30.04.2012 27 °C
I'm living like a rockstar. Last night was the first night since I got home from Turkey that we've had dinner at home. I've come to the conclusion you can't actually maintain this with 8 month old twins, because the most we could manage last night was a DVD in bed early (Cowboys vs. Aliens, actually quite good - for the Daniel Craig factor if nothing else), but it was a nice interlude.
While dinners out with friends are a super way to feel welcomed home and birthdayish, the Lebanese wedding we attended two nights ago needs to be given the limelight for this blog. Most of you won't have been to one, but if you've seen the program "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding", you probably have a bit of an idea what it was all about. Just replace 'travelers' with 'Lebanese' and 'huge dress' with 'fireworks'.
In essence, it had the same run-sheet as any of the other weddings we've been to. Ceremony, Dinner with Speech and Dancing. Apart from our own, our favorite wedding was held at the Zoo… and this one comes a close third. The bottles of whiskey being put out on the tables as we arrived sold it for H, for me, I think it was the bit when the Groom's father was thrown repeatedly (fireman catch styles) in the air by the posse of the Groom's singleton friends - who, I should add, took up a whole 24 seat trestle table down one side of the reception. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The ceremony was held in a VERY old catholic church in the christian quarter here in Tyr. It was lovely. I may have cried a little. Of course, I didn't understand most of it given it was in Arabic. Unfortunately, the bride (who is a Kiwi) doesn't speak much Arabic either. It was probably a little more concerning for her not being able to understand what was going on… they did translate the main bits for her, like the part where they say 'man and wife', which was nice of them. I think I would have been a little worried what I was signing myself up for.
We arrived early. We were, in fact, the first people there. Apparently in Lebanon, when they say 1730 for 1800, what they actually mean is 1800 for 1830. Good to know. The groom (as is tradition) had been OTP since midmorning. As had his groomsman, which made the fact that they arrived by car a little bit concerning. He was a little nervous though, and given this dude is super friendly, has dreads, wears birkenstocks and is usually so laid-back he's almost horizontal I can understand why he needed a bit of help relaxing. Weddings make even the staunchest groom nervous.
Getting there early was actually well worth it, just to see the range of outfits worn by the women. For the last couple of months I've been wandering past the shop windows in fascination at some of the revealing stuff on display. My question about where it ever got worn was answered - it's at christian weddings. The outfits were everything from skinny jeans and boob tube with six inch heels to jade green fishtail ball gown with diamantee detail that was changed for a black spandex knicker-flicker ensemble for the reception. I was astonished. Especially given that the bride had to wear a shawl in the church to cover her exposed shoulders.
After the reception, it is tradition for all the guests to parade through the streets in a convoy beeping their horns and making as much of a spectacle as necessary. My Husband got right into this. So much so he got a bit confused about who he was supposed to be following and we ended up leading part of the convoy a slightly longer way to the reception than anyone had anticipated.
The reception was held in a proper reception facility. It had decorative windmills. The Bride and Groom arrived to the strains of 'conquest of paradise' and a massive display of fireworks… which we could all see from inside thanks to the constant live feed from the two film and three still photographers that was shown on the 10 screens placed strategically around the room.
I mentioned the whiskey before. This is tradition in Lebanon. The reception area was horrified when asked to provide wine and beer on the tables. It's not done here. Spirits or nothing, apparently it looks better. In addition to this, the table was loaded with an ever-changing and constant flow of food. It migrated from flat bread, hummus, tahini, tabuli type food through salads, vegetables, kibbeh and spring rolls to large platters of rice and meat. Yum. There were so many plates of food there was literally no place left on the table for your glass.
When the Bride and Groom were seated on the white satin lounger on the stage at the front, the father of the bride gave his speech. This is not tradition in Lebanon. He kept it short so the Arabic translation didn't have to go on too long. It was amusing having the jokes 'got' twice, first by those that spoke english and them by those that spoke Arabic.
The Bride and Groom then got up for the first dance. There were more fireworks - inside - and lots of smoke. The camera crew had a hard time keeping everything in focus through all the smoke, which by the end of the dance was being supplied by smoke machine, but coped admirably.
Within about ten minutes, the rest of the bridal party were up on the shoulders of the Groom's posse - who by this stage were well through two bottles of whiskey. At some point the tossing of the bridal party began and it was awesome. I've never seen a wedding (actually, a party of any kind) where everyone - young and old - were so into the dancing. The constant feed from the cameras kept those who weren't dancing entertained and the food and drink just kept on coming. It was a spectacularly good time.
We tried out a new sitter that night. She is great, but being Shia had to be home by 11pm. This was a bit of a mixed blessing. Leaving early meant missing out on some of the fun, but by that stage I was just about funned out. I really have become a mum.
Meanwhile, back in the real world we are still waiting for confirmation on What Is Happening with the re-deployment. So far its been turned on and off three times. Will keep you posted.