Oui, I cried.
Sorry for the radio silence around here this week, kiddos. We are leaving for our honeymoon today! The past few days have been a flurry of activity and working long hours and laundry and packing 10 days worth of clothing into a carry-on suitcase. My luck with checked luggage is beyond awful; on my trip to Paris this year two different airlines managed to lose my suitcase for a combined 72 hours, both flying there and coming home. I’m not taking any chances on the honeymoon. Nothing says romance like wearing t-shirts from tourists shops in Athens for the whole trip.
Our itinerary has us flying directly into Athens for two days, and then heading to Santorini where we are doing absolutely nothing for six days, and then back to Athens for a day and a half. I have a few light posts lined up for next week, but I’ll be on Instagram for sure.
Have a great week!
Back when we were planning our honeymoon, the idea of returning to work for 10 days between the wedding and Greece didn’t seem like too big a deal. In reality: WHAT WERE WE THINKING?! This has been torture. Sure, it’s nice to have some time to reorganize everything post-wedding, but I am packed and desperate to get out of my cubicle, onto a plane, and into a sundress on the Mediterranean. To distract me, let’s talk wedding vendors.
It was such a delight seeing these photos from my brother earlier this week. Experiencing the day through his eyes and seeing things from a guest’s perspective was a treat. The wedding was a magical, dizzy blur, to be honest, and there were details in the photos he snapped that I missed entirely. I never even saw our custom cocktail napkins at the bar! My friend Herbie designed them, along with our Save the Dates, invitations, table numbers, place cards, and labels for the special cider one of Jamal’s groomsmen brewed for us –aptly named “Love at First Cider.” We have the best friends.
Another dear, dear friend of ours –a poet himself– read a Pablo Neruda poem during our ceremony, and if I had to pick a moment where I was closest to dissolving into tears, that would have been it. Amazingly, I held it together the whole day.
My twin nieces were darling little flower girls, a role they took very seriously, and with only minimal eye-rolling when I begged them to practice their petal-scattering technique over and over (and over). My 10 year old niece was a junior bridesmaid; in a twist of wonderful symmetry, I was a junior bridesmaid when I was 10 years old in my brother/her parents’ wedding, and here she was 17 years later as a junior bridesmaid for me. Jamal and I both wished we could have seen the girls walk in, instead of being at the back of the line, trying to catch a glimpse down the aisle.
Oh, speaking of: yes, we walked in together. In addition to not wearing white, not having a first dance or parent dances, and not cutting the cake, this was one more silly wedding tradition we decided to do away with. After my dad passed away, I had always sort of pictured my brother walking me down the aisle, but the screaming that suggestion produced from my mother is still making my ears ring. It wasn’t worth the fight, so Jamal and I found another solution, which guaranteed us a sweet, private moment together before marching out there, and allowed us to unintentionally ‘fight the patriarchy’ at the same time. Did you know that Swedish couples traditionally walk in together? Having done it now, I’d recommend it for every bride-to-be. Who better to cling to than your soon-to-be husband?
I have a million things to say about Saturday, about how perfect and wonderful and amazing and smiley and gorgeous everything was; about how I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat; about how I was wrong (I admit it!) to be as unenthused as I was leading up to it; about how my bridesmaids are divine angels who kept me laughing and relaxed the entire day, from 10am at the hair salon with my favorite bagels and quoting movies left and right, to a dance party to the Spice Girls just minutes before we went downstairs and lined up with the guys; about how I wouldn’t change a single thing, not even the rain because it was moody and delicious; about how I lost my voice from singing all night on the dance floor; about how my new husband (!!!) and I ate a hoagie at 2am on the floor of our hotel suite…but I haven’t even begun to come down off this cloud of dizzy joy to process everything. So instead, here is a sneak preview of our wedding photos, provided by our photographer just two days after the wedding. Inna shot our engagement photos as well (one year ago tomorrow, in fact!), and I don’t know why I was surprised by how perfect her photos from Saturday are, but I’m simply awestruck.
