Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Up Date

So, there's been a ton of stuff going on lately. My to-do-list currently stands at 21 and this does not include blogging, but there's some important information that needs disseminating. First of all, our formal wedding date has been moved up to February 14th in order to accommodate my sister's school schedule. Wait, I knew that sounded familiar...that was the last blog.

The other important bit of news is that the celebration for our official, legal wedding will be on May 24th, which is Memorial Day Weekend. I thought that was a good thing because I could take an extra day off work (I will probably take 5 days off in total), but now that I think about it....I hope you guys - I'm thinking in particular the Manteca crowd and sibling- don't already have Memorial Day plans! I hope everyone can make it :-# . Should I change the date??? Feedback please!

My post-30 body continues to deteriorate - in someways to my pre-30 body. My eyelids have become infected again :-| .

On Friday, Erika's last day in Peru as well as her birthday, I was (as I term it) death reincarnated. I woke up the night before shaking in my bed. Thinking I was just cold in the desert air of Lima, I got out of bed and went outside to get a sweater to put on. I found it strange that it was not freezing outside like I thought it would be. Anyway, I put my sweater on, got back in bed, did a little more shaking before falling asleep. Apparently, it was a fever that I had, as I learned the next morning when I woke up feeling like death reincarnated. I had the typical estomago gringo so I went to the bathroom to empty my stomach and when I finished, I started throwing up. And that is how my day went. I couldn't get out of bed, as much as I tried. I slept, went to the bathroom, and slept some more. Feeling a little better later in the afternoon, I ate a little bit of soup but then it was back in the bathroom to toss my cookies and go back to bed. I was on the verge of cancelling my overnight flight for the night. I decided to give it another two hour nap and see how I was. I felt well enough to make it to the airport and that was good enough for me. Strange how much you miss being in your own bed when you're sick, even if the drugs are cheaper and the care is arguably better in Peru!

Anyway, although I woke up after our overnight flight feeling a million times better, I'm still trying to shake the stomach thing and not feeling that great...

J. Riley, I have three doctors appointments on Monday, one of which is about this myotonic dystrophy thing that I supposedly have.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Visa Interview, and All That Jazz....

This week has continued the chronological trajectory of the past few weeks of being both amazing and busy at the same time. I arrived back in Lima on Saturday morning with the ultimate goal of securing Erika's paperworks that will allow her to come to the United States on her 29th birthday, Friday 4/18.

Because of the short notice of the trip, and a suffering budget, I quickly realized that I wouldn't be able to get a private apartment for the week and thus decided to stay at her parent's house and work from her small bedroom, where her internet connection is. My boss was generous enough to allow me to work from Peru all week and allow me to continue my stingy-ness with vacation that was honed over the past few years when I had two weeks of vacation per year.

Saturday we had to run a few errands around town before the evening plans began, which were of course going out with her friends to some discos. Last month, I had done pretty much the same, going to an all-night party after arriving fresh off a red-eye flight and I was fearful of the same this time around. But this time, they decided they wanted to go to a karaoke bar after the first disco was found to be a dud. Normally I'm not opposed to karaoke bars (as some of you Def Leopard fans know) and this time I obliged again but something about the combination of a dark constrained atmosphere and songs in Spanish that I never even heard of and that all pretty much sounded the same caused me to hit a wall at about 1:00am. Somehow I suffered through two more hours at this location nearly falling off my chair sleeping a few times. I just didn't have it in me! I did manage to croon out Come Together from the Beatles which woke me up for a bit before I failed miserably at Jack Johnson's Flake to end the night. I guess I didn't realize how hard that song would be - notably the ending!:o/

Sunday had a lot in store for us. Besides missing Liverpool's game at 7:45am in order to get some extra sleep, we had an 11:30 meeting with our wedding planner so that I could meet her and, more importantly for her I suppose, so I could throw down some cash as a deposit for her services. For those who haven't heard, we have changed our wedding date to 2/14 to coincide with my sister's school schedule. As a coincidental, accidental bonus (not to manage the added cheese factor), this happens to be Valentine's Day which makes is great for all the bleeding-heart romantics!

