Going to the chapel! (and my official end date)
Recently, two friends visited – Gabe Miccio & Kristian Schumm. Gabe and I have been friends since high school…which is getting to be a long time. To get to the point – Gabe and Kristian have been dating for about 4 years and Gabe popped the question the morning they arrived to Machu Picchu…and against all earthly wisdom, she said YES! (just kidding, Gabe's a great guy, she's lucky to have him). Congratulations to the two of them. I look forward to seeing the family they create.
While they were here, we spent time in Lima and Ancash, and then they went to Cusco. I was already going to be in Lima when they arrived for the "close of service" meeting so it was great timing. We were able to spend the down time I had for that meeting and then they came up to where I live for a couple days.
While here, they got to see me perform a song at a "Bob Dylan Birthday Bash". One of the American cafes up where I live is owned by someone who loves Bob Dylan. She brought a musician up from Lima to perform covers and a few others from around the area performed a song or two. Those who have known me for a long time might think hell froze over because I have never been innately talented in music and I could never carry a tune (though I do love to try). In fact, one of my friends (Jim Garvin) once said something like, 'when Jake dies, right before, he is going to belt out the most beautiful note to astound us all.' Which was him saying that it'll take that long and it'll be that much of a struggle for me. Well, I still wouldn't say I am an able singer or a talented guitarist – but I've improved dramatically from what I once was to what I am now (I think). I performed, "Masters of War" by Bob Dylan. Since I was in Lima the week before, I wasn't able to practice as much as I would have liked but even if I had, I was so nervous I don't think it would have mattered anyhow. I forgot some of the words and messed up the strumming a little bit – but overall, it came out alright for my first actual performance in front of a lot of people I don't know.
I submitted my request for my official finish date: August 19th and it was approved. A friend from home (Tim Foley) has also decided to do the trip home with me. He recently graduated from Columbia journalism school and has the time and the desire, so he and I will be northward bound at that time.
I hope everyone is doing well!