I’ll be back soon with details of the day, our vendors, the timeline, fun recollections, but this will have to do for today.
Well, those eighteen months went a lot faster than I thought they would. Here we are, on the eve of our nuptials. Every detail I’m capable of attending to has been attended to, but I’m sure the day will throw some surprise curve balls at us (rain!). I’m taking everything as it comes, and will try to be present and enjoy every single second, because everyone who has been through this machine before has said it’s over in a flash. Oh, and I’ll be trying not to feel too uncomfortable when everyone stares at me. Related: have you ever been to a wedding where the bride passes out from too much attention?
I’ll hopefully be back here on Monday, with maybe some sneak peek photos from our photographer or shots of the day from various sources. If I don’t check in immediately, forgive me, it’s nothing personal. It’s just that I’ll be eating everything fatty and sugar-coated within a ten mile radius to make up for all the ‘dieting’ I did leading up to tomorrow. Once I’ve got a husband, I can totally let myself go, right? DONUTS.
You can read more about wedding stuff here. xoxo
I started French class again last night, because as my friend Herbie said, with four days to go to the wedding why not pick up an extracurricular? I’m in section 204, which feels worlds away from where I started almost two years ago in 103; being surrounded exclusively by the language on a daily basis for eight weeks this spring didn’t hurt, either. My comprehension in hearing it and confidence in speaking are leaps and bounds above where I expected them to be, and I’m really proud of myself. Two years ago I decided I wanted to become fluent in French, and I’m on my way there.
Last night as we were waiting for Rachel, our teacher, to arrive, an older gentleman in his late 60s, new to the class, and I struck up conversation. “Je m’appelle John,” he said. Oh, I thought, That’s nice. He has the same name as my dad. “Je suis architecte.” Well that’s a coincidence, he even has the same occupation as my dad.
I told John as much, more preoccupied with the fact that I was rattling off in French without having to stop and think of the words than anything else.
“Vous avez le même prénom et profession de mon père,” I said.
“What was your father’s last name?” John asked.
I told him, and his face froze. He repeated it, searching, I thought, his recollection for any sort of chance encounters with a fellow Philadelphia architect over the course of their careers. Philadelphia is an extremely small world, one that shrinks even smaller when you add in a specific niche profession. It’s likely their paths had crossed.
“John Godfrey?” he repeated again, this time with a rise of disbelief in his voice.
It turns out, this new student in my French class, this sweet white-haired architect named John not only knew my father, but had been very good friends with my father in the 70s.
Suddenly all my French vocabulary failed me.
He asked about my brother Eric, who was just a kid back then, he asked about my brother’s wonderfully kind mother Eileen –a woman so gentle and generous it defies logic, so kind that this relative stranger in my French class had to tell me how he remembered her as being incredibly nice, and this was 40 years ago. French Class John knew my father. He knew my father’s sculpture at the firehouse on Market Street, they knew all the same old architects, they lived on the same tiny street in Queen Village. He knew my dad’s old Saab, and he told me how it had taken oil and gas in the same tank to run.
“We were like this,” he said, making the universal symbol for close, twisting his first two fingers together.
Suddenly all my English vocabulary failed me, as well.
I called my brother immediately after class on the walk home, and his reaction was just like French Class John’s had been. My brother told me how one night, when he was eight, his parents and John and his wife had gone out to dinner, leaving Eric alone at French Class John’s apartment near Rittenhouse Square. But it was okay, he said, because they had a small color television, and he was glued to it all night.
Friends, I’m excited (and nervous!) to announce some very special news:
I’ve received a multitude of requests, through comments here and email, to make prints of my photographs from Paris available for sale. (Now that I think about it, I hope you weren’t all just being nice when you asked.) I’ve been working behind the scenes for a while now to make it a reality, and I’m ecstatic to introduce The Paris Print Shop. No middle man, no clicking elsewhere: you can now buy prints directly from my blog.
