Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013

I don't have any photos for this entry but I wanted to say HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone since I most likely will not have internet tomorrow. I have had an amazing 2012 and I promise to write a re-cap soon.

We are waiting to get the orders from the people in Lima telling us that we can move. Until we get it we have to wait. It could be as late at the 5th of January before we leave Cusco but in the mean time we are all packed up. Last night we wrapped all of our boxes in seran-wrap which is kind of ridiculous to me but apparently the moving company won't accept our boxes if they are not all wrapped up in plastic, including our luggage. It seems like a waste of plastic to me but this is Peru so what are you going to do? I guess the upside is that if it rains and our stuff is outside it won't get damaged.

I am going to be playing at the Hotel Palacio Nazarenas tonight from 8pm to 2am. I have various breaks in there but it is going to be a long night by all means. We are getting paid very nicely though and I am happy that Marco will be able to enter around 11:30pm and we can ring in the new year together! We plan on setting off fireworks when we get home later. Marco had a box full of them. The villa is the perfect place for them since we have a lot of open space.

I hope everyone have a very safe and fun New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Time!

Merry Christmas!
Feliz Navidad!

 This is our Christmas Card photo. :)

On Christmas Eve day I got lots of blogs written and pictures put up. I also started the packing process. I had to go to band practice at 11am (which actually started at 11:45am or so), and then had lunch with Marco. I also showed Marco his Christmas gift. He really like it. He is excited to put the painting up in his office when he has one eventually after this year of being in class. Elena still needs another week or so to finish it because she is going out of town. We will definitely have it before we move though. She is such an amazing artist. She only asked for 300 soles for it which is totally doable for me. I am beyond happy to have some of her art.

After lunch (that was super freaking long due to only two waiters serving at least 50 people), we headed to Santurantikuy which is the traditional art fair featuring pieces for the nativity scene. It is custom to make a big nativity scene and add to it every year. People dress their baby Jesus' up in different clothing and they also buy new animals to add to the nativity every year. Marco and I didn't make one because it didn't make sense to build a nativity when we are trying to move. The one at Claudio's apartment was cute and simple. Of course, Berta, his mom, complained that it wasn't that big this year. When we got home I made mashed sweet potato and took a nap. Marco took a two hour nap! We made our way over to Larapa (half an hour drive which seemed like a really long time but in reality isn't since Lima is going to be worse!). Marco and Claudio went to pick up the turkey from a local oven and Emily and Alexa proceeded to break a pyrex pan that had stuffing in it because they put it on a cold surface. Neither had seen an explosion like that and while Alexa thought it was cool Emily had to deal with Berta complaining about her pyrex breaking. Oh well, it is replaceable!

We all settled down to a huge turkey dinner (Thank you Peruvian Military!) with waldorf salad, potatoes, mashed sweet potato, apple sauce, sweet pork, and rice. It was most excellent and I am so happy for such a delicious meal. It was like Thanksgiving but late at night on Christmas Eve. I like the tradition only that turkey makes you sleepy and when you add red wine into the mix everyone is ready to pass out before midnight. Some people wait til midnight to pass out gifts but we didn't. Emily and Claudio got Marco and me a ceramic jug from Inkaria, a local bar that makes its own liquor. It has the face of a guinea pig as the spout so the drink comes out of its mouth. It's great and goes perfectly with our Cusqueñan dishware that we got as a wedding gift from my co-workers at Qantu. I gave Claudio a little devil angel playing the guitar and he loved it. He also loved the punk encyclopedia that Emily gave him.

After dinner we played Cranium. It was hilarious and the best part was Alexa, a friend of Emily's, trying to read/understand everything in Spanish. She was a sport and we had a great time.

After midnight when all the fireworks had almost finished, we headed over to Mayra's, Claudio's daughter's mother's, house and Claudio lit off fireworks with names such as Bin Ladin. Needless to say it made a huge bang and caused three different car alarms to go off. I was exhausted and didn't really feel like being too close to the fireworks. We said good-byes to everyone and headed home. It was a great Christmas Eve and even though I missed my family, I have Marco and he is my family. Claudio, Emily, and Carla are like family too! I had a great night.

Christmas day literally consisted of me packing up my life. I went to Qantu to pick up my stuff from my room but other than that I spent the day at home listening to Dr. Robert Greenberg lectures on Western Music. It was a productive day and since Marco was in service at work I was even more productive. I also had tasty leftovers to keep my stomach happy.

I have an absurd amount of things to do over the next few days. I tried to donate stuff to South American Explorers today but they were closed! That is so unfair. I definitely checked and it said they would be open on the 26th. Oh well. I dropped the donations off at Qantu and will bring them to the clubhouse tomorrow of Friday. I also need to pay my cell phone bill, get paid from Qantu, get a copy of my insurance and a duets book made, practice a ton with the band, close my bank account, pick up my boots, and finish packing the rest of the house.


It is customary to have a chocolatada at Christmas time if you work for a school. Everyone gets together and stuffs their faces with paneton (a much tastier version of fruitcake) and hot chocolate. We had one at Qantu last Saturday and it was wonderful. I saw a few of my students and took some pictures. One of my students gave me a super cute Mamacha doll holding a potato. I can add it to my collection now since I got one holding a baby from Corey when he left. Here are some pictures of the party!

 Diego put on Suzanne's concert with her mother. It was well received. 

 Joanna is here to visit. We met her when we were taking our teacher training courses last year in Lima.

My lovely student Antonella with her dad (who plays violin in the Cusco Sypmhony), her mother, and Suzanne.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Concierto de Ensambles Grandes 22 de Diciembre 2012

What a fantastic way to finish out the semester! On Friday night we had the final concert which consisted of the ensambles for more advanced students. It started with the group of sikuris and then another group lead by Kike Pinto, Flor's ex-husband and former violin teacher at Qantu. They both sounded great. It was followed by the camerata de guitarras. They played a really nice rendition of Dust in the Wind with the help of two violin students, Io and Gabriela. We were put into the festive mood with a version of Silent Night played by a guitar student who's name I don't know, Maria, a cellist, and Angela on voice. It was cute and totally impromptu. Afterward the Camerata de cuerdas played a a Bartok and Piazzolla piece before the chorus and orchestra took the stage for the finale. It was super fun and the music is really enjoyable. Suzanne and I enjoyed trying to pronounce all the Quechua words right for some of the songs. The last song we played is called Za Za Za and it is a festejo which means it is super upbeat and really fun. Fil and Melissa played cajon and Suzanne and I danced. The kids didn't seem as enthusiastic about it though. Maybe it is because they have grown up with it. Either way I enjoyed myself a lot.

