We may never leave.

So getting out of Lima is proving to be more difficult than getting in.  In order for Jason to get the money from the Peruvian pension plan, the AFP, he has to follow these certain steps, get these certain papers, and then the money is transferred to our bank in the US.

On Thursday, the last of his paperwork from USIL came in, so yesterday, we went to DIGEMIN, Peruvian immigrations, loaded with all the paperwork so Jason could surrender his carné extranjeria (his work visa).  We had all the necessary paperwork except one damn letter, a letter of garantee economica, whatever the hell that is.  We travel to the school to see if anyone has any clue what this document is, and low and behold, no one seems to have any clue.

After an extensive google search and chats with about 4 different people in Capital Humano (HR), we seem to find some sort of answer.  This letter must be written and signed by a Peruvian citizen not affiliated with the school, attesting to Jason’s moral and economic character.  Yes, you read that right, we need a document stating that Jason is a moral citizen in order to leave the country, written by some random person. W.T.F.

So we found a friend of Jason’s boss to do the letter for us, and we had it legalized by a notary yesterday, and it will be ready for pick up today.  And Jason will have the pleasure of returning to DIGEMIN on Monday, fingers crossed that this letter is the last thing he needs to process his surrender of his carné extranjeria.

Ready for the kicker?  This process is supposed to take 8 days, 8 working days, we are assuming which will be July 31st, but Jason leaves at midnight on July 30th.  What are the odds that the process will take less then 8 days?  Here’s to hoping that it gets done, and the school won’t have to move his flight to the next day.

So many things, so many things

It’s been a long time since I have posted, and for that, I apologize.  And I have lots of news to report.

First and foremost, it appears that I have found myself cooking up a new addition to the family and he or she will arrive sometime around November 28th (although I am guessing that I will go into December).  We will find out the sex in 2 weeks, and it cannot come soon enough. I am incredibly impatient!

Secondly, Jason has been offered a tenure track position at a CUNY school in the Bronx, so we are leaving Lima after two great years here.  And the whole thing seemed to come out of nowhere (although it didn’t really).  Jason got the call in January for a Skype interview.  He nailed the Skype interview, and then he fly out to NYC to teach a class.  He nailed that part, and then they flew him out there again to meet the President of the university.  And then about a week later, in late April, he received the word that he had landed the position (out of 500 applicants, nonetheless!).   It’s a great opportunity for Jason, it’s not his “dream job,” but it’s one step closer, and that is just amazing.  And I believe that living in NYC will really give me lots of new opportunities, and I am considering returning to school (I know, I know) to get a Master’s or Ph.D. in chemistry.

So we got the news about a month and a half ago, and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.  Here are some of the complicated steps we are going through (moving to another country is crazy, let me tell you):