Post wedding planner reservation, we headed back home where I was fed very well by her mom (not for the first time, I should add!) before we had to depart for the mammoth event of the day - for me anyway: Allianza Lima vs. Sporting Cristal soccer match at the natinoal stadium! I'd submitted my request to see a pro football match down here to Erika a few weeks back because I know the crowds are crazy and dangerous and that makes it pretty exciting! I was hoping to see gangs of hooligans roaming the streets striking fear into the fans of the opposing team, fights, police in riot gear charging the line of hooligans, etc. While the atmosphere was tense outside the stadium, it wasn't quite as volatile as I would have wanted, but there were plenty of riot police everywhere and we got to see a cracking game that included a comeback from behind by the home team (Erika's dad's favorite team) against the Allianza giants. I wanted to attend another one on Wednesday night, the "Classico" match featuring the two biggest teams in Peru that surely would have been volatile, but apparently the stadium hosting that match is in the ghetto of all ghettos and Erika won't let me go. She basically said that they would steal the shoes off your feet before you stepped onto the street getting off the "combi" bus - their version of public transportation. I'll let it slide this time, though I'd love to go still!

On Monday, I worked from home during the day and after I shut up shop at 4:00pm, Erika and I went to a giant shopping center so that she could try to find some new jeans. Given the substantial price difference between clothing here and in New York, I relented and agreed to buy her two pairs of jeans that she could bring to New York. Funny enough, spending the evening at the mall together felt like the first "date" event that we've ever had. It even included eating dinner at the food court, which isn't much different than any other food court at a mall in the states except that it featured "Bembo's", which is a Peruvian burger chain with some interesting combinations like the Hawaiian burger and the Lomo Saltado (a typical Peruvian meal) burger which I ate. They had things like fried plantains, fried eggs, and other various intersting things on the burgers, The meat itself was strangely quite tasty despite being grayish in color and of course we got fries to share and all meals came with a cup of Inca Kola. I could eat at Bembos every once in a while though I'm sure it violates even more social responsibility rules than McD's or Burger King (both of which were also at the food court, of course!).

Tuesday morning I got woken up at 6:30am and I just did not want to wake up. I was soooo tired and slightly grumpy, so all the horn honking, rooster crowing, blasting reggaeton music and dog barking that defines this neighborhood wasn't the ideal way to wake up. But this was the most important day of the trip, the interview for Erika's visa at the US Embassy. So we crowded into the combi-bus at peak rush hour time, which meant that I was hanging onto a bar of questionable strength inside the bus with half my body inches away from the street on the outside of the doorway. Gotta love Lima! In any case, we made it to the embassy with all of our paperwork in hand just in time. The interview was going fine until the interviewer looked at my passport and asked what happened to my past passport (with which I had an incident last year where I kind of left it in my pants when I Washed them). I got amazingly nervous at that moment when she stared straight at me with a death-stare and said nothing for what seemed like five minutes after I told her my story. Apparently the National PAssport Agency had stamped "Replacement for a lost of stolen passport" in my new passport. Gee, thanks for the accurate statement, US Government. After taking about five minutes for me to stop sweating all over my body (and presumptively changing my skin tone from bright red to white again), things went fine and she was cordial, telling us stories about her experience with people "losing" (i.e. selling) their passports to drug dealers and stuff like that. But everything went on without a hitch and an hour later Erika's visa was approved and we were home free!!!

To celebrate after working the rest of the afternoon, we went to Miraflores that evening to try to find that second pair of elusive jeans (black) and I ended up buying her some footwear and then at Ripley bought myself an awesome spring/fall jacket and a wonderful, quality shirt for work that were both quite cheap. We went to a few more stores, but still could not find those black jeans, but we'll save that struggle for another day I guess. For now, it's back to work for your's truely!

J. Riley, Erika is out trying to find those jeans as I type!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

My New Apartment

I'm going down to sign the papers for this today - I think! May 1st,
I'll be moving in and I'm looking forward to furnishing my apartment
:-\ . Can I just register for everything in advance of my wedding???

J. Riley, looking forward to taking free capoeira, yoga, and tai chi
lessons at the sculpture park around the corner from my apartment all