Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Die Hochzeit in der Rückspiegel

After so many months of walking forwards towards our wedding, it's hard to believe today is the one-month anniversary. I've never been one to go in for the Best-Day-of-my-Life, fairytale, cupcake-dressed nonsense and while I have a lot of good days behind me and I hope there are lots more to come, it's hard to imagine being able to recapture the shear joy I felt for every second of our wedding (though I'm up for giving it a try).

Here are some highlights from our more-perfect-than-we-dared-to-believe-was-possible wedding weekend:
Rehearsal Dinner (aka Polterabend) chili, cornbread, and beer for 90 of our guests (there was more than one occasion when I questioned my sanity on inviting all of our numerous guests to this event, but...while we hadn't expected so very many to attend, we were really glad to have more time to spend together and that everyone didn't have to cram their celebration into a few short hours. Anyway, more-the-merrier is sort of our entertaining style. Despite my moments of panic, the chili was a big success (note the thumbs up) and our amazing guests acted as schleppers, bartenders, waitstaff, and dishwashers.
And as a rule, a bonfire always makes a good party better. Especially with s'mores. Poltering wasn't my favorite part of the wedding (by far), but it was an interesting cultural experience (leave it to the Germans to turn cleaning into a party game). Full disclosure: the Germans are way into playing games at weddings and most of them were a lot more fun.

Saturday aka Wedding Day was spent running around like chickens with our heads cut off: serving breakfast and lunch, cleaning the kitchen, setting things up and then resetting them up when a torrential downpour seemed certain, arranging flowers in vases, bouquets, and bouts, etc. There was a brief, if very palpable, period when I didn't think anything would work out, when having a wedding seemed like the worst idea I'd ever had and I considered just taking the nap I hadn't been able to take all week ... but it all came together and I wouldn't trade a second of it.
We wed as the rain fell on the barn and then recessed out to I was Made for Loving You by Kiss, which our upstairs neighbors play ALL THE TIME so we have had no choice, but to make it our theme song. The sun came out and shone a few strong rays at us (it was eerily good timing) and then retreated back to a drizzle. I was pushed here and there and made to pose with nearest and dearest while trying to drink the delicious cava we (literally) carried back from Mitte Meer (ok, fine, I pulled it in my shopping cart, but mein Mann really did carry several cases on his back. And we dined (!) - please note our most handsome wedding guest, shown in the photo here - wild boar (which, fear not, lives on (in a manner of speaking) in our freezer).
Not to mention the buffet, whose deliciousness isn't really captured here (you have no idea what amazing Knödel can do for an already perfect buffet). This may not make sense, so just know that I mean it in the humblest and most complementary way: the caterer's food was just what and how I would have cooked if I had had any extra time and energy. It was (for me, anyway) perfect. I can't claim to be able to pull off such a cake, however. And let me just tell you - it tasted about a million times better than it looked/s. Our DJ was a little odd, but we were determined to dance and I will say that he was obedient: he played all the songs I asked for (even if he did play my Shakira song when I happened to be outside and give me slight attitude for requesting that he NOT play YMCA or heavy metal. I know what you are thinking about Shakira, but you are wrong.). I did struggle with my inner Bridezilla who really wanted to confiscate his mini disco ball (I am pretty sure that I do not come across as a mini disco ball kind of girl). East German DJs aside, it was a joyous night. It's such a powerful feeling to have so many of the people you love (and who love you) all in one spot - be it singing along to Fools Rush In, lifting a glass of Emsland Schnapps to honor the people who couldn't be with us, or dancing to some German dance hit from the 80s ... it was, to say the least, a memorable weekend/night.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It was so much fun to have (almost) all my nearest in Berlin. I almost love Berlin with so many of my favorite people in a 5-block radius. Except for the crazy people that come to visit in November (snowstorm with thunder anyone?) or February (gale-force winds!), most visitors come in the warmer months, giving them the very silly allusion that Berlin is some kind of eternal Spring paradise. So this time, it was a bit gratifying to see Berlin act up: chilly rain in what is supposed to be the nicest month, surly copy shop workers refusing to print from (gasp!) a disk or emailed file on (the horror!) labels, average food (not that you don't get average meals in other towns, but with the exception of the restaurant at the Deutsche Oper and the old standby that is Schwarzwaldstuben, the other restaurants I took my guests to were intensely embarrassing flops (why can't they make a decent, interesting salad in this town that isn't drowning in bad vinaigrette (to put it politely)?) People commented on the oddness of the pillows, the strange fact of life that makes a Berlin-Brandenburg train ticket cost 26 Euros for one passenger or five, and why are the sidewalks as/more uneven than some developing nations?

Of course, I am/was the main whiner, and most people had only glowing things to say about Berlin, but in the spirit of celebrating the oddness that is here, I present you with some very odd (to me at least) snack foods I have recently discovered (but not (yet) sampled):

Horse milk products at the organic market! I ate horse meat in Italy (and admired the horses baby food) and would sample this if I could find it. Alas, thus far I've only seen the advertisement. I do love that their new line is: "a delicious cow milk alternative!" But why is there also a goat on the packaging?

We (for the next 6 weeks anyway) live near the worst video store on the planet. On the rare occasions they have anything we might want to watch, it's always checked out. They have about 20 DVDs in their collection, most of which seem to be porn or extreme-violence-for-the-sake-of-extreme-violence movies. They do, however, have very interesting snacks. I recently observed doner kebab- and El Gaucho-flavored chips. Flavoring cheap potato chips like a cheap greasy meaty sandwich is intriguing. Or something. And what does El Gaucho taste like, do you think? Sweaty Argentine cowboy?

Stay tuned for a much less cranky, perhaps even fluffy wedding post....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Das Leben nach der Hochzeit

If not the words, I lack the images to describe the perfection of our wedding last weekend. Instead of trying, I'll leave you with a few images of my post-wedding life:

1. The last bit of leftover wedding cake. It may not look like much here, but I am fairly certain that a more delicious or more beautiful wedding cake has never been seen (the layers alternated chocolate and hazelnut and were accompanied by a big bowl of fresh strawberries).

2. This being the third celebration of this marriage, I can tell you that a wedding is a great way to fill your apartment with flowers. In a mad dash through the wholesale flower market that resembled Supermarket Sweep more than wedding preparations, we grabbed peonies for the bouquets, pale pink roses for the boutonnieres, and sweet williams (amusingly called bearded carnations auf Deutsch) for the tables. Down with overpriced florists!

3. Wrapping paper and shipping boxes are very convenient for those of us with a pending move....(Note the wedding dress rumpled in the background.)
4. What to do with more leftover wild boar than will fit in my (increasingly annoying) micro Euro-fridge?

A post-wedding Sunday night leftover party is a must (no matter how tired you are, you can probably still manage to snack and open presents), pulled boar BBQ sandwiches (bonus points for using up the end of the rhubarbbq sauce and some of the leftover rolls), and tonight's menu features boar ragu with tagliatelle (sorry, I forgot to take the picture until I was half finished).