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Posts Tagged ‘love’

While living in Limerick, Anton and I would frequent the town market on Saturdays. One Saturday we went down and heard someone playing the uilleann pipes. We stopped and looked at each other. Immediately our eyes began to fill and that’s when we knew we couldn’t have this wedding without them. I had heard them many years back and always dreamed about having them at my wedding. Not realizing that one day I would infact marry an Irishman. They are just the most beautiful sound and a tradition in the Irish heritage.

I am pleased to announce that I have just booked an uilleann pipes player for the wedding ceremony. I’m so excited. He’s only going to play at the ceremony because we’re having a band play at the reception. He’s only €150, which I thought was reasonable. If you want to know who he is you can email me. Haven’t asked if I can blog about him yet. I will and post it at a later date. Visit this great website  if you’re getting married in the Cork area and want an uilleann pipe player at your ceremony. Donal was quick to respond to my email and although he couldn’t help me being so far away, he was more than willing to offer suggestions for someone closer to my area.

The wonderful person who actually referred me to the player I booked today was Gabriela Avram. A terrific lady who I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know from social techie events here in Ireland. She’s got a great blog about the events she attends and the work she does in market research in technology. Thanks again Gabriela!

 “There are some things you can penny pinch on but my hair isn’t one of them.”

The first of three huge planning details I took care of yesterday was booking a videographer. I had called a few a couple months back to no avail. They were all booked. So I figured it wasn’t meant to be. Then I went poking around the internet again yesterday and found this great website, Keane For Beauty, with links to an array of bridal planning websites and phone numbers. Now mind you these services are mainly localized in County Clare, but most will travel for a nominal fee.

I first contacted Brooks Video,  from the links on the website, who said they regretably couldn’t cover it because they weren’t going to be in town. Yet they were more than willing to offer me two alternatives and one in particular worked out beautifully. The videographer I chose to go with is SES Digital. They have several packages to chose from ranging in price from €650 to €1100.  Very reasonable considering I’ve been quoted anywhere from €1200-€2000.  Declan from SES Digital was extremely helpful in answering all my questions and even sent me samples of his work. You can see them on the website as well.

The second thing I booked yesterday was the hairdresser. I found her on the same website as the videographer. I’m using Ev’s Hair Design in Quin. She’s really close by and can come to the house to do all the bridesmaids, my mom, and myself. Bridesmaids and mothers pay roughly €30 and mine will be €50. Plus another €50 for the onsite fee. I figure it’s worth it because the way the wind is out here, I’m not chancing too many trips to and from the car. So once I get my veil and tiara/comb I can bring it to her for a free practice run. There are some things you can penny pinch on but my hair isn’t one of them.

“…with enough ribbon and flowers…I’ll be happy.”

The last thing I booked yesterday was the transportation. I cheated and looked on www.goldenpages.ie for someone local. All of the websites I found were in Dublin and I wasn’t willing to pay twice the amount for the commute. So I’m going with Joe O’Leary in Limerick. For a black stretched limo that seats 8 that will pick me and my girls up at the house, drive us to the church, take us to any photo sites we chose, then on to the reception, will cost a total of €300. I called several places yesterday and needless to say they were the cheapest. An alternative to this, that I don’t have the pleasure of, is having a friend or family member that has a Hummer or larger vehicle that can pick a lot of people up.

An idea that Anton came up with as a solution to the problem of ‘how do he and I get to the reception with a limo full of the wedding party?’ was for us to rent a Mercedes or equivelent for the day. That way he and the groomsmen can use it to get to the church in style and we can use it after the ceremony. We’re going to have someone in the wedding party, or a friend, drive us instead of a chauffeur. That is going to cost a fraction of the amount it would if we booked a Rolls Royce with chauffeur. Ideally a Rolls is what I wanted but with enough ribbon and flowers on the car, I’ll be happy.  

Another website that helps with wedding planning is www.weddings.ie. It’s loaded with ideas from “etiquette for the big day” to “who pays for what“. You can even find bands, chauffeurs, and bridal party gift ideas on the site as well. I found it very useful.

