29 May 2010

Equinox Love: Preparations Before the Family Storm

As you noticed in my last post, we had just a couple of things to take care of the week before the wedding!  We had so many things we wanted to do, let alone the things we needed to take care of.

For example, we really really missed being in the states and doing normal US-things.  So, on our list of "funbligations" (obligations that are just too dang fun to pass up!) were things like run in Forest Park, have coffee at St. Honoré Bakery, eat breakfast at the Screen Door (omg you need to go there - soul food heaven!), and take a stroll through REI for old time's sake.  I know this might sound lame.  It's amazing the little things you miss about your home country!

Anyways, we had a tight schedule in which our Portland gallivanting could also count as wedding prep - my family was flying into town on Tuesday, and that's when the prep would kick into over drive.

Saturday morning was a dream.  The first thing we did was run 5 miles in Forest Park.  Those were the easiest 5 miles I've ever run in my life - everything was so beautiful!  (Maybe the euphoria over getting married was kicking in?)

not me - but just as good!
Forest Park is right next to the darn cutest little neighborhood ever - what I lovingly refer to as the alphabet district.  All the streets run in alphabetical order, and they have the same names as characters from the Simpson's (these were actually the inspiration for the characters' names!).  Just blocks from the end of the trail is the St. Honoré Boulangerie - oh-so-cute, and delish coffee and pastries to boot!  (Maybe I should do a Honeymoon In My Hometown for Portland already?)  Sipping coffee after a run in the woods was absolutely divine.

After coffee and a shower, we bopped over to the other side of Portland to rehearse with our band, Terracoustic - I'll save those deets for the reception, though. ;)

We truly got derailed when, on Sunday, we tried to fit a 12 mile run in before visiting our venue for the final consultation (2.5 hours away!).  The plan was to run most of the Sauvie Island Foot Traffic Flat course (a protected 12 mile route), then stop by the flower farm to see what would be in bloom for our wedding, pick up lavender bouquets on the island, and top the day off with our visit to Westwind.

 Sauvie Island is located right in Portland and, lucky for me and my penchant for lavender, it has a bountious lavender farm on it!

I thought that 12 miles would be a piece of cake by this point.  We'd already been running up to 18 miles, anyways!  Unfortunately, it wasn't so easy.  Jetlag does a number on your ability to run.  We were sluggish the entire run.  I began to think we couldn't run the marathon ("Would this be a metaphor for our marriage??"  I thought, defeated, as I gulped down air).  I even had to stop at mile 11 to cry on Mr. Bear Cub's shoulder.  I couldn't understand what was so difficult about this run.  We'd already come so far, we'd already set everything up like clockwork.

By the time we finished our run, it was way too late to drive out to Westwind.  We called the staff, and rescheduled for Tuesday, hopeful we'd still be able to get everything taken care of in time.

How did you juggle your last-minute preparations?  Were you able to maintain your sanity, or did you have to sacrifice anything along the way?

Catch up on the tale!
Equinox Love: New Beginnings
Equinox Love: Through Our Friends’ Eyes
Equinox Love: Reticence
Equinox Love: The Tipping Point

25 May 2010

Equinox Love: The Tipping Point

Incidentally, while I was getting ready to leave Chile for our month in the states of wedding bliss, I was also in the middle of reading Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point.  This is a fascinating book, very light-hearted yet genuine (perfect for the week before the wedding!).  Mr. Gladwell posits that there is a "moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point" in which little things that previously seemed insignificant prove to make a big difference (as states the byline). 

Mr. Gladwell's first example has to do with the curious rise in popularity of hush puppies (holy cow are they popular in Chile).  As I was sitting in the La Serena airport, packed and ready to board my plane to weddingland, it became evident that I, too, was approaching a tipping point in our voyage.

Our flight was canceled.


The plane that was supposed to take me and my loverboy (that's Mr. Bear Cub ;) ) to Santiago, to catch a 9pm flight to Dallas, to catch an 8am flight to Portland, had, upon landing at my airport in La Serena, sucked a bird into one of its engines.  My early afternoon flight was permanently grounded, and most passengers were being ticketed for a connecting flight the following day.

Sad Bear Cub.

stuck at the airport with my irony

For most travelers, this is an unwelcome inconvenience.  To a bride a week before her wedding, this is catastrophe.  We had carefully planned to arrive on Friday a week before the wedding.  This would leave us with a very finite amount of time in which to move mountains.  As it was, every single day before the wedding was already chock full of tasks - arriving a day late would derail my sanity and make it nearly impossible to finish important things like baking the wedding cake.

