Cultural Differences: American Weddings

Day three of our US adventure was my cousin’s wedding. This was the main reason we came, so we were excited and curious to see how this one differed from the Irish and Romanian ones we attended recently.

First big difference: all the guests are invited to the ceremony, not just the close family and friends, and it is very coordinated.

As my cousin is Catholic, the wedding ceremony was a full on mass, my first one in over 15 years. We were seated in the front and thus were very self conscious about the fact that we had no idea about what we were supposed to say, when we were supposed to sit and stand, and that we had no intention of taking communion and drinking from the same cup as everyone else. We also held up the exit considerably because we didn’t know that the people sitting behind us in the pews couldn’t leave until we did. Oh well.

The reception was immediately afterwards, and it was just like the weddings you see in American movies. There was a choreographed entrance of the bride and groom, a sit down dinner and speeches. By the time that we got to the partying, we had and hour and a half left until the end.

All in all, the party was fun but a lot tamer than the other weddings that we have attended. It all ended rather abruptly and we said our goodbyes as we were scheduled to leave the next day for our road trip.

And so, in a flash, my baby cousin is now a married woman, and my boyfriend and I got another taste of yet another very different kind of wedding. I was a little sad to leave so soon, but we had a road trip to get started.

TBC

Holidays With Crys: Natural Beauty

On day two of our American adventure, we decided to take in the natural beauty of the Pacific NW, and really this area has a lot to offer. With only one day, we had to pick just one place to see and explore. Pur first choice would have been to drive up to Anacortes and take a whale watching tour that also takes you around the San Juan Islands. I did it once as a kid and I’ll never forget that experience. Unfortunately the boats were all booked up, so we had to go to plan B.

Another possibility was to go to Mount Reiner, take a cable car up and have lunch in a resort with an excellent view, but in the end we decided to go to Snoqualmie Falls.

There is a trail that leads from Salish Lodge down to the river below. It’s a short and easy trail, not even 1km, and so it was worth it to really feel immersed in the natural setting.

 

After hanging out on the rocks and taking a very cautious wade in the river, we headed back up and had lunch in the Attic of Salish Lodge. The food is pricey but excellent, so totally worth it given the junk food we’re going to end up eating along the way.

Many people know the US gor it’s big cities and towering constructions, and so they don’t realize how much of the States is preserved for it’s natural beauty. It’s so different from the nature that you see on other continents that I think it is the most interesting and wonderful part of the States o visit, and so we are planning on doing a lot more of it on our meandering way down South.

TBC

Holidays With Crys: Guess Where I Am

Hello everyone,

In the final leg of my travelling madness, I am now in the United States!

We got in three days ago. As part of my ongoing stress and anxiety I didn’t advertise my arrival, partially for a complete lack of time, and partially because I was worried that it was all going to go terribly wrong. I’m here for my cousin’s wedding, but this time I was travelling with my boyfriend who, as a Romanian, needs a visa to get into the country.

Given the current political climate, I was very worried that despite having all of his documentation in order that they wouldn’t let him into the country. Luckily it all went relatively smoothly, they let me stand in line with him so that I could calmly answer all of the border agent’s extremely aggressive questions, and we picked up our car and drove into Seattle.

We’re staying in the suburbs, as that is where my family lives. But we decided that we’re taking the opportunity to turn this into a proper vacation. My boyfriend has never been to the States, so the plan is to get a taste of the West Coast, ending the holiday in Las Vegas.

On Wednesday we decided to have our “city” day, so we drove into Seattle. We had a stroll down the waterfront, ending in Pike’s Market where we stopped at Matt’s in the Market for some gorgeous oysters, then we walked back up to the Seattle center.

As a kid, going to the science museum was my favorite thing in the world. However, with not much time to linger we just walked around and, of course, took a ride up to the top of the Space Needle.

 

Unfortunately, smoke from forest fires in Canada made the horizon a lot more hazy than it normally is. Still, it was a pretty impressive view.

I also like how the Seattle center is designed to be seen from above.

 

Those are not 3D sculptures. They’re just painted on the roof of that building.

All in all, we enjoyed walking around Seattle. Downtown is dynamic and charming, despite the mass of tourists, and th Seattle center is relaxing and fun to lounge around in. However, it is also true that, unless you are particularly interested in tech or modern architecture, modern cities tend to not hold Europeans’ interest for long. So the next day was “nature day”, and natural beauty is something that the Pacific North West has to offer in spades.

To be continued.