Mom certainly picked an inconvenient time to go and start showing theravages of old age.
Somewhere along the way our friends Joey, Sergio, and Brian decided they would pop in for a visit. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that none of them know each other and were therefore planning three separate trips.
Joey decided to come January 19th - 25th. Brian thought February 16th - 26th was ideal. And Sergio, who has family in Guadalajara, had decided to pop down from Mexicali for a robust three week vacation spanning February 1st - 26th. No big deal. Brian and Sergio would overlap somewhat, but we should have plenty of time for both.
Or maybe not. Mom's medical issues began picking up steam in late December. Several doctor's appointments were scheduled and nobody had the slightest idea as to when the procedure would be scheduled. It began to look as if I was going to miss at least one of our visitors. Maybe two, if things went awry.
We began our planning, which mainly consisted of my praying that the procedure didn't fall during Joey's visit, as of the three he's the one that TJ knows the least. Well, it didn't, and I was able to show Joey around for the entire duration of his trip. And I learned something. Joey is kinda ballsy.
He isn't remotely afraid of foreign countries, which although admirable, made it difficult to tell him the sort of things that I felt I should have been able to. Things like "I know we've been sitting here ignored for 30 minutes, but don't yell at the waiter," and "Put your shirt on...nobody runs in this park half nekkid." Or maybe "I don't think it's a good idea for you to walk to that yoga class. It's dark, you don't have a cell phone, and you don't appear to know the address."
Oh, and his Spanish is better than mine. So I totally hate him for that. I still think it was a good vacation experience, though I can't say that we saw too many things that I haven't already seen AND blogged about. The various sites of El Centro, the Tequila Express, Tonalá. There were a couple of giant alebrije set up behind Teatro Degollado (okay, I haven't blogged about that, but it IS the subject of a future post) one afternoon, so here's a picture of one of those.
With one visit down, our attentions turned towards Sergio. Now, with him coming for a month, I wasn't so much concerned that I wouldn't see him as I was worried that I would miss TJ's birthday weekend in Nuevo Vallarta, which we had all planned together. TJ even went so far as to ask our other friend Sergio (I feel like everyone I know here is named Sergio. It's rather confusing.) if he would like to go if I couldn't. Mom's procedure ended up being scheduled for February 8th, meaning that I was just barely able to make it to Vallarta. Sergio, however, arrived in Guadalajara with bronchitis and had to cancel. So other-Sergio was able to go despite my presence.
While we were in Vallarta, the bronchitis turned into pneumonia, and Sergio #1 found himself hospitalized for the better part of the following week. While I was home with mom, TJ loaded up our Wii and held Mario Kart competitions in the hospital with Sergio and his boyfriend Carlos. Although I made it back from Texas in time to have one dinner and another short visit with the pair, I'm afraid I got no photos. So here's a picture of Mario. They spent more time with him anyway.
While in Texas I managed to sneak away from home twice. The first time was to visit an old friend from college. Cory was the academic advisor for an organization I belonged to during my sophomore, junior, and 1st senior year (yeah, I took a victory lap) at Texas A&M. A kind soul and a good listener, poor Cory somehow got roped into listening to my woes for almost three long years. Boy troubles, family troubles, you name it, she had to listen to it. This was the first time I had seen her since graduating, and it was a wonderful feeling to
meet as peers. Well, not peers. She's got far too much awesome in her for me to dare claim equality. To meet as adults, I should say. We spent a wonderful afternoon chowing down on some Freebirds and walking around campus. I realized something that day. I've completely moved on. Whatever memories I had from college, good or bad, they don't seem all that important anymore. Even the renowned Freebirds burrito had lost its oomph. Ancient History. But Cory? She's a keeper. Here's a picture of us being bad and standing on the football field, which we were told not to do. I hope I see her again before another nine years have passed.
My second outing was for a quick lunch with with some of my best friends from high school at one of Temple's fanciest restaurants, Olive Garden. The fanciest used to be Applebee's. Temple's moving on up. I can't joke too much, though, as it was my suggestion. Mexico has a lot to offer, but Darden Restaurants aren't part of the package. I also made my parents take me to Red Lobster. *nomnomnom*
In high school I tended to run with a crowd of six. Three boys, three girls. I guess in a perfect ABC After School Special world, we would have all gotten married and been besties for life. But you can't even blame me for that not working out. None of the others got together, either. Of the five, three were able to join me for soup, salad, and to-die-for breadsticks. Becca's happily married with two precious little girls. Rachel's been in a steady relationship for years, and Trey and his girlfriend were expecting a bouncing baby girl any day (FYI, she was born last week and is absolutely precious). It was a nice meal with wonderful conversation. Time had done its work, though, as it was obvious that these three, despite still living fairly close to each other, weren't in regular contact with each other. Still, it was nice to see them, and I hope to catch them again on my next visit.
I returned from Texas just two days before Brian's visit. Brian, like Joey, is a friend of ours from Orlando that, like Joey, ultimately hightailed it out of there for greener pastures. Brian's currently doing the pharmacist thing up in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. This visit was the exact opposite of Joey's. His Spanish was worse than mine, which I liked, but sadly, he did seem to have a slight aversion to Mexico. After a great weekend in Puerto Vallarta, the poor guy managed to get food poisoning twice. This took its toll, and he became overly cautions about things like water, grocery bags, and earthquakes (hey, they happen). Overall, I think he had fun, and I hope it wasn't too traumatizing. I didn't lug my camera around too much during this particular visit (though we also didn't really do much new stuff this time, either...well, except for an Elton John concert at Estadio Omnilife..the man sang for almost three hours!) and Brian hasn't downloaded his photos to Facebook yet, so please enjoy this picture of the cutest Mariachi player in the world, who we happened to see on the Tequila Express. Yeah, that's right. I did the Tequila Express twice in a one-month period. That doesn't mean I have a problem. It's all in the name of cultural exchange for my visiting gringos, you see.
After almost two years of adjusting to life abroad, interrupted only by the occasional visitor or trip back to the states, it was both exciting and a little disorienting to see so many faces from the past in a one month period.
Family. Friends. I love you all. I miss you all. I enjoy seeing you all. But please, let me take a 15 minute break.