At the end of the concert Flor called Suzanne and me to the front and asked for an applause for all the work we did. It was extremely touching and brought both Suzanne and I to tears. It was a lot of love a and a very extended applause. I am forever grateful for all that Qantu has given me. I came to Cusco as an English teacher and I am leaving for Lima as a violin teacher. What a crazy cool thing to happen. Qantu will never be forgotten and I will definitely be visiting next year to check on my students!

Here are some pictures for you to enjoy. There are more under the Final Concerts album on the left side bar of this page.

 Sikuri group class

 Kike Pinto's sikuri group

 Camerata de Guitarras

 Silent Night Trio

 Coro 1 y Coro 2

Another angle to see how many children were up on stage.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Concierto de Violines 20 de Diciembre 2012

The violin concert was a success! It went a little long and we had to cut out a few songs from the pyramid at the end to make sure the little ones were still awake to play, but overall it went really well. We have over 60 students among Melissa, Suzanne, and me and we had over 20 solos so it was bound to be a bit longer than usual. I am super proud of all of my student that played solos and all of the others that played as well. Three of my students didn't make it, two because they forgot. Not really sure how it slipped by them or their mother but it's all good. They got to play in the trio concert earlier this month and did a nice job. 

I was very impressed by how everyone dressed up as well. We didn't go with the traditional Suzuki attire of white shirts and black pants but told everyone to dress up nicely. Most of the girls wore really pretty dresses, many of them first communion dresses (all white). There were lots of boys in suits as well. It was great to see and it made for some really nice pictures.

I am going to miss my students so much. They were really wonderful, all of them, in their own ways. I am so happy that I was able to spread some music and violin knowledge to them in my short time with all of them. It is especially gratifying to see the littlest ones playing the monkey song or twinkle twinkle after a good year of work if not a bit more. The foundation is so important and I hope that I have given them a good one so they can continue on and become not only wonderful violinist but great people as well, just as Suzuki would have wanted.

Here are some pictures from Thursday night.

 Me and my two littlest students Luciana and Antonella

Suzanne leading Concerto in E with her group class students

Supporting Sebasthian as he played Twinkle Variation Gran Mami Gran Papi

I ended up printing this photo out for each one of the wonderful ladies in this photo. I think it is super cute and I put mine in a frame that will go up in my studio when I am in Lima. :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Concierto de Profesores 19 de Diciembre 2012

 Wednesday was fantastic! I am so relieved and really impressed with myself. I played much better than I thought I did and while I lacked some confidence in the beginning, I made up for it in the end. Marco got some video footage of the last 5 minutes and I listened to it today. I was much happier with the outcome than I thought I would be! He also took video of the quartet that Melissa, Suzanne, Angela and I played. It was really fun playing with the three of them. I really hope that I can find some people to play with when I am in Lima. Maybe Angela and I can play for some parties and things when I am in Lima next year. I know she is super busy with school but it might be a possibility. Anyway, the concert itself lasted 2 hours! I couldn't believe that it went that long. We did add the camerata with two pieces in the middle but that was only 15 minutes or so. Arioska played a solo piece, I played my solo, there was the violin quartet, a trio, Elder played a solo, Nayat played a Haydn piano solo, there was the Bach piano quartet and camerata. Oh yes, and Fil and Flor finished out the concert with a beautiful rendition of Siwarsituy, a quechua Christmas carol. It was a very successful concert. I am most appreciative of Marco for coming out too because he was not feeling well and very much wanted to stay in bed but he came out to support me and that means so much to me. I worked really hard on this concert and I really wanted him to be there. What a great guy!
 Us ladies after the Telemann Quartet!

Concierto de Camerata de Cuerdas 18 de Diciembre 2012

On Tuesday night we had the camerata concert in the Wanchaq Municipality auditorium and I have to say that I am super proud of all the students. They played so well and watched Fil as he cut everyone off. They had some problems keeping an eye on him and would keep playing long after he cut us off in rehearsals. It is really great to see all the hard work pay off in the end and play really fun music and make other people happy with it. I know Marco enjoyed it. 

Gotta love Fil's expressiveness. :)
I am going to look into playing in an orchestra when I am in Lima. It would be super fun!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Concierto de Ensambles 17 de Diciembre 2012

I started the week with the ensambles concert and Io took some great photos of me dancing and singing with our cajon and canto class. It was super fun. I am really glad she took a video of "You are my sunshine". I taught the kids the lyrics in English and accompanied it with my violin. It was great! I was happy to bring back memories of my dad singing it to me when I was a kid.

The auditorium was quite full and the parents were out in full swing with their cameras. I am sure it is going to be super exciting for me and Marco when we see our kids stomping around and banging on instruments in early stimulation and especially when they play instruments. At one point Diego, our camera guy/secretary asked the parent of the kid dressed up as a duck to get control of her child since he was running around all over the place and interrupting the show. Haha!

 I adore the early stimulation kids. They made my night. The bunny rabbit running around with his carrot and the butterfly chasing him around like a lovestruck girl. Haha. It was super cute. 

 Singing An Old Austrian went yodeling in Spanish


 Cajon 1


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Something a Little Different This Sunday

I had a great Sunday. It was not the typical Sunday I have. I went to Flor's (my director's) apartment around 11am and we hung out for a bit before getting up the energy to go to the market and buy all the ingredients we needed to make causa rellena and aji de gallina. Melissa joined us later and made some last minute runs to the market herself for things we forgot. It took us two hours to do everything even with 4 people helping but it was totally worth it and we enjoyed every last bit of the food. It was accompanied by caipirinhas which are a brazilian drink with Cachaça, a Brazilian liquor. We also made fresh lemonade. It was really great and I enjoyed hanging out and cooking with the ladies of Qantu. It could be really stressful to do depending on the type of person in the kitchen. Everyone knows that person who cannot let others do things for themselves in the kitchen because they won't do it correctly. Fortunately, there was none of that in our case and we had a great relaxing day.

