Posts Tagged ‘what we talk about when we talk about love’

We were preparing ourselves for an extremely long wait to hear back regarding my fiancee visa – we had been told 4-6 weeks by the visa company and up to 12 weeks by the British Consulate’s web site. WorldBridge informed us, after I sent the application in, that bank statements printed from the internet were unacceptable and the British Consulate’s phone service indicated long wait times for visa due to a “technical fault”. When I sent in the application, on a Friday, I chose Express Mail, and only after paying for the service was I informed that the package would arrive on Saturday, by noon.

Saturday? It can’t arrive on Saturday! It’s a Consulate! No one will be there! Then, when realizing we’d done something wrong (bank statements), I decided that our only hope was for no one at the consulate to pick it up until Wednesday, at which time it would be returned to me. Many tense trackings later, I discovered Tuesday that it had been signed for at noon the day before. Despair. Oh my god, what if the visa person is having a bad day? Will they deny it out right or actually call me and ask me to addend my application with the correct paperwork? A great flurry of anxiety was born, twin columns on either side of the Atlantic until sleep extinguished them.

Wednesday morning, an email! Our application has been approved and the visa issued! What? How can that be? Can we believe it? It seemed a little anticlimactic, considering the froth of fear we had whipped up. But who knows when it will actually be sent to me. It could take days, it could take…no, there’s no way it could possibly take weeks.

Thursday morning, a phone call! UPS has a package that must be signed for, please be available to receive it. Raptures! Could it be my visa? A quick enumeration of various items I have recently ordered shows there to be none which would require a signature or be forthcoming. It must be my visa! Waiting, waiting, waiting, yet another drive to JoAnn’s Fabrics (what seems like the 10th trip in the past week), look up whenever a large vehicle’s engine is heard, cut fabric, mark fabric, sew fabric (wedding dress, you know), and then….

And then! The big brown truck! I fly out of the house and hop around in front of the delivery person. “Is that from Chicago?” “Let’s see, no…Tampa.” “Oh no!” “No, I’m kidding, it’s from the British Consulate? You were just so excited I couldn’t help myself.” “I’M GETTING MARRIED! That’s my visa!” “Ohhh, congratulations!”

Sign, run, rip, out falls paperwork and wonder of wonders, my passport. With my visa inside. It says Marriage/CP. No work or recourse to public funds. Entry Clearance!

I cannot credit how fast it all happened. I hardly believe I have it and must look at it now and again, gazing in wonderment at the slip of embossed paper pasted into the most valuable booklet I now own.

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Last Saturday I met O & K at the Royal Court Theatre for my first theatre-going experience in London since the summer 2005 debacle at The Old Vic. I thought I was seeing Kevin Spacey in Philadelphia and was looking forward to the drama but discovered, after the bartenders downstairs fell all over themselves to ply me with drink, that it was neither Philadelphia nor Kevin Spacey I would be seeing that night but The Philadelphia Story and his under study.

It is Wallace Shawn Season at the Royal Court with old and new pieces finding the light of the stage and I was able to see The Fever gratis, from the front row. A 90 minute, one woman performance ranging from illness to touchy political subjects; I feel less-than-qualified to give much of a review due to lack of experience with theater, so I will just say that I was impressed by the pacing and how it crept from light talk to heavy political debate. If a tad melodramatic, a bit black-or-white at times, and difficult for me to sit through 90 minutes of one person talking, I still enjoyed the performance and look forward to repeating the experience. Actually, I would greatly like to see Grasses of a Thousand Colors when it comes out. Likely a Monday.

I could have ridden there, but I wanted to wear the black cashmere beaded 3/4 sleeve length sweater that I’ve had since I got here and haven’t had the chance to wear b/c I’m always riding, so I took the train instead. Stupid public transport, it took ages and cost me about £6 there and back. I guess if I have to start taking it frequently I’ll look into getting an unlimited pass. O & K and their friends were in the basement bar of the Royal Court, a nice, dimly lit space with plenty of seating and tasty if not inexpensive eats. After the performance, and after saying goodbye to the friends, we went back downstairs for a quick nip and bite. They had soup & chips with aioli (ha! mayo “with” garlic!), I had rhubarb crumble. I’m obsessed with crumbles and K wants to learn how to bake, so I told him I’d teach him how to make cake. Then the next day a bunch of us went to the Chiswick boot sale and I picked up a cast iron baking dish perfect for making crumble and vow to wow K at the next opportunity. We talked baking for a little bit and then ran into the wall of one particular baked good.

Imagine trying to explain something to someone that is completely unlike anything they’ve ever encountered before and yet bears the name of something they know well. How do you do it? I thought that because he was Canadian he might know what biscuits are but no. Apparently Canadians do not know from biscuits.

Me: It’s…well, they’re biscuits. But not like cookies.
K: Are they crunchy?
Me: No, they’re…fluffy. And when you pull them apart they…*thinks*
K: ……. *blank look*
Me: Imagine a scone…like a pillow. *eyebrow wrinkle*

That’s the best I could do.

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Last Friday I had my first proper outing, Spanish style. My roommate invited me out to meet a few of her friends at a bar near Puerta del Sol, a cute little joint whose bar was positively lined with jarras of sangria ready to be slurped down by those brave enough to venture out in the snow. Yes, that’s right, I said snow! It’s snowed in Madrid, and surprisingly as far south as Málaga, several times in the past week.

The snow was fodder enough for the beginning of the conversation. I was able to follow most of what was being said but there were times when I’d fade out, exhausted from the effort, only to drift back in, now able to understand, but with no concept of the subject at hand. But this is what I gathered over the evening: conversations everywhere are exactly the same. We talked about the weather, we bitched about traffic, we discussed politics, and we laughed. The highlight of the night for me was realizing that about 80% of the time that I contributed, no one looked at me like I was talking like I was from Mars. I got nearly all my points across, even in semi-complicated topics, and was well pleased.

Next stop, a smaller bar in the area that I’d never seen on a street I didn’t remember, in an area the boyfriend and I had traipsed through millions of times but must have kept to the same few tracks. 5€ mojitos were the boast of the bar but I was much happier seeing the shiny silver bowl of maíz frito (corn nuts!) sitting out, pretty as you please.

And even more so by what turned out to be a necklace of felt poppies worn by another bar patron and made by her grandmother.

Going out at 8:30 p.m. is fabulous. You can have four hours of drankin’, snackin’ & chattin’ and still be home before the metro closes for the night. Must do it again soon.

Oh, right. Central and North Americans: apparently a sizeable population of Spain thinks that México is part of North America. What say you? Apparently there is no definitive answer to this debate.

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