I mentioned previously that we went to a wedding in Pennsylvania last Friday. Our friends DM and CN were married. Like many of the friendships we made at university, we met them through international student connections/international interests, and eventually we all lived in the International House on campus together.
I remember meeting DM pretty early his freshman year. Three years before I had attended an international youth summit in Washington DC and had made a friend who lived in the Netherlands but was Bulgarian by birth/heritage. I kept in touch with this friend for several years, and had learned a bit about both these countries through him. So when I met DM for the first time I was happy to pull out the few words of Bulgarian I knew– Как сте? (Kak si-te? How are you?) and Добре съм (Dobre sãm. I’m fine) which was probably pretty unexpected from an American girl in rural northern New York.
Although we are both American, CN and I had similar intercultural interests—we both studied in France but during different semesters. Her freshmen year roommate was from Kenya, another eventual close friend of ours, and my Swahili language teaching assistant. All of us wound up in the International House for the rest of our college careers. Eventually CN and I both enrolled in the same international education masters program, and we both have jobs working with international students (she’s an ESL teacher) in addition to both being married to former international students.
Their wedding was the first wedding P and I attended after our own. I guess the first one you go to after your own always feels a little weird. You are very happy for your friends, but seeing them go through the motions can’t help but remind you of your own experience and how you were feeling at the time. Everything happened so quickly during our own wedding, that I didn’t really have a time to process it, but as a spectator at theirs I felt like I was processing a lot. I was that annoying person sitting in the audience whispering to the person sitting next to me, “I remember at this point I was feeling/thinking ______. I wonder if he/she is feeling the same.”
At your own wedding, the guests are there because they know you, so there are so many people to talk to. I remember people constantly approaching us, asking us for pictures, wanting to chat, wanting to dance, it felt a bit overwhelming sometimes, and certainly added to the feeling that time was passing so quickly. At someone else’s wedding you think about how you don’t know a lot of people, and how you want to be that person approaching the bride and groom to talk, to steal them to take pictures, to dance with them on the dance floor, but you try to be understanding because you know how it feels to be inundated.
It is certainly more relaxing to be at someone else’s wedding. To have a drink or two during the cocktail hour, to sit back and enjoy your meal, and dance your heart out on the dance floor without worries or distraction. It also hits you that your wedding time is really over. You are not the “bride” anymore, but a “wife” which has its own mystique and excitement.
They did one of those anniversary dances during the reception where all the married couples dance to a song and the MC calls out dates, and the longest married couple is the last remaining at the end of the song. P and I were the first ones off the dance floor when the guy called out, “Anyone married a month or less?” It will be a month next Tues/Wed. Holy cow… a whole month already, where did that month go? Can’t time just stand still for a little while?
Fat chance with international orientation coming up in the next two weeks with our largest international class ever. My summer is pretty much over now.
I better finish my last two wedding posts before I forget to jot down my “white wedding” thoughts.