Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Saying Goodbye

(PICTURE: Giving JR a tour of Hanoi before he flew home.)

After the "honeymoon" we had to say our goodbyes to everyone. Some people departed the night we returned, others departed the next day and a few would go on to do their own travels throughout the country. It was sad to see everyone go but also a relief that for the first time in weeks -- let alone since we got married -- we would have some alone time.

(PICTURE: Hannah's last request before leaving was for a ride around Hanoi. She got the best damn xe om driver in town.)

I'm writing this over a month since the wedding and Huyen and I keep talking about how lucky we were to have so many people come out for the wedding. Our friends here also keep commenting to us how cool it was that so many people flew in for our special day. I'd like to just take a moment and say thanks to everyone who made it (in the order that they arrived in town).

(PICTURE: Most of the out-of-towners before the an hoi.)

Thank you Mark for being our official videographer. It was great having a second Asian adventure with you. I'm not sure if my wedding tops the World Championships of Team Table Tennis but it sure came close. I'll never forget you plucking those chickens!

Thank you Urszula for livening up the party. We'll never forget your dance moves with the local villagers. You're now a legend in Huyen's village!

Thank you Sebastian for coming out to visit us again. Your photos are unbelievable and are deserving of their own blog entry which will be up tomorrow. I'll never forget how you nearly fell off a cliff and were severely injured.

Thank you Pat and Herb for being so gung-ho to dive into Vietnamese culture. I'll never forget Herb polishing off a bunch of home made wine on his first night here and nobody will forget Pat's intrigue at everything and anything Vietnamese.

Thank you mom and dad for everything. I'm still in shock that you've now been out to visit me in Vietnam the same amount of times you visited me in LA...and I've been here for four years less! You guys embraced the whole week with open arms and a great attitude. I'll never forget my mom wearing her ao dai or my father recanting story after story in the back of the giant pink bus.

Thank you Paul and Heather. Heather, I'll never forget seeing you bond with all of the Vietnamese especially Hang and the tour guides. Paul, besides you falling asleep at the opera house and the water puppets, I'll never forget how you partied like a champ at the an hoi ceremony. Noah could never keep up with your drinking skills!

Thank you Mark and Anthony for without a doubt being the life of the party. You guys had everyone laughing for seven straight days. There's no doubt in my mind that the week wouldn't have been nearly as fun or memorable without you guys. But seriously, when we all meet back here for the 10 year anniversary party do not give my dad chocolate or ice cream! I'll never forget how you two were both on for like 168 straight hours.

Thank you Aunt Donna and Uncle Barry! Barry, I'll never forget playing pool with you or you leading the rendition of the Beatles "When I'm 64." Donna, having you be part of the marriage ceremony was awesome and I don't think there was a time all week that you weren't smiling. Having spent so much time with you both growing up, it was really special having you come across the world to be here for me.

Thank you Masumi and Kensuke! Masumi and Kensuke were the sole reason that I had such an amazing experience in Japan. Having them here really made the event feel complete as they have become a big part of my life since I left America. I was so happy that they were able to make it to Vietnam despite this being their busiest time of year with work. I'm also so happy that they got to meet my family after I had spent so much time with them and Masumi's family when I was in Japan. I'll never forget how we got to drink rice wine together here at the an hoi, like we used to do in their kitchen.

Thank you Hannah for risking your career to be able to make this trip. Too often I feel like mom and dad because I find myself bragging about you to people. I'll never forget how the ao dai we had made for you fit so perfectly...and then how you basically didn't take it off for 48 hours! I'll also never forget you breaking the table while ironing your dress...or how we shared a room/misery the night before my wedding...or how we ate some street food I'd never seen hours before I got married...or how you always seem to be cool and calm in every situation.

Thank you Ronny for, well, a lot. First, thanks for the beautiful family tree pictures you gave me when you arrived. Secondly, thanks for being so excited to every little thing we did along the way. I'll never forget going to the airport with you and hearing your kind words about your experience here. That really touched me.

Thank you Justin and Dana. Despite Justin losing his camera when he first got here, he didn't let that drag him down in the least. I always knew that I could count on Justin to help me out whenever I needed anything from helping my mom on the boat in Trung An or rounding people up for buses. And Dana, it's always awesome seeing you and Hannah get along so great. Besides that, I'll never forget your excitement for moving to Singapore. I'm at the end of my time here and seeing you glow about your move here really brought back a lot of good feelings. Good luck and enjoy every moment over there!

Thank you Lily, George, Claire and Simon. The Salter crew were constantly up for anything throughout the trip. I'll never forget how the Salter women made the Salter men carry all their things on the trek. Despite that, Claire and Simon finished the trek looking like they never even broke a sweat despite being the only people over 35. And Lily and George, your impersonations will forever be something all us Americans can laugh about. Lily, as always, thanks for being a good friend. Hopefully we'll see you in Paris soon!

Thank you JR for flying across the world just to arrive in time for the wedding. Being able to spend time with you here was awesome. We've come a long way since Day Hall -- London, Los Angels and now Vietnam. Good memories. I'll never forget your ridiculous disposable camera or how you attempted not to move while a bee explored your nasal cavity.

Thank you everyone for making this the best wedding Huyen and I could have ever imagined!