Friday, July 29, 2011

Scotland: The Jig Is Up

The coolest thing about the wedding in Scotland was the dancing at the reception.  The bride and groom chose The Jiggers Ceilidh Band, a local Scottish band that played traditional music and taught the guests traditional Scottish dancing.  Think of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet dancing in the bottom of the boat in the movie "Titantic," but then picture approximately 30 Americans doing that without any previous jig experience and after drinking cocktails. Quite a sight.

We jigged so much and so hard that I literally burnt the rubber taps off of my heels.  It was that INTENSE.  Throughout the reception, Ben touted the efficient ventilation of the kilt and debated on carrying the kilt tradition back to the States.  I absolutely encouraged it.

During certain jigs, bodies literally flew in all directions.  Think dodgeball with adult extremities.  At one point, during a vigorous dance that lasted quite awhile, I feared that I was going to either 1) faint, or 2) throw up.  That's how hard we danced.  That's how into it we were.   

The first picture is of a (semi) coordinated group dance, and the second picture is of Ben swinging me around during another dance. And, don't worry, Ben held tightly onto me so that I did not twirl right off the dance floor and into a marble column.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Scotland: Unchartered Territory

The first stop on our European tour was Glasgow, Scotland.  My sister-in-law, Ben’s younger sister, got married to a true, born-and-bred Scotsman. They held the wedding in a beautiful church and reception hall, or “cathedral” and “mini castle” depending on your perspective, in downtown Glasgow.

The wedding was beautiful.  The bride was beautiful.  And, as a bridesmaid, the view from the front of the church was… perhaps “beautiful” isn’t the right word.

Most of the men in attendance wore kilts.  The Scots owned their kilts, and the Americans rented their kilts.  The Scots grew up wearing kilts to formal occasions.  They were accustomed to wearing an open-bottomed piece of clothing.  The Americans had undoubtedly crossed into unfamiliar territory.

The American men sat with their legs together for the first part of the ceremony.  But, as time went on, they got a little more comfortable in the their kilts.  They relaxed a bit.  Perhaps forgot they donned a kilt.

Slowly, the Americans' legs drifted apart, inch-by-inch.  By the time the vows rolled along, a large portion of the right side of the church showed off much more than the colors of their tartan!  Fortunately, for some of them, their sporran weighted their kilt down just enough to leave the bridesmaids guessing.

Below, Ben looked dapper in his kilt alongside his two sisters, a stunning bride and lovely bridesmaid.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Back in NYC

We are back!

Ben and I returned to NYC late Sunday night from a 26-day European vacation where we looped through five countries (Scotland, France, Italy, Spain, and Ireland) and toured 14 cities (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Paris, Versailles, Venice, Murano, Cortona, Rome, Sorrento, Naples, Pompeii, Capri, Barcelona, and Dublin).  We slept in 10 different beds and took at least 11 modes of transportation (cruise ship, airplane, train, subway, boat, city bus, coach bus, car, taxi, bicycle, and foot) through Europe.  We attempted to speak three foreign languages and almost understood one, using extreme and over exaggerated gestures (or a simple “did you get that” smile and shrug with upturned palms) to communicate nonverbally much of the time.
Everything was as amazing as it sounds… and we plan to purchase a pied-a-terre in each of our top ten favorite cities as soon as we win the lottery.

We brought back plenty of magnets, the best souvenir when living in a small and space restricted apartment, as well as a few extra pounds around the midsection.  Weight gained on our vacation further proved that we really let go and enjoyed ourselves.  I only said “no” once to a chocolate filled croissant, but regretted it immediately and quickly recanted my initial answer only to again dive into my 50th calorie enriched pastry of the trip.  I feared that one more Nutella filled crepe would lead to a chocolate overdose.  Europeans stay so skinny.  How do they do it?

The next couple of posts will be dedicated to small or memorable moments from our trip.  It’s impossible to encapsulate the awesomeness of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of everything we experienced, but little vignettes and photos will have to suffice.  Until then… 

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Two great photos of two great friends.