Weddings and whatnot….
Henna hands (belonging to Lisa) and feet (mine) all glamored up for a wedding. There’s so much of my life here that I will never be able to show you, but I guess that goes for life anywhere really. We can only give glimpses. You already know I can’t show you pictures of women uncovered, which makes today’s entry a tough one for photos — although I’ll show you food. Emirate weddings are celebrated separately. Men whoop it up in one room while the women do their thing in another one. It’s a weird concept for westerners, but it works here. This is the second wedding I’ve been invited to simply because of where I work, but I felt like I had to go to this one. The bride and I have never met, but she is well loved by the other teachers. I’m told she’s witty and sweet and just the most-deserving woman, but that’s not why I went. I went because a group of local teachers came to us earlier in the week to let us know how horrified they were about the murder that took place a few weeks ago. “This is not us,” they said. “It is against God.” And, best of all, the heart felt “we are mothers too …. you are our sisters.” They also reminded us of the wedding, and that it was on a Friday night, so we could stay up late and not have to worry about work the next day. “Bring your friends, come have fun.” So, I did. I wanted to experience a local wedding, and I wanted to show my Emirate sisters that, yes, I do want to bond and have fun with them. I don’t know how much bonding we did, but again I am grateful to have been invited to be a part of their lives. I was also so proud and touched when the math teacher I share students with grabbed my hand and pulled me across the room to meet her family. I might actually speak more Arabic than she does English, but through facial expressions and body language we warn one another when a class is being good or bad — especially the one group that loves to test us. We really like each other even though we don’t know much about each other. Now, I’ve met two of her daughters, a sister, and her son’s wife. I’ll be sure to bring photos of my kids to show to her next week. Why can’t it be this easy to connect worlds and families all of the time? Now as for the wedding I’ve discovered it’s not quite the same without the sparkly drinks, but there were cans of soda — so bubblies were there. The women are stunning in their dresses, and it was shocking to see so much of their skin. Those who decided to remain in their abayas did so in classy, beaded ones. Servers came around and offered expensive perfumes, oud (perfumed smoke), chocolates (OMG I must be part emirate because they love chocolate and nuts as much as I do), an assortment of teas, food, you name it. just one of the platters of chocolate that came around Lukaimat, my favorite! They’re served warm. I ate way more than 3. i think this is lamb, not my favorite. I stuffed myself with chocolates, lukaimat, hummus and salads, so it was totally true when I responded to “why you no eat?” with “I am full from all the chocolate.” The bride’s sister laughed and whispered back to me, “I like the chocolate too much too.” a tapioca tea. I liked it, and, of course, more chocolates! jello, or as my British coworker calls it “jelly.” This one baffled us because who serves jello at a wedding? The only reason I can guess as to why this was served is because the bride went with a beautiful red and gold dress, so maybe it was meant to match her dress. Oh well, I ate it. tastes just like strawberry jello. Sorry I didn’t think to take pictures of the perfume and oud, which is a shame because they are in beautiful containers. So, basically, you eat and drink until the bride arrives. When she does they lower the lights, play music and put a spotlight on her as she slowly walks down the aisle toward a golden throne for two. Her dress and hair was absolutely gorgeous. I totally nabbed this off the Internet, but the lady in red is wearing something similar to what our bride wore. Picture taken from http://www.arabiangazette.com/big-fat-global-wedding-industry/ The bride was so nervous. My heart just bled for her, but she made it down the aisle, got hugged and kissed by I’m assuming the groom’s mother, swarmed by kids running after her, and cheered by her friends. Later on abayas were swooped back on and her husband was brought down the aisle by I’m assuming his sisters. He was so friendly and confident, just waving at all of us like a celebrity. We liked watching him joke with his bride, and it looks like her nerves disappeared. Friends and family walked up to wish them luck, the cake was cut, and that was about it. It’s different, but at the end of the day a wedding is a wedding. We all want the new couple to be blessed with lots of love and happiness. It looks like this one is off to a good start, so I’m glad I got to see it. And me today kicking up my feet (and yeah showing off the lovely henna), writing you this while my curtains dance in the breeze, and loving the fact that I have free time to share all of this with you. Hope you guys have a great weekend!