  1. We shipped Miranda and Stray Jones to live with my in-laws for the next month or so. This seems easy enough, but Peruvian bureaucracy and crappy summer weather (you cannot take dogs as excess baggage if the temperatures at any point in the trip are forecasted to be above 85 degrees) made it slightly complicated.  We found out that we cannot directly ship via United Airlines; we had to hire a third party shipper to do it for us.  We found a great service here, PetWings, who came to the apartment about a week ahead of time to meet the dogs and get all the paperwork in order.  Then she picked them up from our apartment at 8 am, and off to the airport they went.  They had to go through customs and all kinds of things that went until about 3 pm, and the vet stayed with the dogs until about 7 pm, when they were taken back to the cargo area.  From there, they flew to Houston and Chicago, where United Pet Safe program managed to lose all of their paperwork.  Thankfully my mother-in-law is a badass, and got the dogs out after putting up a stink.  Now they are safe with them, being spoiled beyond belief, and we are relieved. Image
  2. Figure out the situation with our landlord.  As we found out last time we moved, Peruvian landlords are not known for giving back deposits, despite the deposit being 2 months rent.  So we are planning on not paying last month’s rent, but we don’t expect to get the rest of it back.  It’s shady and sad, but what can we do?
  3. Books…Jason has so many freakin’ books, and we have to get as many of them back as possible (although I think I have convinced him to leave some here).  We have friends coming to visit, and we plan on sending back a suitcase full of books with them, because it’s cheaper as excess baggage then to ship them.
  4. Ship Camote, the third dog, to Arizona.  This should be fairly straight forward, but we are waiting until we get closer to leaving to do it.  She will have a blast in Arizona with my parents’ dogs, Andy the Westie and Molly the Basset.
  5. Find an apartment in New York City.  So my mom is going to meet me out in NYC, and we are going to have a girls week, apartment hunting.  We think we are going to focus on Yonkers and Mt. Vernon or other places just north of the city.  After we find a place, I will head to Arizona for a little family vacation.
  6. Jason will head out of here a couple of weeks after I leave to finish up business here.  He has to get the paperwork ready so we can get our money from our AFP (a pension-type program here in Peru).  Not too difficult, but time consuming, but he has to visit the Embassy to get some stuff legalized, then get it translated and then get some other documents from the ministry.
  7. Jason will then head to Cedar Rapids to meet his father and pick up the dogs.  Then they will drive a U-Haul to Lafayette to get our stuff out of storage, where Jason will hope to enlist some friends to help load up the truck.  Lastly, they will then head to NYC.  The hard part will be unloading stuff there, because I will not be able to help.  I think my Dad will come and visit to help out (and possibly see a show or two…it’s his hidden agenda, LOL).

OK, phew.  That’s exhausting just thinking about it.  And really I left out that whole packing thing and setting up utilities and getting a cellphone and all the other bullshit that comes with moving to a new city.  But things work out, they always seem to…it may be a crooked line to get there, but I suppose as long as we get there somehow, who cares how it happens?  And we get to live in NYC for a while!


St. Paddy’s Day, election version

Election day has arrived, and so has the ley seca, or dry law.  They stopped selling and serving alcohol at midnight on Thursday and it is lifted at noon tomorrow.  We had a small get together last night for St. Paddy’s Day, but we stupidly thought we could buy booze until midnight on Friday…we were sad to learn that we were one day too late.  Thankfully, a friend of ours found the most amazing sale a couple of days ago and stocked up.  He generously donated his booze to our party, but I did provide some very delicious food (or at least I think so).

About the election, I cannot say that I know much about it, because my Spanish is not good enough to really understand exactly what is going on.  But friends have clued me in on what their understanding is.  Basically the election is whether or not to keep the current “mayor” of Lima, Susana Villaran.  She has been accused of failing the people, not doing enough in office, etc, and the other political party wants her out.  So the other political party has obtained the allotted number of signatures on a petition to hold an election to basically kick her out. If she is voted out, she will be relieved of duties almost immediately, and then Lima goes without a leader until the next election (when that is, I don’t know).  As for the exact politics of the two parties, I am unsure, but I know that there is a lot of corruption and money being exchanged.

Reuters did an interesting write up on the process here: Peru Politics.

Back at it!

I’ve been hiding out since we got back to Argentina, trying to enjoy my last couple of weeks of summer vacation before the school year started.

But now we are back, and I am teaching 6-8th grade math, no science this year. And my classes are now split, so my biggest class is 19, which has made a world of difference. I suppose I am only one week in, so I shouldn’t make any judgments quite yet.

And because I don’t post enough pictures of my dogs, here are some more. 😉
What she was looking for, I will never know, unless she was trying to get closer to the window to look out (or something.

Camote was dead asleep when I took this picture. I have no idea how this could be comfortable.

Miranda apparently likes to watch TV.

And you can really see Stray Jones’ gray eyebrows here. She’s so distinguished.


