I think it's been three days since I have posted an update on my journey, and I have to say it has been a really busy time, if the rest of my journey into the future is anything like the last three days I don't think I will survive. So after the beautiful drive up from Hollis to our destination in Hardwick Vermont it was all systems go to help set up and host the Bridal shower, as this was an Icelandic and American wedding there were of course many Icelandic influences over the whole wedding, including a large number of Icelanders attending. My cousin Elisabet, who I am staying with, is the daughter of my mother's sister, my Auntie Helga, or as we would say in Icelandic Helga Frænka. Elisabet's son Robert was the groom and he was marrying Aubrey a young lady from Texas. His father and stepmother and brothers all travelled from Iceland together with his father's sister and all her family and his grandmother, Amma in Icelandic, to name but a few. Let's just say it was a good Icelandic gathering, and although my language skills are not brilliant I consider myself to be Icelandic.
Anyway back to the bridal shower, the groom was invited and we had lots of Icelandic food, smoked lamb on a flat bread, cake baked by Amma, Icelandic pancakes with whipped cream and Icelandic rhubarb jam, Icelandic sweets and chocolates, Icelandic hot chocolate with whipped cream, American coffee and African tea as a nod to the many years Aubrey spent in Africa when she was growing up. Gifts were opened by the couple and there was quite a lot of hilarity especially when it was Aubrey's turn to read the card and it was in Icelandic, but I have to say she made a good effort. The guests had all departed by about 8pm and the men who had all been banished started to appear, and we had some family time, which was really nice. I have to admit I was flagging by this point, having been up for 24 hours on the day of travelling and then only having about 4 hours sleep and the hectic day we had. But the fun wasn't over yet as we returned to our wonderful home from home in Hardwick and waited up for Gary's son Jason and his wife Jeannie and their 3 year old Heidi to arrive at about 1:30 am, they had been driving for about 7 hours.... they also had they puppy Pit bull with them, he was really cute, white with a black patch over one eye and above the other eye. I should say Gary is Elisabet's partner, Elisabet and Gary have three dogs, so the introduction of the three dogs was really important and it was pointless going to bed until this had happened as there was going to be a lot of barking. I must say at this point my boys will find it hilarious that I found myself in a house with four dogs, as I have always been scared of dogs... but I coped very well and indeed I have one of the dogs sitting at my feet as I sit and write, even if he is only after the food I am counting that as a victory on my part.
The next day was the day of the wedding reshearsal dinner, and was being held in the house where the bridal party were staying, which had a barn attached. Again the theme was Icelandic, American, with Icelandic hotdogs and American hamburgers. We prepared the food and drinks and decorated the house and people started arriving around 7pm, it was a relaxed evening in a lovely environment, the couple didn't want anything formal and I think they enjoyed it enormously. We had had a good morning with real family time. We took all the dogs on a walk through the forsest down to a stream that Jason had found earlier. Heidi came too, and naturally Jeannie was advising her to be careful and was informed "I have really good balance don't worry!" By her three year old daughter. She loved every minute of that walk, striding out. Moments like that are so precious in our lives. The photos below are of us arriving at the stream in the forest. We decided it was impassable on the other side of the stream for everyone so turned back.
The Wedding Day
even though the wedding wasn't until 4pm it was a relatively early start because we had to return the groom and his friends to the bridal house to pick up cars and start getting things set up. We then travelled to the lovely town of Stowe to get our hair and makeup done. Of course it wasn't the experience I expected, I thought I would be going in for a wash and blow dry, but wedding hair doesn't mean that, it means having you hair put up, so no washing involved but lots of hair lacquer and bobby pins, sometimes known as grips.... so my hair is too short to get up into anything so she said "well what if I curl the bottom and put the top part up to give a bit of height. ". So I was going with the flow and said ok, when she had finished she said what do you think? To be honest I was lost for words!
This was the final result, needless to say it all got brushed out before the wedding, but the experience was fun. As I mentioned before I think it's fascinating going to these sorts of events in different countries because we make assumptions, I assumed they would wash my hair, and they didn't so I went to a wedding with dirty hair😱. So there was just time then to go back to their house and get dressed and depart for the wedding venue. It was a beautiful setting in a farm, and Robert and Aubrey got married in the forest itself. A very simple ceremony and not a dry eye in the house. They were married by Aubrey's father who is a pastor and has spent his life working as a missionary in Africa and India. All the bridesmaids where dressed in green dresses all different and the flower girls in pinks. Aubrey's dress was made by her mother and the fabric designed by Aubrey, the theme of the pattern being used throughout the wedding. It was clear that a huge amount of personal effort had gone into the wedding from all the families which made it so much more personal and intimate. The reception was in a tent with flowers planted on either side an the flaps up so there was a bit of a breeze in the tent. The weather in Vermont was glorious the whole time we were there which was an added bonus. The other added bonus was for the Mosquitos because they were able to feast on both me and Amma Stina. We were comparing bites last night. Horrible. And I would mind but I had actually sprayed myself twice, once before I left the house and once at the wedding itself! Let's just hope I can get this under control soon for the rest of my travels.
Anyway back to the wedding. The food was great and then the partying started, and of course Icelanders know all about partying. There were lots of speeches and much laughter and some tears because of the touching comments about the couple. Then Vignir Robert's father and two of Roberts brothers stood up and performed as a band, playing a couple of songs Robert had performed many years ago in Iceland, all the Icelanders then got up and sang two songs, in Icelandic, and I performed too, I had practice many years ago when we used to go to the celebration called Thorrablot or Þorrablót in Icelandic. A celebration of the end of winter where all the delicacies are eaten and the men sing songs to the women and the women sing songs to the men. I can read and sing, I may not know what I am saying but hey, I can join in that's the main thing.
One of the ideas I had about my retirement was to go and live in Iceland for a year so that I can sort out my language, but that's on hold at the moment, I will have to see whether that's possible when this adventure is over, but in the mean time I am determined to use some of my time each day improving on and learning more Icelandic. Being with all the family, makes me feel more determined because I really want to be able to communicate and not rely on people translating everything. So I will keep you posted on that, I am doing a trial on some software over the next few days to see how I get on with that as a tool for the mission,
Then the dancing began, it was such a fun evening and we danced until about 11pm and then went across the road for the party to continue at Ásgerður and Vignir's house, with Vignir playing guitar and everyone signing along. Very much like an Irish family get together where songs are sung in what is called a session. I am married to an Irish man and we did this at our wedding in the bar after all the dancing was finished and do it at all family get togethers. Such a joyful and uplifting experience.