Anyway, we're back. 2 days of travelling and we're finally home. First thing we did when we got here: switch the PCs back on. We're such a bunch of nerds. The flights were exercises in human endurance, but fortunately we didn't encounter too many "bumps".
Why Do People Hate America?
I've been reading a pretty cool book about Anti-American sentiment,"free trade" and globalisation in the wake of 11 September. It's very objective and profound, and certainly made me realised how screwed the world really is. Regardless of the dark clouds of this realisation, it's still worth reading.
Now that we're back and have just a small amount of cash left from the holiday/honeymoon/wedding, we've decided that it might be a good idea to finally Bluetooth my iPAQ. So, I've been looking high and low for potential new mobile phone candidates. Right now, it's a battle between the Nokia 6310i and the Sony Ericsson T68i. They're both compatible with the iPAQ Bluetooth expansion kit, which is essential. Regardless of which one I get, I'll be using it from uni or whenever we're away from the 2 desktops computers we usually use.
Turbulence and flying
I am a moron and this is why: For some reason, when I fly, I am absolutely convinced that my thoughts have some form of influence on the aircraft. I guess it's all part of comforting myself by telling my psyche that "everything's going to be ok". It's similar to muttering a mantra or a prayer. And it works! Or at least I manage to convince myself that it does. But it only works if I focus. O yes. This is how perverse it is. If I stop focusing (i.e., focus on how scared of flying I am), we hit bumps (or at least I notice them more). If I focus, time crawls down to an arthritic halt and I'm nervous. I can't win.
(This was written on my PDA 3 days after the wedding)
Well, the wedding is now behind us. We have been married for 3 days. Although Penelope and I have been together for over 3 years, have been living together as defacto partners and did celebrate a handfasting ceremony 2 years ago, it is only dawning on me that we are now husband and wife. It is fantastic. Simply put, I have never been so happy.
The wedding day itself was a roller coaster of a ride. To be totally honest, I was apprehensive and at stages before Saturday I was not looking forward to it as much as I should have been. How stupid and wrong could I be? I believe it stemmed from the belief that the idea of the wedding had gone out of control as people started adding to the concept. This in turn annoyed me as I saw people being very meticulous and sometimes even bordering on the uptight anal-retentive. I now see why that degree of precision was required. I am glad we did it the way we did. It was perfect. No, it was magical. And I now know why everyone is so wedding mad. It's something I had to experience for myself, as prior to this I pretty much hated weddings. I guess it's just one of those things that I've missed by having such an isolated lifestyle and childhood. Weddings are a big deal.
The traditions still get up my nose, as I can't really see any basis for them. The night before is a good example. But anyway, Damian and I moved into room #13 at around 10pm. The rooms were not "crash hot" (i.e., they were pretty basic and not at all what I had expected), boasting a horrendous stuffed fish on one of the walls, but we survived. We watched Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back as Damian put off the writing of his speech for a little longer. We relaxed in front of TV whilst drinking diet coke and sitting on uncomfortable wicker chairs and couches. At around 3AM, Damian informed me that he was almost done and I retired to my bedroom.
I woke up at 7AM and stayed in bed for about an hour. At 8AM, I realised that Damian was still writing in his notepad, allegedly "editing" his speech. Yeah. Right. Anyway, at 1100, we were at the hairdressers. Upon entering, I enquired as to how Penelope's hair had turned out. They answered that they hadn't yet arrived. For but a moment, I actually fell for it. Hairhags! Grrrr. Damian was up for a haircut and a bit of "styling". Then it was my turn. Braids and heaps of spray and alien substances later, and my hair was done. It only took 50 minutes. Back to the batcave to wait for 3 hours.
Two hours later, the suits were on, we were showered and no longer smelly. My suit was utterly black: trousers, socks, boots, "lucky underwear", shirt, vest and jacket. A golden cravate hung from my neck and a golden handkerchief stood in my jacketpocket. The next addition to my outfit was a cream (translation for the guys: white) rose in my jacket's buttonhole. Damian was dressed similarly but wore a burgundy (dark red, guys) vest, cravate and handkerchief. His flower was cream and burgundy. And off we went.
As we made it down to the gazebo, everyone was there. I took my place by the celebrant, was given a few last minute pointers, checked that Damian had the rings and waited for the Girls to womble out of their cars. My heart stopped when I saw Penny and I turned to mush. She was so beautiful in that dress, hair, make-up, shoes and jewelry. I hardly noticed Erin and Georgia, but when I finally managed to pry my eyes off my wife-to-be, I realised that they were also extremely beautiful. Medieval dresses are gorgeous. Back to Penny. She got to the bottom of the stairs and Gerry, now my mother-in-law, helped her up. I think I would have been drooling had I not made sure that my mouth was shut. A bit of tricky maneuvering later and she stood at my side on the red carpet. Queue the ceremony...
