Trip Start Dec 28, 2006
15Trip End Mar 01, 2007
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All in all we stayed two and a half weeks in Renton, the city just across the lake from Seattle and just south of Bellvue. When we first arrived Erin and Jesus invited us to celebrate the birthday of Jax, a long-time friend of theirs. In fact, we had the chance to meet and get to know most of their friends that night. We arrived at a bar in Seattle while Jax was opening birthday presents; Erin and Jesus got him a board game and Peter and I wrote from the heart in his birthday card. The party moved to another bar, a karaoke bar, where our group sort of took over the loud obnoxious singing. As the beer kept flowing, more and more of us would be singing on the stage together. You would not believe the voice on Erin; she sang a lot in church growing up, and we had almost forgotten how great she sounds. I think she could make a career out of it if she really wanted to. Jesus wasn't bad either, but like me and Peter he should stick to his day job. Pete and I sang a hell of a duet. He was Sonny and I was Cher and we sounded aweful. At the end of the night every single one of us, at least 15 people, were huddled around 3 microphones singing Hey Jude...we brought down the house.
Another night Jesus invited Peter and I to a Spanish guitar concert, featuring Pepe Romero, at the symphony hall in downtown Seattle. You have to see this guy play a guitar to believe it is really only one person playing one instrument. Pepe pounded the surface of the guitar with his right palm while he played a slow beat with his thumb and index finger, a super fast melody with his three remaining fingers, all while his left hand plucked a harmony and chose the notes for both things he was doing with his right hand. It sounded like a lead, rhythm, and bass guitar accompanied by a drummer...four instruments in one! Jesus was able to get us free tickets to the concert because he recently became the president of the Spain Association of the Pacific Northwest, a.k.a. Amigos de Espana, a social organization bringing native Spanish people together to keep their culture alive in the States. Since we were with Jesus we were allowed to attend the reception and mingle with the most rich and powerful people in Seattle (and eat all their hors d'ouvres). Peter became a semi-celebrity when everyone learned he had taught Prince Felipe of Spain how to waterski a few years ago.
During the week Jesus even brought us to work with him at Microsoft. When they write new software they need to translate it for use in other countries, and they have several groups of people working on several languages. Jesus explained what he does to us, but it was a little over my head. From what I understand, he solves problems that the group is having when they translate from one language to another. Whatever Microsoft employees are doing, they sure get treated well while they're doing it. Coffee, hot chocolate, fruit juices, anything they want to drink is all free, plus foosball, soccer, softball, basketball, they get to have fun at work. While Jesus was in a meeting Pete and I found a plastic cricket bat outside and with an empty water bottle and a bunch of pine cones we created our own game, Rickets. The bowler throws a pine cone at the water bottle attempting to knock it over while the batter swings the plastic cricket bat, attempting to knock the ricket cone away. There are a few other rules to the game, which I will be happy to teach everyone, but all you have to know is that I kicked Peters ass at Rickets. We were hoping Bill Gates would walk by, see the awesome new game we just invented, and buy it from us for $100 million, but it must have been his day off, cause we didn't see him. Jesus's friend Jugo works at Nintendo right across the street, so when Jesus was finished with his meeting we went on over and played every Nintendo console ever created...the wii, the ds, 64, snes, virtuaboy, nes, arcades, and the first ever console, a weird looking gray and red japanese thing.
Throughout the weeks we visited the first REI store with Jesus, the famous fish market with Erin, and even spent a day with Erin at South Seattle Community College where (among other places) she works as a Spanish professor. The grad schools I applied to in December began inviting me to graduate recruitment weekends, so I ended up leaving Peter behind in Renton for a couple weekends to fly and interview.