It's interesting that so many people here so adamantly recommend using a simulator. I've been wanting to get into this hobby now for years. About 6 years ago I was reading on another RC flight forum where people were really dismissing the usefullness of a simulator.
I have a really nice DX7 radio, and my wonderful girlfriend got me, just as you recommended, a GWS high-wing, foam electric trainer with rudder & elevator controlls. I'm in the process of building the thing now & can't wait to get it in the air. Once I'm comfortable with it as is, I intend to modify it so that it has ailerons.
From there... :lol: I'd love to be able to go straight to the jets. I got a B-day comming in June & know just what to ask for!