A quick introduction by the celebrant later and Penny's hand was given to me. I don't know who was trembling and sweating the most. It was so nice to feel her touch. A reading later and we were onto the "I will"s and the vows. A ring, a few more words, another reading and finally... "Nils, you may now kiss your bride". HELL YES!!! And to be totally honest, not that we'd practiced or anything, but it was a lot steamier than either of us had planned. Wayay!!! The celebrant moves us over to the table and we sign our names into numerous documents. Damian and Erin quickly follow up and sign. Photo after photo are taken throughout the ceremony, naturally.
I had a quick chat with my mother over the speaker phone and shortly after we are hushered off to the cars. Photo shoot 1: I am told to lean up against an aged old tree. I peek to my right at my shoulder. Three inches away from my face, something green moves. A legion of green ants. Hmmm, interesting. Penny quickly moves in, and we proceed to the next location. Photo shoot 2: Beach and tree shots. A lot better. No ants, but we certainly all wish that we'd brought our combat boots, as we had to do a fair bit of rock and bush crossing. Lots of wind. Photo shoot 3: the botanical gardens. Nice. The wind is nowhere to be seen. We pose, glaring into the sun. My lips are about to fall off. I can't remember if I'm smiling or grinding my teeth. Who cares. I stand still. My lips are sore. I forget how to smile and simply focus on keeping my facial rictus wide enough and frozen. Photo shoot 4: Cars. Yup. The mandatory car shot. O well. I guess they did spend a few hours trying to stick those ribbons on. Let's take a couple of pictures. Photo shoot 5: Over the Pioneer river, in the centre of Mackay, we disturb a young fisherman by invading his fishing platform. The sun goes down, we get a few more shots.
Onwards to the reception!!! I try to remember how to smile and start preparing myself for a last frenzied assault on our friends and family. I psyche myself up. Georgia marches in, followed by Damian and Erin. We're next. Mister and missus Sturman. O yeah, that's us. Stomp, stomp, stomp. Smile. We sit down and so does everyone else. We stand up and Penny marches away. Erm, Penny, wait a sec, we're supposed to be doing this together. I catch up. We cut the cake. Photo. Photo. We return. Penny once again charges ahead. I try to catch up.
Queue the meal. Not trusting the staff to give us what we really want, we head towards the buffet and help ourselves. Penny and I both try the lamb. It was amazingly good. I figure that if I overload now, I'll be too uncomfortable to make my speech and so I slow down. About 20 minutes later, we finally get a shot at the desert. Our wedding cake is insanely rich and sweet. I do my best to have most of what I'd picked up. The cheesecake that I also picked up tastes like bubblegum. Georgia loved it.
The chairperson, Lorraine, calls up Damian for the first speech. He was brilliant. I'd heard it before, but it was funnier the second time round. Good work my friend. Penny was laughing herself silly, as were most people at the reception. I'm next. Damian moves away and Penny and I move up. My speech was about 4 pages, double spaced, so not over the top, or at least I thought not. Penelope's crying her eyes out, as are most of the other women there. And every single male in the room hates me for making them and their past speeches look bad. I finish by thanking the bridal party and everyone present, then we return to our seats. Speeches continue, as soon it's Penny's turn to thank my mum and dad, something she does extremely well. Our speeches are over. Queue the parents... My mum leaves a lasting impression and my dad pretty much embarrasses us both (well, me in particular), but fortunately everyone seems to have enjoyed it.
Let's dance! And off we go, dancing to Celine Dion (shut up guys). I amaze everyone with my awe-inspiring dancing skills. Penny does too, but she's not as good. I'll have to give her a few pointers, she'll soon learn (Yes, I live in a fantasy world). Damian and Erin join us, as do Georgia and my brother-in-law Andrew. Everyone else joins in with the dancing and I dazzle them all. O yes. Formalities over, we mingle and I soon get a sore throat as I try chatting with people over the resounding boom of the sound system. The rest of the evening flies by and we suddenly get ready for our "formal goodbye". All guests form a circle and Penny and I, going in opposite directions to each other bid everyone farewell and thank you. Having gone around once, my shoulders, lips and hands are killing me. We meet up again and charge through the mass only to be ambushed on the other side by Lorraine and Gerry. A final goodbye and "we're outta there". The rest of the evening was equally magical.
Penelope and I are now married. I have a wife and she has a husband. What a weird but beautiful feeling. :)