Four years ago today, I woke up in a convent.  More accurately, it was the guesthouse of a convent, because I had given up my aspirations of becoming a nun, and this was my wedding day.

Everything started off smoothly with the electricity being rationed (we were in Addis).  We were prepared for this possibility and headed across town to the house where the wedding would begin (and where there was electricity) so we could use our curling irons and other electrical contraptions.  I hadn’t quite been prepared for the fact that this was the domain of the “Paparazzi” (AKA wedding photographers and videographers).  They graciously agreed to leave while I put my dress on, and that was the last time I didn’t see them all day.  They memorialized our special day through hundreds of beautiful pictures, and almost as many awkward ones.

Awkward because of the Paparazzi:

Awkward because I threw rose petals in the air.

Awkward because I’m standing on a bed in my wedding dress.

Awkward because we’re all laying on a bed in gowns and high heels.

Awkward because there are now two of me.

Looking adoringly into each other’s eyes….

…and awkward because I got my makeup all over his face.

Awkward because, What am I doing?

Awkward because he was supposed to kiss my collar bone while I leaned back or something? At this point one of Yohannes’s cousins wisely gave us the advice that we don’t have to do whatever the Paparazzi says or they will try to make us into a Bollywood film.

That Paparazzi leaning dangerously out of the car to video the processional of cars.

Awkward because I didn’t know what I was doing:

This is the part of the Wedding where everyone crouches around the bride and she has to hop in a circle on one foot in her high heels.

This is the part where I brought non-alcoholic champagne from the States for the toast…

…and then the hotel gave the bridal party whiskey on the house, and me and my sisters pretended to drink it. I made a face when I tasted it and everyone laughed.

The cow that was served at our wedding raw.

Yohannes offering me some of his raw cow, and me saying very politely, “No, thank you.”

My sisters and I giggling because, as good Mennonites, we had our DNA altered to remove any God-given dancing ability, and these people don’t seem to know it.

Me feeling intimidated when the professional traditional dancer came over the dance “with” me, and begging Yohannes to please get me out of it.

The pictures weren’t all bad:

At the end of the day, we were married.  Four years removed from the awkwardness and two kids later, I can say without a doubt that it was one of the best days of my life.  Happy Anniversary, Johnnye.  Love you. 🙂


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