Wednesday, 31 July 2013

My unusual Big Day-a photo blog

As promised, I am now posting some photos from my wedding in Romania. I've gone into a lot more detail in my post "Tying the knot", so please read it if these photos interest you. A quick summary...I'm a Scot, married to a Romanian. I was lucky enough to share two wonderful wedding days with my husband (one in Scotland where we live, and one in Iasi, my husband's home town). I
loved being accepted into another culture and will always have happy memories of the experience...

This first picture was taken at my mother-in-law's house. The veil is being attached by my Godmother (equivalent of maid of honour), as is tradition. My Godmother and mother-in-law (not pictured) were singing Romanian songs, and look'll see my Godfather playing the accordion in the background.
This next photo shows me ready to leave the house to go to the Orthodox Church for the Romanian blessing. I had no idea what to expect, I think the nerves show! My sister looks equally uneasy...not surprising as she was temporarily left in charge of the beautiful (but enormous) wedding candles.
The Orthodox blessing. Incense, a singing priest, crowns...all very strange to me. My husband translated as much as he could for me, my Romanian has since improved, but was very basic at the time. The ceremony was a memorable, and (once the nerves settled) enjoyable experience.

The novelty of two cultures coming together for a wedding also appealed to the priest. This photo was taken at his request, and is one of my favourites. My dad (right) and his friend are the two Scots pictured.

Following on from the Church, we made our way by foot to a photography studio. The men wearing kilts must have felt as though they'd visited from Mars rather than Scotland. They received numerous  puzzled, curious looks walking around Iasi on a warm summer's day. The photos were much more posed and formal than they tend to be in the UK, but we were still pleased with the results.
The next photo shows the "dancing chicken being delivered to our table. The reception lasted until 6am, with numerous courses being served throughout the night. The "dancing chickens" were set alight and served to dramatic music. I was amazed, think my face says it all...
I was very surprised to learn of the tradition of kidnapping the bride at midnight. Some of our friends took me to a popular terrace bar, where we had fun trying to work out what our guests (especially the Scots) would be thinking. By coincidence, there was another kidnapped bride, and to add to the occasion, we temporarily swapped places. I had a new groom, and Florin, a new bride (pictured here).

Florin had to pay a ransom for my safe return. The terms agreed on were a bottle of whisky, and to drink champagne from my shoe. This photo shows Florin just about to start his delicious drink.
One final picture, a group photo showing two families from entirely different cultures coming together to support our marriage.  A very special day...

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Not ANOTHER Royal baby blog!

Ok, I admit it...I am yet another person referring to the birth of the most famous child on the planet. I am delighted the lovely Kate and William have welcomed a baby son into the world, and wish them all health and happiness. Today, I found my own personal highlight of all the media coverage surrounding this event...the fantastic Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy sending their congratulations to the couple. I hope the Royals have the chance to watch it, and save it for junior to watch as he grows up. The clip can be found here:

That's it, I'm not going to talk about the Royals any more, there's plenty of other people doing that! The remainder of my blog relates to interesting things I have read in recent weeks concerning pregnancy and babies. I guess it's not surprising there was so much content about such topics when there was such hype about Kate and THE baby.

Firstly, I read a blog post entitled "I want a third child, except, I really don't" via Perhaps, like me, you or your partner has become quite broody watching the blooming Kate. In my case it would be utter madness to consider adding to my brood (I have four at home-my two sons and two nieces), and I found this blog particularly useful in "kicking some sense" back into me. Risa Green's post is very entertaining, I hope you enjoy it. Link here:

The next blog I found that interested me was entitled "Royal baby fever: 8 baby customs and rituals from around the world". I am very interested in different cultures, and found the information fascinating. I was shocked to learn that babies in Sweden are left to take naps outside in freezing temperatures to improve their overall health. Maybe there is something to that theory, but I think I would be reluctant to try it. There has been much speculation over what the Royal baby shall be named, I am quite sure the name will be revealed very soon. In China, however, babies are named at one month old at a Red Egg and Ginger Party. Unsurprisingly, guests each receive a red egg for good luck. The post makes for excellent reading, and can be found here:

The last article I want to mention was a feature in Grazia magazine concerning Pregorexia. I confess I had never heard of it before, but found the feature concerning and very sad. Defined as "a dangerous obsession with staying slim in pregnancy", a University College has discovered that an alarming one in 14 UK women has an eating disorder in early pregnancy. Everyone worries about their changing body shape during pregnancy, I'm sure most suffer some moments of feeling like a beached whale. Women who suffer from Pregorexia, diet and exercise to the point where they may be putting their unborn baby at risk. The media, as is so often the case, should take responsibility for some of these cases. Celebrities are photographed constantly throughout their pregnancies, with either admiring comments (if the bump is small), or insulting comments (if the bump is big). Surely during pregnancy, a woman should be left alone, and her weight gain not made a topic of public discussion. Similarly, celebs who lose their baby weight quickly after birth are praised and photographed looking like their pre-pregnancy selves. Women often feel under pressure to lose weight quickly due to these images, when they should be focusing on enjoying their newborn babies. More information and advice about Pregorexia can be found here:

I'd be very pleased to read your comments on any of the above. Has Risa Green cured your broodiness? What was your favourite baby custom? Do you think the media is to blame for Pregorexia?

