Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Day in the Life....

I've gotten some recent not-so-subtle messages from people saying things like, "Gee, your incessant blogging is swell and all, but what about life with Erika? How are things at home?". And that is a very valid question, for sure. After all, getting married to someone from a different culture, who speaks a different first language, comes from a different lifestyle is bound to beg the question.

To be honest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I proposed to Erika back in February. Since we first met in Lima, there was always a comfortable feeling between us that allowed us to be ourselves and understand each other even when things were being lost in translation. I had a choice - I could continue aging and spending long weekends in Lima, or I could take a chance that just felt right. But I had no idea if she and I could get along for an extended amount of time in a single household. We spent one week together in an apartment as a pilot run to see what would happen. She was always confident that we knew each other so well that there wouldn't be anything new that would throw us off track, but I was getting warned by people that "all the little things" are what cause problems - things like choosing which side of the bed to sleep on and the fact that her dog wouldn't eat if she wasn't at home :o/! What if we both wanted to sleep on the left-hand side? In any case, the pilot run went even better than I expected and I got to experience the wonders of a Latina "wife".

After this trip, I was pretty confident that there wouldn't be any major problems, but I still wanted to wait a bit to actually get married once we were in my comfort zone - and outside of her's, juuuuust to make sure. Well, apart from the first day after the red-eye flight home - which was admittedly awkward living in the Bronx (I mean, where do you start with New York when you are living there?), the results have been even better than the initial pilot run.

It is a little strange for me to get used to a new "system" of cleanliness, such as washing the dishes daily, vacuuming and thoroughly cleaning the apartment weekly, and washing towels and blanketsmore than twice a year. Good riddance to this habits of a bachelor! But the partnership of marriage with someone you can call your best friend is a wonderful and efficient thing. You can do so much more with so less time, it's amazing!

For example, this evening. It helps that I live about 15 minutes away from work via a bus (by the way, I now hate MTA buses) because I now get home by 5:30 or 5:45, like today. With summer over and all of the free events finished, I want to start going to the Beefcake Musclemania gym more than once a week like I have been. So I changed into my gym clothes and coerced my other half into going with me for the second day in a row. We hit the gym, did our cardio and beef-a-reeno exercises and got home around seven o'clock. Summer (the sister) says to eat carbs and protein immediately after exercising, so into the kitchen we go to scrounge for a recipe to actually cook dinner. After haggling over a few options, we settled on salad and a pasta. Into the salted, boiling water went the Trader Joe's Spinach and Chive fettucini (buy this now!) while Erika washed and cleaned arugula and basil for the salad and I got the crushd garlic, fresh parmesan, and olive oil all ready to go. Sorry, we're missing out on the protein tonight, Summer - my progression to beefdom will have to wait.

After dinner, it was time to try to kill the angel-food cake that someone made me at work, along with peaches and whipped cream. The kitchen was a disaster, but it had to wait because it was time for me to sit on my ass and learn some Spanish with Rosetta Stone (sidenote: Astoria rocks, we found a church nearby that offers free Spanish lessons! Sign me up, since my wife won't talk to me in Spanish for an extended amount of time, mostly because I revert to English). After Spanish, I jumped in the shower in order to clean the muscle-oil off my body and shave my 8:00 shadow so that I can sleep an extra two minutes in the morning.

With thirty minutes of easy Spanish lessons done, Erika had to start her homework, so back to the kitchen I go to voluntarily do dishes on a weeknight while Erika chats with her mom and gets back to studying. By 9:00, the kitchen is spotless, the trash cans are all emptied, and I am reading about Liverpool's game earlier in the day (we won, of course). 9:00pm, and all of this has been accomplished!

When I lived in the Bronx, it was more like this: Arrive home after an hour and fifteen minute commute at 6:30pm. Relax for a half-hour, change my clothes, get to the gym at 7:30pm. Exercise for an hour, shower, arrive home at 8:45pm. Eat a Cliff Bar on the way home for dinner because by that time, it's too late to cook a full dinner for myself, eat it, and clean up after myself and get to bed at a decent time. The wonders of a great partnership!

So, in summary to this novel of a 45-minute blog, things are wonderful around here, I could write all night about all of the things that I have learned and experienced. But it's been a busy, efficient day, and it's almost time to settle down for the evening :) .

J. Riley, by the way neither of us cares which side of the bed we sleep on :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

NoKnow SoHo?

So my friend Sean just moved to a swanky new location in the city - SoHo, where he pays an exorbitant rent (by New York standards, no less) for a small studio. But that's not the point - he's in a HOT neighborhood! To "celebrate" his move, we decided to go down and visit him and go to dinner and "maybe" have some drinks. Sean is not known for being a penny pincher, so I knew that his move would definitely escalate my budget for dinners and nights out.

Now, I know SoHo. Not as well as other parts of town, but I've done plenty of brunches down there, eaten at some nice places down there, and have done plenty of shopping down there on Broadway. What I realized, though, is that I DON'T know SoHo! I've been there plenty of times, but I can count on one hand (or maybe three) the number of times I've gone out at night down there. And every time I've gone out to meals down there, it has almost exclusively been East of Broadway, which makes sense because there are plenty of magnets in the area directly to the East. But West of Broadway? No, I'm drawing a blank there.

So we head out for dinner, and Sean heads West from his apartment. Strange, I thought, there's nothing West of Mullberry, is there? He suggests that we do some Korean BBQ and that sounds good to us. I'm thinking that Little Korea isn't in this neighborhood, so where are we going? As we are walking around the Gotham-like streets in the western regions of SoHo, I notice just how many places there are to eat there - and I'm sure all of them are way out of my budget! But hey, we deserve one big night out, so we go to Woo Lae Oak, a super-duper snazzy place with appetizers and Korean BBQ out of this world! Sean just moved from Williamsburg and has a huge, nasty beard and uber-skinny jeans (yuck) with his black-rim glasses, and my style tends to lean to the east as well, and we TOTALLY didn't fit into this place. This, apparently, is a classy district, so it was interesting for people watching.

After dinner, we decided to explore the hood. We had mojitos at a few places and explored the bridge-and-tunnel fueled Bowery clubs and some standard (boring) bars before ending up at L'Orange Bleue, a Frenchy, North African type place playing funky African type music that seemed like a good place to park the bus for some Sangria and chit chat. The drinks were awesome there, it was exactly the type of place that I love, where you can spend hours just talking and sipping wonderfully tasty liquids. And that is exactly what we did!

J. Riley, A fun night despite the disgusting weather!

Monday, September 08, 2008

We are Expecting!

I have great news to announce - we are expecting....Erika's residency card! We recently received her travel documents so that she can travel outside of the country and actually come back into the country. In addition, last week she got her employment authorization card so that she can start pulling her own weight around here ;o). That's really all that's new around here, but stay tuned for more exciting updates!