Expat Asides

After Valentines
By James Clapham

After Valentine’s Day comes Family Day, but during this time there may have been Proposal Day, swiftly followed by Engagement Celebration Day, Pre-Marital If You Know What’s Good for You Day and eventually, D-Day. We’ve been to a few weddings in our time and we have just recently celebrated Mrs. C’s brother’s (S & J’s) marriage. It was very Canadian.

Everybody knows what should come after and we celebrated that aspect ourselves for the third time around at the end of December, and another sibling of Mrs. C also did the same thing around then too. It was even alluded to by both father-in-laws in the speeches at S & J’s wedding, making the married couples at our table sigh, give each other a knowing glance, saying, “And so it begins…”

One of the in-laws even said, “Let your quiver be full.”  Yikes.

At least the food was good, and the cake was fine as well. I didn’t feel the need to make a complete fool of myself and try out some thigh-slappin’, yee-hawin’ line-dancing in a couple of songs, but neither did I offend any of the family patriarchs with random conversation. Even better, the MC speeches were short and snappy, there was a slideshow that made everyone go “aww” or laugh very hard, or even both, and there was The Shoe Game. It was a fun night.

We’ve been to a wedding where the bride had fainted mid-ceremony because her dress was too tight and she couldn’t breathe. We witnessed a cake at that wedding’s reception that was covered in fireworks, that it would contravene a hundred ‘elf and safety laws here in the Great White North. We’ve been to another where a random stranger insulted me in such a way that completely ruined the start of our holiday in Canada (years before we moved here), and at that wedding’s reception the father of the bride got up and left because some dancing had started, creating a bit of an awkward moment. All of them were unique, individual, and a great time was had by all.

For our first dance, Mrs. C tripped on the back of her wedding dress and went flying. We have video proof, taken by our lovely guests. She swung a fistful of cake into my face soon after that. Our home’s walls are littered by pictures of that day. It was the start of a great adventure, one that, five years, three kids and three countries later, we still have a boatload of stories to tell.