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Tying the knot

I recently watched in astonishment the clip featuring a Chinese bride-to-be interviewing local people following an earthquake in China. The reporter was filmed in her wedding dress, complete with veil. Clearly the woman should be admired for her dedication to her work, and it certainly made interesting viewing, but I still find it very sad. After all, your wedding day should be one of the happiest days of your life, a day when all that matters is you, your spouse to be, your friends and family. The one day when it is perfectly acceptable to be oblivious to what is happening in the rest of the world.The link of the bride reporter can be found here:
I recently celebrated my 12th wedding anniversary, and have been reliving memories of my own special day. In fact, I was lucky enough to have two wedding days (to the same man). The reason being, that we had our first wedding in Scotland where we live, and the second in Romania where my husband is from. I am so glad that we decided to have the two events. We both shared traditions from each other's cultures, and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. The Scottish wedding involved kilts, a ceilidh, speeches, a wonderful day, but nothing you would find out of the ordinary.
The Romanian blessing, and wedding traditions, however, seemed very strange to a Scottish girl....
Firstly, I was amazed at the size of the elaborate candles that had to be carried by the Godparents (equivalent of best man and bridesmaid). The wedding party made their way to the church in a chain of taxis, all with their alarms going off, and afore-mentioned candles sticking out the windows as they were too big to fit in the cars. You can probably tell, it is impossible not to notice a wedding party en-route in Romania.
I was understandably nervous about what exactly would happen at the church. My husband had given nothing away, so I had no idea what to expect. The Orthodox priest seemed to speak for hours (I was later informed that it did not only seem like hours, it actually was hours). The priest conducted a lot of the service in song, with an excellent singing voice. I wonder if that's a requirement to join the priesthood in Romania? We had to wear silver crowns while the priest swung around incense. I did not convert to Orthodox, but I found it an interesting experience.
Following the church, we made our way by foot to the reception restaurant. Florin did not wear a kilt this time around (understandably), but my dad and some of his friends had. I will never forget the looks on people's faces as they saw men in kilts in Iasi, Romania. You would think they had just visited from Mars, rather than Scotland. I was told a local news reporter even made an appearance at the reception, but have no confirmation of that.
The reception lasted until 6 in the morning, we were kept going by industrial strength coffee. The meal was spread out over the entire night, around 7 courses, including...the dancing chickens! This consisted of roast chickens being set alight with flames, and the waiters bringing them out to music. Like I said, strange, but very entertaining. The food was  very good.
Around midnight came another surprise...I was kidnapped! Some of our friends stole me from the wedding, and took me to a popular terrace bar. Florin had to negotiate for my release. By strange coincidence, there was another kidnapped bride in the same terrace. It was decided we would make this tradition unique, by switching places. I didn't think I would be getting in to wife swapping so soon into my marriage! I was escorted to the other wedding, where my new "groom" was highly surprised to find he had a Scottish wife. I danced with my temporary husband before saying goodbye and returning to Florin. The ransom? Drink champagne from my shoe...mmmmm, tasty.
The guests danced traditional Romanian dances, and taught the Scottish guests who all enjoyed joining in. I liked the Romanian traditional music, although at times it sounded like it was stuck on fast forward. The Scottish guests returned the favour by playing some Scottish music and teaching our dances. It was really enjoyable to watch people share cultures like that.
The wedding came to an end, with everyone exhausted, but having had a good time. There was one last surprise for me. I was called to sit on a chair in the middle of the room. My veil was removed, and replaced by a red headscarf. The symbolism was not lost on me...I was now a wife, someone to look after her man. I admit I was not very happy about that tradition, but tried not to take it too seriously. My sister was chosen as the next prospective bride, and the veil put on her. I suppose that's the Romanian version of throwing the bouquet.
So that's a summary of my somewhat unusual wedding day. How about you? I'd love to hear interesting stories about your big day.

P.S. Still on holiday, photos from the Romanian wedding coming soon...

P.P.S Photos now added! See "My unusual Big Day...a photo blog".

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

A Scot Abroad

Week 2 of my family holiday in Florida. It seems we have brought the rain from Glasgow. Sorry about that, I tried my best to send it to Spain (the kids and I are always saying rain, rain go to Spain), but it must have got lost on the way.
Being a Scot, however, I am ALWAYS prepared for rain, and I'd like to think I'm working the sandals and raincoat look pretty well. What do you think?

The thunderstorms here are unbelievable, and make the occasional rumble at home seem utterly pathetic. I woke the other night thinking my heart would pop out my chest it was so loud. There was also a weird squeaking noise which I thought must have been a gate swinging, but maybe it was an aligator being zapped by lightning.
There has of course been some sun in the Sunshine State, and my Scottish freckles are out in force. My tan risks being scratched away due to the numerous insect bites I have suffered. Scottish blood seems to be something of a delicacy to Florida bugs. I will be buying a strong repellant soon.
I have been pleasantly surprised to find that my Scots accent has not been met with the usual looks of utter confusion and requests to repeat myself several times. Buying tickets for Monsters University was not nearly the challenge I thought it would be. Incidentally, the tickets were checked by a girl called Ariel, I was surprised she had a voice to speak to us, since she was in her human form, with no tail in sight.
The kids were talking to a nice old man in McDonalds the other day (he was interested to know if their vomit flavour Harry Potter jelly bean lived up to its did). The stereotype about Scots and money is alive and well in America. Having told the man we came from "Scatland", he said "I heard you guys are pretty frugal. Maybe that's how you managed to afford this trip". I guess there is some truth in such a reputation, there's a difference between being mean with money (which Scots are not), and being careful with money (which many Scots are). After all, visit a Florida outlet, and you will be surrounded by Scots...we do love a bargain!
So that's the update for this week. Not homesick yet, possibly due to the Glasgow type weather, but the kids are missing the rabbits...maybe I'll get them to phone home with the promise of extra carrots when we get back ;)
What are your thought about travelling? Does your nationality have sterotypes? Do those stereotypes have any truth to them?