Saturday, April 23, 2011

Settling In

A path through the park across
from our apartment
What a strange feeling!  I woke up this morning and thought to myself: "This feels like a normal day..."  It is a feeling that neither I nor Julia have had in quite some time!  Yes, of course, I am using the term "normal" very liberally but it at least feels like we are developing some semblance of a routine.  We had the same breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs and fried potatoes at the same time 3 days in a row!  Not bad.  But, as you might expect, living as foreigners in Guadalajara presents its own set of unique experiences and circumstances which often disrupt the daily routine we so desperately long for.  Here are just a few of the things that we are dealing with for the first time...

Watch out for these blue and white
Mercedes buses!
First of all, there is the daily concern for our own safety.  I am not talking about anything related to violent crime or drug trafficking.  Oh no, I am talking about the public transportation system, namely the bus drivers.  Yes, this appears to be the real safety threat here in Guadalajara and it is, unfortunately, our only means of transportation.   Case in point, just this past week, as I was getting off the bus, the driver slammed the door on my arm and started pulling away!  So there I was running beside the bus with my arm caught in the door screaming and banging on the bus to get him to stop.  Fortunately, other passengers alerted the bus driver and he stopped and opened the door as I stormed off in a huff.  Since then I have practically been running off the bus, with my arms in front of me!

Our lovely apartment building
There is also the issue of the unusual sleeping habits of our neighbors.  For some reason, they think that the hours of 2-5 AM are better for loud karaoke parties than for sleeping.  I haven't quite figured this one out.  Unfortunately, due to the lack of insulation in the walls here, it sounds like the parties are going on in our living room.  To remedy this, we went to Home Depot and bought the loudest, most powerful fan we could find (I think it could propel a small plane) and some earplugs.  So with the fan on high, and our earplugs firmly in place, we now can get a good nights sleep!  The next problem: How are we going to hear the alarm? I haven't figured that one out yet...

La Cucaracha!
And then, there are the cockroaches.  There is a reason why they sing "La Cucaracha" here in Mexico.  I think that co-habitation with them is just a fact of life here.  This is not easy to deal with.  The other night, we thought it would be a good idea if we left some tortillas out to dry so we could use them in a casserole.  Not a good idea.  When I woke up at 5:30 the next morning, I was greeted by 5 large, red, deceptively fast intruders in our kitchen.  I spent the next 10 minutes chasing them around the apartment with a shoe.  It was not a good way to start the day.  Julia tells me that if you see one roach, there are probably hundreds more that you can't see.  We are both trying not to think about that.  Anyway, later that day, we went to the store and bought these really cool roach traps.  Here is how they work: The roach comes out at night looking for some food and he is attracted to the trap.  Then he goes in and eats the poison in the trap BUT, it doesn't kill him right away.  It doesn't take effect until after he returns home to his family and friends, and only then, after he has infected the whole colony, does it take effect!  HA!  What a brilliant plan!  At least, thats what it says on the box.  I hope it works.

So other than roaches, loud neighbors and crazy bus drivers, we are doing really well here in Guadalajara.  May you feel blessed this weekend as you reflect on the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way.  And the Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all."  Happy Easter!