So, this was actually my first day in New York. I woke up at about 7AM because well, I was on an adrenaline rush. Just like I’ve been the entire stay there. My roommate was still fast asleep so I made my way around things quietly to not bother her too much. Of course I forgot half of the stuff I needed for my makeup and I kept coming back in the room and that damn magnetic door would slam every time it had the chance to. So I always had to stick my foot in to prevent it from waking up the entire floor. Eventually I was done with that part of the day and ready to move out. My roommate woke up. I could only move that slowly. Haha
I put on my new pair of light blue high waist jeans I got from H&M in Boston and that I am so totally in love with haha, my new white sweater that I also got in Boston, I threw on my old multi colored scarf I got as a Xmas gift from Adinut and I was ready to hit the streets of New Work. Casual is always my thing. Makes me feel light and breezy. And sexy haha. Comfy is always sexy for me. I knew I didn’t have much time to roam around because the wedding there starts early in the day, pretty much like it happens with our weddings in Transylvania. Anyway, I had a few hours and I wanted to make the most of it. I still had to be mindful of my genetic issue of always being late that I believe I have already mentioned several times.
By the time I got into the streets it felt already late in the day. But wait. Who cared! For once I felt the need to slow down my pace and walk like normal people walk, enjoying the view, the buildings, the stores, the lights at cross roads with the green man walking and the white hand signaling you to stop. Which no one ever did because on the Brooklyn Boulevard that I was walking on not a lot of cars interrupted the passersby in their traffic. Plus with the streets always going one way on one lane, you only had to look either left or right to know from which side the cars were coming so you were a bit safer than when crossing two lane streets. So I just walked. As simple as that. Well not that simple because I always “calaresc drumul” as we say in Romanian, namely I gallop more than I walk, always in a hurry, always as if I’m chased by something. I need to learn how to take it slowly every now and then and enjoy. So I purposefully slowed down, looking at things, not that I have never seen stores or small diners before. But you know how it is when you’re abroad. Everything feels different.
|My first time out on the streets|
When suddenly… Starbucks!!! Oh yeah! Left quick turn and I entered the small green shop on the corner of the street. What I love about America in general and I also saw it in Rome in a cafeteria, is that whenever we’re talking about places like this in less crowded areas and more populated by people haha, as opposite to business and industrial areas, the shop keepers or the vendors know many of their clients. And conversations go extremely familiar and sweet, kind of makes you feel like part of the gang when you step inside. So there was this daddy with his little girl. Guy was white and his baby girl was somewhere in between white and black, obviously having a black mom. She was the cutest most adorable curly hair thing ever!!! She held onto her daddy’s neck with that little adorable pout they always have as some sort of defensive mechanism against whatever is coming, just in case they don’t like it. Suddenly one of the ladies behind the counter went “Hi David! Hey there Lisa!” Oh my, the little girl just went from cautious to a little princess with giggles and smiles hiding behind her dad, while at the same time still waving back at the lady. “What would you like today?” Her father ordered something and then some of the other employees crumbled a chocolate chip cookie on a plate and gave it to him, on the house for Lisa. By the time the dad paid for the drinks she was all a grin. I called Adinut and we were chatting just as it was my turn to order. The sudden changes from Romanian to English are no longer a problem for me after working with Jim for so many years haha. I gott my usual Café Latte and as I waited for them to make it, I saw this guy (I think he was a guy, I’m not sure. Seemed like one of those genders in between. Very feminine but modified into a more manly look. Or perhaps he was just one of those skinny really fair skin kind of men, I don’t know). The idea was he had this really weird hair cut and tattoos all over, which were somehow composing a, not weird, perhaps different image of him. But he still was very nice and polite. As he reached to give me my cup I saw this incredibly beautiful old fashioned ring on his finger and I couldn’t help but telling him I really liked it. A dragon crawling around his finger, coiled around its own tail with its mouth open and everything. Pretty damn cool! Made out of silver which is my favorite metal. He was really pleased to know that I’m into that kind of jewelry and told me it’s a family jewel inherited from his mom. Well, hell! That’s still fine with me!
