Friday, 31 August 2012

The road less travelled

'' they're all surrending one by one to the dark side of th force. Am I next?''

Breathe Annabelle, you're strong . It will not happen to YOU.

All my friends decided to get married this year.

I can't be further from that reality

Brighton Beach , the night before.

'' Nice view innit''

Me and British lover  ( who from now on decided to be called '' Ken Adams'' in this blog ( watch  episode 8.04 of friends to undertsand) had to hang out on the beach because we could not go Home to anywhere. We we staying in a 10 bed dormitory in our favourite hostel that night. And of course it was THE SAME 10 bed dorm( compliments from th staff who also got me drunk that night to propably test my devotion to my job) . 

Yes, even drunk I did sleep in MY OWN bed. My devotion for my job is stronger than anything else ( please don't make m do that again)

So, yes, My reality was VERY FAR from weddings as you can see.

Anyway , my friends all decided to travel the road less traveled. Getting married the way they wanted to get married. Not to please Auntie this, Grandma that or the Pope. Not even for security.  THEIR own way.

Respect for that.

My first friend who got married to her partrner of 13 years ( we all met the same year working in a school ) decided to do a suprise wedding. The official reason for gathering was for the civil christening of their 2 kids ( we call is Republican Christening. In other words : anti religious) Her catholic mother was already dying in the inside , but when they announced to everyone at the end of the ceremony that they were ALSO getting married that day she almost passed out.
They got married with to the loud sound of ska music. Which was totally THEM.

So... you can get married AND enjoy the day?

I was the witness of the first wedding with personality I d even been to. I almost changed my mind about it.
I was now invited to a wedding in Dublin.. A dear friend from Uni who was always anti marriage but decided to do it anyway.
He 's marrying a gorgeous Spanish girl in the country they currently live in.: Ireland. Now we're talking.

My friend is as spontanous and organized as me.

1 week before wedding :

'' Shit , I did not tell you. I'm not getting married on the 24th , there was no space , it's actually on the 23rd at 12am. Can you still come? PS : Can I be your wedding planner?''

Wedding day

I look at my ticket , I'm landing at 11.05 am . Exactly one hour before wedding.
There's me running around Dublin Airport . I have never run faster for a wedding maybe I will run as fast for mine. (But in the other direction? )

Thank God I'm a European citizen and passport control took me 2 seconds.'' Tanks a million''

40 minutes of bus later I jump in a taxi telling him he s got 10 whole minutes to cross Dublin's traffic while I put my make up on without a mirror ( now which one is the impossible task?)

What did he say? I've got no idea. He's Irish. It takes me about 2 days everytime to get used to Irish accent. Unfortunately I never stay more than 2 days.

All I understood was '' You smell nice'' and '' Are you going to take your top off too?''

Welcome to Ireland , me.

He made it on time. I gave him a good tip in that strange currency they call Euro. To me it's still a total confusion to pay in Euro AND speak English.

My friends were so cool they were waiting for ME to get married.

I'm introduced to everyone. Hola / Bonjour. No one speaks the other language properly but we all try.

I don't know many people but it doesn't matter. Try and isolate yourself in a group of french. Add Spanish to that and good luck to your shyness.

'' What's in that suitcase?'' I ask the groom's cousin.

'' Fromage de France '' He answers quite proudly.

''Que?'' Asks the Spanish next to me.

'' Queso de Francia'' I answer. Shit I do speak Spanish. YAY.

Yes, the guy had travelled all the way from France with a suitcase packed with goodies from our region in France . Their part of the region , '' le Haut Doubs'' is particurlaly famous for its sausage. '' La saucisse de Morteau'' . We ve called the groom that for year at Uni. So it was only fair.