After eating we digested a bit and laid around until it was time for us to go to Qantu for a rehearsal with students on the Bach piano quartet. We have a few students helping out by playing in the orchestra part. The entire product will be presented in the Teachers' Concert next Wednesday. Yikes! Next Wednesday! I have such a short amount of time before I perform my solo! I am performing Accolay's Concerto in A Minor 1st movement. It has a ton of technical stuff in it but it is a fun romantic piece so I can go all out with the emotion. I am looking forward to it even though I am also terrified of playing my violin in public as a soloist. Give me Claudio any day to play with and I am fine but put me next to a piano and have me play a classical solo piece, I want to explode from nervousness. I don't know why it happens to me but I think it has something to do with control. I feel like I have complete control over my voice while the violin is something outside of me. I technically control it too but it isn't something that is a part of me like my voice and for that reason I get more nervous. It also requires a lot more practice than my voice does. Oh well, I will survive and it will be good for me. I want to show that I can play too. Suzanne has played a few concerts since she has been here, just her or with Katie and I have not done any. I owe it to my students and myself to play a solo.

Anyway, back to the rehearsal. It went really well and I am looking forward to playing the piece with the students and the 4 pianists in the concert. Suzanne, Melissa and I then practiced a bit of the Telemann violin quartet that they, myself and Angela Thompson (a former Qantu violin teacher who got me my job), are going to play for the Teachers' Concert as well. We have lots to play and only a week and a half to go so we will definitely have to have another rehearsal or two before the big day!

Things are getting hectic around here. The week of the 17th of December I am in a concert every single night of the week. It goes as follows:

Monday: Ensambles cajon, sikuri, kodaly
Tuesday: Camerata
Wednesday: Teachers' Concert
Thursday: Violin Concert
Friday: Chorus and Orchestra

Crazy right? I know. I am going to run out of black to wear. I am going to wear a pretty dress for Wednesday but the other days have to be all black. Good thing I have been stocking up this year on black clothing. A musician can never have enough black!

I am only two weeks away from being completely done working at Qantu. I can't believe how quickly the time has flown. I only have two or three classes left with all of my students. I am planning on giving them a candy bar called Tuyo and writing La Musica es... next to the name. It means the music is yours. I think it is cute. I am also going to write a personal note to all of them that will be attached to the candy bar. I have appreciated every single one of my students and I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to teach all of them and learn so much from each one of them. That is probably one of the best things about being a teacher. I learn just as much from them, if not more, than they do from me. It is also extremely rewarding to see how far all of them have come, especially those who have been with my since the very beginning. I have a few little ones who are all playing twinkle now and that makes me sooooo happy. I can't wait for them to perform at the concert in a week and a half. It is going to be great. I am going to try not to cry. :)

Life is super great and as I finish another year I can't help but become overwhelmed with emotions and mostly thanks and a feeling of incredible luck that I have the life I do and the people in my life that I do. I am beyond happy and I hope that Lima will bring even more. I am sure that with an open mind and positive attitude it will be.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Typical entry in

So for those of you that don't know, I write on a daily basis on a website called . It's pretty self explanatory. You write 750 words on a daily basis which racks up to 22,000 words in a month. There are badges and incentives for writing every day if getting a little x in the box for the day isn't enough. For me it definitely is. I am on a 31 day streak and plan to keep it up. I am also in the December challenge which means I need to write every day in December. I decided that if I achieve the goal I will buy myself a new ebook on my kindle and if I miss a day I will donate 2 dollars to the website. They rely on patrons to keep the site running. A guy named Buster started it in Bedlam Coffee in Seattle Washington. Go figure, a hip writing site developed by a guy in Seattle! Seattle just might be catching up to Portland in hipsterness. Anyway, I decided that I am going to post what I wrote today on the site just to give you an idea of what it is like. I am seriously considering writing a book about my adventures in Cusco. I may wait til next November for National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words in one month!

So here goes! This is what I wrote today.

I have had a very successful day so far. I got up at 8am and got ready to go to my piano lesson. Flor forgot that we were going to have class on Monday and scheduled someone else so we recuperated it this morning. The lesson went well and we went over a ton of stuff. I have a lot to practice this week. After my lesson I sent the picture I want Elena to paint for Marco's Christmas present to her. I am going to drop off a hard copy today in about an hour or so. I then walked down to an internet place because I forgot to look up my dad's address. While I was there I accidentally left my planner. Oops! I am going to see if I can get it back when I walk back up to Qantu from Dragon's Palate. I made my way down to Movistar to pay for our internet and then walked down to Serpost where I sent back the stamps that my dad accidentally sent to me with my birthday gift.

Ok, so after serpost I stopped in next door to the Salon San Sebastian and got my hair washed, cut and dried. I was totally expecting it to be at least 50 soles because the last time I got my hair done there it was at least 45. They only charged me 30! That is so crazy. I left my stylist a 5 sole tip because she did a good job and because I saved 20 soles so why not!

I decided to get lunch at Yola. I was in the mood for causa and arroz con pollo and lemonade. That is exactly what I ate. I couldn't eat it all of course, so I took the rest of the arroz con pollo home and will eat the rest of it tonight for dinner after singing at the Marriott. I made my way down the street to the Imprenta I went into the other day to ask about business cards. The girl said she needed to keep my USB for the day in order to do everything. That was weird so I went to another one down the street and we switched the design in the program Coral so that he could work on it easier. There wasn't much to work with though. It is a super simple design and just black and white with a few pictures from google on it. A violin and a note with a treble clef. He originally said 40 soles but I told him the lady down the street was charging 30 soles for the exact same thing so he agreed to it. Later he said I could have color if I wanted but I didn't. I like simple. It is to the point and easy to read. I finally stopped in Maxi for some groceries and bought some dog food for Pepe at the agroveterinaria that I always go to for his food. I was going to take a combi back but of course Huancaro went right by me. That is two times today! I was going to take a combi to Qantu this morning but my bus went right by me because there were other buses in front of it. Fucker. It makes me sooooo mad when they do that!! I apologize for the strong words but man it makes me mad! They don't care at all about the passengers.

I ended up walking.

On my way I picked up some pan de coco for Marco. I have decided that I am going to try and get rid of most bread from my diet. I think I am going to feel a lot better. It's not gluten but yeast that isn't so great for me.

I finally made it back home and now I am going to probably take a quick nap before heading out to do more errands. I am very content with how the day has gone so far and I only have two students today, cajon class and then singing at the Marriott.

