Nothing like seeing your younger-brother-of-two-years getting married to add some depth to a trip. I'd been to Seattle twice before - once for a graduation and once for a cousin's wedding, but both trips were short, and took place before I'd officially caught the travel bug - so didn't take in my surroundings the way I do nowadays. This trip was full of LOVE, gorgeous and extreme fall foliage, rain, rental homes, rental cars, new family, old-but-newly-discovered family, brother friends from hippie college, hometown friends and family transported, photographs, fish, the desire to strangle family, the desire to hug family until the cows come home, google maps, wine, beer, food food food, and a solid helping of music and dancing.
Sounds about right, eh? Oh, and their wedding date was 11/11/11... how magical is that??
I will leave the wedding description fairly generic to safeguard the personal lives of my brother and my new sister-in-law (!!), but I obviously have to tell you a few things. Of all weddings I've been to, this particular wedding made my heart swell bigger than it ever has. I am biased because it's my brother who I love to death - and I truly believe his bliss-following and his heart led him to his bride. His happiness makes my heart burst :) What I loved most about their wedding is that it was so reflective of them. They had people from their community speak at their wedding, and they also took the time to address the room and tell a) the journey of their relationship and b) the most personal and well-thought-out vows I've ever heard. I really felt as though they let everyone present physically step inside their relationship for 30 minutes. How magic - how raw - how honest - how special. I felt very privileged to be part of it all.
I also was in awe, all week, to see the way their friends and family came together for their wedding. The new family meetings were so warm and open... And the people who traveled in from all chapters of their life were there - and in a way, it felt like a reunion of sorts. For the amount of stress/anxiety in the week, there were equal parts of laughter and fun. I have told both my brother and new sister a number of these feelings - and I have told them I love them... but I hope they stumble upon this entry at some point and read it here: I love you both and was so honored to be a special person on your day. <3
It was so neat for this all to take place in an essentially-new-to-me town like Seattle. Such a feel Seattle has! It's not San Fran, but I'd be lying if I said my soul didn't identify with it in a number of ways. Even amidst the dreary rainy days... it's hard to not feel alive. I loved especially that it still felt like fall there, where now in Chicago it feels very much on the cusp of winter. With all the evergreens in Seattle, it was so cool to see the contrast of florescent leafed trees next to dark green... So alive! I realized I didn't get a picture of that and am a bit angry with myself. But c'est la vie.
Loved Pike Place - got to catch a FISH!! [- can I upload videos here? I will try to...], loved Seattle coffee, loved getting to briefly catch-up with a schoolgirl friend of mine that lives out there, loved taking in new horizons, loved just smelling the air there.
Appreciated the change of scenery, too. Travel never fails to help me examine my soul and re-orient my life as appropriate. The power of perspective shifts are an intense force in my life - and a force I'm eternally grateful for. It's funny, too, a powerful wedding gets me every time. And it's not that I wish I were married right now - it's CERTAINLY not that babies are calling to me (in fact, I sure hope they do one day, because right now they are doing the opposite of calling to me... whatever that is - haha)...
It's just that my heart, my head, and my soul know there are big things for me out there... Things worth working for and dreaming about and going through hell and high water to get to. I feel so alive right now - and it is amazing :) Thank you Seattle; I'll surely be back.
Restaurants dined at (and BOTH recommended):