love goes on

Here is my BEAUTIFUL FRIEND MYRA in the WEDDING DRESS she MADE!

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Yes, two of my favorite people, Myra and Alex, got hitched on Sunday in a little slice of paradise in the North Carolina mountains.

But let’s rewind a bit. Get comfy. This will be a chatty post.

It all started Friday night, when I left my temporary home at the beach for leg one of a cross-NC trip. I managed to fit quite a bit of fun and quite a bit of work into the next 24 hours: a sushi date with my baby sister and her ridiculous cat Friday night, a Mexican dinner with my friend Roxanne who’s getting ready to take- and rock!- her nursing boards exam, and most importantly and least fun, at my own apartment I packed my little face off, since as you’ll recall that this is the summer of everything ever and Alli and I are moving VERY SOON!

I woke up vair early Sunday morning and got on the road once again, to make the next leg of the trip: Triangle to Mountains! My destination was 60 miles of Asheville, but since Asheville was smack dab on my route and I have two friends from my program interning at their two respective hospitals there, I got to stop mid-trip for BRUNCH! Camille, Leah and I hit up Rise ‘n Shine Cafe and spent a lovely hour and a half speaking the language only nutrition interns understand. Hope the other diners didn’t get too grossed out hearing about tube feeding residuals during their brunches!

Also, I got this totally hippie meal of whole wheat pancakes with bananas and walnuts and REALLY delicious griddled tempeh!

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Then I got back on the road and drove even deeper into the mountains and whoo there were some exciting hairpin turns! It was worth it, though, since I arrived to the wedding venue and discovered that my accommodations were in an enchanted little area called Fable Village. I MEAN!

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The inside of it was a magical little fairy tale cabin. I did not want to leave, especially while it was gently dripping rain outside.

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Fable Village was down the hill from Myra and Alex’s wedding venue, which was a stinkin’ CASTLE! Castle Ladyhawke, to be specific. Apparently a rich lady built her dream house in the woods by Asheville to settle down with her love. And then she and her love got divorced, so she wanted out! And thus it became a wedding venue 🙂 I can’t quite imagine this being my home.

a freaking castle!

But I would not at all mind this view off my back porch.

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Before the wedding started and throughout the reception we all wandered in and out of all the lovely terraces. Mist moved in and out, rain moved in and out, I hopefully looked out for bears to add to the wedding excitement (but did not see them).

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And as I meandered, I clenched a bit too. Truth time: I had been less than excited for this wedding. Not because I don’t love Myra and Alex, because I do! But more because this wedding was the first in person reunion with the ex boyf in over a year x_x We have not exactly been on good terms. There’s no active spite, but our last email exchange was not pleasant, and we just haven’t been in touch at all.

I was thinking I was pretty chill about it; after all, it had been nearly a year and a half since we ended our relationship. I saw the email next to his in all the wedding related emails and was emotionally prepared to see him with a new girl (though really I could have assumed it without hints from Myra and Alex, since my ex, bless his heart, has never been single in his adult life and that pattern has continued since approximately 3 hours after our breakup).

But then I felt not so chill as I waited for the little shuttle bus to take me up the hill to the castle and the wedding. And by not so chill I mean a little pukey. And I had to text my loved ones to request encouraging messages of support. But all these lovely things came together that made it not bad!

First, I reunited with one of Myra’s best college friends, Whit, who I’d met once before in the past and really liked at the time. Whit had recently had a breakup of her own and was amazing enough to become my human shield for the evening. She entered the reception area before me, saved me a seat by her at the open-seating dinner, provided excellent conversation, etc.

Second, before the wedding I shared an unexpected and lovely moment with the bride. We were all in our chairs getting ready for the ceremony to start when Myra’s dad made a little announcement that the bride had done something to her foot and the wedding would be delayed while she iced it. Oh dear! He recommended that we all hit up the bar a little early and talk amongst ourselves while we waited for the ceremony to begin. This led me to think “Hm, Myra really likes wine, and I bet she’s really stressed right now.” So I grabbed a bottle and some plastic cups and delivered them to her suite. That somehow led to me being the veil wrangler as Myra and her dad made the surprisingly long walk (down a spiral staircase in the classy castle!) to the aisle. Because if you already have a potentially broken foot, you really don’t want to trip over your veil. #Fact

Third, MY EX AND THE NEW GIRL LEFT EARLY HAHAHAHAHAHA. They were there through dinner and then they had, I dunno, work commitments or something (I don’t really care!) and left! We exchanged a single pained exchange of “hey”s and that was it! I SURVIVED, GUYS.

