Wandering the World
This post is a part of a collaboration with Blog with Friends. Each month we choose a theme and everyone gives it their own special twist. This month's theme is "Gifts from the Heart" so stay reading until the end and you will find links for all kinds of lovely posts from the heart!
T he small round scab on my elbow doesn’t look like much but every time I turn over in bed or put my elbows on the table I get a quick stab of remembrance. On Friday night while I was playing volleyball I dove for a ball and smacked it soundly on the floor. It is a small gift from my cousin Joy’s unicorn wedding; an event so wonderful and wild it will forever skew my idea of what a wedding is.
It started a week before when her brother (also my cousin) arrived from Utah with his family. I got to meet his partner, her mother and their toddler. What a fun, open, honest and expressive group they made! After a few days at the house of a friend in the village, they moved into my living room and my house became a lively place full of tea and a toddlers love of early mornings.
Most weddings simply require guests to find an acceptably formal outfit and show up, but not this one. My cousin had requested unicorn shaped cookies and since my recent cookie making efforts had not strayed from the relatively easy drop variety, I had to practice. I found some unicorn cookie cutters and my daughter entered the kitchen to try her hand at it. Just by looking at the dough I could tell the flour to butter ratio was off but I didn’t want to state this issue too strongly, so after gently suggesting she add more flour and meeting with indignant resistance, I let the matter drop and let her give it a try. They puffed up to unrecognizable blobs on the tray and while they tasted fine, they simply were not going to cut it for unicorn-shaped. It was time to try again and my daughter deciding that she didn’t really have a deep interest in cookie-making, washed her hands of the task. She would later take up her interest again when it came time to decorate. Cookies can’t really be made that far ahead because they become stale, so that mean that the day before the wedding, a not insignificant number of hours were spent baking and the morning of was devoted to icing rainbow mains and tails.
In addition to cookies, we all had to make horns to adorn our heads. I thought it might be fun to throw a little horn-making party, so Nika and I spent a morning shopping for supplies and discovering the delights of the “chinos” in Granada. Somehow while thinking about this gathering, I failed to consider that lots of children and a hot glue gun might not be the best of combinations so after putting out lots of styrofoam cones, ribbons, felt and other festive frills, I spent the entire time holding the gun and doling out appropriately sized dabs of hot silicone trying my best to avoid scalding tiny fingers. At first I was fretting that I was not getting to make my own horn, but soon I just started enjoying how creative everyone else was being with their horns. Of course that meant that I had to take a break from icing cookies the next morning to make my own horn, but it was totally worth it.
Now, with all of my appointed tasks completed, I was ready to head up the hill to my cousin’s house for a strictly woman’s getting ready party. No men were allowed to see the magic that went into turning us all into sparkly unicorns and when my husband Kerem showed up to ask us for tape to put up the signs for directing people between the two venues, he was promptly chased out.
The getting ready took hours, a feat for me because my complete getting ready routine rarely exceeds 10 minutes. The more time we had, the more jewels and sparkles we felt like we needed to add to our faces and bodies. Glitter was running rampant as was colored hair spray and lipstick! Towards the end I looked down and realized my cleavage was totally naked so Alice promptly applied a galaxy of stars.
Now that we were suitably transformed, we just had to wait for the bride to put on her dress, this took a while so people started bouncing.
Finally the moment had arrived and Joy emerged, she did not disappoint! The dress, swirled around her; she was all that a unicorn bride should be! And I felt a little ting of pride because I had found the dress and brought it to her.
K erem and I had found the dress in a crazy dungeon used-costume store in Istanbul that claimed to be the biggest used costume store in the world. I am not sure if that is true, but it was the biggest, most interesting one I have ever been in. The dress was hanging up somewhere near the front of the store and I snapped a picture of it and sent it to Joy just for a lark. Fortune was with us as I had just enough internet reception for it to send before I plunged deeper into the store. Joy happened to be between classes in Spain when it arrived on her phone and she loved it. She had just been talking about her dress with our friend in the village and she sent the picture on to her. They both loved it and sent me messages that I should defiantly buy it. I didn’t get the messages until I emerged from underground and got reception and my phone started dinging. I went back in to see how much the dress was, thinking it must be pretty cheap since the other dresses I had asked about were between 50 and 100 dollars. The sales woman said that this particular dress would set me back 1000 dollars, waaaay to much for our budget. I sent the disappointing news to Joy but thought that maybe they would have something else that might fit the budget. I told the lady all about Joy and why she needed a special dress. We headed for the wedding dress section but they were all too ordinary and then, seemingly for no reason at all, she offered to sell me the 1000 dollar dress for 150 dollars. Sold!! Now, I just had to figure out how to get this huge, heavy dress from Istanbul to Spain in our already overstuffed luggage. Luckily I know how to game the luggage weight system so it made it into my carry on no problem.
