Sunday, September 20, 2009

Back across the pond… temporarily!

Five and half months later and I’m heading back to the US for Chris & Amy’s wedding… it’s almost hard to believe that 1) SO much time has passed in what seems like a blink of an eye and 2) I’m ACTUALLY getting to go to the WEDDING! I’m overwhelmed with joy and wish I could just teleport myself over instead of be miserable on an airplane for 12 hours. Unfortunately we still don’t possess the power to teleport so conventional methods must be used.

Arriving at the Tirana airport at 3am was one thing, but finding out at 7:15 that my flight home was cancelled due to a malfunctioning button was disaster. I waited 3 hours in line to be re-routed, only to be waitlisted for a flight home. When time for check-in came, a German couple was gracious enough to give me their one booked flight due to the fact that they refused to split up, and I was successfully onto Munich. Another glitch came in Munich of course. The Albanian airport never registered my re-route so it took 20 minutes to get a boarding pass, which was then followed by a 20-minute run across the airport that barely landed me on my connecting flight. One perk: a business class ticket for my 9 hour flight into the US with a full reclining bed, a gourmet menu, and excellent entertainment options on my personal television. Glitch in Chicago: lost luggage, to be reported on arrival in Detroit. Seriously, worst luck ever! Anyways, I managed to make it into the US at some un-godly hour, ride 2 hours home, and finally be greeted by my very own bed!

The week to follow was almost equally as hectic, full of spending time with family: primarily my brother on the days before his wedding/honeymoon and the rest of the family came after. Things with Chris were just like always, he made me laugh until I cry and cry until I felt almost sick and had to take a small break from his comedy. My mom, sister-in-law, and I did our usual pedicure routine in preparation for the wedding: though there were some discrepancies due to “flower” nail art that still is making me laugh. Just like always, my oldest brother BJ and I “watched TV,” which may sound silly but definitely is our tradition. His children are simply beautiful and I am so sad to be missing out on their lives. My nephew luckily remembered me and enjoyed my company while my niece had forgotten me and cried every time I stepped within some invisible 3-foot radius. Things probably don’t bode well for me with the baby on the way… after a 2-year service they will only know me as a complete stranger. My grandparents were there with me every day, overwhelmed with joy that I was home and being there with me just to enjoy my company. And to my mom and dad- they made this all possible, helping me with everything when I was home and I sadly did not nearly get to spend enough down time with them... which means I’ll be expecting them to visit Albania soon!

Wedding events kicked off Friday with the rehearsal for the wedding followed by dinner for families and the wedding party. The Toledo Zoo runs a tight ship, and after much practice we nailed the rehearsal and they released us into the wild. Dinner was to follow, but my jet lag caught up to me so I hit the hay early. Wedding day came sooner than my sleep schedule wanted, but nevertheless it began. Amy, her 2 sisters, her mom, and myself got our hair done together in the morning followed by lunch. Around 3 in the afternoon we headed toward the Toledo Zoo, getting all G.L.A.M.O.R.O.U.S. for the big event. Next thing I knew, we were headed in for the ceremony, which turned out beautiful… every single thing about it was perfect. The weather was great, we didn’t mess up our timing walking down the aisle, Spencer actually MADE IT down the aisle, Julie pronounced all her words correctly, and Chris & Amy were finally made husband and wife. The rest of the night is a blur… eating, speeches, talking to family, drinking, dancing, and divine joy. We all made it out alive- some of us better than others on the day to follow but still alive. We finally saw Chris & Amy off…well, I’m not sure I actually saw them off due to the amount of tears in my eyes… and then, we too, headed home.

What was to follow was complete and utter exhaustion. Still, I somehow managed to see friends between Ann Arbor and Columbus, get some necessary shopping done, eat as much Mexican, Chinese, and sushi as possible, and before I knew it my time was up. I left Detroit 6 days later. My flight in Chicago was delayed 2.5 hours due to the crew packing food in dry ice next to live turtles. Thank you United, I was late for my connecting flight and spent a lovely 13 hours in Munich airport only to arrive in Tirana at midnight. Some luck, huh? Either way, I can say it was definitely worth the trouble and I had the most wonderful time at my brother’s wedding: Congratulations again Chris & Amy! To everyone, I love you and miss you, and it was so great to see you all.

Rehersal at the zoo Friday night.

Amy & Chris now MARRIED!

The Wedding Party

With Dad & Mom!

Hitting the dance floor with the groom

1 comment:

  1. i get all teary eyed just thinking about having to say goodbye to you again. i miss you so much already, but at least it was a great visit and i am planning one to come see you!