Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year from Caracas

Emilio and I are on our first trip to Venezuela. We surprised his family with a visit. We are staying with our lovely friends Luis & Hector in their beautiful and very large penthouse condominium with a grand view of the city. The weather is heavenly and I have two dogs and a cat to keep me from hopelessly missing Buster and Katie.

Caracas is an interesting place, as Emilio keeps pointing out, remember it is a third world country. I am trying to shed my usual character of smiling and sometimes saying hi to strangers, in fact I failed this miserably last night and found myself stalked from aisle to aisle by a woman I was polite to at the Supermercato. She called me "precioso" and it was all down hill from there.

The city has extreme poverty on up to Beverly Hills wealth. Poverty I have never seen before in my sheltered life. The houses of some look like death traps waiting to collapse while short distances away are multi million dollar mansions. I have also noticed Caracas is the place where Ford Mavericks, LTDs, Chevy Novas & Malibus come to die a long and slow death as taxi cabs that appear to be held together with spit and crazy glue.

The scenery is magnificent because Caracas sits in a valley between mountain peeks. I cannot stop going out onto the enormous outdoor living area to enjoy being outside this time of year.

Emilio dressed up as Santa and we went to my sister in laws work. With Hector filming and me hiding, Marie Eugenia had no idea it was Emilio in the wig and beard. When he revealed himself I saw the raw beautiful emotion unique to latin women I have met since knowing my Honey. It was truly a beautiful moment, we did the same at my Mother in laws work with the same gorgeous reaction. I just love putting my arms around this adorable little woman who gave life to the man I am proud to share mine with.

Last night I met some friends of Emilio that have been just names to me for 7 years. No matter where you are and what language you speak, gay men are the same when they get together. The love and laughter transcends countries and language. Twice I have been up past 5 am just enjoying music and great spanglish conversations.

More updates to follow. Forgive my lack of puntuation in some spots, they use a different key board here and I cannot figure it out.

Feliz Año Nuevo!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Obama Sucks

Yesterday Barrack Obama proved to be the jerk I hoped he would not be. He offered Rick Warren the "Profit" of Evangelism the invocation at his inauguration. The very same Rick Warren who bans gays from his church, the man who likens us to pedophiles and incest and claims gays are proof of creationism because he believes evolution would have wiped us out.

It's disturbing that a man elected to ring in a new inclusive America is offering us more that made us run from the US. Obama's defense was that people need to agree to disagree, no Barrack you dumbass, I don't need to agree with anything from a man who likens my very existence and love for my partner to child rape. Fuck you Obama for doing this to us before you even got to sit in the oval office.

In other anti gay news the US and Vatican teamed up once again in not supporting the UN's effort to decriminalize being gay across the world. The richest nation and the largest church both openly supporting the slaughter of gay human beings. Makes you want to vomit.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

We're Here, We're Queer and it's been a Year!

Today marks the one year anniversary of our living Canada. I just went back to in the archives to read about what we were doing and what I was feeling one year ago. That's one of my favorite things about this blog, it's my diary. So we made it to this big milestone and I could not predict back then how much this suburban guy would love the city life. How much Canada improved me both physically and mentally over the year.
One year ago our Katie was a basket case of nerves, probably feeding off mine, as Cesar Milan will tell you. Now my sweet little girl is calm and actually enjoying being with other dogs whereas a year ago she was trying to attack them. She and I find the dog park our favorite hour of the day. (even in these cold temps...I've learned the art of layers)

Every year Emilio makes a calendar of our life with events from the previous year. I love looking at the calendar remembering why we have such a wonderful life here.

Last night we went to Geoff and Bob's Holiday Potluck, the same event we attended the weekend we arrived in Toronto. It's the first of the new traditions we started in December 2007. On Christmas Eve we continue the traditions by going to Richard and Doug's place along with Nick & Mason and Jason & Lee. Nick and I decided last night that Tom & Emilio are no longer "The Newcomers", we told Adam & Eric it is solely their title now and hopefully after them we can all welcome others.

Thanks to all of our blog family for helping us get to here.