Argentina: Food and Drinks

If there is one thing you should know about our vacations, it is that we like to plan things around eating.  I meticulously researched different restaurants and bars in Buenos Aires for us to visit, and I think we managed to visit about 1/3 of them (guess that means we have to go back). Please excuse my crappy photos; I took them with my IPhone and I am not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination.

The New Brighton Bar was probably Jason’s favorite.  When I went to Uruguay, he had to stay behind to get some work done, but also managed to get out and do a little exploring on his own.  He discovered this gem and loved it so much, he brought me to it the next day.

New Brighton Bar
They served up a delicious martini and the meat, cheese, and olive plate came complimentary with the drinks…genius, I say, genius.

New Brighton Bar Martini 1

New Brighton Bar Food 2 These delicious treats are not just regular old croissants, they are medialunas.  They are sweet and delicious and the typical food eaten for breakfast with a cup of coffee.  Almost every restaurant has these on their menu, and if you ever get to Buenos Aires, definitely try these.


Our favorite restaurant was located around the corner from where we were staying in Palermo Hollywood.  Las Cabras had everything on the menu that you could imagine, from pastas to steak.  It was a hot day, and since the inside had no air conditioning, we opted to eat outside.  As you can see from the picture, the grill also made the inside ridiculously hot:Las Cabras

And since it was such a classy restaurant, they gave us crayons to help bide our time until our food came…Jason and Alex really enjoyed them.
Alex and Jason Coloring
I had a quesadilla, which probably seems like an odd choice, but we don’t really have any Mexican food in Lima.  And I cannot pass up a good quesadilla (and it was damn good).
Las Cabras FoodLa Linda was the red wine of choice, made in Argentina of course and incredibly affordable.  And it goes without saying that Argentina definitely makes some of the most delicious wines in the world.

Las Cabras Food 2

Jason and Mel with Alex ShadowQuilmes is like the Miller Light of Argentina. It was enjoyable for a light beer, especially after 95° weather.

IMG_3120Cunnington Light cola, which I thought would taste like RC Cola (because all generic cola tastes like RC to me), but it tastes more like Pepsi.  Regardless, it did the job.

Cunnington SodaThe Acabar in Palermo had an interesting write-up in the Lonely Planet guide, something about the most eclectic decor or something.  And you know what? It lived up to that.  There was stuff everywhere on the walls, none of the furniture matched, with everything from sofas to bar stools to regular tables. We snagged a table, and behind us we noticed a wall full of board games, so we busted out the Spanish Trivial Pursuit and enjoyed the evening.

Acabar Games

In San Telmo, we came across my favorite bar, Bar El Federal.  It’s a little hole-in-the-wall joint with the most amazing tapas plates and cheap wine.  The bar was gorgeous, the wait staff super friendly and a great place to just sit and relax for a while.

Bar El Federal 2 Bar El Federal 1

Bar El Federal Bar El Federal 4

Argentina, Puerto Madero

Puerto Madero is the newest, fanciest district in Argentina.  As the name indicates, it is on the port of the Rio de la Plata  where the fanciest yachts are docked, where the ritziest hotels overlook the water and the fanciest loft apartments, in gigantic highrise buildings, have a spectacular view of the city.

puerto maderoThe day we walked around the temperature was about 95°F, with no breeze and nothing to relieve us from the heat…definitely different from the weather in Lima.  Not really much to say, except there was an amazing suspension bridge, Puente de la Mujer, designed by Santiago Calatrava’s (who designed the Milwaukee Art Museum) and his only work in South America.

Puerto Madero 5 Puerto Madero 2The port also reminded me of Jason’s old pad in Milwaukee, with lots of sidewalk cafés and nightclubs, apparently an up and coming place to hang out after dark.  It also happens to be the same place where you pick up the ferry to get to Colonia, Uruguay (and Montevideo).

There is also the Corbeta Uruguay Museum, which is actually a” gunner boat that pioneered Artic exploration and this 1897 boat is the oldest in the Argentinian fleet” (http://wander-argentina.com/sights-of-interest-in-puerto-madero/). However, we opted not to visit the museum because we were just too hot and worn out from the sun.

