Sunday, 10 January 2016

Eight days...

It was eight days down south at Victor Harbor (1.5hrs from Adelaide) at a rental,  two doors down from Simone's parent's beachouse, for Christmas ... and … The Wedding!

Christmas Eve 24th ... 36c

At 8.00 a.m.- to try and beat the heat (43c in Adelaide) I drag my Mother kicking and screaming (why can't we just stay here and have a normal Christmas?) down to the rental to meet up with brother David, Anita & kiddies and C&P. It's 36c down here and it turns out to be a beautiful evening out on the front deck, for our (now) traditional C.E. raclette.

3 raclettes for 9 people = no fighting and not so much leaning!
just a power bar and loooong cord!
We line three of 'em up along the table and pass the food around and around and we all loved it - except mum (she doesn't want to be here and she doesn't want to cook her own dinner and she certainly doesnt' know anything about this fang-dangling thing!) oh dear!

Joseph and I are sleeping out in the van so mum can have her own room in the house.  A seemingly selfless act except that it's a very hot night and the house has only a teeny tiny split-system cooling/heating unit on the wall of the family room so the cool air barely reaches past the kitchen let alone into the bedrooms.  Out in the van we (…er... I) have our a.c. blasting so much cold air I need a quilt!

How wonderful to have our tree from Canada!!

Christmas Day 25th ... 37c!!

The a.c. unit is working overtime and we have a lovely morning watching the grand kiddies open gifts...

 and french toast and house-wife's helper for breakfast ...

and I try and find jobs for mum to do...

Here set the table mum!
 but I'm constantly having to explain to her why we are here and why we are having Paella for Christmas dinner and how tomorrow will really be our Christmas Day (cold meat & salad - yikes) when the other siblings join us and why she shouldn't give out her gifts yet - "we'll do it tomorrow", but it's all too much for her - she gives out her envelopes anyway and although Pablo makes a wonderful Paella and Anita's chocolate slice cake for dessert is yummy I realize it probably was too much.

Backup lasagne thanks Anita!
Thanks Pablo (&Cassia)

Boxing Day 26th … 21c!!

The others arrive and thank goodness brother John has kept the turkey hot and David has decided he can keep the lamb hot and thank goodness sister Jen's potato bake is hot and it doesn't matter that our ham is cold because sister-in-law Kimmy, bless her heart, makes gravy and mum appears to be (almost) happy... and then she gets to give out the rest of her envelopes (finally - she's be agonizing over them since early December!!)  and then... after Christmas pudding Jen (God bless her) takes Mum home … to Port Adelaide …  and now finally … everybody is happy (well maybe Jen not so much)!
Almost a smile mum!!
We made her stop doing the dishes for the photo!!

December 27th ...

The day after Boxing day we do nothing and the next day we pack up and leave the rental! The others go back home but we stay down because …we have The Wedding!!

December 28th ...

We move on over to Jane  & Barry's and park right on their front lawn (so we became their view - nice) and now I'm floating around in seventh heaven in anticipation of the Canadians arriving … but Joseph wasn't floating … he has a UTI and he's moaning and groaning and sleeping. 

Getting sick over the Christmas holidays is tricky … Boxing Day IS the day after Christmas but it isn't a holiday it's a Saturday and that was the day Joseph became ill.  Monday is the Boxing Day HOLIDAY and that's the day he realized he needed to see a doctor . The clinic is closed (public holiday), and there's a 2hr++ wait at the tiny hospital emergency that is manned by one nurse and crammed with people inside and out!  People with children give up and go home and so do we. So it was another 24rs before we (he) had antibiotics and the countdown to be well enough for The Wedding because we had our INDIAN OUTFITS to wear!!

At last the Canadians started to arrive; the groom's parents; Gail & Al O'Brien, sister Lauren and even the groom (Scott)- in from Thailand).  How wonderful to have some Canadians right here  … and I could walk to their house in 5 mins … and I did!!!  
Here I am minutes after Gail arrives!
Welcome to the sun Lauren!!

