Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Back in the USA

Well, I am finally back in the US, after driving all the way from southern Mexico to California. It was quite the trip, and I was worried that my car would break down part way, but it made it. Though it was due for an oil change, neither Wal-Mart nor Pep Boys would touch it because the oil pan was damaged in the accident I had two weeks ago, and since it was Sunday and then Memorial Day, they couldn't replace the oil pan for me. Pep Boys did tell me that the oil still looked okay for now. They also told me that my catalytic converter was having problems, which is why my check engine light has been on. So as soon as I get the chance, I'm going to have to get my oil pan and my catalytic converter replaced, not to mention the oil changed.

Yesterday I finally got in touch with the local pastor and he is letting me stay in the church for a few days and took me to the local supermarket and bought me food! Really nice guy. Then today I stopped by the local hostel to see how that works (since my search for a place might extend through the weekend) and someone who works there explained it to me. He said it was about $27 counting tax and that six days was the longest you could stay in a 30-day period. I was under the impression at the time that that the $27 was per night, but on reflection I've decided that that was probably the total cost (though I'm going to check that). Then I went to school where I want to get my masters, to the Admissions office. They gave me my acceptance letter and scholarship letter (I got two: a $10,000 Merit Scholarship and a $2,000 Dean's Scholarship, both divided between the two semesters, with the merit scholarship renewable). Then we talked about something on an email I received about weaknesses in my Spanish. The lady told me that the on-campus summer courses are much too low-level for a student in my major, and that I should join the group going to Ecuador for the summer. That was not what I was expecting. Anyway, she told me to go talk to my enrollment manager to find out more. My enrollment manager explained that I had done quite well overall, but that I was lacking in one or two specific areas, and that the person who graded my diagnostic test wanted to just give me some ways to improve my Spanish over the summer, so I should contact her, but that I didn't really need to be in any actual Spanish course(s). She also explained that after I paid my $500 non-refundable tuition deposit, the internal housing database, on-campus job info, etc., would all be opened up to me. Also, yesterday another person who belongs to my church and is in the same program got in touch with me and I asked her for help with my situation. She gave me several pieces of good advice and it looks like she'll help me find a place to live, too! That's great news, since I spent most of the morning looking a classified ads, etc., and trying to plan how I was going to find an apartment and getting really stressed out about it all. Since I was living near/in and working at a private school in Mexico, I wasn't really exposed to the real world completely. Getting here and realizing I had no job, no place to stay, no car insurance, etc., and almost no money was a rather jarring experience: naive young man meets the Big Bad World. And to get a place to stay, you have to prove your income (or at least get a co-signer or something), but to get a job (especially the phone interpreter job I want), I have to have an address and phone # to even be considered. Catch-22. But it looks like things are starting to work out for me. I'm sure God is the one working it out. :)

My wife is still in southern Mexico. We're working on her immigrant visa papers, but we felt it was better that I go ahead of time and get established first. It's rough being apart, but hopefully it won't be for long.

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