No joke - we were packed tight:
Friday (arrive midday, tired)
-- final dress alterations (hadn't worn let alone seen my dress for a full year)
-- 5 mile training run (remember that marathon we'd been prepping for?)
-- Mail my engagement ring to the wedding ring maker for final adjustments (he lives on the east coast!)
-- 15 mile training run
-- visit flower farm, make final arrangements for u-pick flowers
-- pick up lavender bushels
-- get mason jars
-- organize decoration supplies to go to Camp Westwind
-- visit Westwind (2 hour drive away), meet with camp director and head chef
-- 6 mile training run
-- get a makeup trial, buy some makeup
-- get a dang haircut already
-- buy some lingerie!
-- meet and rehearse with our band
-- buy plants from a nursery for special extra part to ceremony
(My family flew into Portland around this time.  As lovely as they are, this starts to add other important duties to the list, such as spending precious time with them ;) ).
-- 8 mile training run
-- get the wine (across town)
-- arrange for the beer (kegs) to be picked up
-- kill fires
-- eat sushi (this one's important)
-- 5 mile training run
-- bake wedding cakes with my maid of honor, sister, and mother all day (get supplies in advance)
-- must have been busy, because it's a total BLANK
-- something resembling a bachelorette/bachelor party in the evening
-- Drive to Westwind!
-- Prep for the wedding!
-- (12 mile run.  can you believe the insanity?)
-- Wedding!!!
-- get the heck outa dodge.

... I was a bit stressed.  Mr. Bear Cub suggested we try to calm down in the airport by practicing our wedding dance.  When we told one of the gate agents that we were traveling to get married, the skies parted (less birds for air strikes), and they did everything in their power to help us get to the states by the following morning.  There was a late flight that evening, set to arrive in Santiago at 8:50pm.  Our original flight was set to leave Santiago at 9pm.  They told us we could take this late flight, and chance making our connection.

We answered with an emphatic "SI!!"

They checked our bags all the way to Portland (normally you have to re-check your bags upon arrival to the states - this would also be a tight connection), and arranged for a gate agent to escort us to our connection.

We just made it.  They had put us in the first row of the plane, and as soon as the door to the plane was opened, a gate agent whisked us through all sorts of back hallways in the Santiago airport to our connecting gate.  We were literally running across the airport, movie-like, giddy smiles at our grand fortune plastered across our faces.

And we made our connection.

We were routed a little differently - through Miami - but we arrived in Portland only 6 hours late.

Blissful in our good fortune (I even convinced the rental car company to rent us a Prius for the price of a Chevy Aveo!  Wedding card score!), we regrouped to tackle the mountain of wedding tasks for the following week.

24 May 2010

Equinox Love: Reticence

Hmm...  over three months since my last post.  I haven't really been on my blogging game, have I?  I've wanted so dearly to share with you my wedding.  I've composed entire recap posts in my head - the good, the quirky, the unmatched love.  But every time I spin the story in my mind's eye, I find myself saddened by the handful of ways in which my wedding embodied anything but love.  The painful memories burn in spite of the overwhelming adoration.

But I have to be real.  I could gloss over our wedding with just the pictures, but then where would the soul be?  Even the best wedding pictures can only aspire to capture the ecstatic and schizophrenic thoughts coursing through the minds of the bride and groom on the day of their wedding.

To wit:  I cried on the morning of our wedding day.  Not because I was overcome by the sight of my gown.  Not because my groom sent me words of love.  I cried on the morning of our wedding day because the previously misplaced decorative lighting had just been found.  LIGHTING.  I had wanted to create a perfect mood for our wedding dinner, but in its place I had fostered a sour mood over misplaced light bulbs.  I cried because I was so immensely grateful that someone came to my rescue, that someone understood my need for... light bulbs.

I am very embarrassed that I let myself care so much about something so insignificant.  Or rather, I wish I could reconcile within myself a personal battle.  I am a highly sensitive person, and throughout my life I have attempted to please everyone before myself.  For my wedding, I wanted (just once) for the people around me to show me they were trying to understand me and my wishes and intents as I have attempted to do for them in the past.

This is difficult territory to tread.  On one side of the battlefront, I wish I had had help and emotional support in certain instances from specific people.  On the other, I feel ashamed for even thinking these ungrateful thoughts.  We already had so much help in building our wedding day - it wouldn't have come to fruition without the hard work of our friends and family.

And yet, there's a strangely sour tone to my memory of our wedding.  I could have handled things better, taken over more tasks myself (could I?), I could have been more magnanimous in the face of my social anxiety (maybe?), ... I could have taken more deep breaths.

When it comes down to it, your wedding is the embodiment of your life and all the characters in it (even some you didn't know were in it!).  You can try to rebuild old bridges among family members, and you can try to fully embrace your growing family of friends.  You must, however, take these few days in your life in stride.  They are only a few steps (however large) in the journey that is your joined life with your husband.  Own these days for all they are, the good and the bad, but don't let them decide ad infinitum your life's path - this you have the power to continuously sculpt, with your new partner by your side.

My point in all this is that I've been reticent to post about our wedding.  I would be lying to myself, and I'd be lying to you if I said that everything went swimmingly.  Everything didn't go swimmingly, mostly because I was stretched immeasurably thin.

Despite this reticence, our wedding was irreplaceable - I deeply cherish my memories.  The lows, however infrequent yet painful upon hindsight, cast the highs in euphoric relief.