Then the other O'Briens arrived; Craig (brother of groom), Alecia and 3 kiddie poohs (6,2,6mths)  and Alecia's parents (O'Briens #2) drove (yep drove) over from Melbourne (8 hrs) in the baking heat, with the baby vomiting, conveniently apparently, at rest stops.  I think I was a tad more excited to see them than they were me … but they pretended they were and for crying out loud,  they were JUST AROUND THE CORNER from us!!

Payal (the bride - flew in from Thailand with just a minor scare when her luggage that contained 35 saris (for the OBrien's and the O'Brien's and various relatives but not me) went missing but somehow her Aunt found it in another country) and she stayed with her parents (Dr. Jagdish and Dr. Madhu Saraf) who have a beach house a few streets from us … but I didn't go to their house!

So I'm still floating around and wanting to visit with the Canadians but they were busy with events that we may or may not have been invited to because I didn't read the website very well.  There was a meet and greet dinner and a winery tour and then the more traditional events started …

Wednesday Dec 30th … 38.5c

This was the "Tumeric Party" - I'm sure it has a proper Indian name but I didn't read the website very well.  We may have been invited - not sure - but we didn't go so this is second-hand ...

The party was held down on the beach just in front of the Saraf's house … and it consisted of covering the bride & groom (+others?) in Tumeric.  Apparently it can turn into a crazy tumeric-throwing thing - but in this case the Tumeric had been bought over from India so it was more controlled.  Usually it is washed off with water but because they were so close to the beach - they used the ocean.   Apparently there was a lot of (amazing) food and it was the most perfect evening weather-wise - I know because we went for a walk on the same beach about a kilometre away  - but we weren't throwing Tumeric - WE were using the scope to checkout a Plover sitting on her nest!!

Sadly because I wasn't there I have no photos :(

Thursday Dec 31st … 39c!!!!!  VERY HOT!!

Afternoon:  "Henna party"  - website calls it a Mendhi Party - here's the write-up:
 The Mehndi ceremony is about beauty and elegance and symbolizes the Outer and the Inner Sun. The Mehandi is one of the sixteen adornments of the bride and her beauty is believed to be incomplete without it. The ceremony normally takes place just before the wedding ceremony. During the ceremony, turmeric paste is applied on a bride’s face, feet and hands. After this, a skilled Mehndi expert applies Mehndi on the bride. Traditionally, the Mehndi applied to the bride was obtained by drying the leaves of the Henna plant.

This Mendhi party was ladies only and the Tumeric was done the night before so um … not sure.  Anyway - it was a VERY hot day and it was held at the Saraf's beach house and it was packed with women and children.  Dr. Saraf declared that the air-conditioning  couldn't handle the crowd so he was running around putting fans everywhere.  There were women filling the downstairs with limbs being painted and even more upstairs with more painting.  


Upstairs - oh yes - there was the odd man or two!

Then a lady started banging a drum and they all started singing so I asked what they were singing about and they said they were telling the bride to "keep her Henna on because the groom would be there soon!!"  Apparently somewhere on Payal's body in the middle of the decoration on her arms,legs and perhaps other parts -  Scott's name was to be found and it was Scott who was to find it! … but not at this party :( 

I thought I would die from the heat but I stayed long enough to have my hand henna-ed  (?) - I think the girl was getting a little tired because it was a bit blobby and then when I was putting the car into reverse I needed my right hand et voilà - smooch went the henna and messed up the design anyway!  :(

before I hit reverse!

Evening:   Sangeet Party  … 35c!!  - here is the write up:

The Sangeet night is a time for celebrating, singing, dancing and joking. It can include some good-natured ribbing of the couple’s soon-to-be in-laws and it’s also a perfect time for wedding guests to meet and get to know each other. The bridal and grooms party will each learn songs and dances to perform. Traditional Indian instruments, like a dholki (a two-sided drum), are often used in the ceremony as well. After all the singing and dancing is finished, you will enjoy dinner and drinks as we also say goodbye to 2015 and welcome 2016!