Puerto Madero 4 Puerto Madero 3

Here are a few more pictures from Puerto Madero although I don’t think these pictures really do the area justice…it is quite beautiful :

Puerto Madero 6 Puerto Madero 1 Puerto Madero


This post will start a series of posts on our trip to Argentina.  Our good friend Alex decided to join us for part of his trip, before heading to Iguazu Falls and ending up in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.  I’m sure he’ll blog more about it and he’s a helluva good photographer, so you should check out his blog—aroperu (the link is posted on the right side of this page). I am starting with Uruguay, because it was just a one day affair, and it seems the easiest one to do first.

One of the days during our trip to Argentina was spent traveling to Uruguay.  Unfortunately, Jason took the day to work (boo!), so Alex and I went.  We had to book our tickets through a travel agency, Buquebus for about $50 (or A$R 300 pesos) downtown, and then head to the ferry at around 8:45 am.  The ferry was huge; it was like a cross between a train and an airplane:

Alex on the Ferry

The trip itself was 3 hours (and Uruguay is an hour ahead of Buenos Aires, who knew?)…the Rio de la Plata is 300 km wide, so it’s a pretty damn big river.  Once we got there, we walked outside the terminal and a golden opportunity presented itself: Rent Golf Carts here!  Well since I’m a sucker for all things go-kart like, we thought we would check it out.  We saw the prices, and thought although it would be fun, do we really want to spend our hard earned money on a golf cart? And then Alex saw it, parked in the bicycle rack, shiny and green, calling our names: the tandem bicycle. Neither one of us had ridden one, so we thought, “why the hell not.”  And our adventure began.

Tandem Bike 1

Colonia, Uruguay is a beautiful sleepy river side town, with typical small cafes and lots of stores to purchase trinkets and souvenirs.  Some of the streets were paved with cobblestone, lined with beautiful old trees that created a lovely canopy from the sun.

Colonia Trees

There were lots of little museums that housed things from old artifacts to animal bones, but we only visited two of the museums…several of them were closed for the summer or only open really early in the morning (oddly enough).  We did get a chance to climb up the lighthouse, and we took some lovely photos from the top.


View of Colonia 4 View of Colonia 3 View of Colonia 2 View of Colonia 1 View from Colonia

There was a lovely dock with some of the most amazing yachts, with lots of hippies gathered to eat and lounge lazily while others were cleaning and polishing their fancy boats.

Puerto Viejo 1 Puerto Viejo 2 Yacht dog

There was a old theatre, Teatro Bastion del Carmen there that really wasn’t a “theatre” per se, but it does put on some sort of plays throughout the year.  What types of plays, I’m not sure, but regardless, the building had a old chimney a diorama of the town built out of cardboard and some random spiral structure out in the back.

Teatro Bastion del Carmen Teatro Bastion del Carmen 4 Teatro Bastion del Carmen 3 Teatro Bastion del Carmen 2

The day went by pretty quickly, because we had to be back at the ferry station about an hour before we had to board.  We actually arrived a little bit earlier, and we are so glad we did.  No one told us that we had to have a copy of our reciprocity fee (Argentinian visa) payment.  So we had to struggle with this frustrating touch screen computer, go through our emails, download a copy and wait in line again. But it was done, we got on the boat and headed on a 3-hour ferry ride back to Argentina.

Here are a couple more photos of Colonia, and if you find yourself in Buenos Aires, day trip was worth it, even if to just say that you’ve been to Uruguay.

Waterfront Waterfront 2 Uruguay money Uruguay Beer Trees in Uruguay Tandem Bicycle Streets Streets of Colonia 1 Streets 1 Shoreline Shoreline 1 Plaza Mayor Marshland  Bridge Bones  Architecture Colonia Alex alone on the tandem bike  Acuario