A Week of Merriment

Since arriving in Massachusetts last Tuesday, I have been going and going. That morning I got up at 5:30 a.m. to catch an early train to Boston. That day my sister and I did some grocery shopping ending with a wonderful meal at Not Your Average Joe’s. I love going to this restaurant because it is gluten free and delicious! Unfortunately I somehow got gluten and ended up vomiting all night. I was up for a solid 22 hours that night until I was able to doze off between spells of sickness. The next day was pretty much filled with me sleeping and eating small bits of food here and there to attempt a swift authority because Friday brought on the first of many big events to come–a bachelorette party.

Part of the reason for me coming to visit my sister this week si to photograph the wedding of her roommate of 4 years Kyra, a young woman whom I have gotten to know rather well over the years. She and Debbie were paired together as roommates their freshman year at Gordon and stayed together till graduation (which they both reached in 3 years) plus an additional year nannying for the same family. Kyra met her new husband Jared earlier this year, and the rest is pretty much history. She asked me to be the photographer and I very willingly obliged.

Anyway, Thursday afternoon I mostly worked on decorations while Debbie cleaned the house and watched various movies (The Pirates, The Hunger Games, Easy A, and something else I can’t remember.) After we did some baking and finished off the decorations, I introduced my sister to the Avatar spin-off series The Legend of Korra. So great! Friday we finished making all the food and cleaned up the odds and ends of the house before happily accepting guests around dinner time.

It was a combination of old and new faces (not in age but rather familiarity), but we were never short of good conversation. We played many rounds of a paper version of whisper down the lane with an interjection of presents. The whole night was a blast and definitely started the wedding-central weekend off on the right foot.

Saturday I got to sleep in till 9 (yes!) when my sister rushed me to get ready to head to the church to help Kyra’s family prepare for the wedding taking place the following day. Most of the day was filled with decorating followed by the well-led rehearsal of the ceremony. Wedding planner Hilary and Pastor Justin led the families with patience and calm articulation yet a high energy level that was very present. It was a joy to work with both throughout the weekend to make this wedding go as smoothly as possible.

We then went mini-golfing with both families and enjoyed cups of many different flavors of ice cream. By that time, we were all pretty beat, so we quickly returned to the hotel Kyra’s family was staying at for some refreshments and entertaining conversation in the hotel lobby. (Thanks to Hans and Grammy for providing the refreshments…and entertainment!) Finally Deb and I called it a night and headed back to Wenham for a much-needed long night’s sleep. Unfortunately my dreams were interrupted with nightmares of photography failures and other fears that occasionally plague my thoughts. I was more than happy to get up the next morning and go to the bride-to-be’s suite.

As the day went on, I took more and more photographs to document this historic day in the young couple’s life. We headed over to the church in the fishing town of Gloucester where the bride quickly hid in the basement and the groom finished getting dressed in the pastor’s office. I took the groomsmen along with the groom to the front lawn of the church for a quick photo shoot to help pass the time and dissipate the ever-present nerves.

Finally the time came for the ceremony. It was short and sweet filled with fantastic theology  and quiet moments for the bride and groom. As I look back to the ceremony, one part particularly stands out–communion. After the couple exchanged vows and rings and were pronounced man and wife, Kyra and Jared took communion together. They spent the length of a song drinking from the cup, eating the bread, and praying together. It was incredibly moving to watch the couple’s first act together and husband and wife be to remember Christ’s gift to all of mankind. Not only was this ceremony a public profession of commitment to each other but a public reminder of their commitment to Christ–now as a joined couple.

The ceremony ended shortly afterwards with a joyful recession by the bridesmaids and groomsmen, for their best friends were finally hitched! We took a plethora of pictures in front of the church with both sides of the families for a little while then rushed to the beach where we got to take the fun pictures with the bridal party. The groomsmen offered a toast (which was hurriedly finished as no alcohol is allowed on the public beach of Good Harbor.) The new couple was cheered on by strangers as we trekked across the sand to different natural backdrops. Some people offered advice, some just offered their congratulations. Either way, it was wonderful to see the joy complete strangers had for this pair’s recent nuptials.

The reception was a relatively quiet affair with the normal speeches, first dance, and father-daughter dance. It ended with the traditional polish exercise of the bride and groom receiving interesting…head-wear. We sang to them some Polish tunes of which we had no idea of the melody, but it didn’t matter at all. The degree of merriment never faltered with the unsureness of tune.

My sister and I shortly left after the bride and groom had departed; our beds were calling us! We stayed up for a little bit to catch up with our parents who were scheduled to depart by 5:30 the next morning. Around midnight neither my sister nor I could keep our eyes open any longer, so we hit the sac. We attempted to sleep in a little bit, but we were out of bed by 10:30 to get ready to head to my grandparents’ house for my cousin’s graduation party. It was lovely to see family that I have not seen in many months. After a short catch-up and few volleyball games, Deb and I headed back to Wenham to station ourselves on the couch, stuff our faces, and watch TV for the rest of the night. We were finally beat.

The next morning I left to visit Kyra who lives on the south side of Boston. We talked for hours on end and enjoyed catching up on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I finally took to the T and Commuter Rail back to Beverly where my sister picked me up around 9 o’clock. We proceeded to watched episode of Avatar and Doctor Who until sleep overtook us.

This morning I am writing from the South Station in Boston. I have now boarded my train for home.

Home is such a funny word for me right now. Collegeville should be home. I should be excited to go back, but I’m not. My people aren’t there anymore. If I have to leave Massachusetts, I want to go to my actual home–Upland. With this week being so crazy, I still haven’t gotten a chance to get settled in this new place I am in life. It will be a long time before Collegeville feels like home again, but in the meantime, I miss my friends in Indiana more than words can describe.

Alas, I should be more happy–the week was a week of much merriment.

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