Last night went well. We played at 10:30pm and there was a huge group of Chilean men. I have no idea why there were so many of them or why they were all men but they liked us and clapped a lot. It is always nice to have a really lively audience that responds when you are finished with a song.

When I got home Marco and I ended up chatting for a good hour in bed. We talked about wedding possibilities and how he wants to have a great mixture of everything. We think we are going to have a buffet for all my friends and family that come from the States because it will be great for them to try typical food from Peru. My mom wanted to have a dinner the night before so that would be the perfect way. That way, we would spend less on food for the reception. A sit down dinner with courses is apparently less that a buffet at the reception. For some reason that doesn't seem right. I would think that it would be more expensive to have a course meal but who knows. We will figure out all of this and more details when we are in Lima. It's nice to be thinking about everything. I saw this great post on pinterest with two wine glasses and on one was the name of the bride and the other groom. The one whose cup is more full at the end of the night gets cake in the face. I like it! It's some extra soles (or maybe dollars from the US people!) for us. We also chatted about moving logistics since we are doing that in less than a month! Apparently we will be moving everything to the center of the room in boxes so that it can painted before the 24th of December because after that date it is hard to contract workers or something like that. I trust Marco's ideas. He is a rational logical thinker.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Wedding in San Jeronimo, Cusco

I was told by David and Alvaro that I would be playing in a quartet on Friday instead of singing at Monasterio and Marriott like I have been doing the past couple of week. Great! When were we going to practice? We ended up finding some time in the morning yesterday to practice the 5 pieces. The repertoire included Pachabel's Canon in D Major, Shostakovich's Waltz no. 2, and arrangement of Coldplay's Yellow, Te Amaré, O Sole Mio, and Besame Mucho. I rehearsed with Yuset, the cellist and Brickman(?) the second violinist. I can't deny, it was pretty cool being 1st violin for the first time. I am never first violin. Anyway, we finished up and I went on my way to start my incredibly full Friday. There was a slight crisis that was averted in the afternoon. I accidentally left the pocket open on my violin case that holds me music. Three pieces fell out during my trip from Qantu to the bus stop. It wasn't until the cobrador handed me a few sheets of music that were falling out of my case while I was in the combi did I realize what happened. After some phone calls I was able to get in contact with Yuset who printed out more copies. Phew!

In order to save some money I decided to take the San Jeronimo bus. It took an hour to get to Larapa. Typical.

I had no trouble finding the room we would be playing in. It was draped in white and pink cloth. There were 14 tables each set to seat 10 guests and the chairs were draped with white and pink tool. Each table had a vase that was about a meter high and at the top of each one was a bouquet of pink and white flowers. In the center back there was a table set up for the bride and groom to have their civil ceremony and next to the table was an itty bitty 4 layer cake with a very cheesy plastic bride and groom on top. There was also a fake fire machine that had a light glowing and air blowing orange colored paper. It was attached to pink cloth that went up to the ceiling where it continued along the ceiling towards the front of the room. There was another one on the other side but with no fake fire attached. This was quite the display and to top it all off there were silver beads hanging from the middle light fixture like the ones you would put in your doorway as a teenager or that separate a fortune teller's front room from her work room. They were shiny though!

The wedding planner from Cusco Eventos explained to us how the music would go and when we would be playing. The canon was for the bride and groom's entry, Waltz for the second dance (the first dance of the bride and groom will get its own paragraph.), O sole Mio for cutting the cake, Yellow for after the ceremony was over, and that pretty much summed it up.

We got to the room with plenty of time for a sound check. Claudio played guitar with us and quickly reviewed what he would be playing. It was all pretty simple. There was a man handing out pisco sours. Claudio took no time in grabbing a few for all of us. Haha! We waited for the bride and groom to make their entrance while simultaneously waiting for the second violinist who was still on a bus when the bride and groom did make their entrance. Yuset and I made do and playing the entrance to Pachabel's Canon. We only ended up playing 4 bars of so but it was not as pretty as it could have been with a second violin.

The event coordinator urged everything along and the couple made their way to the table where someone from the municipality of San Jeronimo was waiting to marry the couple in their civil ceremony.

The ceremony itself didn't take too long but the toasts afterward were quite the opposite. Each parent of the bride and groom had some time to talk. First the father of the groom said his thanks to everyone, then the mother of the bride. Each of theirs was quite short and sweet. When the father of the bride got on the mic it was apparent that he liked to hear himself talk and when the reverb on a mic is such that every word echos for half a second afterward he made sure to talk nice and slow. I think he really liked hearing himself like the voice of god from heaven. The event coordinator had to cut him off when he tried to make a toast though. The mother of the groom still had to say her words. She made sure to make them quick. Back to the father of the bride. The toast was finally made and he seemed content with himself afterward. We played the Waltz by Shostakovich for the second dance that included all the close family members. We repeated it three times and then continued on to play Coldplay's Yellow while the couple cut the cake and then made ourselves comfortable for the most incredibly long and depressing speech made by the godfather of the bride.

"And you must be ready for the fights and the struggles that come your way and when your kids are yelling mommy and daddy don't get frustrated but you will. Life is not easy but you will have each other. Don't let satan take your marriage down..."

You get the point. It was ridiculous and went on for 10 minutes! played a little more of Yellow and then we were done. In total it was about an hour but we only ended up playing 15 minutes or so. As we were leaving another quartet started playing and getting ready for Keren, a well known opera singer here in Cusco, to start singing. There would eventually be a big salsa/cumbia band to play. What really got me about all of it is how late the entire thing started and how late it would most likely go. A reception starts at 9pm and I imagine ended up going til the wee hours of the morning.

What I know for sure from all of it is that I don't want to have ridiculously long speeches from anyone and that I will not be using pink as one of the themes for my wedding. It was a bit tacky for me. I wouldn't mind green though. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Belated Thanks

 (A week late)

  I am so sorry that I am late with this post but I think it is never too late to say thank you for the things that make us happy!

So here is my list of things that I am thankful for!

1. My family. This includes all my extended family too including my in laws on Marco's side, even though I don't know many of them personally. I am very thankful for family because they are the ones who support you through everything including moving to another country permanently. There is less face time but that doesn't mean I love them any less or that I think about them any less. I love you very much mom, dad, and Roger! You guys are the best family anyone could ask for!