Monday, December 08, 2008

My trip back to the US

I was down in the US for a week visiting my family. As I crossed the border I felt awkward re-entering the US, especially because Emilio is still not allowed to go back there until our lawyer works out some more details. The trip started out very badly because on the ride down I was stuck in Bath, NY with a bad tank of gas on a holiday weekend with nothing open. I spent the night in a Super 8 where there was nothing really super about it at all. Luckily I took our pooch Katie with me for company. The following day the tank was drained, refilled and I was on my way.

I arrived at my parents on Monday and felt that nagging ache of familiar surroundings I haven’t seen in a year. I decided quickly I would not be nostalgic. I would not be looking back with misty eyes at the good things I left in the US for a better life in Canada. This revelation was quickly reinforced as my Dad and I took my Mom for an appointment with her breast cancer specialist the following day. We arrived at what I assumed was a large hospital, very new and valet parking to boot. I was impressed with the quality of the building. We entered the Doctor’s office and directly in front of me is Fox News on the waiting room TV with a note “Do not change the channel.” I smirked and said to my Dad, “Propaganda TV with a captive audience”, we both laughed talking about the fake news channel in the hope we made others who were enjoying the channel as uncomfortable as those forced to watch it. As we left the hospital I noticed Fox News on in other waiting areas and I commented to my Mom that a hospital should probably have something like HGTV on instead. My Mom said, “this isn’t a hospital, it’s a private facility owned by the doctors”. My mind raced to the thought of for profit health care strikes again! Americans, greed is what is keeping you from universal health care for life.

Moving onward the week went great, I got to see two of my brothers, their wives and my nieces and nephew. The family time is always fun for me. Many times our discussions went to politics, all the family on this visit are Obama supporters. The Republican faction live in North Carolina and were there the week prior. We hit on the subject of abortion and that is when things went off track. I am the only ardent pro-choice member of my very Catholic anti choice family. It got pretty heated with my Dad getting very upset and yelling. I maintain my stance that abortion is better left to be between a woman and her doctor, not politicians and churches. My Dad thinks it’s something to vote on, to which I replied that tactic works really well with equality for people like me. (Prop 8).

On a good note, my Dad read "The Deserter's Tale" in two days while I was there and already passed it along to my sister in law. We had some great discussions about it.

On Thursday I went into work at my old office in New Jersey. It’s funny how memory plays tricks on you. I spent 7 years in that office and didn’t remember how the gray office cubes are so damned claustrophobic and how small the building felt. I laughed at how I used to walk around the parking lots of the office complex at lunch, now I get to walk around a very exciting downtown Toronto. On the ride home from the office I drove into our old neighbourhood and past our old house and again reminded myself not to look back, not to be nostalgic and it worked for me.

That two-hour commute from NJ to PA quickly blew over and the rest of the time was spent simply enjoying the comfort of being in my parent’s home. I sleep so well in the Poconos, it’s very dark and very quiet. It’s perfect for a light sleeper like me. My Mom was constantly trying to determine what I wanted to eat and telling me they usually don’t have so many sweets in the house (Yeah Right!). My Mom and I shopped for things the US offers that we cannot find in Canada. Things like: Vigo Paella Rice, Fluff, Aleve, Tylenol PM, Corned Beef Hash and reasonably priced pants for work. Feeling defensive of my wonderful Canada and thinking I slightly betrayed her with these purchases I also talked about all the great events and things we did in Toronto over the year and it hit me how much our lives took a 180 degree turn for the better.

The long trip home to Toronto, to which I miraculously did in 6.5 hours, a new record! I concentrated on just getting home, one gas fill up and a quick pee break. I crossed back into Canada and for the first time crossing the border I knew and felt in my heart I was going home. My adrenaline kicked in with excitement as my city rose up the horizon of my windshield. I smiled passing Pearson and just being on The Gardner, passing The Exhibition, Tip Top Lofts, City Place, Royal York Hotel and seeing familiar street names on signs Spadina, Yonge, and Jarvis. I was downright giddy as I passed St Lawrence Market, St James Park, The Grand, Allan Gardens turning right onto our Wellesley St. For the first time in adult life I got to feel what others take for granted after trips away. I am home, my family is safe and I live with equality. I love living here.