Saturday 16 October 2010

What a Sight!

Laser eye surgery... how do you imagine it?
I imagined a huge green laser beam ready to burn off my eyebrows if I moved a hair.
Not so.
It’s incredible.
Incredibly quick.
Five minutes an eye.
It’s not pleasant. There’s glaring lights, the sensation of a sticky plaster being pressed over your eye, the sound of an electric drill which turns out to be a gentle dryer.
Later you spend three hours with your eyelids taped closed and your eyes stinging.
But it’s still not as awful as that wax I once had in Peru.
Because of my surgery, I have been off the computer for a few days and I haven’t been able to share last week’s special event: Our official engagement party (Colombian style).
It was only fair to celebrate our commitment to each other in each country and include all our friends and family.
Our party began at 7.30am with the Fiancé and I sticking single flower stems into a sandpit in the drizzle.
We were in the finca, the house in the countryside belonging to my sister-in-law and her family, and it had never been so cloudy.
“Look, the sun,” my father-in-law said, pointing at a tiny spec of white amidst all the grey. “It will clear.”
As the rain increased and our dream of an outdoor celebration looked like it wasn’t to be, we began emptying the house and preparing to move all the tables indoors.
But a few hours later, while the guest started to arrive, the sun made a miraculous appearance.
The simple and beautiful ceremony was held outside as planned with a reading by the local priest and a blessing of our rings.
“I never thought I’d ever say ‘yes’ to a man before I’d met his mother,” I began my speech.
It meant a lot to me to be able to address all these people that had come to share our special day. Many of them I’d never met while others I’d still not got to know fully.
My sister-in-law made the occasion feel particularly complete.
She had researched different wedding traditions from all over the world.
I stepped on an egg, my fiancé on a glass, my father-in-law threw acorns over my head while my mother-in-law held up a green leaf to show her approval.
I can’t match the countries with the traditions now, except the Polish one, where we tasted bread (‘may you never go hungry’), salt (‘may you overcome all bitterness’) and wine (‘may you enjoy the sweetness in life’).
The local band, la papayera, burst into a chaotic melee of drums and trumpets as we finished off a rodizio (rotation) of succulent meat.
Then came the Mariachis to woo us in the night.
All our guests had come to enjoy themselves and there was no holding back as the music played.
I danced all night, exchanging my heels for flip flops and best of all, barefoot.
As it grew colder, the party moved inside beside a roaring fire.
The Fiancé and I were the last ones standing.
When I felt my eyes starting to close, he took my hand and we went outside.
Amidst the eucalyptus trees we sat and watched big, blurry stars.
It was a perfect day and a perfect way to bring to a close my time in Colombia.
I can’t thank my new family enough for taking me in with such an open heart.

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