Sunday, January 31, 2010

first official guests!

it's sunday morning, and I should be frantically downing my fromage frais before running out the door to choir practice. Yet there's a little girly part of me that jumped with excitement when I checked my email this morning and saw that we had our first official wedding guests!

We haven't even sent out invitations yet! Gotta love guests who are so keen to go they reply off the Save the Date. AND I'm even more thrilled because they took use of the potluck feature I concocted on my website that allows them to tick what sort of dish they're going to bring. Amazing!

David and I are planning to do some wedding stuff today, which means I may finally finish my Save the Date labels, and then I can finally have them mailed out. We have 7 months to go!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

mostly quotes

Another week nearly over and more wedding stuff knocked off the list. I got my quote in for our wedding favors (which will remain a [super awesome] surprise) and it is definitely doable. Also I'm just waiting for my mum to do a bit more calling and then we'll be trying to book our flights home! I am soooooooooooooo excited. I've only been here for 3.5 months, but it is so nice to anticipate a trip home.

The priest, Fr Alistair, who is doing our pre-marital counseling gave us a book to read called The Gift of Self in Marriage. I have read a number of books on relationships/marriage over the years, and none of them are ever perfect, but there were a few bits from this one that I like. I know the quotes are out of context, and so probably make no sense whatsoever, but I thought I'd post them anyway, as they at least hint at the direction my own mind is going:

The interpretation of the gift of self in marriage, and its potential fruit in childbearing, depends, fundamentally, on how we see ourselves as human beings. –Anita Dowsing, The Gift of Self in Marriage.

Christ underpins [a married couple’s] awesome commitment with the gift of his grace, so that they can be faithful to each other, as he is to the Church. –Anita Dowsing, The Gift of Self in Marriage.

It is a gift of the whole person, body, soul and spirit, which sets the seal on the marriage vows and makes them irrevocable. –Anita Dowsing, The Gift of Self in Marriage.

By creating a welcoming home, we receive each other in ever new ways. We receive God’s gifts of children, of friends and of new forms of service. All this implies openness to what God will give and an acceptance that we receive all our fruitfulness at his hand. –Anita Dowsing, The Gift of Self in Marriage.

It is the acceptance of the other in pain as well as joy that makes for lifelong fidelity and only God can give the couple the strength to do this. For the Christians this means a deliberate turning to the cross; for all married couples it means persevering, whatever the cost. –Anita Dowsing, The Gift of Self in Marriage.

Christ’s gift of self says something fundamental about the commitment in marriage that is often forgotten. It is rooted in the will to give, not in emotions. –Anita Dowsing, The Gift of Self in Marriage.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

wedding progress, and haggis

I’ve not been updating often, which is the sign of a busy life! Now that term has started again all our regular activities have resumed, along with some other things.

We went to our first Robbie Burns Dinner the other day, and had our first taste of haggis. I actually liked it, in the “this is something I’d eat once a year” sort of way. It helped that every course had whiskey with it in some manner.

On the wedding front things have been shooting along. Save the Dates have gone out to a few people, although the majority of them won’t be sent out until I finally get all the addresses in. But as things are now official, I can finally announce that David and I will be getting married on August 7th, 2010, at 11:30 in the morning. I am so excited!

In a week or two I hope to order the fabric for our flowers. I’m waiting on an official quote for our favours, but those should be in process soon (and are top secret, so ha!)... We sent the deposit off to our photographer, we’re thinking about rings, and mum’s been working on her menu and food plans. I’m sure I have way too much DIY stuff to do, especially right now as my social calendar keeps me out at least three nights a week, if not more, but that’s alright. It’s still January.


A cool house-barge we saw on the river.


A present from Davey!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

shopping, and a harmless accident

I am having a moment of bliss... the bliss of realising that I live in England, the bliss of not feeling like a complete visitor, or perhaps a complete outsider. This is accomplished by successfully completing tasks that you’d take for granted back home, but which take so much longer in a new country because it’s hard to know just where to go.

It’s been a lovely day, and it’s only afternoon now. I went to Mass, alone, because David had rowing practice and is going in the evening. Because Lent term is just about to start I recognised people at church, and wonder of wonders they recognised me! In fact I had more people [my age] to say hi to and be excited to see than I’ve had in the last three years at Canadian churches. It was lovely! And I’ve even had someone offer to come by and help do wedding DIY stuff with me, which is great because I have a lot of organza flowers to make.

After Mass was the real adventure—in a show of good faith towards being healthy and not lapsing into sloth, I signed up for a Chi Kung (tai chi exercises without form) class at a local community-type-college. So I needed to go get some track pants for this, as all I own are one pair of jeans and some work pants (and ten million skirts). In Canada this would’ve been simple—if I were feeling like something new I’d head to Walmart or Zellers, if I were feeling “rich” I’d hit the Bay, and if I were feeling like looking for a deal I’d hit Value Village. But where to go in England?

