We are in the midst of the crazy that is being part of two countries at the same time--mainly: paperwork. It took us about 6 tries to get Aleni's birth certificate (What?? She wasn't born in a hospital? You must have stolen her then!! I wanted to say: "I can show you my stretch marks...").
Monday we have our appointment at the American consulate in Monterrey (5 hours north of here) to get Aleni's American paperwork done. Hopefully that will be more straightforward than it has been up to now.
Rey's Mexican passport recently expired, so we decided to get both his and Aleni's passport pictures taken (Aleni's for her American passport). Now, I don't know how many of you (millions of) readers have gotten passport/visa pictures. For me, I just popped into the Post Office and smiled, click, done. Another time, I went to Walgreens--same thing.
Not so much here. We found a FotoEstudio that would do the pictures. We found the "studio", and walked through the open door to a frigid hallway blocked at the far end with a sheet. The walls held pictures displaying the photographers talent: from Quinceanera portraits to kids' photo collages complete with the child apparently having been squirted in the face with water and being forced to cry. Hmm. A new cute, I guess. I don't know if the photographer extraordinare was getting her nails done, but we waited around 15 minutes before her husband wandered in, son in arms, to report she'd be here "ahorita" (which does not mean "now", I've learned). So, we continued shivering until the lady showed up.
She said she could do the pictures for 50 pesos each (around $5), could we give her time to get the studio ready. She dissapeared behind a closed door and "prepared" for another 15 minutes. I asked Rey if she might think he was the president or something. I mean--it's a passport picture. You know-- white background? 2 inches? Face only?
She came back out and ushered us into the "studio". White sheet on one wall, black sheet across a doorway for the other wall and an old, pastel tulip scene sheet for the 3rd wall. The forth housed her lighting.
She seated Rey on a low stool in front of the white sheet. What followed was about the funniest thing I've seen in a while.
She: Now I'm just going to adjust my zoom....
Rey (rather self-consciously shifting on the stool. Nods)
She: Ok, now could you just tilt your head ever so slightly to the side.
Ok. (peering into camera)
Oh. (chuckles) Your face is very shiney. (handing R a kleenex) Please dry it off.
R: (scrubs vigorously at his face until I say, "I think it's fine now")
She: Ok. Moisten your lips. Uh-oh. Could you tilt your head juuuuuuust a tiny bit?? (gesturing with her hand)
Ah. Straighten your back. Posture. is. very. important. Ohhh-- (sighs, straightens and looks at me). See that. You grew. Now I have to readjust everything. Oh well.... (raising camera on tripod).
Ok. Now. Relax your shoulders. Back straight. Hands in lap. Oh-oh. Tiiiiiiillllt the head. (sighs and lifts head from the camera).
Just a little detail. (comes from behind camera and starts determinedly pushing Rey's hair behind his ears). Ok.
(Ducks behind camera. Straightens.) Could you just push down the hair on the left side? (she vigorously pounds at the side of her head to demonstrate)
She: (ducks down again). The lips. Moisten them again. Look straight. Close your mouth. Chin down. Oh-oh. Chin a little bit up. Ok!!!!!!!!!!!
She straightens. Looks into my eyes, shaking her head.
I was literally chewing my lips to keep it together.
And a shortened version of the above happens again, and then--pop! She was happy with the result.
We got the pictures back today.
All I can say is: this is one amazing passport picture.
Truly unequalled in quality and composed by the eye of a master artist.
And, Aleni's was pretty spectacular.
PS: Dear Mrs Photographer Lady: I wasn't fooled at all. I know you thought my man was a hotty. I'm keeping my eye on you.