We have settled into our hotel nicely. Every day we have a new person cleaning our room, and every day they are cleaned differently. We both think that Nikki was the best, but she was a little over zealous with the note she left to us (because we always leave a thank you note to the cleaning person with our tip). Nikki informed us that she had the pleasure of cleaning our room. Bullshit. she just liked the tip. The rest of them have been very honest with their notes they leave back (I actually appreciate them leaving a note. I have no idea why but it is oddly satisfying), saying, mostly, thanks for the tip. HOWEVER the fact that they don’t line our shoes up in a neat little line like Nikki makes me think that maybe she DOES take please in cleaning up after us. I had something explode in my bag of hair etc products and had to wash them and leave them to try on a towel. I laid them down in no particular order but Nikki arranged them on the towel biggest to smallest. Who does that?! Nikki set the bar for quality of care in Kalamazoo. On our first full day in Kalamazoo, we went wandering around looking for a grocery store or really, any store that would sell us water (the water here has a lot of iron in it and has been a little difficult to get used to). Apparently downtown Kalamazoo doesn’t actually have grocery stores, or any store really that isn’t a restaurant or boutique. We went walking around and around and then crossed over some train tracks. As soon as we crossed those tracks, we were in a totally different town. We had heard of ‘the wrong side of the tracks’ but never really experienced it. Until now. We went into a grocery store to have a look around and see if they had bottled water or something that wasn’t in a huge jug. We got distracted by the delicious deli foods and decided to look around to see what foods they had in the store and how the prices compared. We eventually made it to the drinks section but neither of us wanted to carry 6 litres back to the hotel so we decided we would look elsewhere or go out another day with the car. We headed to the exit and were stopped by security but a very giant security guy. He asked us if he could help us find anything. We said “No, sorry, we were just looking around”. He gave us a look that said that wasn’t the kind of answer he was looking for so we quickly added “We just moved here and were looking for a grocery store” He said” Uh huh” in a very unconvinced tone. The he added “where did you move from?” Tyler told him “Victoria, British Columbia”. There was no recognition whatsoever so Tyler quickly followed that up with “Canada.” Well! Saying we were from Canada totally changed his view on us. He called to the customer service guy (whom I suspect was the one to alerted security to us) that we were from Canada. Customer service guy’s demeanor changed and seemed OK with the fact that 2 Canadians were in his shop. He even asked us how we liked the town. We very quickly said we thought it was a great place to be. He then told us to come back again and security guy wished us a happy day. We quickly left and told each other that we did not want to go back to that particular store. Later, while talking to our Kalamazoo minion, we found out that we had ventured into the north and that we should never go into the north. Oops! After that fun adventure, we stayed in the south of Kalamazoo. We met with our minion and she took us to a coffee shop that sold really good coffee, told us that Timmies isn’t the same as it is in Canada and gave us a map of where we want to go/live an where we never ever want to venture into, which of course, is the north. She is helping us look for rentals right now and since she knows the area, we keep sending her houses we think are interesting and she sends back “I would live in that area” or ” you really don’t want to live there”. Her reasons aren’t always because of safety. Mostly it’s because it’s in the student “Ghetto” (not a ghetto at all, just cheap housing where a lot of students live because it’s right near the university). We definitely appreciate her input, and because she is Canadian as well, she has a great perspective on the differences between how things work here as opposed to Canada and what we should expect with certain things. That was totally vague, I know, but I can’t think of any specific examples of what she said so you all can just deal with it. Today we went to look at cell phones. Pre-paid is a lot cheaper than term plans and AT&T was the cheapest by far. They also have an employee discount with Tyler’s work so when we do go to a term and get internet and cable and stuff like that, we’ll save a bit of money. Woo! For lunch today we went to Chipotle. They sell burritos that are really quite delicious for fast food and they are HUGE. So big that Tyler couldn’t finish his. Pretty sure the two of them together weighed about 5 Lbs. So big and so good! Next week we leave the hotel and move into the corporate suites (Wednesday) and then on the following day we are trying to set up some viewings of houses and apartments. We may or may not have some pictures to post then.