So that was my entire afternoon yesterday. Surfing, emailing, calling, and booking things that seemed to only be available by chance. And the funny thing is I always ended up booking with the least expensive option. Guess this wedding is really meant to be. If you put your energy out there to get a budget wedding, do your research, and open your mind to fun alternatives, you’ll get exactly what you want. The perfect ‘wedding on a dime’.

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So I’m thinking photographers are pretty straight forward as to what they do for weddings, thus resulting in a similar price right? WRONG! I got price ranges from €850 to €2000. What makes these prices so different? The biggest reason I came up with was ego. Which in my opinion if you can back it up fair play to ya, but I’m still not hiring you. I looked at a few websites and actually talked to these people about their pricing and what they do and don’t do. Some charge extra for shots of me getting ready, others charge more for collage type pictures, and one just said if I paid any less than he charged I’d get crappy pictures that wont stand the test of time. Test of time? I don’t need these pictures to last 3000 years. Just about 40 or so will do. And considering I have pictures from 40 years ago and they look good as new, I’m going to say current technology will ensure this will happen again. Not to mention all photographers put all of your pictures on a CD or DVD as well. 

 “Ever heard the term Bridezilla?”  

Make sure that whatever photographer you chose you really like them. This person is going to be following you around all day and capturing moments of the best day of your life. Meet this person over coffee beforehand and get some rapport going to get a feel for what this person is like. If they creep you out or rub you the wrong way don’t hire them. They will just aggravate you on a day that is already hectic enough.

 One photographer told me he would get the essential 24 shots out of the way then relax and take as many as I want after that. What are the ’24 essential shots’ you ask? Well they are of course the church shots like exchanging rings, candle lighting, and us entering and leaving as well as the pictures of us at the reception entering the hall, cutting the cake, and the bridal party dancing. So once he gets those shots ‘out of the way’ he can relax and take the frilly pictures like me getting ready, candid family and friends shots before and during the wedding services etc. Well that’s great right? Nope, because the last time I checked I don’t own a time machine allowing you to go back and take all those fun pictures that I so desperately want. I could feel this person’s anxiety over the phone so I could just imagine what I would be like if I hired them. Ever heard the term Bridezilla?  

“Well let’s just say if he had been standing in front of me he wouldn’t have been vertical very long.” 

At the peak of my frustration having spoken with Mr. Ego, Mr. 24 Essential Shots, and Mr. Quality Photos That Will Stand the Test of Time, I thought I would let the last one know how I felt about him trying to charge me €2000 for 40 pictures in a €300 Italian leather album. I first commended him on being a sole trader, as I am one myself. Then I tore into him for quite literally ripping people off and preying on the fact that a wedding will only happen once. And to ‘make it special’ by basically forfeiting a down payment on a house to pay for everything was sickening to say the least.

I also informed him that I wanted to have kids someday as well and having a wedding at this cost pretty much cancels that out. His comical retort to that was reminding me of tax breaks for having children. Yea, very funny asshole.  Then this person courageously suggested I should just go away and get married. To which I replied, “I’m an American living in Ireland. I DID GO AWAY TO GET MARRIED!”   He corrected me saying he meant fly to Italy and elope. Well let’s just say if he had been standing in front of me he wouldn’t have been vertical very long. I calmed myself and said, ”Let me get this straight. Because you are ripping people off and I can’t afford you I should ‘go away’ and get married away from my family and friends? Am I reading you right?” The phone call ended rather abruptly after that one. I then came to realize that apparently Satan’s day job is photography.  

Finally a photographer that gets it… 

The photographer I did choose to go with, Roberto Grilli, is fabulous. He’s reasonably priced (1000 euros) and after meeting over coffee we really got to chat about everything I want. He’s more than happy to accommodate me and even suggested we go to the church so he could get an idea of what shots he could take. When we arrived he went into the church and walked all around checking angles and lighting. He showed us where he would want to stand and even told us to ask the priest if it was ok that he went behind the altar to take pictures. Apparently some priests have a problem with this so make sure this isn’t a problem for you. It could narrow down what church to book if that’s an issue.

