When my brother got engaged to his lovely wife this summer, I immediately wondered when the wedding would happen. Of course it would be easier if they married while we were still in the US, but it would be a lot of fun if they waited and I got a solo vacation out of the deal. Everyone agreed that a November wedding would be a bit quick so pretty soon after we settled in here, I booked a complicated series of plane tickets to get myself literally halfway across the world and to the wedding.
I managed the whole trip in a carry-on suitcase and my purse, so I enjoyed the complete opposite experience from our move to Dushanbe - one person with one carryon instead of seven people with two carry-ons, a stroller, six backpacks, a porta crib, and ten suitcases. I sailed through security lines, took sleeping pills with wild abandon, and enjoyed eating every single meal uninterrupted. Even waking up in LA in my hotel after only three hours of sleep wasn't too bad when I was the only one awake. And eating a plateful of pork sausages for breakfast while reading a book soothed my jet-lag.
I arrived in Utah on Tuesday but the wedding wasn't until Friday so my mother, who had also left her husband in a foreign country, and I had a great time hanging out and soaking in all of the wonderful goodness that America has to offer. We went out to lunch with an old friend and reveled in things like avocados (me) and vegetables other than potatoes (my mother). We went to Wal-Mart and my mother, who doesn't have shipping privileges, filled up her empty second suitcase with goodies. I had lunch at a delicious French bistro with my aunt and then we went to a second for dessert. In one day I had brunch with all of my siblings and their spouses and significant others, met friends from a study abroad for lunch, and then had dinner with all the family that had come for the wedding. I felt like a child, being told where to sleep, when to eat, and when to be in the car for the next round of fun. It was fantastic.
Friday was sunny and warm, the best kind of day for a wedding in early March, and Mike and Adrienne's ceremony was lovely. There was a lot of crying and even more hugging. Mike and Adrienne were, of course, absolutely thrilled and I'm pretty sure that their cheeks were sore that night from smiling non-stop the entire day.
I was sad to get on the plane the next afternoon in LA (after an extended layover to spend time with a former roommate) and leave such good times behind. I am very happy in my own little world filled with the six most important people in my life. I don't get lonely and rarely have time to miss everyone I've left behind. My life is full.
But then I spend a week with my close family and extended family and friends and realize that my life is even more full with them in it. There are so many people to love, so many that I care for and could spend every day with and never get tired. I was the last child in my own family to get married and so didn't get to party with everyone non-stop like this time. Weddings (especially when nobody's brought their children) are one of the most fun times ever. It's too bad that they don't happen more often - I only have one unmarried brother left.
Now I am back in real life filled with the ones I love and care for and my week of partying is a cherished memory. Mike and Adrienne are married and real life is starting for them. I know that we can't all take a permanent break from real life forever, but it was fantastic while it lasted.