Thursday, March 31, 2011

Honeymoon in San Francisco

 Mr. C and I went to San Francisco for our honeymoon.  Spent ten amazing days relaxing, eating, walking, sightseeing, and more eating.  I forget how much I love to travel and, luckily, I found a great travel companion.  I also love San Francisco.  The diversity of people, cultures and neighborhoods kept us busy exploring new things every day.  I think one of my favorite things to do was sitting on the bus and just listening to all the different languages spoken in one place.  When we were on the one bus, we heard lots of Russian and Japanese.  When we were on another, it was a mix of Mandarin, Portuguese, and other random languages.  

Poster in Chinatown
indigenous rights mural in Mission district
San Francisco never seems to lose it's appeal for lovers, newlyweds, or couples.  My parents came here for their honeymoon over 40 years ago.  Countless friends have told me they spent their honeymoon here, too.  Seems like it's a city of immigrants, new arrivals, where all cultures find a way to work together. Only fitting that couples starting off on new adventures and a new life together would find this place romantic.

It rained almost every day.  But that didn't hold us back from doing the things we wanted to do.  We just stayed huddled under our umbrellas, heading out in the misty rain.  Or, on rainier days, we'd sleep in, cuddling up in our huge bed with the curtains open just watching the rain fall down on the city. 

a view from our room
rainy day at the Legion of Honor
a break in the clouds
Mr. C is a vegan and I'm a vegetarian, so when we found it incredible easy to eat here, we took advantage of every delicious meal we came across.  Coming from a city where there are only 2, yes just two, vegan restaurants in the whole metropolitan area, we were in heaven!  So we ate a lot, I mean  a lot!!

Here is just a small list of restaurants we visited (in case you're vegan and about to head to SF for the first time) and also to say thank you to them for feeding us so well!
Millennium Restaurant - vegan fine dining
Gracias Madre - vegan organic Mexican
Tu-Lan - Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall
Little Boabab - African food
Underdog - vegan hot dogs and sausages!
Herbivore - vegan "american" food
 Souley Vegan - vegan soul food!! (in Oakland)
Great India - Indian food
Bi-Rite Creamery - Ice cream (lots of vegan options!)

vegan dessert at Millennium
Gigantic portions at Tu-Lan Vietnamese

eating at Tu-lan
two thumbs up for delicious chinese food

soul food at Souley Vegan (bbq tofu with side of lentils)

more soul food (bbq tofu with deep fried "fish" on top, side of mac'n cheze)

mosaic at Gracias Madre Vegan Mexican 
Some final, cute pictures... 
some murals at the Women's Center

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Wedding Day...

I suppose most brides would say their wedding day was the most amazing day of their lives.  But, for me, I mean it.  This day came not without stress, anxiety, tears and disappointment; but despite all of it, it was the most remarkable gathering of people in one place.  It couldn't have been more perfect.  I couldn't have imagined it would turn out better than I thought.  I should start from the beginning.  Well, the beginning of the week, at least.

It started with a phone call from my grandmother saying she couldn't come to my wedding, despite the fact that she was visiting from Chicago.  It appears that my father has more influence and can invoke more fear in people than I thought.   My mom also confirmed that she, too, could not make it.  My aunt from Chicago had also planned to visit, along with her 3 children, but soon discovered what it means to be on my father's bad side.  Turns out, he found out she was coming and threatened her (and anyone else even thinking to celebrate with us) with a family disowning of sorts.  So she called and canceled her trip.  I cannot wrap my mind around the psychology of my father.  He and I don't get along, and it would be fine if he and I were the only ones involved in this dynamic.  But he has included our immediate family, as well as distant relatives, putting them in awkward positions of choosing a relationship with my mother or me.  

I spent a night or two crying and feeling like it might not have been a bad idea to elope after all.  I wasn't sure how I would handle not seeing my mother, grandmother and aunt on my wedding day.  Then the week progressed.  We were pretty much finished with all the preparations when friends from Ann Arbor, Portland and Denver, cousins from Chicago,  and Mr. C's son all started showing up.  I can't help but feel overwhelmed at the amount of love that surrounds us.  Our friends are amazing!  We spent the latter half of the week enjoying their company and visiting with them.  On Friday, my good friend organized a rehearsal dinner for out of town folks and family.  Few family came, but I hardly noticed as I was surrounded by so many friends that were happy for us.

Rehearsal dinner, hosted by good friends

The night before the wedding, at the dinner, my sister drops a bomb by telling me that they aren't going to bring the kids...none of them will be there.  My nieces and nephews will be absent.  It really couldn't get any worse, could it?  The punishment that a father imposes spreads like wildfire among my family.  It has taken hold of the little kids who know nothing of our past, yet are limited and controlled by something they don't understand.

I couldn't imagine how this day was going to unfold.  I try to live in the moment, be completely present to my surroundings, to stay as positive as possible.  I seriously had my doubts that I could do it.

Then Saturday came and I felt myself giddy with excitement and anticipation.  We had a relaxing morning (yes!) and I got my hair and face done, before meeting Mr. C and his son in Carefree to get ready.

There was no question of who was going to walk me down the one else has stood by me more than the man I was about to marry.  He and I walked arm-in-arm down the walkway and was greeted by about 100 of my closest friends.  At that moment, I was overcome by joy and gratefulness of all that I have, of all whom I am thankful for, and for the blessings that have come into my life.  At that moment, our friend John was singing Van Morrison's "Someone Like You" and I found myself totally in the moment.  I could feel the tears welling up and I felt like I was about to bawl my eyes out and yell "oh my God, I can't believe you're all here for us!"  As my friend Adrian said, I was about to do the "ugly cry."  Thankfully, I sort of composed myself and walked  gracefully down the steps to a welcoming, loving spirit of people.  Not once during the ceremony did I think of my mother, my grandmother, aunt, nieces and nephews that could not be there.  I felt surrounded by them.  By their energy and love.  So my father doesn't win, he cannot control or affect me anymore.  Love is stronger than hate and resentment, and there was no room for that today anyway.

guests gathering before the ceremony

my bouquet!
flowers grown with love by friend in Tucson

getting the reception ready