This is a big step for me, as it’s the first time I’ve ever attempted to sell my work. But I was doing more than writing in Paris; I was putting my Photojournalism degree to use, and I’ve been so grateful to have a platform to share my photos with you all. In sorting through the thousands of images that I have to print and frame for my own house, it struck me that now is as good a time as any to take a leap of faith and try this little endeavor. The same leap of faith got me to Paris in the first place.
And so, with my wedding just days away, why not add a bit more excitement to the mix? As a thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of this blog the past few years, and of my other creative pursuits, I’m offering a 20% discount on all prints through September 20th. Just use the code WEDDING at checkout.
I’d love to hear what you think! Happy shopping, kiddos!
What a week. Our officiant cancelled on us on Sunday…only to quickly find a wonderful replacement for us. I woke up to her email that morning, and you’d think that something that starts with, “Please try not be too alarmed to hear that I have some disappointing news to share with you,” from the person legitimizing your marriage would send me into a blind panic, but honestly? I was out of effs to give at that point. And plus, her backup is a fantastic and warm woman who immediately put us at ease. Crisis averted. Now we’re just tying up loose ends like getting place cards printed (“Wait, how many chicken dishes are at Table 4?” “Table 2.” “Table 4.” “What?” “CHICKENS. TABLE FOUR.”), wrapping presents for our bridal party, and generally trying not to let the stress get to us. One week from tomorrow! Holy crap, time flies.
Keeping with the theme of time as an elusive speed-demon, I’ve also officially been back from Paris longer than the amount of time I was in Paris, and that, my friends, is BONKERS. But if you thought that just because I’ve been home eight weeks that means I’m out of photos of my favorite place on earth, you are mistaken.
I am a confident public transit commuter regardless of the city, but the metro in Paris has to be the easiest system to navigate. The trains come quickly, switching lines is a breeze, and the majority of the stations are photogenic (think: the iconic pale green, wrought iron archways and Art Nouveau font). I was walking around Place de la Concorde one night and loved the way the light was hitting the stone banister.
Not pictured: the fearless rat I watched run to that trash can, crawl in, fish something out, and scamper away again. Paris!
I only went to one bar by myself while I was in Paris, and it ended with a man in sunglasses asking to buy me a glass of Rosé, so needless to say it was a one-time deal. I went back to drinking wine on my terrace out of a juice glass, instead of at bars, but this charming little spot on Rue Dauphine was extremely tempting.
Behold my restraint: I stumbled accidentally on a petit patisserie that specialized in cream puffs…and I didn’t buy any! Behold my regret: massive. I’ve heard they are delicious. Place de Furstenberg is a hidden gem in Saint-Germain, and I sat for a bit just people watching, drooling over les choux in the window.
Because they were so beautiful, and so consistent, that you’d think I’d’ve become immune to them by the end of my trip, but non. C’est impossible.
No, not wedding related, though I am getting married in 10 days (10 days!). No, this is a long overdue fix I finally attended to. When my dad died eight years ago, among the things I took with me from his apartment (a favorite sweater, a reading lamp, his old drafting table) before putting the rest in storage, was this watch. I don’t remember seeing him wear it –he had a pocket watch (repeat: a pocket watch) for much of my life– but I loved it immediately. There is a dial for the day of the week, one for the date of the month. The battery was dead, probably had been for years before I found it, and the leather strap was dry and brittle. None of that mattered. I wore it every day for years, even though it never told time. (The old adage about even broken clocks being right twice a day is applicable.) I wore it with the face on the underside of my wrist, wanting to feel it against my pulse. It never occurred to me in all those years to get the battery replaced; I wasn’t wearing it to tell time, I was wearing it because it was my dad’s.
Until this past weekend, when, upon realizing another of my watches had died, and so had Jamal’s, there seemed to be no better time to take all three in for repair. What had taken me so long? The whole affair took less than ten minutes, at one of those ubiquitous, unremarkable jewelry shops, where they buzz you in at the front door. A new battery and a new leather strap, and a new life given to an old watch.
I turned the watch over in my hands when we got outside, sort of like I was seeing it for the first time. And in the most fittingly obvious coincidence, guess where the strap was manufactured?
Go on, guess.
Paris. Of course, Paris.