From Christian Pulisic to Lonches: 5 More Things I Love

I’m trying to keep the positivity of yesterday going. (I think) I learned two things from yesterday: write even more, be positive, and do away with preconceptions of what I think this blog should be, or what I think I’m capable of as a writer. I might start posting twice a day on some days, and the reason I might do this is it would make me write more, even if people wouldn’t necessarily read it more. I need to get my 10,000 hours in.¬†

But anyway, here are 5 more things I love:

1) Christian Pulisic

He’s my favorite soccer player. He’s the best American soccer player to have ever lived, and he’s only 19 years old. I went to Germany to watch him play, and this trip resulted in five of my favorite days in 2017, staying in a tiny town called Florsheim am Main just west of Frankfurt, talking to my housemate Zelda only in German, attending the Dortmund vs. Mainz game, and going to the Frankfurt Christmas market. I also have a blog dedicated entirely to this young phenom, which you can check out here.

Flörsheim am Main, Germany.

2) Marta’s Lonches

I’ve now mentioned these delectable sandwiches in several posts. They cost 28 pesos, which is about $1.50. Getting them and talking with Marta, the owner of the little corner store that sells things like fruit and cheese and candy and toilet paper, might be the highlight of my days. Most recently she told me about a meditation class she attends Monday nights that only costs 50 pesos and is guided. She calls me “vecino” (neighbor), even though I don’t live near her.

3) Mexican Spanish

Last night my housemates and I sat in the courtyard drinking beer and talking about, amongst other things: drug cartels in Mexico, Spanish rap (i.e. from Spain, not just in Spanish), and La Bestia, the train — or series of trains –that traverse all of Mexico from south to north bringing immigrants from Honduras and other places in Central America and Mexico to the US border. This train is incredibly dangerous, incredibly famous, and passes fairly close to our house, or at least close enough to hear its whistle, and I had no idea.

As I sat there listening to this conversation and sometimes participating, I remarked on how much I love Mexican Spanish, how beautiful it can sound to me, and the spot I will always have for it in my heart, since my Spanish was first solidified in Mexico (Mexico City), and it’s the Spanish I know best.

4) Reading


This may seem a bit general. It may seem a bit obvious. But since I got to Guadalajara I haven’t had a book; that is, I haven’t had a printed book. I’ve been reading on my phone a bit, but reading on your phone is nowhere near as satisfying as holding a book in your hands. Then yesterday there was a basket of books at the Starbucks I always go to that said, “Free. Take one.” and so I did, I took Satyricon by Petronius, and it instantly elevated my quality of life. I like reading, and since I’m in Mexico I like reading Spanish even better. Thank you, Starbucks, for unwittingly gifting me a friend.

5) My aloe plant

A friend gave me an aloe plant and, like the book I got yesterday, it’s also elevated my quality of life. It keeps me company. I have to care for it. Right now, for example, it’s sitting in the courtyard because I feel like being in my room is killing it. I cannot kill this aloe plant. It must live at all costs. Today I will look for a bigger pot for it, since, like me, it wants to grow, it wants to flourish, it wants to be the maximum expression of its aloe self. In a word, it wants to be actualized.

So there’s a little more love. And maybe, since it’s Friday, I’ll also write another post this evening. Also, since it’s nearing the end of the month, I’m going to start bugging you guys about sponsoring this blog on Patreon. You can pledge as little as a dollar a month, or more if you want. Right now I have seven patrons, contributing a combined $20 a month. My goal is $1000 a month. I won’t stop until I get it.

Have a wonderful day!

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10 Reasons to Visit Guadalajara (Number 8 will make your cerebellum implode)

el expiatorio guadalajara

Friends, I’m no longer in danger of starvation. I have many of you to thank for that, your generous donations, your love and support. In fact the way things are going I’m actually making money (almost) every day, and by mid March should have enough to have my very own apartment that I can hopefully Airbnb mercilessly until I get evicted.

Mexico is a land of possibilities.

I’m at Starbucks again this morning, which should come as no surprise because I go to Starbucks every morning. This routine makes me happy. When I walked in just now I started smiling, and I wasn’t sure why. I think it was just because I was in a place I felt comfortable. The people around me felt like my family, even though I know none of them. The only bummer is they didn’t have apples this morning, which means I’m involuntarily fasting.