Their wedding pictures mainly involves cheese and sausage. The only bit of Tradition they would allow.
In 2 seconds I was given the responsibilty of a baby I had never met ( their son , born last December) and we were all singing '' all you need is love '' with a bunch of Spanish and french people in Ireland.
'' Sorry , it's our first time'' my friend says to the Irish lady who was marrying them. How so emotional.
I was trying hard to speak 3 languages to the baby who was now staring at me as if telling me '' Dude, language does not matter. it's all about the energy we give out''
And he was right, language did not matter at that time. The witnesses did not speak a word of English but were having a good laugh and their happiness was way enough for them.
In the corner, the legal translator was getting bored of not having to translate anything for anyone. The Irish lady could not pronounce their names properly and was vaguely trying a Spanish accent and a French accent but at a very wrong time. My friends asked her to repeat many times as she had a strong irish accent.
As a huge fan of cultural diversity I also had to face the fact. There is no such thing as language barrier . All those people singing '' all you need is love'' to my best friend of 13 yars on his wedding day in Dublin gave me the chill. I wanted to say that to the baby but he already knew what I was feeling.
Language is overrated.
Kids know that more than anyone. French kids and Spanish kids started to naturally play together. They were speaking their own language to each other but no one needed a translator. They were just kids playing.
'' Mummy the Spanish kid broke my hair clip'' says that french little girl , very angry.
'' Forgive him darling , he is spanihsh'' mum says.
Ok then. She goes back playing with the kids from the other country, forgetting the anger. Why , at some point in our life, do we stop being like this????
Adults are a bit slower. On one side of the table, the french , on the other side the Spanish.We were sort of competing for noise. On that occasion the french were louder. Wow. Poor irish people around us.
We were in a posh irish restaurant where they do french cuisine better than the french ( it hurt our pride a little bit)
Beside me , the 40 year old single lady from the South of France whom I never met before was disappointed. I ask her why
'' Where are the vikings?'' she asks me, desperatly.
She was hoping to meet one of those big tall strong men with red hair and a helmet with horns.
As I was starting to disappoint her, the big tall irish waiter with red hair walks in. Before I could tell her about this culture being naturally reserved she was onto him asking for his name and adress ,kissing his cheek while taking a picture.
He did not say a word. I felt for him. I really did.
'' See what I told you '' she says to her friend.
'' Ask Annabelle, she'd know'' her friend replies.
I knew EXACTLY what the question was
'' Why are they so cold , it's like they have no emotion these people. Is that why they drink so much ? '' they both ask me at the same time, staring.
I start my usual speech. It's not cold, it's reserved. I tell them it also was a real big problem for me when I first moved to England. However Learning to be British ( ie more reserved and introvert) helped me a lot to balance my emotions out ( can you believe I used to be worse than that)
With time I learnt that cultures are meant to balance each othesr out.We are meant to hang out WITH each other. Not point out the faults in others ( like the french usually do with talent)
French should hang out with th Brits to learn to keep their emotions to themselves more ( way cheaper than anti depressant) and the Brits should hang out more with the french to express their emotions better ( way cheaper than booze)
Spanish should hang out with Germans to be more organized and German should hang out more with the Spanish to be LESS organized.
To me , it all makes sense. But I leave it up to you.
After half a dozen bottles of champagne , the french and the Spanish finally got together to speak frenglish , Spanglish , you name it.
I was so proud of my Spanish. I was now having a full on conversation with my friend's step dad. Actually , my spanish was still shit but I was drunk , so my confidence was showing ( thank you booze)
'' My step dad is asking if you are really French. You speak Spanish with a polish accent'' my friend says.
I show him my tattoo but it was too late. He called me '' la polaka'' for 2 days.
We all then moved to a local irish pub. The french , the spanish and the suitcase full of cheese.
'' My life is so different from yours. You're a traveller and all'' the groom tells me finally, with a hint of admiration and a pint of Guiness in his hand.
'' Darling , you 're a traveller too'' I tell him , looking at all his friends and family interacting in 3 languages.
He was way more of a traveller than me , in reality. He had travelled roads I did not even consider going one day . I look at his beautiful Spanish wife and their baby who was destined to be trilingual. He had taken that risk. He knew things I did not know because he had been there and done that. He had taken the road less travelled. Using tradition to his own advantage ( and not the other way round for once)

Yes, he already knew that the travellers' road is not supposed to be a lonely path in the end.

No, We don't have to do this alone.

That day was definitely the day when I had my first real glimpse of  the road less travelled.

When I was again reconsidering my view on Life ( I have to do it very often) , a unidentified flying object landed on me.
The last bit of tradition ...

I had caught The Bride 's bouquet.


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