I seriously didn't think anyone I knew would get married until I was, at least, thirty. But sometimes, you just can't help how and when you fall in love. You never know when it'll happen to you. All you readers, beware, I say. It could strike at any moment. Don't think just cause you're in your 20s you're immune to this infectious disease. Back home, in New York, people are falling like flies.
I can't tell you how many photo albums of weddings I've seen on Facebook this summer. And this is just including the pictures of people I personally know. In all fairness, most of these people are in their later twenties, usually friends of my brother. It makes sense. I could deal with that.
But now, someone extremely dear to me, someone my age, someone who is essentially kind-of like my sister, is now married. EXCUSE ME? I still act like a five-year-old half the time. No one my age should be getting married.
That's right. Last week, one of my best friends got married. This past spring, in my insanity, caused by my love for my kind-of sister, I decided to purchase a plane ticket to New York and take four of my allotted 5 vacation days off. The decision was solidified after I found out that many of best friends, as well as my parents and brother would be there. Well, hell, if they got to be there, then I wanted to be there too!
On Wednesday night, the 10th of September, I returned home from work at about 10pm. I finished packing my suitcase and went to bed. Thursday morning, I woke up at 5:30, hopped on the train to Shinjuku, then transferred to the Narita Express. I got to Narita Airport at 9:30am. Caught an 11:45am plane to JFK airport. I arrived in New York at 11:30, 15 minutes earlier than I had left Japan. That really did my head in. How could I arrive 15 minutes earlier than I left, on the SAME exact day? Time is an amazing institution.
The first thing I noticed about New York was what a jerk the customs officer was. I walked up to the counter and put my passport and customs form on the desk. Little did I know, I had inexplicably become a ghost at some point while I was in Japan, because the guy didn't seem to have any clue that there was even a cloud of moisture in front of him. He was absorbed in what must have been a very interesting discussion with his buddy, and fellow customs officer, across the way. He waited a full minute before slowly picking up my passport, not bothering to wonder where this little book could have come from or what ghostly apparition might have placed it there, and gave it a careless, lopsided little stamp. He placed it back on the counter. I said in a brassy loud voice, "THANK YOU." I waited... Nothing.
Nothing. There was nothing! He couldn't hear me. Then it dawned on me... I really was invisible! My God! What had happened to me? Had I died and no one had bothered to let me know? I was considerably upset by all this until I walked into the terminal, and beaming unmistakably in my direction were my dewy-eyed parents. A smile broke on my face. I was alive!!! It was nice to see my parents, too.
After dropping off my luggage at the house, I set off on some important errands. I got a haircut, a manicure, and a pedicure, lulled to sleep in the salon chair by Norman the Hairstylist's gentle political rantings about Sarah Palin, the devil. Afterwards, I partook of the best Italian food I've ever eaten, at my family's favorite restaurant, accompanied by my parents and brother. I fell asleep at dinner, my head pressed against the cold, candlelit tile wall.
The next morning my family, a good friend of mine, and I set off in a cramped Subaru station wagon to foggy Martha's Vineyard. We drove 5 hours, ate McDonalds for lunch like good, patriotic Americans sometimes do, rode an American yellow school bus to the ferry port, took a 45 -minute ferry-ride to the island and were promptly picked up by the bride-to-be and her family.
Fast forward to the wedding. I really respect and admire Anne for the way she organized her wedding. Firstly, it was extremely small: mostly family and a small number of very close friends. It was also done very simply, locally, and inexpensively.
Before I tell you more let me just preface this next paragraph with an important bit of information: the bride has three Aunts, meaning her mother has three sisters, as well as a Great Aunt, who lives in Martha's Vineyard. Why am I telling you this? Well, just read for crying out loud!
Here we go. Her wedding dress was made by one of her aunts. All the vegetables were grown in another aunt's backyard. All the food was cooked and prepared by her aunts. All the food was served by her aunt's friends. Another Aunt's friend did all the flowers and wedding bouquets. To top it off, the wedding took place in the front yard of her great aunt's house, with a reception on the back porch, over looking the stunning beach scenery. What else did her aunts do? Well maybe that's about it, but I think that's quite a lot, now don't you?
I was amazed that literally everything for the wedding was done by someone who knew the family closely. Here are some more examples: The bride didn't have any makeup or hair done professionally. It was all done by one extremely talented bridesmaid... (no, not me, don't be so silly!). Really though, who needs professionals? She looked perfect, like a Gretian goddess. The photographer was also a friend of ours from high school who is currently embarking on a professional photography career. Her photos are amazing. Now, get this. This one I found really amazing. Okay. The bride and her husband were married by her mother's best friend. That's right, her mother's best, best friend just happens to be a minister. I just think that is a really nice thing, to be married by someone you know well, who is really close to your family. The woman is a really sweet lady too, with a good sense of humor. No one minded when she accidentally skipped a part, and started to repeat a part of the ceremony. She actually demanded that they remove the rings from their fingers and do it again. But no one cared. It was cute, it was hilarious. Everyone just laughed, which was a nice respite from all the crying that was going on. Because let me tell you, there was a lot of that. Even from the bride, herself. She was so happy, she could barely say her vows. Since it worked out that I was the bridesmaid standing closest to her during the ceremony, we had formulated a little plan where I would pass her a little lacy hankerchief with which she could dab her water-proof mascara-ed eyes. I can't remember the last time I was in a place so permeated by happiness before.
See how those tricky little dresses are deceivinglyAnyways, the wedding was beautiful. I had an amazing weekend seeing my parents, brother, and many very important people and friends from my life back home, all who I love very, very much. Too bad I had to return the following Monday, which meant I arrived in Japan on Tuesday and then went back to work on Wednesday. But, I've decided it was totally worth it. The thirty minutes of that ceremony were probably the most intimate, personal, meaningful thirty minutes in earth's history. I'm not kidding.
not like highlighters when captured in photographs?
not like highlighters when captured in photographs?
Here's one of my favorite pictures, of me and my brother.