucked pretty bad and lost. Thursday I went with Mateo to visit these ladies from Peru who host UAG students. They were really nice and friendly and the food there was amaaaazing. Yesterday I went on a field trip thingy to Tonalá, which is the artesian colony around here... everything is hand made, etc etc. Last night Mateo and I went to dinner and saw The Manchurian Candidate (or, as it is called here, El Embajador del Miedo).

Let´s talk about the real issue of my week. Firstly... last Friday I was talking to Murl online and we got into an argument of sorts. I wasn´t very nice, but I said some honest things about how we both need to have our own lives where we are right now, etc. I don´t think either of us went away from that conversation feeling very good. Then on Saturday I went to the Chivas game and Mateo... made it pretty obvious that he was attracted to me, which I had no prior knowledge of. So... that was awkward. I sat around all day Sunday thinking... "There is a 25 year old Peruvian American who likes me. What the heck is going on???"

Okay... then on Monday I saw Mateo at school, and we hung out a bit, and we wound up making a "date" I guess you could call it for Monday night. I went to my service after school and then met him at plaza and we went to the movies and all of that... and he held my hand and things like that, but we didn´t really talk about what was going on. Tuesday I saw him at school again and we talked, but we didn´t hang out. Wednesday we went to the Tecos game with Katie and Alfonso and he was again being very... friendly. Holding my hand and stuff. We went walking after that, but eventually just went home.

I should mention that on Tuesday I talked to Murl again, and we finished things for good... Just saying that it´s time for both of us to move on with our lives. I know it´s been really hard for him, and I feel bad about just stating this on here so... factually... but people have to know at some point, and this is probably the easiest way.

Right. So... Thursday Mateo and I went to visit the ladies from Peru. They kept asking him if he was single, and he would like comments like, "Yes, but only if Sarah doesn´t accept me" and things like that. After we left there we were walking around the neighborhood and wound up at this park near his house. We sat down on a bench and were talking and stuff... he just admitted that he really liked me and things. I was like... "Um, you could very easily come across as a creepy older man trying to take advantage of a younger girl." But yeah... he wound up kissing me. And then I was like... oh wait. I should probably mention that, uh, I´m a virgin and I kind of plan to stay that way for... well, a long time. Say, until marriage? Which I could see was slightly off-putting. I was like... "If that makes you change your mind about liking me, just say so now and my feelings won´t be hurt. After this, though, you will be hurting my feelings. So this is your chance." He assured me that it didn´t bother him, whatever. I went home and asked myself what the hell I was doing. Oh. I should also mention that he told me that, should people ask, we are "just friends." Um... hello, creepy older guy? Not very reassuring.

Yesterday we went to Tonalá. I had people being like, "It´s about time you hooked up." And this girl told me that since I´d been hanging around Mateo I looked "so much happier" and that I´m being "more social". Okay? And he sat by me on the bus and held my hand and stuff. You know the drill. We decided to hang out last night, so we met about 8 to eat dinner and watch a movie. We wound up having to sit seperately at the movie because, literally, there were not two open seats together. After the movie he walked me home. And wanted to make out in every dark place along the road. Okay, I don´t mind kissing. Kissing is nice. But it´s a little less enjoyable when the entire time you´re kissing, the person you are kissing is... not focused on your lips. And I was thinking... a week ago, this was just another guy. What makes him think that this is okay? Anyway... when he dropped me off at home, I told Mateo that he needs to rethink this. I understand that he really likes me, but it´s extremely obvious that he wants or expects a lot more from a girl than what I can or will give him. If you know what I mean. He left... not happy, but saying he would think.

I guess I am just pissed off at myself. I liked the attention. Mateo is a sweet talker to the 20th degree. It´s nice being told that you´re pretty and stuff. But... I don´t think I´ve ever felt so... desired entirely for my body. He tells me that I should be a model or a mother. He doesn´t suggest that I do things with my brain or my talent. He says he´s attracted to me because I´m a "good girl" and a "young lady"- I don´t drink or smoke or have bad habits or partying friends. I´m calm and quiet and different from everybody else. That´s pretty much just what I wanted to hear since I´ve been feeling like such an outcast for exactly those reasons. And yet... he likes that I am a good, innocent girl... but he wants me to do things that aren´t so good or innocent. Well. I guess a lot of people would call them "good", but definitely not in the same way.

I´m so stupid for not realizing that an older guy would just be all about sex. I´m so stupid for even considering involving myself with guys while I am here. I am so stupid for trying to hook up with someone just days after breaking up with my long term boyfriend. I thought I was being smart and careful and everything... that I wasn´t going to get taken advantage of because I am young and naive. It didn´t do any good, though. The next time I see Mateo, I am going to have to tell him that the only thing we can be is friends. And if he can´t be satisfied with that... well, then nothing. I think at this point hanging out alone in my room every afternoon and all weekend is better than putting up with the stresses of this friendship. It´s not worth the risk. I´m trying to do the smart thing now, even if I have been pretty dumb this week.

Now you know what´s up with me. Hope that you enjoyed your little peek into the soap opera I´m starring in down here in Mexico. (Except here they are called telenovelas, not soap operas.) Hopefully this next week will be less... psychotic. Uh... yeah.

Feel like commenting on my stupidity? shgarlow@yahoo.com