Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Fastest Week of My Life

For all the folks out there who have been begging me for updates, here's a ... ummm... "brief" of the past week. It started on Monday, April 12. Buckle up!

Mom, dad and I woke up and were faced with a huge “to do” list. We had major grocery shopping to do, and I had major cleaning to do, as well, as my house was to be open to relatives and friends for “the week of the wedding”. We shopped for most of the day, and dad designed a menu for pretty much every meal for every day of the week. Not an easy feat, if you know my family and if you know that they never cook under five dishes per meal when they have people over. American fridges are absolutely, positively not designed big enough for Romanian meals! At any rate, April 12 was a cooking day, and cleaning for me.

April 13, a Tuesday, we continued to cook since my then fiancé, Aa., was coming in town and coming over for dinner that night. Parents were nervous as all, to meet him, and to impress him with dinner. All went well. My dad is not all that scary, Aa. was finally convinced, and Aa. was not all that scary to my folks, either. Welcome to my family, Mr. Aa. Now, you’ll have to grow a second stomach, just like the rest of us!

On April 14, Aa. and I rushed to The Guilford County Courthouse early in the morning, to obtain our marriage license. As he was saying, it took longer to clear security at the door and to find the office of The Register of Deeds than it took to obtain the license. Mom and dad thought we got married without them, but I had to explain to them: “No, ma, they just wanted our money! Marriage will become official on Friday, when our Revered will marry us and sign the bottom line.”

The whole marriage license business is as weird as any State-mangled affair! They never check anything. You can tell them you’re a boy instead of a girl and they believe you. I could not remember my divorce date, and I am pretty sure I gave a close one, but they never checked, nor look for any documentation. As for the SSN – no card required. You can make up ANY number. I suspect. But you do swear (or “affirm” if “you have issues with ‘swear’”) on the Holy Bible! So help you God! So it all must be real, since, by Lord, you “swore”. It was eerie! I come from Romania about which people will tell you is like a travel back in time, and this sounded to me as bogus as The Salem Witch Hunt! But we got “a license”.

After The Courthouse, it was flower shopping for the afternoon event we had planned. In the afternoon, my friend B. was kind enough to shoot pictures of the two of us all over The Downtown for our engagement book. It was like 50 degrees outside and I was in a sleeveless dress. I am suspecting I will look semi-comatose in the pictures, but we’ll see!

After the shoot, we got together with friends at The Loft at Natty Greene’s, where we celebrated our engagement and my leaving The Green City. I was so overwhelmed by the outpour of love from everyone who came! I never suspected that everyone that I invited would come, but they did. I am truly blessed by many good people as my friends! Gosh, how I will miss them all! I can only hope everyone had just a good of a time as I did seeing all of them and bidding farewell one more time.

My friend, B., picked the setting - which was metaphorical, according to my sister: "behind closed fences" or "marriage" - in front of Natty Greene's in Downtown Greensboro, before our engagement party - April 14, 2010

Then, we were off to the house, to bring all the too many presents we got and the flowers, and décor from the party. Then off to bed – early day on Thursday.

On Thursday, April 15, I was off to Charlotte early to wait for my sister, brother-in-law and nephew, Patrick, at the airport. They were flying in from Canada. Aa. was Greensboro-bound, waiting for his mom, who was flying in from Michigan.

It’s always such a loving handful to see Patrick! He is a different person every time I see him. More mature, smarter, better behaved, less of a baby, more of a kid every single time. He is such a gift! It just made my day to just smell him and hold his little body for short seconds that he would generously allow.

Patrick "being cute" - on cue from his mommy

In the evening, we had an all-family dinner: Aa.’s mom, Aa. and my whole family got together for a Romanian dinner, more or less traditional. Given the fact that there were 85 degrees outside that day, dad grilled out, so we had a typical summer meal that included kebobs and chicken wings on the grill as well as pork steaks and chicken nuggets wrapped in bacon. Rice pilaf and moussaka and a light summer salad were the sides. Chocolate crepes were the desert. Yeah, my family can cook! I miss them already, although, I am still hearing my fridge’s sigh of relief since they left and no food was further added to the shelves!

