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Saturday, September 17, 2011

...my brief trip back to the land of plenty

It felt good to be back.  Surrounded by people who spoke my language (well kinda, since I flew to Florida and every other person and announcement was in Spanish) and understood the meaning of "waiting" in a line.  The sites of the familiar stores and copious amounts of drive-thru restaurants (I have seen exactly zero here in Paris! That would be "très gauche, non!?!").

I arrived in Jacksonville around 7:00 p.m.  As we came in for a landing,  the good ole U.S.A. provided me a welcome back view.....
Coming in for a landing

From my window

On a side note, when I arrived in Miami, I don't know if it was jet lag or just plain giddiness, but I truly laughed out loud (not giggle, not chuckle, but laughed) when I was greeted by what I have come to think of as the "butt sniffing fish".
Art?  Or just funny?

Closer view

When you come down the escalator from customs there are about 2 dozen of these "wreaths" made of fish.  The fish are arranged in different positions to make a basic circle, but a lot of them are in the "butt sniffing" position.  Art?  Creative expression?  Weird?  Discuss amongst yourselves.......  All I know is I got a good laugh out of it!

Shanan (accompanied by Jenell and Brandy) picked me up at the airport and off we went.  They took me to Margrid's (my mother-in-law's) house where I promptly took a shower and crashed!  The next few days, aside from wedding activities, was spent wandering in the nirvana that is shopping in America.  Wal-Mart alone was like Disneyland to me.  I came with a list of things to get and dutifully checked them off all the while adding other "treasures"!  

The other great indulgence I afforded myself besides wandering around Wal-Mart, was the joy of  the drive-thru!  I hit Wendy's, Taco Bell and Bojangles!  Not all on the same day, mind you!  I showed a little restraint!  And of course, I did drive through McDonald's once for a large sweet tea.......ah, the giant cup, the ice......how I've missed you!

I did get to spend some time with my sister-in-law, Tara, and her family.  My niece, Hannah, has just started middle school and with that has changed from little girl to pre-teen, in a good way though!  She and I had a great conversation while looking at books in Barnes and Noble (another nirvana moment....ah, book store.....with English language books......).  She is a very smart girl and I enjoyed my conversations with her.  My nephew, Jack, took me down memory lane......reminding me of Max when he was younger.  There is something I like (call me weird) about a little boy who stills thinks everything gross is funny!  And being the aunt, I can indulge this fascination (sorry, Tara!).  Nothing like a little discreet "fart humor" and picking out the "grossest, scariest" cover of a Goosebumps book to bond an aunt and nephew! 

But all that aside, the main reason I returned was Shanan and Kenny's wedding.  What a great few days!  

Thursday was the Batchelorette party.  We all met at Shanan's for some Sangria and then headed out to the local Ale House for dinner.  After that it was bowling.  Shanan loves to bowl.  She even has her own shoes!  I was soon the to learn she comes by it honestly.  Her sister, Julie, and her Mom, Debbie, are also bowlers.  Her Mom was even on a league in Erie.
Shanan's mom, Debbie, and Janell

Shanan and her sister, Julie
Now I had never bowled and really had no desire to wear other people's shoes and heave a 14 pound ball down a hallway, but it was Shanan's night, so I did.  Julie tried to instruct me on the proper technique for holding and throwing the ball, but in the end, I adopted Janell's approach to bowling....
Granny Bowling!

Just bend at the waist and heave the ball down the lane.  This worked for me and with this method, I managed to bowl 3 strikes!!!  We played two rounds (games, rounds......?  don't know!) and then went to sing karaoke at Harmonious Monks.  
The girls with their "big ass" beers

The wedding party singing "We Are Family"
Becky, Shanan, Julie and Janell

Shanan and Julie belting out
"Don't Stop Believing"

As we got ready to leave, a fellow patron (well into his evening.....read 'drunk') stopped to talk to the girls and wish Shanan luck on her upcoming wedding.  He was wearing a Fedora and earlier that evening Shanan had told us her new place was haunted by a Fedora left in her attic by the previous, now deceased, renter.  I pointed out this fact and Shanan decided that she had to have the fedora.
Shanan running through the parking lot with
his fedora

She did give it back!

The wedding itself was beautiful.  The ceremony was held on the beach with the reception in a hall a short walk away.  The day was perfect.  It was hot, but because the location was right on the ocean, a breeze kept everything temperate.  After the ceremony, instead of throwing rice, the guests were asked to pick up a shell and make a wish for Shanan and Ken and toss it into the ocean.

The reception was fun, as any party given by Shanan and Ken would be.  The food was plentiful and the DJ kept it rocking.

Kenny and Debbie (Shanan's mom)

Julie and Kenny's best man
"breaking it down"

Until I find a place to put my 100+ pictures for everyone's viewing enjoyment......here are some more.  Once I find a place that allows people to view without having to sign up, I will let everyone know.  (All suggestions are welcome if anyone knows a good site!)

All done!  Let's party!

Shanan and her brother, Eddie

First Dance

Shanan's bouquet
"Something Borrowed" was her mother's
wedding rings tied in the flowers

Bouquet tossing


Félicitations, mes amis
We love you!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

......I'm baaaaaaack!

I returned yesterday.  Surprisingly, I actually got the warm fuzzies as the taxi barreled through the city and I started recognizing places and things.  Guess home is truly where your heart (and family!) is!

Still trying to settle into a routine again, so this is just a short post.  I will also be posting more pictures of Shanan's wedding for all you N.C. people!