We have been blessed this past month not only to celebrate our own wedding anniversary, but to also be surrounded by and celebrate with two good couple friends who have made the wonderful decision to tie the knot. How fun it has been for us to share this time with them! What an encouragement and reminder of our vows they are to us!
Amit & Ilana
We have known Amit and Ilana since we first moved to San Francisco. It was a very special wedding for us since we introduced Amit and Ilana and since we saw their relationship grow from flirtation and interest to dating to now married. I lived with Amit in my first apartment. Ilana knew Grant’s roommate in San Francisco and stayed with them when she first moved. They are the only couple for which we know each individual equally well.
While I’m getting nostalgic, let’s pull up some of those early San Francisco photos…
We flew to Seattle for their wedding weekend. I thought it would be strange to be back in the United States, but it was surprisingly normal. Just a few things felt funny: dollars felt too small and ornate in our hands, we had a bit of a shock stepping into a huge, brightly lit Rite-Aid, food came way too quickly at restaurants and our tap water glasses were constantly re-filled. It was also interesting how easily we got through customs on the U.S. side. All the border control agents greeted us with, “Welcome home!” as if we had served our country or something. It reminded me of how strong American pride is.
The wedding weekend honored both Amit and Ilana’s family origins with components from Sikh culture and Jewish culture, all against the backdrop of their shared values: travel, family, friendship, and the outdoors. On Friday morning, we got dressed up in beautiful silk Indian garments for the Sikh wedding. It was so good to be reunited with our good friends, Erik, Mo, and Alison! Amit and Ilana were so grand in their elaborate outfits.
I learned so much about the Sikh culture. I have to say, it really struck me how similar world religions are. The rituals and traditions of the Sikh ceremony did not seem so foreign to the Catholic in me. Two things I loved about the Sikh ceremony: 1) Amit rode in on a horse (AWESOME!). 2) Food was an integral part of the celebration before and after the ceremony.
On Saturday, we got to witness the Jewish ceremony lakeside. The venue was absolutely stunning, and the weather was completely clear for the ceremony. Again, we were so thankful for our friendships and the community/family we had formed in San Francisco that we were reunited with. This was the first Jewish wedding I had ever been to, and I really appreciated how clearly they explained the significance of the various traditions. Ilana was such an elegant bride, and Amit was the most emotional that I’ve ever seen him. I basically cried through the whole ceremony – I was so happy for them! Marriage is such a huge commitment, and I am so happy that they found each other and made that decision to share life together.
Congratulations, Amit and Ilana! Mazel tov! We love you! Grant and I will always support you in any way that we can. Speaking for the others, your greater San Francisco family always has your back.
While we were in Seattle to celebrate Amit and Ilana, we also had the opportunity to spend time with Kat too. It has been so fun to visit with Kat so frequently this year. Somehow the circumstances have worked out that we have gotten to see her four times in the last three months. Amazing!
Kat showed us a few different sides of Seattle: the living computer museum and Seattle wine tasting (who knew?). I love being able to talk to this amazing lady in person – I’m so lucky to have her as my sister! I love being able to actually share things real-time with her instead of just re-counting it over the phone. Kat gets me, and I get her, in a way only sisters can understand. Sometimes it feels like we share the same heart in two different bodies. Big hugs to you, Kat! Here’s to hoping we will see each other once more before the end of the year!! Erin, you in too? 🙂
Kristle & Matt
Kristle and Matt came and visited us in Barcelona as part of their honeymoon! These two lovebirds got hitched in August, and unfortunately, we couldn’t make the wedding. The photos looked so beautiful! Kristle and I were roommates in Pittsburgh during grad school, and we both moved to the Bay Area after school.
Trip down memory lane…
A few months into dating Matt, I knew that he was the one for Kristle. The way she talked about him just showed how strongly they felt about each other, and she had a spark in her eye as she talked about who they got along. I remember a conversation we had at a diner when I realized how serious their relationship was. I’m so glad that they found each other and got married!
We were so honored to have them include us in their vacation. They were literally glowing with happiness – see for yourself!
I loved being able to share that afterglow of the wedding with them. We reflected on how amazing it is to be surrounded by so much family and friend love on your wedding day.
We did a double-date to Torre Bellesguard, a lesser known Gaudi work in Barcelona. A local musician played the piano and sang against the backdrop of the imposing towers and surrounding gardens. The musician was really cracking the jokes – unfortunately in Catalan! Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never seen a crowd quite so excited about a Coldplay song!
Another highlight of Kristle and Matt’s visit was experiencing La Merce festival, a Catalan festival, in Barcelona. We got to witness two of the the most common Catalan traditions in one of the main squares: the giants and the castellers. Each neighborhood in Barcelona has their own representative giants, which are basically very large paper mache people. Likewise, each neighborhood has a casteller group, which each performed.
It got a little sunny in the square:
This past Sunday, which was a few days after this festival, there was a Catalan parliament election. Tensions were pretty high before the election. There is a large portion of the population that wants to separate from Spain – the catch is that Spain won’t let them legally vote on this. Catalan separatists believe Catalonia would be better off without Spain for two big reasons: 1) They consistently have economically contributed more to the central government than the aid or representation they receive (they contribute 20% of Spain’s whole GDP). 2) They are culturally separate. They have a separate language and separate traditions. During Franco’s rule, Catalan culture was purposefully repressed. Especially among the older generation who lived through this, there is an emotional reaction to the central Spanish government.
Anyway, during this festival, there was a scuffle between the separatists and those who want to stay with Spain. Someone from the government displayed a pro-separatist flag, which sparked someone else from the government to pull out a Spanish flag. Literally the whole square erupted into “boo’s” when the Spanish flag was displayed. It was kind of crazy. Here’s a video of the incident, as it was newsworthy:
The separatist parties won a majority in Catalan parliament on Sunday. They promised that if they won a majority in this election, they would declare independence from Spain within 18 months. We’ll see how that goes. I’m personally skeptical, as it’s unclear how they will convince Spain that this is a good idea, and with the civil war in recent memory, no one is actually going to take up arms over this.
Thank you Matt and Kristle for sharing this special time with us! Congratulations! You are a wonderful couple and a great encouragement to us!
We are so blessed to have such wonderful friendships in our lives.