2. Marco! He is the love of my life and makes helps me be a better person every day. I seriously love him more and more every day. I love that he supports me and respects me and makes sure to explain to me why I might be acting crazy about something. Thank you for calming me down when I need it and making me food and bringing me medicine and taking care of me all the time! You are the best partner anyone could ever ask for! I am so happy to be spending my life with you!

3. My awesome friends. This includes those who I have very limited contact with. You all have made an impact on me in some way, whether it be making me smile or being there for me when I am having a bad day. I appreciate the support and love I get from all my friends. I appreciate all my facebook friends too. I have an absurd amount of them but I still appreciate all of them, even if I haven't talked to many of them in person in quite a few years. 

4. My doggy! Pepe brings me so much joy and happiness. He makes me crazy sometimes too but that is normal and I wouldn't have it any other way! I love playing with him and I love that he greets me every day when I come home with kisses. He is the best. Thank you Zara for letting us have him!

5. My job. I love my job. I love teaching. I love music. I love kids! I am so lucky to have all of that in one job. I look forward to going to work every day and seeing my students progress in their playing and studies. It's so exciting and I am so proud to be a part of it. I am going to be so sad to leave all of my students behind when I move to Lima in a month. They mean a lot to me and I am so grateful to Qantu. Angela, and Flor, for giving me the chance to try something new. I am thankful that they had faith in me and I gave me a job even though I wasn't technically certified to be doing it in the beginning. Patience and loving kindness and a bit of faith have given me quite a lot! Thank you!

6. The Peruvian Military. I know, you are thinking what? Seriously though. I am grateful that they gave us a house, well that they gave Marco a house that I have been able to live in for the past year almost. They are also going to give us one when we move to Lima eventually. I am grateful that they provide for their employees and that there are lots of facilities for me to use in Lima like a gym and a pool in the circulo militar. 

7. My bandmates. I am so lucky to have met great people with whom I can play really fun music and make money with. I have thoroughly enjoyed singing and playing with the Guardians, Claudio, David, and Alvaro. It's been a blast and an extra income. I couldn't be more thankful to be doing what I love and making a living from it. I have also made some great friends in the process. 

8. Peru! This country has given me a lot. I am so thankful for all of the wonderful things that have come my way in the form of people and job opportunities. 

9. The USA! I also have to be thankful for where I came from and the opportunities and privileges that I had growing up that allowed me to get to the place where I am today. 

10. I am also thankful for myself and my ability to be independent and a strong individual. I am the eternal optimist and because of that my life has turned out pretty fantastic so far. Thank you me for being awesome. I love you and don't ever let anyone make you feel less about yourself. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful turkey filled Thanksgiving! I spent mine chowing down with fellow expats at my friend Elizabeth and Erik's apartment (Another Peruvian American couple). It was super fun. I wish I could have stayed longer but The Guardians played at Saqras that night. I did, however, get to share two pumpkin pies with everyone and they were all gone when I went by to pick up the dishes the next day. Thank you mom for sending me the Libby's pumpkin mix. Totally worth it! YUM!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Birthday Number 3 in Cusco!

It's my birthday and I will smile if I want to, smile if I want to, laugh if I want to. Seriously, it's been a great day so far. Marco woke me up when he rang the doorbell. He had forgotten his key so he had to ring the bell. Haha, no problem. I can go back to sleep after practically anything. He then made me breakfast in bed with orange juice and strawberry juice with honeydew melon, bread and sunny side up eggs. I couldn't have asked for anything more delicious. I was very appreciative and let him know.

After breakfast we headed up to the Temple of the Moon where we took a horseback ride around the ruins. I wanted to run so we ran for a decent amount. Of course, I was a bit weary since I have heard and seen all sorts of accidents to the head when riding a horse. Not wearing a helmet is super stupid no matter what your technical training is or however comfortable you feel on a horse. They are huge animals and can decide to act crazy at any point. There is no guarantee that you won't fall off and hit your head or break a bone. Hurting my head would be worse than breaking a bone unless the bone was my back and caused me to be paralyzed. That would be awful. Anyway, apart from being a bit nervous about having no helmet, I had a great time and ran a lot with Palomo. Marco's horse was not as excited to run as mine was nor as excited as the one that the kid who guided us was riding. That horse loved to run and ran like a crazy horse. We ended up switching horses so I rode the one that Marco had. Haha, I got it to run for me. I didn't like how it trotted but its canter was pretty smooth. Galloping would have been awesome but I wouldn't have wanted to do that unless I had a helmet.

Last night Marco and I went to Chicha and had a delicious dinner. I had risotto de la sierra y costa that had octopus, shrimp, trough, onion, tomato and a delicious risotto. I also had a drink called Cusqueñita which was a pisco and strawberry drink. It was delicious. Marco had rocoto relleno with chicha morada. We shared a chocolate souflee which was very tasty. I was super happy with the quality of food. I had heard a few not so wonderful reviews but I was impressed with the food. The restaurant is owned by Gaston Acurio who is the number one chef in Peru. The only bad thing I have to say about the place is that it took a really long time to get the drinks. The food came pretty quickly though.

It has rained a lot lately but fortunately, each time we wanted to do something this weekend we had pretty good weather. The horseback riding today was great, and going out dancing on Saturday night was rain free for the most part. It rained before we got to Chicha last night but we had Marco's car and there was a parking spot right in front of the restaurant. The biggest downside to the rainy season is doing laundry. It takes a lot longer for clothes to dry on the line and if you don't remember that your clothes are on the line they might end up getting wetter than they were in the first place. Oops.

I have had an absolutely wonderful birthday. I am so happy that Marco took off the day to spend it with me. We are about to go pick up my birthday cake from El Hada, the best heladeria in town. The cake is so delicious. It's butter cream and it's salty sweet. I love it. We are going to make tequeños tonight and drink some cusqueña beer and watch a movie. It is the perfect birthday for me.

I am also very thankful for all the birthday love I have gotten on facebook. It doesn't take much to write on someone's wall and tell them happy birthday and it makes the person's day whose birthday it is.

This picture is from Saturday night at the Muse. We danced Salsa!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Exchange a tweet for a real live Hello!

