June 30, 2004

Congratulations Hai-Nhu and John!

The wedding was fantastic! My friend Sandy and I cried our way through the entire ceremony (I've turned into a real romantic in my old age) and it was just beautiful.

The wedding was a weekend affair held at a gorgeous retreat center in Sonoma. Sandy, Dorothy and I went up together, not quite sure what to expect. We knew we'd be staying in a cabin and that we were supposed to bring bug spray, but was this going to be like summer camp or like a hotel? Friday afternoon Sandy picked us up at the Dollar Rent-A-Car station at the San Jose airport (I returned my car there) and we stopped in Sunnyvale at Wendy's for a quick lunch. It took us about 35 minutes to get to San Francisco--go Sandy go! It was the weekend of the big Nascar race in Sonoma so we hit some traffic after we got off the Golden Gate Bridge but we still arrived at a good time.

When we walked in we checked out the housing list--the three of us were sharing a room in the Blue cabin. Click below for the rest of the story...

I noticed right away on the map that it showed the Bathrooms by the pool. We exchanged looks and thought are these communal? What has Hai-Nhu gotten us into? But as soon as we saw our adorable room we all breathed a sigh of relief--our own bathroom including shower.

The center, Westerbeke Ranch, was just beautiful. Lush trees, plants, and flowers everywhere, a pool and jacuzzi (no good for me, I left my suit in Germany), adorable casita, office and small gift shop (good news for Sandy who had to buy a t-shirt to use as pajamas), a massage hut, and more. All three of us went over to sign up for massages Saturday morning.

We had dinner Friday night where we got to sample Westerbeke Ranch's excellent food. Joel and Susana (IBMers) joined up with us and they all went for a hike on one of the adjacent trails. I sat alone at the table for a minute or so before Hai-Nhu's Aunt Audrey came over to talk with me. She was really sweet and made me feel very welcome.

Joel and Susana came over to our room (theirs was a different room in the same cabin) and Sandy taught us to play "Dice," a card game. Ha ha, just kidding. It's a dice game. It was so great to have some deep belly laughs and hang out with friends, not to mention speaking English. I warned them all about my night terrors ("if I wake up screaming, don't worry about it") and Sandy implored us to tell her if she snored (she didn't) and we went off to bed.

Saturday morning we had a delish breakfast and just hung out and enjoyed the sunshine. The weather was perfect--not too hot but much warmer than Hamburg (I think summer hasn't hit Hamburg yet). I did some reading and some writing and helped out a little with the wedding preparations. Hai-Nhu admitted she was nervous but as usual looked as cool as a cucumber. I had a most wonderful massage and was perfectly relaxed and ready for the ceremony.

Several guests came up just for the day on Saturday including Debbie, a retired IBMer, and Janet (my former manager) and her family. The ceremony was beautiful. I started crying the minute I saw Hai-Nhu walk down the aisle. Hai-Nhu and John's friends Paula and Mike officiated the ceremony, which included a Chinese tea ceremony to honor their relatives. They exchanged their own vows (Sandy and I boohooing the whole time) and sealed their union in this perfect outdoor setting. I was so happy for them.

We had dinner and then moved to the dance floor. I love to dance so it didn't take any convincing for me to get out there and shake my booty. Almost all of the guests joined in including Hai-Nhu's aunts. One, Aunt Frances, was totally tearing up the dance floor--it was awesome. She later told me it was the first time she'd been at a dance, but she was a total natural.

We shut the place down and then sat around talking. I chatted with Hai-Nhu's mom and her aunts and they were so nice to me. They complimented my dancing, promised to buy my book once it's published, and started teaching me Chinese. After I'd parroted a few words they exclaimed "OH--you could speak Chinese! No accent at all!" I guess my Chinese is better than my German. I returned to my cabin and all three of us collapsed into bed. No Dice for us tonight.

Sunday morning was nice as well. We had a leisurely buffet (bacon!!!) and did more chatting and relaxing. Then we packed up and headed back to the city. Sandy dropped me off at the airport and while that was really convenient, I wished I had planned more time in the bay area.

My flight home was mostly uneventful except for the medical emergency. On the SFO-Frankfurt flight I saw two flight attendants run down the aisle. Then one got on the PA and said in German and then English "Is there a doctor aboard? We urgently need a doctor. If there is a doctor aboard, please go to aisle X." The aisle was somewhere near the front of the plane and I was in the back. Shortly after that they called for the medical kit and another attendant went running back and forth with a large metal suitcase. I wondered if we would make an emergency stop, perhaps in London, but we continued on to Frankfurt so I guess they got the situation under control. Upon landing we were delayed as the paramedics boarded, and when we finally got off they had the area blocked off with blankets. I heard many people speculating as to what happened (most people thought it was a heart attack) but no one seemed to know for sure so I don't think it was anything really bad.

Anyway, I made it back to Hamburg and immediately went to sleep. I left San Francisco at 2:00 in the afternoon on Sunday and arrived home at 2:00 in the afternoon Monday. I slept all day Monday and all Monday night (except for waking up at 4 am to read a little and going back to sleep at 6). I'm feeling better now.

So that was the wedding weekend. Once again, Congratulations John and Hai-Nhu!

Posted by Shelby at June 30, 2004 11:50 PM

Sounds like you had a great time, Shelby! I can't wait to see any photos if you find some! ;-)

Posted by: Annastazia at July 2, 2004 11:30 PM
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