He then went outside and walked the church grounds. It was amazing watching him because you could see he was getting inspired. And when someone I barely knew got excited about my day it confirmed my gut feeling about hiring him. We talked about how different it would look in the summer with the trees in bloom and hoping the garden would be tended to. Then he also gave us the idea that we should ask around, being new to the area, to see if there were any places close by that were exceptionally beautiful to take outdoor photos. Knowing the weather in Ireland is fickle and it could rain at any moment, he suggested finding a spot for indoor photos as well. All things we hadn’t even though of ourselves. We chatted a bit longer in the pouring rain and really built a relationship with our new photographer. His non-refundable deposit was 200 euros, a fifth of the total cost, which we thought was reasonable as well. 

For those who have absolutely little to no ‘wedding capital’ Eirepreneur blogger, James Corbett, suggested this website for free wedding photographers. They take loads of pictures throughout the day and upload them on their website for free. Then you go to your own private gallery via a link and choose which photos you want printed. They charge you per print as opposed to the day. Just be aware that it might cost more than some packages other photographers have set up already so price shop a lot. If you aren’t concerned with having loads of pictures printed then this would most likely be the cheaper way to go. Plus you can print them whenever you have the money. One thing they point out on their blogsite is they don’t take the traditional pictures that everyone wants. They capture the ‘feeling’ of the day. Meaning all candid shots they think are cool. It’s a new way of looking at your wedding day or a supplement to another more traditional photographer. If you chose to go this route please post a comment. 

An alternative to getting a traditional wedding album made is to make a book out of it! There is an excellent website for those of you who want an alternative to a standard wedding album. What a great idea! Thanks to Elly Parker for commenting on the blog and giving us her pearls of wisdom. For a preview of her’s check out the link in the comments section of this post.

 “…don’t get intimidated by the “Mr.’s” 

So bottom line when looking for a photographer on a budget, look for the 3 P’s: Price, Personality, Pictures.

1. Call around and get all the prices.

2. The least expensive ones you should meet with to get a feel for their personality.

3. Out of that you can narrow it down by looking at their pictures and make your final decision. It may take some time but it’s well worth the wait.

There really are people out there who do good work at a decent price. So don’t get intimidated by the “Mr.’s 

Thanks again to everyone for the great advice they’ve given me on planning the big day.

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“…I sound just like my mother” 

The statistic on living together before marriage says you’re more likely to get divorced having previously cohabitated with your partner. Really? So say we didn’t live together then got married. I know myself. If I had to get used to socks on the floor, dishes all over the house, and smelly football bags left in the front hallway plus the stress of being married, all at once, that would be enough to take the gas pipe. I’m not saying no one can do it, I just don’t for the life of me know how. 

I’m a huge supporter of cohabitation prior to marriage. You need to know if this person is someone you want to clean up after for the rest of your life. Now don’t get me wrong, there are relationships where the shoe is on the other foot. Men, I’m sure you’re out there saying ‘She’s the slob not me’. The same applies to you. Live with her first and see if her panty hose hanging from the shower, makeup and skin care products on every available surface of the vanity and more shoes than you can count is something you want to live with forever.  Oh and I recently found out when I scream about socks and underwear left on the bedroom floor, I sound just like my mother. Thanks for helping me tap into that Anton. Why did I say ‘yes’ again? I’m kidding, he’s not that bad. But living with a boy is definitely an eye opener.  

One hyphenated word…Pre-cana

For those of you getting married in the Catholic Church you have to take a pre-marriage course. It’s called pre-cana. What I found amusing about this test is that   ‘cohabitating’ was a status option. Isn’t that against the Catholic religion? Anyway, on to the test. 

It looked like an American S.A.T. so immediately I got tense. I hated my S.A.T.’s.  You had to fill out if you were single (duh), cohabitating (sinners), or divorced (double sinners). The test was over 150 questions. The answers were A-agree, D-disagree, or U-undecided. There was a separate section for cohabitating which Anton and I had to fill out.  Only problem was he filled in ‘single’ instead of ‘cohabitating’ so we already didn’t agree and the first question wasn’t asked yet. Shit!  

