Posted by: facetothewind | September 21, 2016

Return to Tucson


Returning to Tucson, Arizona, in mid-August after 3 months of traveling in Northern California and Oregon can be a challenge. August is month 4 of 5 months of summer and it’s in the middle of the monsoon season.


This means lots of dramatic storms, intense heat and humidity, and pool time!


I usually get up early and swim before the day’s extreme heat. The mornings are soft, not quite cool and unfortunately now, full of mosquitoes. Tucson has become more tropical over the years of climate change and with that comes the little winged vampires.

This post-marriage return to Tucson was a “homecoming” of sorts. And we returned to a home that was badly in need of a deep cleaning after a filthy housemate ground a deep layer of grime into the furniture, carpet, and walls. After he moved out we cleaned every surface thoroughly and called in the steam cleaners.


Chuan and I sanded and varnished cabinets and table tops, re-organized closets, re-arranged furniture, artwork, threw out tons of junk and reclaimed the house from the maw of grunge. Thanks to Jeff for the use of his orbital sander!


We washed everything to get the smell of the last renter (not Trish!) out, ordered some new sheets and desk chair from IKEA and voila…the bridal suite was ours…


And thus began the immigration process. We were at first promised full pro-bono representation by the non-profit Immigration Equality in New York. But after weeks of phone calls and emails went unreturned, we found out that the attorney who made those promises left the firm and we were left stranded with valuable time wasted. So we immediately contacted a local attorney, Claudia Arevalo, who was extremely helpful.


But she comes with a hefty price tag of fees to assist us in getting Chuan his permanent residency. Fortunately I’ve saved some money for this and with the help of some generous family members and friends, we are able to afford her expertise. A big kiss to all who helped…


So, today we submitted all the paperwork, certified checks, birth certificates, wedding license, tax returns, bank statements, and medical exams to our attorney, and off we go. The price tag for this process is about $5,000. Ugh.


Meanwhile, Chuan auditioned to sing in the Tucson Symphony Chorus. Lois and I both rehearsed and coached him on his art song and the excerpts of the Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem that are required to get into the chorus. He met with Dr. Chamberlain at his office and sang for him Schubert’s Litanei. He let loose with his beautiful baritone voice and was accepted on the spot.


And now on Monday nights we sing together, a chair apart, rehearsing for the January, 2017 performance of Brahms’ Deutsches Requiem. The performance, sung in German, will be to nealry 6,000 people over 2 performances. During rehearsals, I look over at Chuan who is earnestly trying to keep up with the conductor’s rapid pace of complex instructions. There’s a nervous and excited look on his face…like he’s running to jump on a train that has already left the station. To sing with the symphony is a great privilege and only bestowed upon accomplished musicians. For him to get in with no previous singing experience was a great feat and some statement of Chuan’s extraordinary musical ability and ear, not to mention his lovely voice.


I’m so thrilled to share this great musical experience with him. Sometimes I can’t believe that a few months ago we were stuck in traffic in Kuala Lumpur on the way to a mall desperate to find something culturally interesting and now here we are swimming, cycling, and singing with a fantastic orchestra.

Jeff and Angela hosted a wonderful party at their house to celebrate our nuptials. Here you can see my 50+ fat belly and the free-flowing champagne and carrot cake big enough to feed an army that are helping me to maintain my figure…


Thank you to Angela & Jeff for your generosity! Following is the video of the party where you can see us singing a barbershop piece WAY too slow. And you can see Rudy the Puerto Rican poodle in his last few days. Nearly blind and deaf and pretty close to death, this was his last party and we kind of knew it. So I unabashedly fed him some scraps from the table knowing that any lifelong bad habits weren’t going to be for long.

Here are some more miscellaneous pictures of the party and our return to Tucson…

And now we wait for immigration and the first breath of cool…




  1. Wow. Beautiful pictures (as always)! Love that dramatic cyclone-looking thing. And that breakfast at 5 Points Tucson? Whoa, what is that?? It looks sinfully delicious.

    Congratulations to Chuan on making it into the symphony chorus so quickly. Clearly he impressed the maestro!

    You both look happy and healthy. Truly, what more can one ask?


  2. I love that you and Chuan will be singing together- I noticed when you guys visited that he reminds me of my son, and how once he sits down at a piano (for Zach its the guitar) you just watch peace descend over his face and the beauty begins! Glad you guys got the place back where it felt like yours again!

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