Family night: watching a home video by dad, sitting down for dinner, and opening a birthday present: a toolbox made by Uncle Aa. for Patrick

April 16, a Friday, was “the big day”. I made the resolution that come high water or fire, I was not going to fret and I was not going to worry about anyone’s wellbeing that day. It was about me, and “my man”, and I just had one worry in the world: that I would no cry during the ceremony, so the pictures won’t look silly, and that I would not stumble on words during saying my vows! The rest of the world could take care of themselves!

And that’s what they did. Somehow, it all went well, and we had the most perfect day and the smoothest wedding, I think. Other than the wind conspiring against us and not allowing us to light our candles, it all went great! Just as we planned it. Everyone was gracious to us, and didn’t pressure us into too much needy-ness … I was really grateful that everyone seemed to honor us, and our union, and this way this day will always be a gift from us, and from our families to us, and to our lives together. I am so touched by everyone’s love and words and meaningful gifts to us. We do have great families!

The happy day - April 16, 2010 - many thanks to our photographer and friend, Rob, for suggesting the beautiful setting

No honeymoon for us, yet. So, after the party, we just came home with the family, and opened a bottle of 1997 Romanian (actually from my home county) wine. 1997 is when I graduated college. I figured I would open than bottle the day I feel like “I truly came of age”. No better day than my wedding day, I guess.

April 17, a Saturday, was sort of a “relache” day. Aa.’s mom went back home, but her sister took her to the airport, so we can sleep in (well, as late as Little Man Patrick allowed, of course). We had meals at odd times in odd shifts (my dining room is not very huge), and we took a family walk (sans dad who was napping) in Country Park. It was also the last full day I spent with my sister and her family, for a while now.

Patrick and parents, mom and Aa. on the walk at Country Park

We entered our marriage as marriage is supposed to be: a special day, surrounded by “all things normal”: family, home, familiar wine, and our own bed and environment. None of the ritz and contrived-ness that usually follows a wedding. Just a gentle slip into another form of “normal”. “Our” normal now.

On Sunday, we packed The Canadians and took them back to the Charlotte airport so they can return home. Such a short trip for them, and so generous of them to spend their short vacation with us for our special event.

"Bye-bye, America!" - Patrick on the way to Charlotte, en route back to his home, in Montreal

On Monday, my parents got in a last day of shopping, for last minute gifts for back home. I got in some grocery runs as well, alongside their shopping spree! The shopper in my family is dad. Mom and I (and Aa.) hate it. Amazing how dad has us trained though, because we shopped from 10 AM to 5 PM non stop! Then, it was dinner time and time to pack mom and dad for their trip to Canada.

On Tuesday, April 20, we took the parents to the Greensboro airport very early in the morning, so that they can be en route to Montreal, where they’re spending a month with my sister and her family. Aa. and I were left alone, for a brief, couple of days “honeymoon preview”, of sorts. We were entirely too exhausted to plan anything, of course. We just slept in, ate a lot and slept. A lot!

And then, Aa. was off to Utah for the next couple of weeks today. My house is empty. And my feet are burning, after I have been cleaning all day.

If you remember that feeling you have after you get off the merry-go-round, that feeling that your mind and your insides are still spinning although your whole body is still, that’s how I feel. I feel like the machine has stopped, by my body still thinks it needs to spin, with inertia! I am not fully aware yet that I am married, that I am jobless, that I need to start packing to move across country in two weeks, that I have calls to make and chores to line up for the next weeks to come. I am still trying to wake up. Or go to bed and catch up on the sleep. Not sure which!

One thing I do know for sure: I am grateful for family and for the time I got to spend with everyone: friends, family, old and new! We are nothing if we don’t have them! They give us roots and they define us in a way that no job and no house we made ourselves is capable of defining us!

I am grateful I have gotten to share my family with my new husband and I have gotten to share his as well! I hope the crazy roller coaster of a week will only mean good memories for them as well, as it means for me, too.

And I humbly thank all of them and all my friends, from far and near, for traveling and for all the gifts and sweet wishes! One can only be so blessed to have so much love and generosity around on such special occasions! I send it all back, ten fold, to all of you! I hope you all know the blessings and love you have poured on me and Aa. this past week! You all deserve them!

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