They separated us, boys on the left girls on the right so we couldn’t cheat. I answered questions about past relationships and communications skills, and all I kept thinking was ‘wonder what he put.’ Once we were finished they took our tests and let us go.  They sent the tests to a correcting facility where the answers were compared and scored. We could see them on our follow up visit a month later. A month later! I have to wait that long? I wanna know now.  The second we were out the door we started asking what each other put for answers. We had a long talk and figured we’d aced the test because we agreed about everything, then. 

 ‘You two can’t get married! What were you thinking?’ 

Well, for the most part we were right but then there were the few that we found out we didn’t agree upon.  Going into a room with my fiancé and a counselor to see our scores was nerve wracking to say the least. I had visions of her screaming ‘You two can’t get married! What were you thinking?’ What actually happened was nothing of the sort. She was cheerful and pleasant and said that this test was just a formality. Matter of fact she didn’t even agree with what the test wanted for some of the answers because, let’s face it, they want you to be a perfect couple and agree upon everything. Yea that just doesn’t happen.  Some of the things we disagreed on originally we completely agree upon now and are considered non-issues. Funny, our answers changed when we were faced with the questions and had time to correct the behavior. Hmph. 

So our scores on most topics were average to excellent. There were a few ‘we’ll talk later’ subjects but nothing too horrible. The final result, we passed, but now we have to meet again at the end of the month for the 7 hour course. Ay yi yi.

The sequel to Pre-cana, coming later this month.   

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Going to the Chapel…

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At first we weren’t sure where we wanted to have the wedding. Should we have it up in Donegal where his family is from? Or should we have it in Ennis where we now live? What place will make everyone happy? Well let me tell you this. No matter where you have your wedding, I can guarantee not everyone will be happy. We ruled out Donegal because I have friends coming in from the States and to have them pay for flights, car rentals, and hotels was enough. To tack on a 4-5 hour drive in an already cramped schedule was just out of the question. Not to mention getting the flowers, church, band, reception hall, photographer, my hair done, and every other wedding plan arranged is about a thousand times harder when you’re nowhere near the location. So Donegal is out.

That leaves Ennis right down the street from where we live. I’m walking distance from the bakery, reception hall, and just about everything else I need to book. It’s close enough so people can get a cab back to my house cheaply if they don’t want to stay at the hotel. And I don’t have the added stress of bringing my friends too far from home. Perfect. 

So the wedding is in Ennis, case closed, now on to planning it. 

The Power of Christ Compels You

Picking which church to get married in was pretty simple. The process of elimination took all of 5 seconds once we saw them all. There was a choice of 3. The first option was the Cathedral. Too few guests ruled that one out. One of the smaller churches (please don’t damn me for saying this) was just ugly. Probably didn’t help that the day we went to look at it there was a funeral going on. I took it as a sign. The one we did pick is a wee stone church out in the countryside. It’s dark and musty but exactly what I always wanted. Built in 1874, it has a rustic Celtic look to it that emanates old Irish ancestry. Not what you would consider “old” in Ireland, but much older than some nonetheless. Being a newbie to wedding planning and having pretty much no one to ask about it, I set out to book the church we picked. I called the parish priest and after 3 days of leaving message after message he finally got back to me. Our conversation went something like this.

“Hello Father, I’d like to book your church for our wedding on (date).”
“Ok, who would you like to reside over the wedding.”
“Uhhhhhhhh. I have no idea.”
“Would you like me to do it?”
“Sure!”
“Ok, well, the church is booked so take that off your list.”
“Wow that was easy, thanks!”

And that’s how an idiot like me booked a church for my wedding. Most people I know have lived in a place most if not all of their lives and have built a relationship with their parish priest. I, not having done either one of them, was somewhat terrified that I was going to be refused or damned to eternal hell for not having built a relationship or even attended one mass there yet. I thought this because I knew of one priest in the States that flat our refused to marry a couple because they had moved out of the area and weren’t attending that church anymore. Harsh man, harsh.

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Hello Gorgeous!

Standing there like Price Valiant armed with a smile, he saw me immediately and rushed over. We didn’t fumble nor did we speak. We just kissed and held each other for what felt like an eternity. It was I who broke the silence with just three words. “Take me home.” He whisked me up and carried me to the car and we lived happily ever after.  

Yea as if! And now what really happened.

 ”…it was more a plea than a romantic whisper.” 