This was held at Waverly Estates - the place where Mischa & Simone's wedding party stayed five years-less-a-month ago (and partied on after their wedding until - well the next day!) 

Daughter Cassia has become the hero for babysitting the three O'Brien children on New Years Eve!!  Wakeful children aren't Cassia's forte but these were going to be sleeping children - except that Chloe woke up with a pain in her tummy and wanted her mummy and then she wanted a song - she wanted "Hush Little Baby" so darling Cassia Googled the words… and sang ...and dear little Chloe fell back to sleep.  Good work Cassia - ya just gotta do the same again tomorrow night - yikes!! 

Back at the party some people were in Indian clothing but most of the Canadians (and me) wore comfortable party clothes.

I'm very comfortable - Joseph said he was!
A couple of Indian ladies commented on my necklace - they appreciated what it was
… and it was made in India!

The happy couple arrive!
Payal turned out to be quite the dancer in that outfit!
The happy couple were seated at the front of the stage and they watched as different groups danced a special dance for them - to wish them luck I suppose!  The friends of the bride danced, the friends of the groom danced, some women danced, some other people danced, the relatives danced  - all "Bollywood style dancing".
That's Chloe (white shoes) dancing before she went home to sleep and woke up!
There were children everywhere!

Then everybody was invited onto the stage to dance Bollywood and the highlight for me - just before we headed to the back of the tent for the Indian buffet was Brian Adams' "Summer of 69" that sent the Canadians into a frenzy - Alan OBrien (groom's father) was doing air-guitar moves on top of the Bollywood dancing!) !  I thought I had died and gone to heaven!  (I cried when they played it this Canada Day while we were at the hill and now - how crazy to hear it here in Adelaide with a bunch of Canadians! ) oh dear - doesn't take much to get me started these days I'm afraid!)
 Anyway -the buffet was super yummy.

Friday Jan 1st. … 26c forecasted - actually 23c - on the beach it's even cooler!

The Wedding (Vivaha)

2.30- 4.00  beachside at the Surf Life Saving Club just down from the Sarafs' beach house - here's the description:
You will be joining us for a traditional Indian Wedding Ceremony. A traditional Indian Wedding (Vivaha) is comprised of a series of ceremonies and rituals. It is meant to unite two persons so firmly that, although they retain two separate bodies, they become one in spirit. Vivaha is the sacred, spiritual partnership between two individuals in mind, body, spirit, and soul in this and their future lives.
The ceremony takes place in the Mandap, a wedding pavilion (canopy built of four poles to represent the universe). Each of the five elements - fire, water, air, earth, and space - are represented within the Mandap. Agni (the Holy fire) exists as a divine witness to this sacred union and symbolizes the illumination of knowledge and happiness. Agni’s smoke, coupled with the recitation of Mantras, is believed to convey the blessing of the spiritual union.

Hard to find the words for this!  Wow!  Women in the most beautiful saris!
Men in their beautiful Kurtas with their hats and scarfs to depict which "side" they were on (groom/bride).

Joseph (ex Ottawa) and Gerry (Ottawa) in their traditional dress and
maybe not quite so traditional sandals!!
… wearing their headdress and scarf to denote
they are on the groom's side!

Such colours!!

Al is the groom's father (O'Brien #1 family)
O'Brien's #2 with Chloe!

these are random children - spectacularly dressed!

That's Scott (left), Evan (his nephew of Craig O'Brien family fame) and this cousin
and they might be the only people wearing the traditional shoes!

- with just a flash of a life saver running through it ... 

and an odd man in his speed (a.k.a. budgie smuggler) having a shower just behind it all. 

Then we (the Canadians) made a group around Scott (to symbolize the village) and walked him down to the Mandap with all of us singing.

