Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Two Bachelors: One Party

David and I sat on the terrace, sipping wine and anxiously awaiting company. It was already half-past the time by which the "anonymous" voice had instructed us to be ready. The downtime was starting to get the best of us. It finally set in that in less than week, we would be married. I silently reflected on the months of planning that had lead up to this week. Tears flooded my eyes as I thought of how this "small, informal" event had transformed itself into what was to be our one and only big day. I explained to David through restrained sobs what had just occurred to me. In the beginning it was okay that I was doing this on my own. But now that it had become a big deal, I wasn't okay at all. The thought of going forward without the most important women in my life, the women who had been there for me through so much wouldn't be there for me when I needed them most. "I need Shelly or my mom or somebody here!" I plead. And then I quietly tried to make peace with the impossibility of this notion.

The "Cubelles group", all sporting penis hats, marched into our tiny apartment like a small—albeit loud—army. Gerard, Mark, Gloria, Edu, Elena, Cristina and Jordi gathered around our Ikea coffee table and began setting up a game that they had crafted themselves. We were informed that we had an itinerary to stick to. A truly eventful night was set in motion.

Lambrusco and an assortment of liquor was poured into cups and shot glasses as we picked our pieces and began a Peter & David-themed game: a hybrid of Chutes and Ladders, Cranium, Trivial Pursuit, Truth & Dare and every drinking game I've ever played. It was a race to get to the end of the board, that is: the wedding!

In good bachelor party spirit, this segment of the night was not without a few humiliating moments caught on film.

Before we could even complete the game, we moved onto a photo montage video they had put together. And then it was time for a second, less complicated game. This one was more my style. We were handed a giant box filled with newspaper, confetti and an assortment of small, wrapped gifts. Elena read off a number and then a "clue". We would then find the corresponding present and open it.

Before I forget, I have to explain the glorious accessory you see on David's head in these photos. A week or two prior, David and I were watching Sex and the City: The Movie. We had been hitting the wine pretty hard (as we're apt to do whenever Carrie Bradshaw is involved) and David turned to me to say "I want a bird for my wedding". He was, of course, referring to the blue headpiece that Carrie wore to her first and unsuccessful wedding. He made me promise I would find one. Well, I couldn't, so I had to settle for making one. He didn't know what to think when I handed him this deranged-looking concoction just hours before the party. Quickly, though, he began to wear it with pride!

Anyway, the gifts ranged from the mildly embarrassing to extremely thoughtful. We couldn't help but gorge on some cookies one of the boxes contained as we completed our task.

Before we knew it, we were late! For what? We had no idea, but we were ushered to the Metro where a third and final game was played. Drinks still in hand (God bless Barcelona!), we each had a notecard with a word or expression attached to our forehead, all of which had to do with our wedding. From there, to the delight of the fellow commuters, we went around in a circle asking questions in order to guess what word we were assigned.

Needless to say, it was a blast.

As we neared our stop, David and I were blind-folded. Our friends ushered us (an experience I will never forget as I was lead into several obstacles "by accident"), to our final destination. We were greeted by some "mystery guests", who were instantly identified as our cousins, Sonia and Manuel. They gave us a mini makeover while still blindfolded, and carefully maneuvered us into the location.

Obviously I wasn't pleased with said makeover. The surprise location was a VIP table at a swank restaurant with an impressive drag queen show! The dinner was great, the entertainment was better and the conversation was just to die for! We even had a great photo opp with Lady Gaga!

Well, through my drunken haze I suppose she was a bit more convincing. The host of the evening made "her" rounds, embarrassing the guests of honor at each VIP table. David seemed nervous to me as "she" interrogated us in the spotlight. Apparently, he was nervous, as he answered "America" when asked where we were going on our honeymoon. Lucky for him, I didn't remember that detail until he reminded me of it a week and a half later in Michigan! But now I vividly remember my crawling suspicion!

After dinner, we migrated to a popular gay nightclub where the party continued. It was seriously a bachelors' party to be envied, and I thank everyone that had a hand in it! My only wish is that they would have been there the next day to help clean up all the confetti that David had intelligently decided to toss all over the apartment!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

All That Jazz

"Some friends come into your life for a reason, others only for a season." There are many quotes floating around to that effect. But what's really funny is when when of those "seasonal" friends, someone you somehow had mistaken for a mere acquaintance, swoops back into the picture and claims a permanent residence in your heart.

Beth and I both studied Apparel Merchandising & Design at university. We were around each other pretty frequently and even did one or two group projects together. When I was interviewing for my former job in Columbus, I initially called up Beth to see if I could stay with her, as she was already an employee there. Something came up, and I ended up turning to another CMU alum, Megan—a serendipitous twist that ignited one of the most meaningful friendships in my life thus far!

Despite our miss, Beth still popped in and out of the picture over the course of my C-Bus days. She was always welcome, livening up any social gathering with her infectious smile and unwavering charisma. As we said goodbye at my going away party in Columbus, I kind of thought that would be the last I would see of Beth. Nope!

Beth had some vacation accumulated and was toying with the idea of taking a trip to see Spain. I was flattered that she'd even factor me in to her first European vacation, and started preparing ideas for how I could make her stay as pleasant as possible. Every time I talked to her in the months leading up to it, she was so excited. I was equally excited. Someone from my world was coming to this one! I could speak English all the time again, even laying on the American slang as thick as my heart could desire! Finally, the day came! Beth was in Barcelona!

Here I am, Spain!

David and I could not have asked for a better houseguest, or a better tourist for that matter. We did our best to balance enriching cultural experiences with just plain fun. The whole time, she was along for the ride, soaking it all in and leaving her impression on whomever she met. She still comes up in conversation with our family and friends here on a regular basis! (Also,since she's left I've heard "all that jazz", one of her catchphrases, uttered from the mouth of my now husband more times than I can count!)

Taking our friendship to a whole new continent!

Not many girls could look this happy swimming in a sea of gay men!

Figuring out how to drink from the damn fountain.

Bonding in our own... special way.

Beth was so excited to experience a new country, and I was so excited for a taste of the familiar that I don't think either of us was prepared for what would inevitably be the biggest and best part of the whole thing. We might have been acquaintances going into this incredible shared experience, but coming out of it we are most definitely real, quality friends. It was sad to see her go, tears were shed even, but the truth is that the unmistakable mark she left on David and me has yet to fade. I have a feeling that before it does, she'll be back.

Barcelona misses you, Beth!

The Time Has Come...

"The time has come," the blogger said,
"To talk of many things:
Of visitors—some unexpected—
Of vows and wedding rings...

How do you sum up four of the most eventful and memorable months of your life? A better question: How does one forgive himself for failing to record this emotion-packed journey as it was in progress?

Well, since I don't have the answer to either, I had no other option but to just open a new post and begin.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be dishing out brief* summaries of the most significant events I've failed to recount. Together we can all enjoy reliving one of the most exciting eras of my life!

*This is a relative term. We all know how capable I am of "brief". I will try to let the photographs do most of the talking, but here's a fair warning to those leery of novella-length ramblings!