I came out of the security area pushing my impossibly heavy luggage cart and tripping over my garment bag. Anton was looking at his phone, presumably checking the time. He finally looked up at his blushing, because I was so embarrassed for not being able to control the damn cart, bride.  He ran up to me and took the cart from me only to push it to the side. Taking me into his arms for the longest sweetest kiss I’d ever had. I did say ‘take me home’ but it was more a plea than a romantic whisper.  

We went home to Limerick where we shared a flat with his cousin and brother. Four people in a 3 bedroom apartment meant for 2 got a little cramped at times. Luckily his brother moved out shortly after me moving in so we were able to take the 10 boxes, 4 pieces of luggage, and half of my clothes into the spare bedroom. I had no idea I sent that much stuff over. Anton and I came home one day only to discover his cousin had fecked everything into the spare room and cleaned and tidied the entire place. I almost broke down into tears at the beauty of it.  

One thing you should know about me is I make Monica on ‘Friend’s’ look mild tempered. I don’t number coffee cups or anything but I like a clean and tidy place. I have a tendency to get snippy if it’s not kept up.  So coming home to no messy boxes, luggage, or clothes everywhere was like walking into a dream. We managed to keep the place orderly until we all moved out a couple months later.  

limerick-night.jpg                 limerick.jpg

Limerick was an amazing experience for me. The gorgeous view from our flat, walking distance from everything, and the Saturday morning farmer’s market was just bliss. On the flip side construction outside at 8am when you don’t have to get up until 9, scummy mold on the walls and drunks yelling in the middle of the night wasn’t so much my cup of tea. It was another bittersweet move but one that had to happen nonetheless.  

“…and could have knocked her ignorant ass over. 

Now we’re in Ennis. It’s a quaint little town with adorable windy roads through the center of it. There’s one huge problem with Ennis though.  They insist on allowing people to drive though the center of town even though it’s constantly going at a snail’s pace and people are trying to walk to shops without getting hit. But that’s not even the problem I speak of. The biggest problem I have with that quaint little town is the women who have absolutely no common courtesy whatsoever.  I can’t tell you how many times I walked down O’Connell Street and had a pram clip me in the Achilles’ tendon. Or an umbrella open up a millimeter from my face just to have the woman stand right in my path ignoring the fact that I was just walking at a good clip and could have knocked her ignorant ass over. What the hell is that about? That never happened to me in Limerick. Those women knew to keep the pram off my ankles and not to stop dead in front of me whilst I’m walking. What is up with these women? Anyway, I digress. 

Now back to my love story.  We finally have our own place.  It’s a 3 bedroom semi-detached house with a huge green in the front and a good sized garden in the back.  It’s what I’d been dreaming of ever since I met him.  Now we have our new house to go along with our new lives together. And this is where the wedding plans began…
  
     

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“Sold to the only bidder” 

The three months Anton and I spent apart were heartbreaking, to say the least. I guess there really aren’t any words to describe what I felt on a daily basis. I can only describe what happened to illustrate my despair. I’d added, to the list of feelings, guilt for not focusing on my houseguest enough. I would talk to Anton as much as humanly possible either on the computer or when he would bless me with a phone call. Leaving Mom to watch TV or putter around the house. On the flip side I thought she might have valued some alone time considering we were together 24/7 for 8 weeks, but my guilt didn’t see it that way. Mom’s not one for expressing herself verbally either so I really don’t know how she was feeling. All I knew is my heart ached for him. Every cell in my body missed having him next to me. And I couldn’t help but show it. The summer crept by.

Normally I would’ve loved the long hot summer days of New York, but this year it was a test of my patience.  It was the perfect amount of time to sell all of my things though. I sold my car on my birthday which was one hell of a present. In just one weekend had the rest of my stuff sold in a ‘household sale’ or had taken it to the Salvation Army. I know they are just things, but when you’re lying in bed late at night staring at the ceiling unable to sleep, you start thinking of all the things you used to have. Things that made your house feel like a home lived in. Things you had for years and grew attached to seeing sitting on a shelf or hanging nicely on the wall. All of that was one. Sold to the bidder.