We all walked to a meadow, locally known as “The Mandala” overlooking the lake and after horsing around for a few minutes, we lined up according to plan to enter the wedding which was to take place at the skate park. Why the skate park? Well, the bride and groom share a love of skating and she had been one of the principal organizers of getting the skate park built a little over a year ago.
N ow, for some reason I decided that this was the perfect occasion to wear my heels. I had hardly worn them since I broke my leg almost 2 years ago and my leg had already started to protest when I realized that not only was the wedding at the skate bowl, it was in it! I was not prepared for this and I balked but everyone was looking and it was my turn to go in so I did my best but ended up on my butt sliding down trying to maintain my balance with my elbow thus creating that little circular scab. I righted myself and managed to get in line where I was supposed to be.
The master of ceremonies gave a funny, moving and altogether entertaining lead up to the vows and the bride and groom kissed and then they mixed two kinds of alcohol, symbolizing the mixing of their lives or something and we all drank out of the cup. My first thought was, is this hygienic? But then I drank hoping that the mix of alcohol would kill any stray viruses.
The next challenge was to get out of the bowl. my husband was worried and got into position to catch me but I got a running start and made it no problem. The newly married couple then skated around the bowl for a bit in their one and only dance as the rest of the wedding was spent in a whirlwind of socializing for both of them.
Just as I was getting mentally prepared for the 30 minute climb up to the next venue and changing my shoes to flats because my leg was simply not going to hold out with the heels, Kerem came trotting up to tell us we had been offered a ride. My daughter and I piled into the van but Kerem decided to walk because he likes walking. To each his own, I was more than happy to ride!
The celebration was held in an old house with a huge terrace overlooking the village. Guests were treated to tacos and paella made by cooking artists, amazing wedding cakes, food brought by all of the guests and of course, my cookies. Sadly, I didn’t get any pictures of them because I totally forgot and my fingers were usually covered in sticky blue and pink frosting, something that is not allowed anywhere near my camera.
At about 10:30, just as I was getting my groove on after several homemade spicy ginger beers, the music was pumping, I was under the disco ball, and my daughter began tugging urgently at my sleeve. She was tired and wanted to go home. I resisted the urge to brush her off and continue dancing and took her home and helped her to bed. She was sorry about taking me away from the party but I assured her that I would be thanking her tomorrow when I didn’t have a hangover. Internally I was not thanking her but I have to be motherly sometimes and this seemed like the moment.
I n spite of eating and drinking too much, I did make it to the next day with no hangover. I headed back up the hill to help clean up with my husband and daughter but no one was cleaning up, instead, the party was still going. By then, the tequila with the ghost chili in it was making the rounds. My husband’s OCD side was taking over and he began to clean up the bottles and trash and organizing it into nice neat recycling piles. I couldn’t let him do that all by himself, so, between slugs of hot tequila straight out of the bottle, I pitched in and it was super satisfying. My cousin and his family had to go off to the airport so everyone said goodby and then I ate some more cake and went home again.
The next day it was raining in earnest when whatsapp notified me that the cleanup and a BBQ were happening so I donned a raincoat and went back off up the hill. My husband and daughter decided to stay put in their pajamas at home. We cleaned and ate a lot of that we were able to grill in the massive fireplace inside. Things were beginning to wind down but then the rain let up and a friend started to DJ with some great 80s music. So we all went back outside and started to dance again until the bride reminded us not to make any more mess because we were supposed to be cleaning up. Somehow everything did get cleaned up and I was one of the last to leave. The owner of the venue complained that the kitchen floor was not clean enough so Joy and I mopped it an extra two times in front of him just so he could see we did it. The place hadn’t been cleaned in years before we got there so I am pretty sure he just wanted to see us mopping but whatever, he seemed happy after it was done so all is good.
I would like to say that this is when the party ended but no, it continued into the bars of Guejar for several more days until all of the wedding guests had to go back home and we were all able to sleep for several days.
This post is a part of a collaboration with Blog with Friends. Each month we choose a theme and everyone gives it their own special twist. This month's theme is "Gifts from the Heart" so stay reading until the end and you will find links for all kinds of lovely posts!