I’ve shopped in department stores my whole life, but I harbour a grudge against Marks & Spencer in Cambridge (over-priced for the quality) and I harbour a hatred against Asda (low prices but JUNK) that led me to John Lewis, which is like the Bay, but I guess the rich Gownies in Cambridge don’t exercise because I couldn’t find what I needed. DAMN! And then I wandered through the mall (yes, they have shopping centres in the UK) and found a sports good store and tried my luck and ran into a 70% off sale. Needless to say I was pleased. And then it was back to John Lewis for a dishrack and bathroom stuff.

There is a certain feeling of satisfaction that comes with spending my own [hard] earned British money in British stores, and knowing that I’m not just buying souvenirs, but also knowing that in a couple of years these items will remain as reminders of our sojourn in Britain (unless David gets work here).
In other news, David went to rowing practice one morning last week and the coxswain let go of the boat & the bank at an inopportune moment and tipped them all into the Cam! (Yes, I do find this HILARIOUS). David doesn’t find this quite as amusing as I do, because it was -2 and there were chunks of ice floating by him in the river. But he is a trooper and went and worked out on the rowing machines for an hour or so in his wet clothes. That’s dedication!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

a slightly belated look back at the year/decade

I remember standing in outside the Sticky Wicket on New Years last year, wearing a paper party hat, intoxicated and full of cheer, screaming out happy new years and adamantly stating that “2009 is going to be the best year yet”.

Life was stressful, so it was my hope that if I made myself believe that 2009 was going to be amazing it would be. And, as probably needs no pointing out to those who know me, it was! But it certainly wasn’t easy—great things aren’t achieved without some sacrifice and hardship along the way.

Less than two hours after my proclamation I agreed to be Mrs David P--- (although if you call me that I’ll bite you). It was a pretty great way to ring in 2009.

And then it was back to reality, Toronto, a few days later and all the stress of grad school and waiting for admissions and not getting in and getting waitlisted and living near nervous breakdowns and health problems and with almost constant companions of stress and worry.

There were bright spots too, of course, but much of the time it felt like a matter of just hanging in there. And then St Anthony came to town, and we went on a little pilgrimage which it felt like all our hopes were resting on. And by the next day our entire lives had shifted and the future was wider and brighter than ever.

And we finished our degrees, and I went home and found a wedding dress, and the summer came and between the two of us we tried to scrape by as best we could, struggling all the while to find a few months worth of work in the midst of a “global economic recession”. And I was in and out of minor surgery, and feeling now better than ever but it was sure scary and awful at the time. And somehow we survived to August.

Then it was time for goodbyes, which I am so used to by now that only one broke my heart a little, and suddenly it was goodbye to all the plans I’d started making when we arrived in Toronto. We landed in Victoria, in the fresh sea-salt air, and had a glorious long vacation in which to rest and recover from the past year.

And with a good dose of faith and a strong army of prayers backing us up we made our separate journeys across the Atlantic, for me the first time I’ve ever set foot off North America, and after a horribly stressful period of jet lag, homesickness, and “global economic recession” work finding anxieties, life managed to fall into place in time for us to having a smashing good fall. Because there were also dinners at Clare, and our first taste of English Catholicism at Fisher House, and late night food from Gardenia, and wandering around a medieval town and actually living there and not just visiting, and finally having a grownup apartment WITH NO BUGS, and being able to wake up happy in the morning because things had turned out even better than our wildest dreams.

In short, then—getting engaged, becoming Ms L. W----, MA, and moving to a new country. My head spins a little looking back at the huge so-called “milestones” accomplished this past year. And yet the thing that makes me happiest is that at midnight I was sitting in David’s study, wishing him happy new year, watching him struggle to get the cork out of our bottle of champagne, and knowing that I was as in love with him now as I was with him when he proposed to me last year, even after all we’ve been through this year.

The past decade has been good to me—I’ve moved from being an insecure, depressed teenager into being a more self confident, happier adult. I’ve lived in numerous cities in Canada, spending my time enjoying things in all of them (yes, even Toronto, for all I complain). I joined the Catholic Church, a decision which has played an immensely important part in my life. I met David and knew within a week or two of us dating that it was meant to be. I certainly didn’t forsee all of this when I rang in The Year 2000.

And if the past ten years have been so incredibly life changing, and so much more full of life than someone generally placid and homebodyish could’ve imagined, can you even begin to think what joy and fun the next ten will hold?
A decade or so ago (and not too long after I made my significant statement of a new start to life by cutting off my long, long hair)
On a street in Cambridge.