It’s surprisingly stressful to have multiple job offers. Not as stressful as having none, but I’ve never had choices before. I can’t have anything to do with China, not yet. The words “technically illegal” came up when I asked about getting a job there without a bachelor’s degree. I’m not the type to circumvent the laws, especially when deportation and prison in China are on the table. I might learn Chinese, but it’s really not worth the price.
I was looking at Chiapas too, down in the far south of Mexico. There is a kung fu school there that looks interesting, but I tried for a week to get an interview with them. Half an hour after I settled my mind on staying in Guadalajara they decided they wanted me. I have enough stress in my life without switching back and forth like that. Makes it hard to sleep.
I found a place that teaches Chi Gung in Vallarta. I was hoping for Tai Chi too, but it looks like this is not a combat style. I like it though, and I’ll learn what I can. Being able to breathe in the mountains would be a wonderful thing. I miss the fighting though. Even if the peaceful side of martial arts is the greatest benefit, and the real reason to study, it’s never as much fun as practical application. I’m going to look into other classes once I know what my schedule will be like at work. I know there’s Wing Chun school in Zapopan, and I’m hoping my Kendo instructor is still living in the city. I found a Ninjitsu place while wandering today too. There are always ways to find what you need in a city like this.
I’ve started looking for a new place, but it can be difficult when the internet is as sketchy as it is here. It also doesn’t help that not everyone uses it to post listings. I have friends in the city looking for me as well, but we will have to see. I’ll find something soon enough. Something more comfortable, and less depressingly cave-like. On the up side they made a hole in the wall where the rain leaks in, so it no longer leaks into my room. On the down side there is a hole in the wall right outside my room. I find I grow less tolerant of the food every day. It’s amazing how important a little comfort can be.
I did make it to Mirador, a park in the north of the city. It’s a place that shows you what this place used to be, maybe what they should have tried to keep when they were building. The city is built on a grid so almost every road looks infinite. The buildings are so tight to the street and the streets are so small that it can feel claustrophobic sometimes. There are a lot of bad smells lurking about too. You can be walking down any street and be surprised by a moment of sewage. Five more steps and the air is relatively clear again. At least I thought so until I reached the park.
Mirador is in the north of the city, the end of the road. It doesn’t look like much, in the same way nothing here looks like much. But, with a little investigation you find amazing things. Houses go on forever, hidden gardens, and, in Mirador, a sudden reminder that you are a long way from home. The air smells of life, instead of smog, food, and sewage. I found what I wanted when I thought of living in the mountains. It was peaceful, but it’s very far from home.
The mountains in Southern California are brown. Light brown, dark brown, grey brown, and green brown. If you hit the right time of year the plants get that quarter inch of rain and they bloom beautifully. The rest of the year, you learn to see the beauty in the colors that are there. Guadalajara is not brown. Everything is green, yellow, purple, and white. It does help that we’re at the end of the rainy season, and everything has been well watered for the last six months. Even now I can hear the thunder rolling again.
Last night it rained hard. If it rained like that in San Diego there would have been swimming pools everywhere. The drainage system overflows if there’s a half an inch of rain. Here, it poured, filling the street outside with ankle deep water in minutes. But the water never went any higher. An hour of constant rain and the street never overflowed. I am actually amazed. I still love sitting and watching the lightning, but it’s hard to get a good view in this city. All the buildings are short and in the way of the skyline. You also don’t get the light show like in New York. The lightning is always light blue to white here. New York would have blue, purple, and green. The weather is one of the few things I miss about that place.
I find I stand out here more than I though I would. Almost every other day I find someone who recognizes me. In the states I would ignore the people yelling from cars, but here they know my name. I barely started here, and I’m already known. It does help to be a giant weyro, I’m sure. At least I’m starting to fit here.
In another week or two I’ll have my schedule down, and I’ll be in a new place, hopefully a more comfortable place. I don’t really want to be in el centro, but I’ll have to find out what works best for the job I have. I expect to be doing a lot of traveling, but I’ll know the city like a local.
I’ve been hanging out with my former teacher from ITTO. I’ve taken to calling him the Spaniard, mostly because he’s from Spain, but a little bit because I like the movie “the Princess Bride.” As he said, we’re both foreigners in this city. It’s good to have someone to talk to about the more complicated parts of life again. We’re supposed to be going to see Mayan ruins on Sunday, which sounds awesome. They’re a ways off, but more than worth the trip.
I’m still in flux, but I’m getting used to it. I abandoned my comfortable life, knowing that this would be harder. Now that I’m here, I find myself wanting comfort again. I don’t want to go home, I just want home to be here for now.