17 April 2013

notes on re-entry

europeans wear far too much black.  and I like black.

sweating > shivering any day.

food is so easy here.  Salad?  Dump in greens from a tub, cherry tomatoes from a tub (cut 'em in half if you want), baby carrots from a bag, feta cheese from a tub, dried cranberries from a bag...ALL THOSE vegetables and crunchy raw yumminess and all you have to do is dump!  Open the fridge and there's fresh milk, ORANGE juice, and STRAWBERRIES - you just rinse (or not if you're me - this is America, it can't be *that* dirty) - and bite in to the fresh, juicy yumminess...love it.

all that said, I miss the work that goes into preparing food in Africa...the opportunity to think/process the day while you're chopping tomatoes to make sauce, or chat with teammates while waiting for the boiling water to cool to make yogurt...the opportunity to chat and make friends with the women you buy your food from in the market - you see them there every day/week...it makes you slow down. and I like that.  slowing down.

bomb blast deaths in Boston are awful, AND so many more people die everyday in equally or more awful ways and never make ANY news coverage in other parts of the world, AND that doesn't make the 3 reported so far in Boston any less awful...sudden violent death is sudden violent death no matter where it takes place.

people in the wedding industry in this country can actually be reasonable, low key, down to earth individuals.  shocking.

love being able to jump back into meaningful conversations about life with friends I haven't seen in YEARS.

hard being overwhelmed by so many people excited to talk to you but not having enough time to *really* catch up with them...or even greet them all...

what in the world is with these new fangled soda machines...crazy...wasn't even sure I was doing it right..."freestyle" they call them...I'm pretty sure it could teleport you anywhere you wanna go if you got inside...

also, what's with the not wearing very much in the clothing department these days?!?!  people are walking around wearing things as dresses I'm pretty sure were meant to be shirts...heavens to betsy...

love driving on smooth pavement...it's like a dream come true, really.  nothing more fun...but if you honk at me from behind because I'm not turning fast enough in your left turn only lane?  you had best watch out...I don't do impatience very well anymore...

and iPhones?!  really, for the love of it, will you put yours down/away long enough to have a conversation with me?!  I also don't do invasive technology very well...

*still* don't like airport TSA lines.  probably never will.

*still* love airports.  probably always will.  except Terminal 5 at Heathrow.  Not my favorite.

*totally* bummed I didn't get to Rita's in the 2.5 weeks I was in Philly.  Travesty, really.

*BUT* I did eat my fill of Philly pizza - NY style - and thoroughly enjoyed every greasy slice!

note to self: the dirt in america is no less dirty than in Africa...if you walk on the soggy, post-rain grass without shoes and with an open sore on the sole of your foot, *even* if your heels are incredibly painful, you *will* get an infection, so wear the shoes anyways, even if they're killing you.

don't mind me if I go to bed between 9 & 10pm, if it's dark and there's nothing that needs doin', I'm used to going to bed.  [PS - kinda glad this wedding stuff is over with, I'm too old for this 1:30am shenanagins!]

I'm kinda fond of curling up with my mom on the couch and watching tv...yes, even at 33.  Actually we never really did it before, so enjoying it now.

My dad and I are evidently two pea's in a personality pod...the rest of the family just sits back and laughs...to keep from crying :(

then there's this question that no body likes to talk about, not missionaries, nor their communities from whence they were sent.  This whole idea that what once was your home, does not feel like it anymore, and the alienation that happens when expressing that.  I've been on both sides of the conversation so I know what it's like, but that doesn't mean that I know how to do it without hurting people or living a pretend life.  Not sure what the answer is.  In Sunday School the answer was always Jesus...

we do, you do, I do...

 we do.