Eventually I went out of the shop and back on the streets, but this time I had a coffee with me which brightened the day in a splash. As I walked, a lady stumbled into me as she’s coming out of a shoe store and spilt some on the sleeve of my jacket. She apologized quickly and moved on. Thanks lady! I wiped it off as fast as I could keeping in mind that when I get home I need to wash it. Home in Bucharest that is. I came across a Marshall shop and went in really fast. I found some really nice stuff in there when I was in Houston. But here there was nothing interesting. I also ran into two Sephora stores and I had promised Adinut I’d look for some stuff for her. I couldn't find it. Actually, I couldn’t find what she wanted in all other Sephora shops I got in. It looks like these people only keep makeup from Benefit, not the skin care products. Ladies, you know what I mean haha. Eventually I stopped into a store to get something from another friend. It was pure luck I found it because it saved me from looking for it the following day. I called my friends forgetting how late it actually was in Bucharest. Luckily they are party animals and they were out in town so I didn’t wake them up or anything. Done with that and then to Century 21; this is a new shop that Eileen told me about. Huge thing, so I didn’t have too much time to spend there. I finally saw some damn fridge magnets. I bought a whole pack and a bunch or bracelets that later on I shared among my female friends at work. And kept some for me ‘cause they matched perfectly my wedding dress for that afternoon.
I rushed back to the hostel grabbing some already minced and packed fruit to chew on while getting ready for the wedding. As usual I was on the verge of being late, but I was moving fast baby! I got there, changed quickly – made sure I ddidn't tear my stalking as I was putting it on – which is always a possibility with me! And what is more annoying than being in a hurry and your stalking tears before you even get out of the door?! Right?! I took off my eye make up and came up with something just a bit more sparkly and powerful for the event, then messed my hair in something that looked promising enough but had no definite form or shape haha. Abstract I call it. I put a tone of hairspray in it to keep that oeuvre d’art in place then rushed to get my coat on. Amazingly so – NOT! – out of all the papers that I could misplace at that exact time, I misplaced the one where I had written down the address to the chapel where the religious ceremony was taking place. I was like: seriously?!?! I had to text Ian and ask for the address. I put my raincoat on, throw my scarf around like a classical French (Romanian!) haha then out the door I go! I was in the street trying to flag down a cab at about 1:15PM. Late. They were all supposed to be there at about 1:30PM. Ian comforted me saying that they hadn’t even left the hotel yet so I was thinking, thank you Lord for your merciful hand on this one. No friggin’ cabs seemed to come down Columbus street at this time. Or none that were available.
I switched onto Brooklyn again and I managed to get one. I told him the address and we were on our way. Normally I could have walked that distance, it wasn’t incredibly far. Almost nothing compared to the distances I covered the following days. But on my high heels and with the thin stalking on – NO! Almost 15 minutes later we’re there. The busses with all the other guests had just pulled in so we’re basically arriving at the same time.
The Chapel of Columbia University was absolutely beautiful. Not too small, not too big. Cozy and welcoming. Enough light to keep it sweet and romantic. The brides’ guests and family were on the left side, the groom’s were on the right, so I took a seat next to Steven, Valeria and Jan. Amazingly, I had not forgotten the gift at the hostel! And also remembered to write the card I got for them in Houston. I am so thankful I am good at writing because it takes me literally a few seconds to come up with some nice message for any occasion when other people spend minutes for that. So it’s a life savior for me haha. So now, I took my coat off and waited along with everyone else to see what’s happening next. This is the first Catholic wedding I attend. Few of the ladies in front of me had brought handkerchiefs. They knew this was going to be an emotional moment and I cheered their initiative with a subtle smile. This is what having good friends is all about after all. About 20 minutes later the door closed and the organ started playing (I know “orga” in English has a very bizarre funny equivalent. Let’s just leave it to that haha). Eventually, the Best man and the Maid of Honor made an entry first, all dressed in tux and long black dress with a tiny white flower bouquet. So simple and so perfectly adorable. Same small bouquets were hanging from the side of the chairs along the aisle. I always fancied this kind of wedding arrangement, that makes the church look like a family place, giving a comfortable feeling of joy and happiness. Leaves room to breathe and literally allows the spot light to be taken by the groom and bride and not the mass of people mumbling and moaning and pushing all at once behind you to get a better look at the sweaty, serious and uncomfortable couple, like it happens in our churches.