Everyone has their tech products, myself included. I have a macbook that I bought used and refurbished from ebay for $500 in January of 2010. It's a 2006 macbook but it works fine. I don't have much battery life when it is not connected directly to a power source but that's fine because I usually use it at home or somewhere inside like a cafe or restaurant that has an outlet nearby. Anyway, mac products and personal devices are everywhere. It seems like every other person has an iphone and if it isn't an iphone it is a smartphone. I personally don't feel like I need an iphone and it is just a liability in Peru. I guess I technically have one because it takes pictures and if I had internet service I could access facebook and the internet but I don't so it's not a smartphone for me. Now, in terms of liability, American's are not safe from tech theft. It has risen a lot in the past few years in the States. My cousin in New York City was victim to a seriously violent robbing of his girlfriend's ipad that left him with a jaw wired shut and a knee injury. That's super scary. He ended up writing an article on it for the Wall Street Journal where he works. Hey, that's definitely a way to make a positive out of a negative. Mac and other companies are coming up with more security features so that devices cannot be activated or used if they are stolen but I don't think that is going to stop the second hand selling of all the items. People are smart and techies can get around applications.

Don't get me wrong. I love having a computer and access to the internet. It's a wonderful thing. It keeps me in contact with family that is far away and up to date of the latest in news around the world. I can type super fast and update my blog and listen to tons of music. I can edit movies and post pictures and write a ton but there are downfalls to being so immersed in technology. I think the biggest downside to all the technology is not the possibility of theft and loss of a lot of money but that people are losing contact with one another and they are losing social graces. I have see so many people out at dinner or in bars or wherever in public and they are so plugged into their phones that they lose all social interaction with the people they are with. That's kind of sad if you ask me. Why go out if you are just going to click away on facebook or twitter on your phone? It seems a bit counter-intuitive right? Something I love about being in Peru is that you don't see as much of that as you do in the States. Obviously, you see it here but it isn't as prevalent. The majority of people who are going out are tourists and they aren't trying to be stuck on their phones the entire time. Of course, there was the other night when I was playing with Claudio and the two people at the bar were both on their phones. They clapped after the songs were over but it's totally disconcerting singing to people who are plugged into their phone. The locals here don't have smartphones for the most part. They are getting more popular but most choose to use their cheap 60 soles phones. I don't blame them either because pickpocketing is popular here. Why waste money on a nice phone when it is most likely going to be lost or stolen?

Something else that helps with social interaction is geography. The geographic make-up of Cusco is such that everyone is outside walking or on a combi. Personal cars are almost unheard of so most people use public transportation or walk places. Cusco isn't terribly big and it doesn't take long to get anywhere. I run into people I know all the time because we are all out walking around. I used to run into someone I knew in Evanston once every couple of weeks or so. Everyone is in their cars. I saw more people I knew going to the YMCA but that is because it is a community space but out and about it was not as common. I guess what all this rambling sums up is that slowly but surely, American's are isolating themselves with all the technology they have and the social, geographic daily norms are not helping the situation. Peru, as it seems is on the same path with all the hype about smartphones but at least in Cusco there is still a geographic aspect that helps to keep people in personal contact with one another. To anyone reading this I challenge you to get outside and take a walk and see if you run into anyone you know. Say hello to someone who you might not know! It could make their day! Oh, and I also challenge you to not look at your phone while you are out with a friend for lunch or a get together. THAT might be more difficult.


Haha, I think this picture is a scary and funny representation of what is happening to relationships.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Birthday Paseo

I went to Huambutio today to celebrate Flor, my director's, birthday. Well, I guess it is called Vlicabamba but we spent a decent hour in Huambutio not knowing where to go. Fortunately, Fil answered his phone and let us know where to go. We would never have found the place if we hadn't been able to reach him. It turned out to be a really beautiful place that can house up to 30 people at a time if necessary. There were 16 beds in one of the rooms we saw.

When Marco and I got there everyone had finished eating lunch. Fortunately, there was more for us and we enjoyed lechon (pig ribs) along with two tamales and a baked cheesy potato dish. It was delicious! We drank chicha morada and wine. After eating the kids went out to play and we chatted a bit inside before heading out and enjoying the sun for a little bit. The weather here has been so hot lately and the sun has been burning more than making anyone feel warm and comfortable. It should be raining all the time now but it had been really hot. Yay global warming! Anyway, Marco and I checked out the rooms and watched the kids play Mata la Gente which is like a dodgeball game. Flor came inside and asked everyone to come out and play a game of "futbol" which was really a circle game. (I love circle games. I think it is the camp counselor in me.) Every other person was on a different team. Flor gave a set of keys to one team on one end of the circle and a set of keys to the other end and the object was to get the set of keys to the other end of the circle. The hard part is that in between each team member of team A is a team member from team B trying to block the pass of the keys to the next person. No one is allowed to throw the keys and you aren't supposed to use your hands. Of course, we ended up with some tramposos or cheaters but it was super fun. We all had a good laugh.

We hung out for a little while after that. I joined a bit of volleying with Fil and some of the girls. He is hilarious. We would have taken some people back but apparently there was a car coming to pick everyone up. I hate leaving people behind that need rides but fortunately, there was no one that needed a ride. I am really glad that Flor enjoyed her birthday. It is tomorrow but we had this little gathering for her. The kids want to have a Qantu campamento at the house and I don't blame them. I think it would be super fun but probably a safer bet when it is the dry season. Overall, it was a really nice paseo.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Combi Complaining Time

I use combis a lot because they are cheap and go almost everywhere from my house, most importantly to Qantu. I really feel like making a pro/con list for them.

  • cheap
  • relatively fast
  • There is a new one every five to seven minutes 
  • There are more and more large buses as opposed to mini-van sized cars

  • Most are small and uncomfortable to sit or stand in.
  • The drivers can decide to pick you up or not and if they are late for their time punch they will not stop for you.
  • People will bring any and everything onto the bus including very odorous things.
  • If they are ahead of schedule they will stay at a paradero (stop) for up to 8 minutes just to pass time not giving a toot about whether you need to be somewhere on time.
  • If you don't say "baja" at the right time you will not be dropped off and the stop may be passed
  • Paying with anything larger than a 10 sole bill will make the cobrador (the person who takes the money) angry and annoyed. 
So as you can see I tend to get more annoyed with combis than I am happy with them but I did the math and by not using a taxi twice a day I save 163 soles a month so it's a necessary evil. I wish I could say that I can look forward to having larger combis in Lima but that is not the case because I definitely took some very uncomfortable combis to Miraflores from La Molina. There are definitely more large buses but I will have to make do with what they have. The good thing is that there are plans to expand the Metropolitano which is Lima's version of the "L" (elevated train in Chicago). It's nice and fast and has a bus system as well. Woohoo for modernization and more safe methods of traveling around the city!