 Empty House 

Looking around my empty apartment and hearing the hollowed halls put another ache in my heart. I missed my gorgeous extremely under-priced apartment with the coolest landlord a girl could ask for and I hadn’t even left yet. I remembered the girls’ night out parties I’d had where the remaining crew crashed on my couch or living room floor. And the times Anton and I had spent together there. Memories of our first few weeks of getting to know and love one another etched themselves into the walls. That chapter of my life was coming to a close and it was bittersweet.  

“So here’s where the fun begins” 

Now mind you those three months weren’t a completely depressing. Mom and I had a blast going to the casinos in Niagara Falls, cruising the beach in New Hampshire, visiting family and friends I hadn’t seen in years, and hitting the gym on a regular basis. Mom’s a health nut like me. Then my last 2 weeks in the States we went to Florida where Mom lives and I visited my family there too. It was the longest vacation of my life and the only thing that didn’t make it perfect was Anton wasn’t there to enjoy it with me. He was in Ireland working his arse off trying to get our new business venture off the ground. God Bless ‘em. 

 Bemus Point, NY       Mom and I Niagara Falls      Some Of My Family

OK the three months are up and I’m on my way to greener pastures. My family all brought me to the airport because, let’s face it, who knows when I’ll see them again. That was a fiasco in itself because Mom wanted to drop me at the curb but Sis wanted nothing to do with that idea. She made it very clear that she was going to spend every last second with me before I left. So here’s where the fun begins.Sis tells Mom to go with her friend, who was nice enough to drive my whole family to the airport, and park the car. Then meet us inside where we’ll get lunch together. Well I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Orlando International Airport but you can get lost going to the bathroom in your own terminal. So long story short we send my Niece on a hunt for Mom and friend and almost lose her in the process.

Finally after about 20 minutes, I board the plane in 45, we find each other. There was a bout of finger pointing and accusations of miscommunication thrown back and forth but the grin on my face remained. I was beyond the point of caring about anything else but who I was going to see after over half a day of traveling. Nothing could get me down anymore. I had my wedding dress in a plastic garment bag draped over my arm causing it to sweat profusely and 3 heavy suit cases to lug around until I checked in, but it was all worth it.  Lunch is over, I kissed everyone goodbye 3 times, and then I was off to my terminal.

Flight departed on time and made it to New Jersey an hour early. No biggie right, wrong! We had to sit on the tarmac for that hour. If you know anyone from Jersey you know they aren’t a quiet bunch. So kids were screaming, parents were joining in, and single childless people like me could only roll our eyes to the back of our heads so much before it became a migraine. Did I mention I was in the 5 row from the back of the plane? Claustrophobia anyone?  We finally taxi in and shuffle off the plane. Now I only have one large and one small suitcase to carry as well as my wedding dress which, by the way, is still making my arm sweat. I get to my connecting flight and notice the sign over the desk is flashing ‘Dublin’ ‘Shannon’ ‘Dublin’ ‘Shannon’. Wait a sec. Does that mean I have to fly to Dublin first? I got in line and asked the first person who made eye contact what that meant. He assured me I had to go through Dublin first, wait an hour, then fly to Shannon. Could this suck any more? Three months apart and now another hour tacked on? I decided at that point I was already too exhausted to care. Apparently the family feud at the Orlando airport and all the excitement of seeing Anton again stressed me out when I wasn’t looking.

 “…and doesn’t so much as smile as she spits in my cornflakes.” 

Dublin wasn’t eventful. Just sat on the plane and chatted with the flight crew for a bit. Flash forward to arriving in Shannon. I get off the plane and go to the security checkpoint. I get my passport stamped and pick up my luggage. I’m just about to walk out to see my love, the man I’d been longing to see for months and out of no where this woman, this ginger, stops me.  She asks me what’s in the garment bag. I reply that it’s my wedding dress. She then asks me if I’m getting married. Trying as hard as possible not to sound sarcastic I smile and say yes. Then she asks if I’m getting married in Ireland. Another smile and yes from me. Then, get this, she says, “Well make sure you take it with you when you leave Ireland.” THAT BITCH!!! If Anton hadn’t been right on the other side of that depressingly gray door I would have slapped the scowl off her face. Way to shit on my parade.  I understand that they have a job to do, making sure I didn’t bring that one dress in from America on my sweaty arm to sell and make a profit, God forbid. It’s the attitude that gets me. Someone who sees how obviously excited I am in my reply and doesn’t so much as smile as she spits in my cornflakes. I just grunted and walked past her through the abysmal gray doors to my new life. 

