Sunday, January 11, 2015

OUR BIGGEST ADVENTURE YET



As you know, we just finished up with one child's wedding, and now we're on to the next one!  Well, make that next two. Austin and Areej have already set a date in early October, booked a country venue between Dripping Springs and Austin, and started interviewing caterers (they are leaning towards Middle Eastern food), so I was feeling pretty laid back about it all. But then Areej got word through a third party that her maternal relatives, who all still live in Sudan, were a bit distraught over there not being a traditional Sudanese wedding first. Soooo, it was decided that there would be two weddings -- one in Khartoum this summer, followed by one here in Texas in October. With that bit of news, my anxiety level zoomed from negligible to off the chart. And, it's not just my hubby's health issues, the difficulty of air travel in general, much less traveling to a place that even Lonely Planet is warning people away from, and obtaining all the necessary visas and immunizations. No, it's mostly the fact that I love my daughter-in-law to be, and want to be the best guest possible, not doing anything to embarrass or horrify her and her family.


You see, I'm a firm believer in that old adage "when in Rome, do as the Romans do." But, one must always remember that it's a two-way street. It doesn't just apply to visitors and immigrants coming here to the U.S. You can't demand that everyone here try to speak English, and adapt to our customs, if you're not willing to put forth that same effort when you travel abroad. Believe it or not, the American way of doing things isn't the only way, or even always the best way. It never ceases to amaze me how many Americans claim that "French people are so rude!", when they've never been anything but friendly and helpful to us. On our last trip there, however, it finally clicked.  On more than one occasion I saw a belligerent American in a French restaurant getting disgruntled because the food wasn't done the way he was used to back home -- the salad had some "weird" lettuce in it other than iceberg, or they brought him sparkling water instead of flat. To make things worse, "that stupid waiter couldn't even understand plain English!" This person's solution? Just get louder and more obnoxious until the "moron" finally figures out what you want. But it's the waiter who was "rude and haughty", right? In my humble opinion, if you want everything to be just like it is back home, then Just. Stay. Home!

Me, well, I try really, really hard not to be "The Ugly American", which is why I've already started doing research for our trip to Sudan. When I was having lunch with the muses the other day, I was stressing out over what kind of clothes would be appropriate for the trip in general, but most especially for a Sudanese wedding, which can go on for several days.  That's when Fiber Woman asked "why don't you just google 'what to wear to a Sudanese wedding?'" Hmmmm, why didn't I think of that? Well, I did that just this morning, and not only did I find a plethora of photos, I also found myself checking the source of each photo, which led me to at least a dozen blogs which might hold helpful information. I already found this one link which had a marvelous description of a traditional Sudanese wedding celebration.

In the meantime, I was killing time just walking around the mall in Austin the other day, waiting for a movie to start, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted these.



It was the luscious colors that grabbed my attention, but when I went over for a closer look, it got me to thinkin'.


What better to cover my bare arms and hair with, in the heat of an African summer, than a whisper-thin scarf/shawl like this? Especially when you consider that I already own a long black sheath dress, almost identical to the one upon which these were displayed!


And, just like that, I'm suddenly breathing just a wee bit easier, feeling a tad less anxious about this whole "adventure." Baby steps, right?

But wait, there's more! On the way home it occurred to me that maybe I should have a special journal for this very special adventure -- not just for a record of what happens once we get there, but also for all my thoughts, worries, and research leading up to the big event. Well, guess what I spotted as soon as I walked into the house, sitting atop a small pile of Christmas gifts that I hadn't yet found a place for?

This!


Ah Synchronicity, how I do love thee!

1 comment:

Corrine at sparkledaysstudio.com said...

You sound like you are up for the challenge of making it all work and being in harmony with where you are going. Good luck getting it all arranged. xox