77 hour trip
2 transatlantic flights
3 train rides
6 hours of time change (each way)
Being there for Leif and Christina’s wedding… priceless
We werenâ€™t sure if weâ€™d be able to go to Leif and Christinaâ€™s weeding, so it was a last minute surprise. Â Graham did a great job booking all the travel and we bought some wedding clothes in Gavle before we left. We were up at 0400 Swedish time on Saturday morning, took the train to Arlanda-Stockholm, a plane to Newark NJ, then another plane to Toronto. Â We missed the rehearsal dinner but were in time for the actual rehearsal, which was handy since I was a bridesmaid/groomslady. Â Leif and Christina were staying at a hotel near the wedding venue, so we got to stay at their house with their two cats. Â It was great!
We spent Sunday morning at the salon getting ready. The groomâ€™s party and Brideâ€™s party were getting ready at separate venues, and Leif chose a really great Aveda salon. Graham got an over-due haircut and a bonus scalp massage since cutting Grahamâ€™s hair doesnâ€™t really take that long. Â Jordan (best lady) and I got updos (with enough bobbypins in mine that I set off the metal detector coming home and had to endure a physical search) and along with Tracy (Leifâ€™s mum) got our makeup done professionally. Â Then we had a great Lebanese lunch of pita and humus/baba ganouj/lebneh/salad/saganaki.
The wedding it self was really great.Â The ceremony was short, sweet, and really personal. Â I like modern ceremonies that remove the patriarchal and archaic ceremony and keep the parts that are meaningful to the folks getting marriedâ€¦ this wedding certainly qualified! Â The reception was also really great.Â Sometimes guest roll eyes at an extended list of speakers, but the speeches were really entertaining. There were lots of great speakers at the event, but the highlight was Veronika (maid of honour) who wrote a song for the couple and played the piano in lieu of a regular toast.Â Â As for my brief toastâ€¦ itâ€™s hard for a toast/speech to stand up with some English-lit PhDs and pro lecturers in the room, but I think I acquitted myself nicely by being brief and heartfelt.
The food was super awesome! Leif and Christina held the ceremony and dinner and dance at Sassafraz Restaurant and they did a great job. At dinner we drank out of custom designed hand-blown (mouth blown?) glass tumblers made by Christinaâ€™s brother Eric.Â He has a website and since Leif (and hopefully Christina too) is coming out for Christmas, we may commission some gifts for him to bring to BC.
The cake was homemade by Ontario-friend Erin and decorated to look like the Belizean pyramid-temple on which Leif proposed to Christina in the spring. Â I think itâ€™s very effective; it has a real Indiana Jones vibe with all the vines. Â It was tasty too!Â A four piece jazz band was fuelling dancing, and Leif and Christina had a great first dance: waltz, then foxtrotâ€¦ Leif has improved a lot since we went to the prom, maybe it has to do with finding the right partner? Â 😉
The trip back to Sweden was smooth and easy.Â Toronto and Newark were sunny, and we had an awesome view of Manhattan and the statue of liberty as we flew out. Â On the big flight from Newark to Stockholm we played bulkhead roulette: where you choose seats in the front row for the extra legroom and hope that there is no screaming infant in your row. Â There were 2 of us and one empty seat when they closed the door, so we gave a high five and settled in for crazy comfort when there was a knock on the hatch and Emilio and his mom came in to sit next to us. Â Luckily, 18-month old Emilio was in a friendly and inquisitiverather than fussy, so we got to make faces at him while he pointed and giggled. Â Graham talked with him a bit; I think their Swedish was about on par.
The train home to Gavle was easy and now we are struggling to stay awake until bedtime so we can re-acclimatize and dive back into the work week. Â It was definitely a lot of living (not a lot of sleeping) to pack into one weekend, so I expect Graham will have some thoughts and comments too.