Something I think someone who wants to make money should do is ride every single combi there is in Cusco and map it's route and the make a Guia T like they have in Buenos Aires. It would increase ridership and decrease accidental rides. The only problem is that there is constantly construction in Cusco so routes tend to get changed at any point. 

In the meantime, I have to go catch the Huancaro combi.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jungle Time!

Marco and I took a wonderful 2 day vacation to the jungle of Peru via Puerto Maldonado a week and a half ago. It was fantastic and HOT! There definitely weren't as many mosquitoes as I thought there would be and it wasn't as humid as I thought it was going to be. Score!

We took an overnight bus (MovilTour) to Puerto Maldonado and then hung out all morning in the town before taking a boat ride to the lodge. The morning was kind of boring since we got in around 7am and didn't have anything to do but sit around and wait for 12pm to come around. I have to tell you that if you ever go to Puerto Maldonando, don't stay there more than a morning. There is absolutely nothing to do. The one good thing that did keep us somewhat entertained was the salute to the flag in which all the armed forces were represented (army, navy, air force and Senasa, the municipality security made up of mostly ex-military folk). We also found a nice deli to sit in and watch in the shade. There was a parade afterward in which two bands played including a student band that played "Happy Birthday" over and over and over. Delightful.... haha how embarrassing for the military men marching.

Our boat ride was an hour and twenty minutes to the EcoAmazonia lodge. On the way we heard a family talking in a language that sounded like German and English but ended up being Afrikaans because they were from South Africa. Pretty sweet.

When we go to the lodge they served us a delicious drink from a native fruit that I forgot the name of. I wanted more. We were given lunch and our bungalow called "Tarantula". Fortunately, I saw no tarantulas in my bungalow, only on the boat ride the next day. 

In the afternoon we headed to the Monkey Island across the river and saw tons of Capuchin monkeys as well as one super friendly spider monkey female who wanted nothing more than to drink my gatorade. Seriously, she came down and got on everyone's shoulders so she could get a hold of it. Don't believe me? Check out the pic!


To be fair, the guide did warn us that she liked waterbottles. It's so cool how their tails are an extra leg or arm. She got on top of me too but not before grabbing my arm. It is so human-like, it's crazy. All the monkeys were rescued from bad owners and given this island that is owned by the EcoAmazonia Lodge. A funny thing that happened while on the island is that I ran into a friend of mine Richard, who is now a guide for Tucan Travel. He used to bartend at the Lost City, a local hangout for all the Maximo teachers while I was still teaching English. What a small world and what crazy odds!

In the evening we had a delicious buffet dinner and Marco and I passed out nice and early around 10pm. The is also when the power goes out. The lodge only uses electricity between 5 and 10pm daily so we had to make good use of the fan in the room during that time. 

The following day we took a nice look hike to a little river, steam that we then paddled down before walking more to the Apuvictor lake lookout spot. It was a lot of hiking and it was quite humid. We made the best of it though. We passed trees that are considered the be telephones because when you hit them they echo up to a kilometer away. We also passed trees that smell like onion and are apparently helpful when one has a cold. The boat ride was nice because Marco and I did absolutely no rowing. We were with Richard's Tucan group so they did all the work. Haha it was great! 

We saw a turtle and quite a few monkeys during trek as well but we were both extremely happy to get back to the lodge and the swimming pool. We did nothing but hop in and out of the pool all afternoon and it is exactly what we needed and wanted.  Before the pool though, we went to a lookout and as you can see I was ready to dunk myself in an unheated cool almost chilly pool.

Ahhhh we made it to the pool! :) 

That evening we shared a bottle of wine at the hammock deck that looked out over the river. We never got around to taking a picture of it but it was a glorious spot and it there had been fans over the hammocks it might have been the best place in the entire world to take a nap. We took one there anyway in the afternoon. 

On Tuesday morning we got up nice and early, had a delicious pancake breakfast before heading back to Puerto Maldonado for our bus ride home to Cusco. It was a glorious vacation and so relaxing. I am super thankful to my bandmate Fernando for hooking us up with a 20% discount on the lodge. Two and a half days in Puerto were perfect. We were ready to get back to the fresh and cooler/dry climate of Cusco after so much humidity. Marco sweats like crazy so I know he was happy to be back. 

Happy couple on the boat ride back to Puerto!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Civil Wedding in Cusco

I debated posting about our civil marriage but then I had to think about why? I am not trying to hide anything from anyone. All of my close family and friends know about it already and if it deters anyone from coming to the religious wedding next year then that is a bummer for whoever decides not to come because I am technically already married. So here we go! This is my civil wedding story!

On Friday the 12th of October Marco and I got up around 8am and started getting ready for our 11am ceremony. My best friend here is Cusco, Emily came over to help me get ready at 9:30am. Marco left early to make sure everything was in order at the municipality so that we didn't get any surprises that would keep us from being able to get married. My something old were my shoes, something blue my dress, something new my undies and something borrowed earrings from Emily. The something old could have also been my dress since I bought it at a thrift store in Evanston for $30. It was also my second time wearing it to a wedding. :)

We got to the municipality to find that they were a little behind with the ceremony before us but it was alright. We waited along with Emily, Claudio and Flor, who were our witnesses. The room was perfect and really pretty. It had lots of carved wood in it and made for a nice spot for our nuptials. The general boss of the civil registry presided over us and read out of the articles for marriage for the Municipality of Santiago. Emily video-taped the entire thing. (Don't worry fam, I am working on getting it to you guys soon!) It was short and sweet and she talked about how sharing a life together means cooperation, communication, and not that one is more powerful than the other. It is a partnership and we must always respect one another. I couldn't agree more. Marco and I then exchanged our own vows which apparently isn't as common here as it is in the States. Marco was a bit surprised to hear about saying one's own vows but he did it so eloquently. I know he practiced because his delivery was great. :) Always that perfectionist. I love it. We signed the papers and put two fingerprints next to each signature (a little ridiculous but, hey, whatever works!). Oh! I almost forgot, Marco's two promociones (graduating classmates from the military school) made it a little late but got there nonetheless. He wasn't expecting them to but it was really nice and I know it made Marco happy to have some of his peeps there as well.