And there he was.  

anton-bunratty.jpg

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The Big Move

“She’s American? Is she a typical American, you know FAT?”  

I must be crazy. I can’t believe I committed myself to moving to a country I’d never been to. If you recall by this time I hadn’t even taken my trip to Ireland yet. Anton was scheduled to stay for 2 weeks but because of weather delays he would have missed his connecting flight out of New Jerseyso they cancelled it. This meant I got to be with my brand new fiancé for another 5 days. Oh darn, what’s a girl to do. So I peeled out of my driveway, drove an hour back up to the airport, collected the boy, and whisked him back to my love pad. The next 5 days were a gift from the gods.

We just took that time to relax and inform friends and family of our engagement. The reactions were anywhere from “He sounded nice on the phone” (my mom) to “Jessi, that’s a guys name.” and “She’s American? Is she a typical American, you know FAT?” (Anton’s dad). That was hilarious because he had no idea he was on speaker phone or that I was listening in so I had fun with him. I simply took the microphone (we called from the pc) and said, “Um I’m thin cause uh I workout?” in my best western New York accent where every statement sounds like a question. 

It was Anton’s turn to turn 5 shades of red. The poor thing was sweating bullets with the idea of telling his folks, who I’d never even met, that he was marrying a Yank.  I had no problem telling my family because they knew so much about him already. Ever since we booked his trip over I’d been talking about him. So we all got a chance to informally meet over the internet but to this day he hasn’t met one of my family members in person. Funds are tight you see. I on the other hand have met many of his family members, which is no easy task considering he’s got over 50+ first cousins. When Anton finally did leave it broke my heart. I was a pathetic puddle of tears on the floor. I missed him, so much in fact that I pushed my flight up almost 2 weeks. That way I had a full 4 weeks in Ireland.

“…didn’t hit home until I gave him one last kiss at the security checkpoint…The tears began to fall again…”  

When I arrived it was raining. I’d never been so happy to see rain. All of my research about Ireland, and even Europe, was that it rains A LOT! So I figured that if it wasn’t raining I wasn’t getting the full effect. An effect, I might add, that I don’t necessarily need to experience daily anymore. Bygones. Getting through the security checkpoint was a very new experience for me. I’d never needed a passport other then when I moved to the States from the Philippines, where I was born, when I was 18 months old.  And that I definitely don’t remember it. So I got up to the desk and was asked if I was here for business or pleasure. I then did 3 things: blushed, giggled, and said ‘pleasure’ in a tone that was trying to be funny/flirty, but the guard didn’t seem impressed. He stamped my passport and I was on my way to the moment I’d been waiting for for 4 weeks. My love.

Bunratty Castle 

He spent the next 4 weeks returning the favor of tour-guide. I saw Limerick, Tipperary, the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle, Dublin, Donegal, and even took a trip to Parma, Italy for his niece’s christening. It was the most amazing vacation of my life. I instantly fell in love with Ireland and dreaded having to go back to the States. By the end of the trip I had more pictures than I could count and a head full of great times to tell everyone back home about. The last day came and he took me to the airport. It really didn’t hit home until I gave him one last kiss at the security checkpoint that I wouldn’t see him for another 3 months.  The tears began to fall again and all I could do was pray that something would stop the plane from departing. But nothing did. The plane left on time and carried me back home safely.

Hi. I’d like an order of anxiety with a side of guilt please?

Coming right up!

Over the next 3 months I packed, shipped, sold, or gave away all of my belongings. My mother came to visit for what would be my last 6 weeks as a resident in the United States. She made it very clear that she would miss visiting the town I lived in. The fact was she wanted to move up to that town with me but had no reason to if I wasn’t there. So I had the guilt of leaving friends that I loved, a shop I made a success out of nothing, and now to top it all off my mother saying she would move 1500 miles to live near me again after 6 years of living apart. Aces!   

All Packed!

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