Archive for the ‘memories’ Category

Hiking in the Jura

We welcomed Joanna and Mika to Geneva this weekend by going on a lovely hike. It’s full on fall in the Jura, and we know we’ve got only a few more weekends of nice weather before it’s cold and snowy.

hiking! jura!!!

Enjoy these pictures I shot!


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I’m pleased to report that we’ve been married for a little over two weeks, and we’re both very happy.

Maybe a little too happy.

It’s funny; people ask me, “So how’s it being married?” and my reply is, “Pretty much the same as being not married.”

Which is true. We still live together in the same little house. We’re still going to work and writing the thesis, as it was before the wedding.

But, we now have some shiny new things that make our lives a little nicer. (Wow, did I ever need a new nonstick pan.) Also, I’ll see J fiddling with his ring from time to time, or discover it in random places in our house. He’s getting better with remembering to wear it, and I smile every time I notice it glisten in the light.

And our cranes! I packed them in a big amazon box, and they are now in the middle of the floor, waiting to be sealed and sent to Canada. But, I haven’t done it yet. I know they are going to go to charity and eventually join a massive flock of cranes for a big exhibit, but they are all so special to me. It breaks my heart a little bit to see them all in that box, each a heartfelt contribution to our wonderful day. It was striking to see them all together.

So, on we go. I’m getting the professional wedding pictures this week, so then we can have proper recaps!

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we’re married!

Here we are, 11 days later.

I had to take a few days pause because I haven’t been able to find exactly how exciting the entire five days leading up to the wedding were, or how blissful the actual day was. In fact, I’m not even completely sure where to start.

But, I will begin with how grateful I am. Our wedding was more than an affirmation of our commitment and love; it was a day to celebrate with our loved ones and thank them for all the ways they have supported us financially and emotionally. I felt so lucky that both sets of parents were there with bells on, all four couldn’t have been happier that day. My brother was a tremendous support and his heartfelt speech was perfect (and was one of the only two times I teared up on wedding day.)  Our families loved each other. Our friends dissolved into a rowdy, carousing celebratory pack of singers and dancers. Hours upon hours, we had toiled to make the beautiful forest of cranes, the perfect backdrop for our vows.  We had earned this moment, and I am so happy and grateful for everyone who came, contributed and celebrated with us in person or spirit.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

There was something special in the air on our wedding day. Clusters of ladybugs gently scuttled about outside the educational center, some caught in the gentle folds of my dress until released by an alert bridesmaid. In fact, a large cricket landed directly on J’s boutonniere during pictures. The rain in the morning broke into gentle sun for an unseasonably warm October afternoon, and the evening melted into a sunset rainstorm that erupted into a lightening show that lasted for hours.  Incredible.

Well, being me, I’ve got plenty of stories to tell, so future entries will probably be me talking about how I remember the wedding. There’s also an adventure of a honeymoon to cover….and then, life beyond the wedding will continue too. I won’t be going anywhere.

After all, this blog is about when two hearts collide. The physicists will tell you that it’s what happens after the collision that they are interested in, that is, the energy, the resulting pieces of whatever they can detect after. It’s through analyzing what happened after the collision that help them understand what really occurs during the impact.

That’s sort of how I feel about the wedding, as I talk to as many friends as I can, read entries in our guest book and skim through the pictures, trying to better understand what happened that magnificent day, one instant in time. It’s all a little hazy.

But, I do remember walking down the back path, about an hour before our ceremony. The wind was blowing and Keri was tending to my train. Lane, my photographer, was setting up our first look, and she was calling for us to walk down. We turned the corner to see Tom standing next to my groom, both facing away from our approach. Keri and Tom exited, and, on the count of three, J turned around.

He and I alone stood in the middle of the path, our faces breaking into happy smiles. And as we hugged, I nestled my head into his neck to stop the flow of tears.

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This post is a long time coming, but I’ll make it short and sweet.

After six weeks of dress hunting, I was tired, disappointed and frustrated.  Each weekend, I’d add to an iphoto gallery already filled with me  in various shades of white satin, lace and dupont silk. We’d started with tighter, mermaid like styles to compliment my hourglass figure, but J pointed out how dresses with more flow and flare are more to my style. Dress after dress after dress, they all seemed about the same after awhile.

Well, except that the more dresses I tried on, the more I thought about this one dress. One dress that was almost perfect, but not quite.

Yes, dear reader, that’s right. If you remember, I blogged about when a girls finds her dress and whether “the moment” existed or not.  But, it was exactly that dress with which I had my almost-moment. And even though it wasn’t perfect, it was still the one that was the most unique, the one with both fit and flow, and the one that I liked the best.

So, I went back to Priscilla’s and tried it on again.

I put the dress on, hoping to feel some sort of  magical overwhelming joy (which didn’t happen), but I still liked the dress a lot.  Still, I just didn’t know. And, without knowing, I couldn’t buy it.

I went outside and called Keri.

“I’m at the dress shop,” I told her.

“OOOOoooooh!” she squealed. “And?!”

“And I still like it.”

“Like, like like it?”

“Yes. I still like it.”


“Well,” I sighed.  “I’m still not sure. I mean, I still don’t know if it’s THE dress.”

I could practically hear her grinning on the other side as if she knew something that I didn’t. “How many shops have you been to?” Keri asked.

“Over ten. Eleven, I think.”

“And how many dresses have you tried on?”

“Over seventy. Maybe more,” I replied.

“And what dress do you keep thinking about?”

