This whole story started on a cold Sunday in July, 2012 with Eleonora; yes, the one with surprises … I think that this was probably the first … She asked me if I could speak English because she wanted to give my contact info to an American coworker of Juan’s, her boyfriend at the time and now husband. That was the starting point of this story, of this Life in the Movies.
Just this week I received a letter in the mail with my new status in the United States. As of now I am a permanent resident. This news made us very happy, but not only us, but also our neighbors who quickly surprised me with balloons and a celebratory cake 🙂
The process for my residency started in October 2016: after the submission of documents, in-person interviews, letters of recommendation signed twice (after our marriage and again last year) by Chris MacMillan, Valerie Ebinger, Andy Friedman, Lisa McCaffrey and Peter Stroeve and in the second stage by Cherie Guppenberger and Sheila Britschgi (my new neighbors and friends) culminated in the arrival of my Green Card. I thank all of them infinitely for the trust they had in me 🙂
And to celebrate this event I want to tell you about my very first trip to the United States.
In August 2014 Barnaby and I decided to take a vacation in his country. That was, as I mentioned before, my first trip to the United States. I think if someone at that time asked me if I would come to live in this country, I would have said no … but many circumstances changed the following year (now I realize for the better) and that is why, among many other reasons, I am living here.
But let’s go back to the trip … The idea was to start in Portland, which is where Barnaby had his house, and drive south to see different places with the final destination being Los Angeles (about 1,200 miles). That was our first “road trip” Every year since then we’ve continued the tradition of taking a road trip to different places and hopefully this year (such a strange one) we can take the one we had planned for the state of Washington … we’ll see 🙂
The arrival in Portland was emotional: there I had the opportunity to meet Paige, Barnaby’s daughter, his friends Val, Rod, Lisa, Patty, Jeff and Martin and even his ex-wife, an event that was far from planned, but it happened 🙂 . The lesson I learned through that experience is that it is an investment to travel while dressed elegantly rather than comfortably 😉
What was my impression of the United States? The truth is that everything drew my attention, the very American thing in which everything is big: the stores, the cars, the portions of food, to name a few. A place where everything works and customer service is excellent: that made a huge impression on me. But the Pacific Northwest is also (I use the present tense because I still feel this way) impressive, it has things that made me fall in love, such as, for example, a summer with extra long and dry days, stunning sunsets, many roses, forests next to the highway and spaces full of nature in the middle of the city, and also people who smiled at you on the street … I had had a totally different idea about Americans, and that made me think that it is never good to have preconceptions.
I’m going to tell you that I loved Portland at first sight: the bridges, the Willamette and Columbia rivers, the colors of the sky, the trees, the people wearing weird clothes, Powell’s bookstore which is huge, in which you can spend a whole day, anyway It all seemed amazing to me.
After a few days in Portland and the surrounding area we headed south, our first stop being Crater Lake, located in the National Park of the same name, in Oregon. They say it is the deepest lake in the United States; the truth is that that fact does not matter to me, but the interesting thing was the blue color of the water and that it looked really impressive. To think that there was once there a volcano … I am always surprised by the force of nature. It is on my list of places to return to.
After this exciting place I had the opportunity to meet Katherine and Wendell, Barnaby’s parents, at a restaurant in Medford, Oregon. Both of them looked very excited, I imagine it would have been a rarity for Barnaby to introduce them to an Argentine 🙂 .From there we drove to California and arrived at the Coast Redwoods park, where we saw some gigantic trees that, as you can see, don’t really fit within any single picture 🙂 .Really spectacular.
We continued towards the wine country; surely you have heard of or even tasted Californian wines (today I tell you that those from Oregon or Washington are just as good and also cost half as much, heh!). We rented a place in the middle of the vineyards near to Healdsburg in Sonoma. BEAUTIFUL 🙂
To go visit a few wineries Barnaby had the thought that we could explore them by bicycle…. looking back today I do not understand how I survived that experience: the road was full of ups and downs, my physical condition left a lot to be desired and at times it was impossible for me to pedal (obviously on the climbs) … but I did survive and the truth is that it was hard but also very fun, although I would not repeat it again 😉
Saying goodbye to the wine country, we visited one last winery, in a manner that was to my thinking more civilized (that is, without the bicycles) and we found that they also had planted Malbec and that’s why I took my picture among the vineyards.
From Sonoma we headed to San Francisco, a city with which I fell madly in love. The city just appeared as we were crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, the bridge that I had seen so many times in movies: I was fascinated. Here I tried clam chowder for the first time, and in any opportunity I have a chance, I keep trying it in different places and here I have a spoiler: the best chowders are in Seattle but this is for a future story ….
From there we continued to Los Angeles and stayed at the home of Andy, Barnaby’s college friend. The story is kind of funny because when I first met Barnaby in Buenos Aires (back in 2012), he was with Andy, so I had met them both together 🙂
He took us to different places in LA for me to get to know, and I’m a little ashamed to say that, although I enjoyed the city, it is not among my favorites; it felt extremely artificial, but like everything, everybody has their own taste in things.
One of the things I liked the most was going to Universal Studios, a place where for a day (or however long you are there) you will feel like a child again. When we went it was very hot but our “skip the line” passes let us avoid the lines, and we also took advantage of the water roller coaster twice to refresh ourselves, a huge thanks to Jurassic Park.
For the end of our trip, Andy invited us to a somewhat secret place, called the Magic Castle, because you had to go with an invitation and be all dressed up, where everything revolved around magic, very entertaining and something totally different.
I like remembering this trip and I hope you enjoyed it along with me. See you soon and thanks for joining me on my adventures. And of course thanks to my husband for helping me with the English and be my partner in crime 😉