Then the three other couples of best men and bride maids, all taking their place before the altar, men on the right, ladies on the left, each a step down from the other, leaving room in the middle for the bride and groom. James, our groom, was already there, with this most natural look on his face. If he had any butterflies in his stomach, I could not see them. Dating for over 6 years must have that effect. Also loving that woman and knowing this is what you really want, also works. Suddenly, the music changed and the large wooden doors to the chapel opened to let the bride in. And it was a fairy tale like thing, exactly what you see in movies. Everyone turned around, to stare at this bright caccoon of light hanging between the massive doors and as they opened, the light curled through the thin material of her dress, through the long white veil and she literally seemed to emerge from that light and step inside the chapel. She was beautiful. Beautiful! They walked slowly, one step at a time and as she came closer I could only admire her beauty and simplicity. Little make up, but perfect for that dress and long dark chestnut hair, lightly curved, dropping heavily down her tiny shoulders. If anything, her bright smile was the best accessory she needed to match her gown perfectly.
|I think James was wondering: Ian, do you still have the rings buddy? haha Ian died inside a few times reaching for the pocket thinking he had forgotten them at the hotel haha|
When in front of the altar, her father let go and she took her place at James’ side. Unlike our weddings that last pretty much as this one did, religious ceremonies here are not about reading for an entire hour from the Bible or from books. It’s about knowing what family is, a few words about God's ideea of a family and more thoughts about the new formed couple. Who they are, how they came to be and what their expectations are for the future. Which I believe is extraordinary. After all this is a wedding about them; theirs. Not about the many things that happened in the past and that the Scripture and Bible account for. Many people who attend the wedding may not know how they met, or how beautiful their story is and now they had the chance to find out. And this is only possible because weeks before the ceremony, the couple comes in on a regularly basis and discusses with the priest, seeking council on worldly matters. They do not come to confess, they just come in to talk about who they are as individuals and as a couple, their vision on what family means to them and their proposed goals for the future.
Questions like: do you want to have a family? Do you want kids, when and how many, these are all questions they have answered before coming here. I did not know of this up to my divorce when someone asked me why didn’t I ask my husband before we married if he wanted children. And I was thinking; well hell! Haha That one, to me, comes as default. Pretty much like don’t cheat, don’t do drugs and don’t be an alcoholic. Have kids! Basic fundamental rules in a marriage as far as I’m concerned. I mean, pretty much else I can do on my own right? So why would I ask that? Isn't this man who loves me supposed to want to have kids with me? I mean when we die they won't burry us in our homes with the key to the car hanging from our massive golden matching bracelets right? But, as it turns out, times have changed and some things that used to be taken for granted now should be researched and confirmed before hand because obviously family is not as fundamental as it once was and kids are not part of some people's plans for the future. So, going back to the wedding, a lady there sang some absolutely wonderful songs with this angel voice, I almost wanted to take her home. And everyone sort of joined in as well, saying a few things collectively whenever the priest was blessing us, that by the end of the ceremony I had learnt them by heart as well. In between the songs, the best man, maid of honor, father of the groom and other family members took turns in saying a few advisory words. Then the priest concluded the sermon with a short story on the couple, while they were seated at his right. He told us how they met and how incredible life is, because people who seem to have nothing in common and leave oceans apart can come together in the most unlikely of circumstances and that time nor distance can separate something that it is meant to be.