“Well, this one.” Suddenly, I knew where she was going with this.

“And,” Keri continued. “If you go to ten more places and try on seventy more dresses, what dress are you still going to think about?”

“This one. Probably.” I admitted.

She was right. Did I want to keep going to bridal stores that were further and further away? Wasn’t it enough to like like a dress?

“Yeah, you’re right.” I said. “Ok.”

“Ok what?”

“I’m going to go buy it.”

Keri started to laugh. “DO IT!”

And so I did. I went back in the store, went up to the counter and said, “I’ve tried on a dress here a few times, and today, I’d like to buy it.”

The women at the counter looked shocked since rarely does one come in and announce she’s going to buy a wedding dress. But, they brought out the dress for me, and since the sample was in good condition, I bought it for half off. They put it in a big white dress bag and charged the credit card.

“Congratulations on finding your dress,” they told me, handing over the big bag.  And even though I’m sure they say this to all brides-to-be,  I smiled really big.

“My dress.” I said, to John, holding my giant dress bag like a four-year old clutching a well-loved stuffed animal. “It’s awesome. I am happy.”

At that moment, I really was happy. Truly relieved and excited. In the end, I had found THE dress, and it was perfect.

So, I can’t wait to wear it in October. It’s going to be amazing!

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I’m procrastinating planning this wedding.

And what better way to procrastinate than to throw a big party!

I have a good excuse though; it’s called Japanese New Year. Now, the Japanese celebrate the new year on the 1st just like we do. Ever since I can remember, my mother would prepare the house for the 1st. She’d spend at least three days cleaning and cooking strange dishes that we only ate once a year. Then, we’d invite friends and families to come over and celebrate with us.

After I graduated college, I found myself in Boston for New Years, and I decided to throw our new years party myself for my friends. That was 2005 and since then, the tradition has been carried on. J’s been my trusty sous-chef ever since.

Now, we may not have the exact same dishes or cook things exactly like my mom did (and the past two years, we’ve waited until MLK weekend for many of our European friends to return from holiday). But, I think we stay true to the spirit of celebration of the new year. (And I have profound appreciation now for all my mother did by herself all those years.)

Thanks to Keri for these lovely images below!

Some of our dishes are traditional for new years like burdock root and carrot (金平牛蒡, kinpira gobo) or fish cake (蒲鉾, kamaboko). Others are fun to make and eat as a group, such as enlisting the guests to roll maki rolls.

Everyone comes and helps out, and it’s a great time. This year, we had probably somewhere around 30 people attend, which is about the capacity of our little cozy apartment. J and I shopped and cooked (up until 3am on Friday, up again by 10 on Saturday) but everything turned out really well. (Especially this delicious variation of a Castella (カステラ, Kasutera)

At some point though, right when people were arriving and things were not completely finished, I had a moment when I felt slightly on the verge of a meltdown.

“I have no idea, babe, how we’re going to do this with three times as many people for our wedding,” I lamented.

He laughed. “Darling. We won’t be cooking at our wedding!”

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Love Song

Ok, I’ll admit it.

I am somewhat ashamed of the songs on my iPod.

Since I discovered Limewire 2000, with little discretion (or taste) in music, I’ve been amassing a eclectic assortment of MP3s. Library CDs that I borrowed and burned, mixes assembled by friends or companies (SCORE! Summer Beach Party), at some point J’s entire MP3 collection, choral music, traditional Georgian music, some pirated eurotechno i bought off the street in Palermo (volumes 1 &2).

In sum, you hit “shuffle songs” on my ipod, and your ears might feel nauseous. Sometimes to maintain a shred of dignity, it could be a frantic button-pressing streak until I find something listenable.

But like i said, I’m only somewhat ashamed by this because there are some gems on there. I’m the kind of person that will listen to a CD over and over and over again, so much so that it starts to define a time in my life. I discovered Paris Combo in college when I was crazy about swing dancing.  The American Idiot album is the stretch of  I-90 across Massachusetts, Saturday nights after work as I sped to see J. The Postal Service’s Give Up is what I consider the Soundtrack To Seattle as I loved to hear it while sipping feathered lattes. These are the good songs.

Yesterday, I’m driving to Indiana and listening to MIKA’s new CD. I’ve got a new addiction. As a regular train commuter, my driving time is short and infrequent. Today, i’ve got two long hours to myself, and once I’ve finished the album, I hook up my iPod and set it to shuffle. I’m game.

After listening to an expected mishmash of music, a familiar voice comes on. I start to laugh as J’s friend K starts to serenade me. K will have some sort of place of honor in our wedding party as he’s J’s best friend since middle school. But seven years ago, when J and I started dating, K was excited. Very excited. So excited that he asked to send me an email. I didn’t have any problem with it, and K wrote me often. It was only a short time, however,  before I also received MP3 attachments of K singing. At first I thought it was cute, but after the 10th clip, I think J had to say something.

Now, I think the entire thing is hilarious, and I’m glad we’ve also become good friends. I’ve kept them ever since, and when they pop up from time to time, I always make me smile. We’ve talked about K singing at our wedding. I hope he says yes.

To my surprise, it’s only a song before J is singing to me.

I recall someone asking me if I wanted to go to that Ephlat’s concert. But, my course load had been intense since I had planned to take the last two weeks of the semester off to go on an Eclipse expedition, so I declined. That night, John was singing A Love Song for No One.

Two weeks later, we sat next to each other on a plane bound for Australia.

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