It had been about eight months since I last saw any family whatsoever - when Nicole came and visited for about three days in October. Two months more for the rest of the immediate family and various bits and lengths of time for the rest of the cuzzies and aunts and uncles and assorted other whatnots. I was well overdue for some feel-good family fun and baby-brother Joe felt the full wrath of that immediately upon arrival.
Bachelorette party fun happened on Friday night, during which time we recreated Nicole's visit to Madrid with a return of the Cat in the Hat-style Guinness hats we'd been awarded at a nearby pub. Nicole had saved hers and brought it out at a crucial moment in the pre-game festivities. This would prove to play an important role later in the night, aslater I would lose the group and would rely on the combination of my hat and the necklace I had borrowed from Nicole as a beacon for the girls to come find me. One of my proudest moments was when I stood there alone in the crowded bar and was struck by a bolt of brilliance that reminded me of the switch on the necklace that would make it light up and sparkle in a seizure-inducing, epileptic fit of celebration. Next step is to take out the cell phone and press buttons in a random fashion so as to appear busy and not pathetic for standing alone in a social situation, but since I didn't have my U.S. phone with me I instead proceeded to clean my glasses on my shirt. Smooth.
Then what happened. The wedding itself was beautiful, as of course was my sister. The ceremony had to be moved indoors because the morning had dawned gray and soaked in torrential downpour, but the sun came out right at the end of the ceremony and just in time for some lovely outdoor photos. I saw several zebras and in between takes squatted gracefully so as to relieve the pain in my high-heeled feet. Good thing I'd borrowed a pair of Spanx so my nether-regions were safely cloaked behind the last-ten-months-wine-consumption-camouflage.
We laughed, we (Nicole) cried, we danced in an embarrassingly fun manner, and it was beautiful. I asked the wedding bartender for travel tips to his native country (Iraq), and was rewarded with an excellent martini. I had a great time meeting all of Nicole's new Chicago friends and am super excited to hang out with everyone again over the 4th of July. I was equally happy to spend time with her old high school friends. At one point I burst into spontaneous shouts of "This is my redemption! I'm dancing with the Seniors!" They had been in their final year of high school when I entered, fresh off a stint as Middle School class valedictorian. That should tell you something about my social skills back then.
It was a wonderful six days in the U.S.A. Don't judge me for it.