Here's as many Canadians as they could muster - to sing
  note addition of Cassia (the hero) to help swell numbers
(you can see why we were invited).
Carolyn's turquoise sari (on right of orange coat) and close on her right - Gail's green/gold - were two of the saris that were lost/found!
 I'm sure it would normally be a traditional Indian song but here it was a traditional IRISH song  as we ushered the groom to his bride.

 She was kept on the other side of the curtain until something happened and then they were together and they sat as there was smoke and oil and other things and it took well over an hour and lucky for us there was sweets handed around and drinks to keep us going!
Those yummy sweets!!

It was a loooong ceremony!
Chloe the beautiful and very busy flower girl.
Then Scott's uncle Tim sang the most beautiful Garnet Rogers song "All that is" to the couple and Payal cried and so did I (and others I'm sure).

It was quite the ceremony!  Lots of traditions but quite casual as well with some laughs and to no particular schedule!  When it was over (4.30) and we threw rose petals (oh dear - how beautiful) Payal's brother announced that the reception would be "6.30 for a 7.00p.m. start"!!

  … I was pretty excited to be dressed in my "suit" - not a sari like everybody else - but it turned out to be a good thing because it seemed most of those in saris found them to be a tad uncomfortable and they changed for the reception - not me - I couldn't have been more comfortable with my black tights underneath.  I had taken the sleeves out (well my sister did) because I just knew I was going to melt in the heat - but it turned out to be so cool I was wishing I had my sleeves in!

The blue pants that came with the suit were waaay too big and I realized the night before that
my white pants were to floppy so Simone said "wear your black tights"  …OK I can do that !!

Reception 7.00 p.m. … 22c! - (now we need a pashmina) 

Back to Waverly Estates for a more traditional "eastern" reception (i.e. tables/chairs/cake table-service etc.).  We raced over to arrive just before 7.00 to find absolutely NOBODY there!  Just the people setting up and the bride's brother - the MC.  I told him he had specifically said "6.30 for 7.00 p.m. start"!  YES yes he agreed - that is what he said - but he knew the Indians would be late - the Indians are always late (apparently).   

The tent looked spectacular ...

and although some women changed out of their saris - others changed into DIFFERENT saris that seemed even more beautiful than those from the wedding!

Each table of twelve was given a roast of lamb (yes a whole roasted leg of lamb), a huge plate of chicken pieces, a salmon, roast potatoes, veges & salad.  We were lucky? (spoiled more like it) to be sitting at table  #2 with Al and Gail and the Sarafs!  Yikes!  I asked Gail to change us but she said it wasn't her decision to seat us there so we should just stay!  So we did and we ate about 1.5 hrs before Mischa and Simone did who were waaaay at the back of the tent at table #14!!

 Back at the #2 O'Briens the children were sleeping with hero Cassia on guard - this time ready with the words for Chloe …and she did wake up and Cassia did sing and dear Chloe did go back to sleep again! 

There were speeches -Al's speech was  lovely and we THINK he read a poem at the end! (urgh can't remember!) There were the gut-wrenching ones (Scott, Payal).  Payal's best friend from high school was hilarious.  Dr. Saraf was even more hilarious!  He said Payal was the CEO - directing proceedings from 5,000kms away (Thailand) while he was the COO (Chief Cheque-writing Officer)!!    He said Payal's mantra was "earn less, spend less but get the best"!!  He said "now how do you do that!!?  Well you have a very generous father!"  He's right I would think he wrote a lot of cheques!  Apparently they flew some people from India and Thailand and then they gave all of the women a pashmina at the end of the night!!  

Dear me!   I was overcome to be a part of it all. 


Time to take off my Indian suit and time to say goodbye (sob sob) to the Canadians leaving for other places, and time (way over time) to move our van off of Jane & Barry's lawn and after eight crazy days it was time to drive back to Port Adelaide  … where I tried to tell anybody who would listen... about The Indian Wedding at Victor with the Canadians.

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