After the ceremony, we headed to Dragon's Palate for a beautiful lunch with Claudio, Emily and Flor. Elena, put out place mats and had a beautiful bouquet of daisys and roses for us. It was so nice. We had a great filling meal topped off with ice cream from El Hada, an artesan ice cream shop next to the restaurant. It was great! We also had the treat of listening to jazz music by two guitarist and a saxophonist/flutist from Spain. It was great. It started to rain but only after we had finished eating. Perfect timing.

Marco and I made out way up to Qantu to pick up a gift that the teachers gave to us. It turned out to be a set of Cusqueñan dishware. What a great gift! We still need to write a thank you letter. When we got home we got into our pjs and watched the Peru vs. Bolivia game. They tied. It was great and relaxing. We took a nap and then got up to go to dinner at Uchu, my friend Elizabeth and Erik's (another American/Peruvian married couple. Come to think of it all the places we went to eat and drink are places owned by American and Peruvian couples..haha that's great!). It was delicious and the portions were small which was perfect since we were still pretty full from lunch.

To end the night we headed to Chops, a bar owned by my friends Akhtiara and Jimmy. One of Marco's technicians came out and so did Flor, Claudio, Emily, and Melissa. It was small but nice. We ended up dancing at Inka Team for a little while before heading home at 12:30am.

Overall, it was a FANTASTIC day! I highly recommend to anyone getting married that you first have a wedding for yourselves and then have a big wedding for everyone else. It was probably one of the least stressful days of my life and that is exactly how it should be. It's about being with the person who you want to spend the rest of your life with. I am not saying that it's not important for there to be family and friends around because that would have been great but given the circumstances we took full advantage of having the day to ourselves and not having to worry if everyone was happy and taken care of expect ourselves. This means that for my religious wedding next year I am all about stressing about my guests and family because while it is our wedding it's for everyone invited too!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An Andean Wedding

What a wonderful Sunday. I had the pleasure of witnessing the wedding of Allysan and Lovier yesterday with Marco. Allysan is my violin teacher, concert violist, and shaman who has her own organization Sacred Dimension. She met Lovier in the jungle. He is from the Shipibo people and has grown up with very powerful ayahausqueros and healers. He is a very nice man and it's exciting to see Allysan with someone who will really help her flourish and be an even more amazing person than she already is. I felt kind of like the maid of honor since I was given the task of picking up the rings the day before and making sure they got to the ceremony. :)

The day started at 5:45am for Marco and myself. We got up extra early so we could get to Coya by 7:30am. It ended up being around 8am when we finally made it to the house. Marco's poor 13 year old Volkswagon Polo couldn't do the last 100 meters due to a nasty rock pile and stream in our way. We parked it down lower and walked up. The morning was dedicated to a temascal sweat lodge called Chulluchaka. It was only for couples and couples that had good auras and communication between them. I am happy to say that Marco and my relationship is very healthy and communicatively strong. Anyway, we headed into a very intense sweat lodge. Neither Marco nor I had done one before even though we frequent saunas.

The ceremony started with us receiving headbands that represented the female and male energies with X as male and O as female. (We got to keep the headbands!) We learned how we were supposed to receive and pass things while in the lodge. Receive with the left and pass with the right. We chose three coca leaves and pasted them together before making a wish/giving thanks and throwing them into the fire outside the hut. We were then purified with smoke and repeated quechua words that asked if we could enter the womb of mother earth. When entering one must always move in a clockwise fashion. The entire sweat was probably about and hour and a half long and boy did we sweat! Each element was given time and before we opened the door to each one hot stones were thrown into a hole in the middle. As that was done we all yelled and called "APU CHAY!" which means great spirits or god. It was fun. We also said  "ari" after every blessing like amen. We passed water around and each person poured water onto the stones (in a clockwise spiral motion) as the Allysan and Loiver were blessed by each element. At one point Christian, our guide, showed us how to cool off by putting our head down in a prayer with our fingers in a triangle shape for our head. It was wonderful. We also had water poured on us after the third element. Each element was more intense than the one before and after the third element, Linda, a lovely woman from Australia had to ask permission to leave. It was a bit much. I don't blame her. I was amazed I lasted the entire sweat. The 4th element, water, wasn't as bad as the third. All of us laid down were it was a bit cooler. The hut itself was lined with leaves from a native tree that I don't know the name of. I was covered in a earth when we finished. Haha it was great! Finally, when we exited the hut we were given a bucket of cold water to the head. Talk about involuntary reaction by my body. I shook uncontrollably and it was glorious! I felt totally energized afterward but as soon as Marco and I showered and sat down on Allysan's super comfy couch I quickly passed out. It was an awkward nap but it was necessary since we had a mountain to climb.

What? A mountain? That's right. We climbed over 1,000 meters for sure. It took us about an hour and a few rests but we made it to the site of the wedding. We were originally going to take people up in Marco's car but there was no way the polo was making it up the mountain. Fortunately, my chiropractor Howard Levine let us know that everyone had moved to a different spot where the marriage would take place or else we probably would've missed it!

Loiver was dressed in all white with what looked like a silk shirt with a beautiful mandala on the back. Allysan had on a sheer lace full length dress and was surrounded by her Coya family. Lovier played quite a few flute pieces while we waited for everyone to make it up the mountain. The man who lead the ceremony was from the mountains and explained that the corn on the blankets in front of us was for us to pick up and give our prayers too before putting them in a bag. The bag was then given to Allysan and Lovier who were instructed to bury it somewhere where no one would find it. People gave speeches and the couple exchanged vows and rings. It was really quite beautiful and made me really excited for my own wedding!! Love is in the air and it's wonderful!!

We made our way back down to the house. Marco and I were the first on foot to make it there. Marco wasn't feeling too well. We would've left right away but I didn't know he wasn't feeling good until after I had gotten a plate of food. He was feeling sirochi or altitude sickness since he had only gotten back to Cusco two days before after a three week trip in Lima. Fortunately, we both slept soooo well last night. We went to bed at 9pm. Que rico.

I don't think Marco was expecting the even to be an entire day long but overall it was a great experience and we had a great time together. Weddings are such happy occasions!