Monday, July 26, 2010

8,702 Kilometers Apart

Well, it's been five weeks and I have to tell you, being separate from your partner is not the best way to spend the time after you get married! But it's all good: there's a purpose for everything and we believe that even though this time apart will be tough -- and believe me, it HAS been tough --, it will also allow us to rethink and reinforce our commitment and our appreciation for one another.

So, we've been busy in our own ways. Annika has gone back to work, gone sunbathing, and met with old friends; I have had a chance to give closure to many loose ends and to spend some time with family since I won't get to see them too often.

... just making lemonade out of the lemons dealt to us, you know...

Now we talk to each other almost everyday (not easy since she lives seven hours into the future!) -- thank God for videoconferencing technologies! Can you imagine how it was for people not quite a 100 years ago: depending on letters and not hearing news from their loved ones for months at a time?

I have spent some time with my cousins and I even got to uncover a very old picture of mine of my high school years (keep in mind I didn't know better!). By the way, the leftmost picture roughly translates into, "to look at life with a different [set of] eyes."

So, in short, it sucks to be away from my wife, but we're trying to take it easy and find some way to be useful where we're at for however long we have to be apart.

PS Just to make sure you guys got it: I was coming out of the 80's and I truly didn't know better!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mexico after Annika

So, as destiny had it, Annika had to return to Sweden before I did...

She went back with many good experiences and a lot of memories and as an added bonus, with a new husband!

It's just not the same to ride on the bus or to walk around knowing Annika is on the other side of the Atlantic, but we both know it's all for a good purpose.

All in all, we don't regret any of this. It's been a wonderful three months that we will never forget.

... and to think this is just the beginning...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Two months and one day into this deal

Yesterday we celebrated two months of being married. It's been quite a ride and hopefully the first two of at least 598 months! (We decided for the contract option of 50 years with renewal for another 50 years afterward if we haven't gotten tired of each other by then.)

And not only that, today marks a very special date for us, so it's a day to rejoice and consider the blessings we have received.

Our lives are both fuller and more challenging now that we are together. We are learning to leave behind the "I" and taking up the "we." Surprisingly, neither one of us has gotten sick of the other's presence even though we've been spending an incredible amount of time together.

As it turns out, the idea of Annika getting to know my family and my family getting to know Annika's has been for the best to forge a very strong base of understanding of where each one of us comes from. Well done Annika: you passed it with flying colors and without going crazy or telling me off!

In short: God's good, life's good, and the future looks promising and bright.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A kind of late wedding gift

One of my father's cousins, Betzy, invited us to this very exclusive and interesting club where we spend some amazing days. So, Annika, Betzy, a cousin of mine, Alberto, and I got on our way...

When we got there we were impressed with the place and the stately room we got.

We changed into our swimsuits and off we went to explore the place. Everything in this place was overwhelmingly thought out, even to the smallest of details!

This was a very big place that took us some time to see in its entirety. It's not only a water park but it has a lot of other things as well.

We had time to stroll through endless gardens and even play some tennis. Annika did very well for not having played before (except once a long, long time ago).

Annika was very excited to actually have found some avocado trees... I think all in all, it was an excellent trip, which Betzy gave us as a wedding gift.

After a few days there, we kind of got our fill and had to move on. We went to this nice town named Tepoztlan which is known because you can find the strangest flavors of ice creams (try pork rind for example). Annika found some of her Viking roots here!

Then we went to what turned out to be one of the best anthropological museums in the world. The place is so huge that it would've taken us several hours to see it all! (We bailed out after an hour because, well, you know, there's only so much you can take in in one trip.)

We went to a few more places that Saturday and then on Sunday my grandmother had a family reunion in her house to give a proper farewell to Annika (since it looks like I'm gonna be stuck here a bit longer) and where she got to meet yet more relatives.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Getting close to the return

We've started going swimming on a regular basis just to keep in shape and we found a nice place with a regulation size Olympic pool. Annika and my brother kept on swimming long after I gave up and Annika finished with an impressive 1200 meters only the second day we went there!

Then, Wednesday last week, we used the excuse of wanting to go watch Robin Hood (because in the town where we're staying they only have it dubbed into Spanish) and we made a day trip to the city of Queretaro. We walked in many of the nice streets we didn't get a chance to see last time we were there and at lunch we ate in this nice place where we could see people walk by and we finally wrote the postcards we had been wanting to mail for a while. My brother went with us on this trip and both Annika and him kept making faces every time I tried to take a picture of them. It was a good day (and eventually we did get to see a movie).
Annika's been baking a lot lately and she's been coming up with some really good things! My mother loves her cinnamon rolls by now and her apple pie is not all too shabby to not put too fine a point to it.

We've been taking a lot of walks as well, and a few days ago, we finally climbed up the hill that's close to my mother's place. There Annika got to try some sort of berries that grow on a species of cactus that is very common in the area. She liked them and said we should make a pie out of that.

We also went to Tequisquiapan, a quaint little town not too far away form here where we had some funky drinks and other than being a nice town, it's only call to fame is that it's considered to be the geographical center of the country. So in this picture, Annika is smack dab in the middle of Mexico!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A colorful weekend

Well, we decided we needed to explore a bit further the Mexican psyche so we packed up and went to visit the state of Guanajuato.

We first stopped at the city of Leon (yes, it means what you think it means). This city is like the leather central of the country; there you can find anything from shoes to saddles for your horse (which made Annika feel in the mood to play cowgirl). We got tired of the shopping thing pretty quick so we decided to visit some museums instead. There, we saw this big dude standing there feeling a little down and Annika couldn't help herself and she tried to cheer him up -- didn't work though.

At a science museum, just to prove a point, she tried a little walking on water... Nah, not really, she just wanted to play in the fountain. It was a nice afternoon.

That night we went out to enjoy the cool breeze and it turned out to be a walk to remember.(By the way, check out how strangely do the trees around here grow!)

We got on the bus - again - and left Leon behind. We went to the city of Guanajuato, which is one of the oldest in Mexico. It has a lot of narrow streets and alleyways in all sorts of directions going up and down endless hills. This city is perfect for those trying to get in shape: we have never seen so many steps in our lives! And to top it all off, they have transformed an underground maze that used to be the city's sewer system into a series of walkways, streets, and parking places that gives the city a very unique flavor.
We found a really good store at the very top of one of the many hills that make up the city; we got many good bargains but the guy at the store would only take cash... and the nearest ATM was all the way down the hill... and they were closing in 45 minutes! So, to not miss out on the deals, we had to go ALL the way down and ALL the way up (and then ALL the way down again); and I'm telling you, these hills are NOT for the faint of heart. Annika was very tired half way up (you don't see it, but I was almost passing out on the other side of the camera -- of course, I had to run ahead of her in order to take the pictures, that's why I was out of wind).

We caved in and did the touristy thing: we went out on a tour of the city. We think we kind of got ripped off, but we went into a mine and we went to several churches one of which had Jesus's head (no lie, and I have the pictures to prove it -- we won't post them here because, quite frankly, we think they are very tacky), so it wasn't so bad.

In the mine, you actually felt how your ears popped when you were going down; the temperature increased considerably as well. Annika was smart and dressed to blend in with the local landscape!

Here are some other pictures we took on this trip.