Whenever I meet someone new here they I ask me why I came to Guadalajara. At first my stock answer was, “I wanted to be in a place like Mexico City that wasn’t Mexico City, Seattle was too expensive, and I wanted to improve my Spanish.” My Spanish isn’t bad, in fact I probably speak more grammatically than many Mexicans, just like many Swedes probably speak English more grammatically than you, but I want to take the oral legal interpreter test in Seattle next October, which means I want my Spanish to be perfect. This month has already helped (as of today I’ve been in GDL exactly one month). Yesterday a woman at the consulate asked me if I was Mexican and when I said “No, 100% gringo,” she said, “Really? No…..”. It was flattering beyond belief. She also gave me cake. She might currently be my favorite person in the world.

The other two reasons are also true: Seattle is expensive as hell, and I felt I needed to try a different place other than Mexico City since I’ve been many times.

And though I wasn’t elated about Guadalajara, I like it more everyday. Here are 10 reasons why:

1) El Terrible Juan Cafe

This is my favorite cafe in Guadalajara. I like it because you’re surrounded by plants, it’s in a wonderful, quiet, shaded neighborhood. The staff is nice (except one girl who I think might despise me), and the product is great. They have a pulled pork sandwich smothered in some kind of aioli that I could probably eat everyday and not get tired of. The only gripe I have about the place is the WiFi is sub-standard. But who goes to a cafe to be on their devices anyway, nowadays, except everyone.

2) Abarrotes la Abue’

If I keep going to this place everyday the lady who works there might accidentally end up adopting me. I still use the formal “usted” with her and probably always will, but we’re almost on a first-name basis. The thing I get here is the chilaquiles sandwich, soggy tortilla chips in sauce with melted cheese between two pieces of rustic baguette. It costs $1.50. In El Terrible Juan I could eat their pork sandwich everyday if I had the money; at Abarrotes la Abue’ I actually eat their pork sandwich everyday.

Abarrotes La Abue.

3) Parque Rojo

My favorite thing about this park is the kids who stand around free-style rapping. It’s hilarious. All they do is insult each other and wave their hands in the air and bob back and forth. Plus the other day I saw a guy there with a chinchilla.

4) El expiatorio

Apparently the ultimate example of neo-gothic architecture in the world, though I’m sure this is false. This is like when Mexicans say Mexico City is “the biggest city in the world,” an asseveration that is patently false. Mexico City is big, but not that big. Tokyo is bigger. Sao Paulo is bigger. Hell, if you’re talking metropolitan area, Chongqing is bigger.

El expiatorio is a cathedral, in case I haven’t made that clear. Masses are held all the time. The doors are always open. And right next to the cathedral lies number five…

5) Tamales at El Expiatorio

Seventeen pesos buys you a one-way ticket to flavor country. Destination: delicious tamales served out of big silver pots by smiling women. They have red, green, spinach, mushrooms, and corn. I personally like the corn tamales because they’re sweet. But since I’m a crazy, demented health nut (and also just demented), I often get the acelga tamales, which are like spinach.

6) El Bosque de la Primavera

A good place to spend an afternoon contemplating something you rarely experience in Guadalajara: silence. This is of course because the Bosque de la primavera is not in Guadalajara, it’s just west. If you go, consider doing a temazcal with Fernando and Miriam at Casa Quetzalcoatl. When I did it I could smell my hair burning and my hands went numb, but it was, like, kind of cool, too.

bosque de la primavera guadalajara

El Bosque.

7) Cheap

Sandwiches for $1.50. Rent for $200 a month. Even the tea I’m drinking right now at “Estarbucks” barely costs more than a dollar. The Mexican pesos is weak right now, like a middle school kid pre-growth spurt held in a head-lock. Not great for Mexico, good for tourists.

8) Lack of Gringos

That said, there aren’t that many international tourists. The expats have already decided where it’s “acceptable” to live in Mexico: San Miguel de Allende, Lake Chapala, parts of Baja, Cuernavaca. Which means those places have been ruined, and every other place is still awesome. Like Guadalajara. (Oh, I forgot: This one was supposed to blow your mind. That title was actually just an imitation of all the awful headlines seen on the internet today).

9) Tortas ahogadas

Imagine a wet burrito, but instead of a wet burrito a wet sandwich. Here’s what they do: They take a torta (basically a sandwich on french bread filled with carnitas), and douse it in a mild red sauce. I mean douse. Drench might actually be a better word. Or drown, since ahogada means “drowned.” The end result? It basically because like eating stew — a delicious, sandwich stew.

10) Calle Libertad

My favorite place to walk at night. Leafy, airy, cool. Not too much traffic. Great cafes and restaurants like La Teteria and La Cafeteria. And it’s also the street leading home, which is why I’ve chosen it to end this blog entry. Hopefully the post hasn’t been too good, because then you might come, and I might have to take number 8 off the list.

 

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