Mundri - Entebbe - London - Philly

In 24 hours or so on the world's clock (1pm 26 March - 4pm 27 March) but more like 34 hours on my biological clock...a delayed flight from Entebbe meant a delay with free (and functional!) wi-fi. bonus.
And a short layover in London - freezing, drizzling, drab, everyone wearing black, depressing Heathrow Terminal 5. bonus.  Lousy movie options allowing for more snoozing. bonus.  Seats next to large men who hog the armrests and invade my seat space? not so much a bonus.  Arriving in Philadelphia with 2 full weeks with my sister before the rest of family and friends started arriving for the wedding? BIGTIME bonus.

We laughed and cried together.  We ate and drank together.  We ran errands together.  We went to church together.  We celebrated Easter together.  We chatted about the future and the past together.  We made decisions about candy and shoes and clothes pins together.  We cranked up hip hop songs about thrift stores on the radio together.

These were the days when "we do" things together.  boy oh boy! were they sweet.

you do.

Then family and friends started coming into town.

I started delegating, she continued delegating.  "Could you do these name cards? I've tried and just can't figure it out." Emails were sent out to those coming in, "Could you do the set up for this portion of the reception as your 'day-of-bridesmaid-duty'"?   "Could you groomsmen figure out how to do this?"  "Hello Trader Joe's, what kinds of flower orders do you do?"

There were many moments of cross cultural questions and light bulbs going on (or off as the case may be) about how you do things...

  • Are "family dinners" times where you invite whatever friend you happen to be with at the time, or are they kind of sacred and typically limited to family only?
  • what do Singaporeans talk about/not talk about at the dinner table?
  • what do Americans talk about/not talk about at the dinner table?
  • who needs to attend the wedding rehearsal?
  • what exactly is done at wedding rehearsal dinners?
  • where should a tea ceremony be held?
  • where should tables of family be seated in proximity to the head table?
  • what people need to give speeches/toasts at the reception?
  • how do people get themselves to/from wedding events?
  • what are the best options for bachelor parties the night before the wedding?
  • etc etc etc

There was some chaos, some balls dropped, some perplexed looks, some faux pas in operation, but over all the things we asked you do were done and laughs were had in the process.

i do.

Saturday 13 April

We all knew what things I needed to do.  And we did them.

From the moment we entered the 10-day forecast window, the weather report was changing almost hourly.  I stopped paying any attention. The 12th had been stormy and dark and cold, and the ceremony the next day was planned to be outside, but the forecasters were predicting 64 and sunny for the 13th.  "I pray they're right." I thought to myself.  Carrie, of course, was optimistic and confident in their predictions. 

7:45am - Lutjens ladies leave the house to start the preparations for the day.  Weather? Sunny and warm.  Praise the Lord.

10:45 - Lutjens ladies leave the hair/make up salon - Carrie, who had left the trial run 2 weeks previous a bit disappointed but unable to articulate why exactly, was very pleased with the final product.  "Do you like it?" I asked.  "I do." She answered.  And mom?  Well, her comment to Nicole, the stylist, says it all: "It's perfect, it's like you know me." SO mom.                                                                                         

3:45 - The sun is still shining, drifting behind the white cottonball clouds every now and again, but the sky is crystal blue.  I realized in this moment, that I would never be able to plan an outdoor spring wedding.  For the same reason I have a hard time praying for the things that mean the most to me, that are closest to my heart and desires...because things in my life have most of the time not really worked out like this for me...sunny and blue skies I mean...and I kinda doubt they ever will...but in the next moment I thought to myself, "maybe there is something I need to learn from my little sister..."  Hope and risk hurt sometimes, and other times they pay off in really sweet ways.

4pm - Ceremony begins.  (and miraculously my dad has no Meniere's symptoms and can walk his daughter down the aisle without fear of vomiting or falling over, and it's warm enough in the sun that I'm not shivering in my sleeveless, short (knee length) dress...)

~5pmish maybe? - a good friend of mine from college, and officiant of the ceremony, Jason, asked Matt and Carrie, do you take this woman? do you take this man?  And  they each answered, "I do."

The party went on - great food, amazing cake (so I hear...), great band, great company - 

               until we learned the park gates would soon be closed.  We sent them off with sparklers, packed the event back into our cars, and away we went.

We did, you did, I did.