Eventually, James and Nadia came upfront and said their vows, exchanged rings and kissed under our shower of ovations when introduced for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. Nadia and James Stewart. Well, I have never really been a believer in the institution of marriage even though I tried it myself and convinced myself further more that’s truly not meant for me. But I still got emotional and happy. Maybe it’s not for me, but I surely support other people to try it, because maybe it’s meant for them and why not rejoice it. After all, it takes good people with a lot of love to salvage marriage and turn it back into what is really supposed to be: a family and a home, not a journey for money and building an image in two.
Back on the bus and we were on our way to the Boat House Restaurant in Central Park. The traffic was horrible for a Friday evening. We got there at about 5:30PM or 6PM, I don’t even remember properly. I just remember it was cold and I was really lucky to have my coat on. I gave my shawl to Caitlin because she was wondering around freezing in her black dress. A little bit of champagne and some appetizers later and I was happy. The view was fantastic, the company exemplary. I moved from one group to another, chatting God knows what for another hour or so.
We were invited in and I found my table. I was fortunate to hang out with the half of the family that I had not met before, namely Eileen’s sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews. A lot of names to remember for one evening but I did pretty good. The location was gorgeous and as usual Nadia decorated it tastefully and gracefully. About 125 guests, half from Denmark, signaled with their combo of American and Danish flags, the rest, locals, friends, colleagues, college mates of the couple. And a few stranded missing links from Europe haha. Like me.
The party started with the dance of the groom and bride, then the speeches of the best man and bride’s maid. I must say, no one expected Ian to deliver such a great and lengthy speech. And James definitely nailed some things in his as to Jim and Eileen. Made us all laugh. Memories are always good to share especially at times like this. And then food. And dancing. They don’t serve as many courses as we do here and of course there is always the option of vegetarian and non-vegetarian. I got the beef haha. I was amazed to see the kind of modern music they play. Songs from back in the 80s to songs I used to dance on when I was 15 back in my clubbing days. Of course, there’s no folk music haha. And everyone was on the dance floor, from young to old, to happily buzzed with alcohol to the soberest of them all haha. A certain lady in red as we called her, skipped the alcohol limit and literally made history that night on a few failed attempts to catch Ian in her grip. Something everyone made sure to make fun of the following evening after the wedding.
Jim insisted that I get in line with the rest of the ladies when Nadia threw in the bouquet. Seriously?!?! Are you up for this one more time, ‘cause surely I am not! Haha So I was sitting there like a duck when the bouquet flew right above me and hit the drunken lady in red right in the face and fell to her feet. She was astonished for a few moments not knowing what happened, then suddenly came to a rush of adrenaline and started screaming grabbing the precious flowers in her hands, throwing a leg way too up in the sky for such a tiny dress and the high heel past me by on a short notice and I was like damn! I think Ian fled the scene at that point. Unfortunately not for long because later on, some “fun material” pictures showed up from the photo booth and reignited the comments for the evening. Poor Ian!
Well, all in all, it was a fun night. Dancing, great food, great company, lots of laughter and a variety of little things to spice up the night. One of the fun Danish traditions was that when all the guests made noise hitting their knives one their plates or glasses the groom and bride had to get up on their chairs and kiss. Or when they hit the floor with their legs they should go under the table and kiss. This was meant to keep them awake throughout the night haha. Also, one other was that when either the bride or the groom went out of the room for a moment, all the men or women, depending on the situation, should go in and give a kiss to the bride or groom. It was hilarious with James because some of his mates mingled with the ladies hahaha. Either way, it was beyond an interesting experience. It was sweet, beautiful, family like and I loved it.
When the evening was done and no cab could enter the park after midnight (duh!) I took a ride back at the Lexington with the other guests and then grabbed a taxi back to my hostel. I checked my email and scavenged the internet for a bit in search of my next objectives the following day and at about 2:00AM I managed to go to bed. Happy.
|2AM after the wedding. Machiajul rezista haha|
Well. Another account of a day in USA for another day in Bucharest-ay. So it rhymes haha. So will get back to you with a 3 in one kind of adventure next time. I mean shopping doesn’t require detailing right? Haha
Mwuah and have a great Monday everyone!