And even if the lovebirds hadn’t skipped out, I think I would’ve been okay. I did a lengthy debrief with my amazing roommate, Alli, after the fact,. She pointed out that here was this new girl and me, strangers to one another and connected by this strange bond of awkwardness created not by us but by this boy. Yes, potentially it was equally cringe worthy for this girl (towards whom I hold no malice) to spend an evening in the company of a woman her boyfriend had been in love with for four years. Yes, I feel a sense of possessiveness around my story as it’s told by my ex, but the people I love (who were in abundance at this wedding) know who I am and what I’m about and who cares about the rest of it?

And there’s something about serial monogamy that’s sad to me. And I really don’t mean the word in the “pathetic” sense (or, heh, at least I don’t exclusively mean it that way). How many more weddings will my ex attend, clutching the hand of whatever anonymous woman sits next to him like it’s a life preserver? Like he did with me (with someone else on his mind at the time, as was later revealed), like he did with this girl, like he’ll do with an endless series of women if things don’t work out with this one? I held my own hand at this damn wedding, and I was okay.

Also, there was good love on display at this thing, and good love is worth holding out for. Look at those faces! Look at those eyes! (I get no credit for this photo; I stole it from Alex’s sister who posted it on Facebook).

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All kinds of feels happened at the wedding, looking at all this good love.

Tiffany, Myra’s best friend, warmed up my tear ducts with her officiating.

The bride and groom continued to punch me in the heart with a first dance to Love Goes On from Robin Hood, played by our friend Tom. Tom’s married to Tiffany the officiant. Tiff and Tom are parents to Ada the adorable flower girl (unpictured due to the traditional flower girl meltdown) and another little one due in December. I sat up by Tom on the balcony as he strummed away on his ukelele (Tom requested moral support for his public performance!). I watched Myra and Alex look all goo goo eyed dancing and listened to the dreamy music and it was such a sweet, magic moment and I felt so lucky to be witness to it.

The wedding had all kinds of personal touches sprinkled throughout it. My wedding mad libs, for your amusement:

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Also, Myra is no lady of leisure who has time to put together all these touches. She is in fact a really talented and hardworking attorney and continued to work full time while doing ALL KINDS OF CRAZY NONSENSE for the wedding. There’s that gorgeous homemade silk dress, up top. There were these wine charms for every guest- you’ll notice my name woven in golden wire, what?!

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Food was yummy, and served with biodegradable plates and implements, since Myra ‘n Alex are crunchy 🙂

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The wedding was also notable for all the lovely people at it. Because their wedding was so small, I feel like I got to actually have meaningful conversations with people, including Alex’s sweet Greek grandmother, a cousin who’s a clinical dietitian and with whom I just went nuts talking about cancer nutrition, a college roommate’s girlfriend who is studying to do equine based therapy (!) And then I had tons of fun talking to Tiff about her pregnancy because this was the theme of night- rejoicing in the good love and good lives my friends have found.

Alex’s big Greek family (of which I was often presumed to be a member, since I shared their Greek look!) and Myra’s big Missisippi came together and got along splendidly and each side was just a barrel of laughs. We did some frenetic Greek dancing. We ate this family recipe for cake that Myra’s aunt made that contains a formidable amount of chocolate and an entire bottle of tequila!

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Oh, don’t worry, that wasn’t the only cake. There was also a wedding cake that, surprise surprise, MYRA MADE TOO. And a tower of donuts from Myra’s mom. And late night popcorn that went down real easy after lots of drinking and dancing.

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Finally, to know Myra and Alex is to know their obsession with their willful but extremely adorable golden daschund, Lochsie. Naturally, she was walked down the aisle at the beginning of the ceremony. She also was reunited with her long distance love, Charlie, whose parents traveled up from Atlanta for the blessed event. Both dogs are heavily featured in the wedding photos, hahahahaha.

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I woke up the morning after the wedding, in the mountains– wrapped up in four pillows, because us single girls get to do that in plush hotel beds– and smiled! And then drove for many many more hours back to the beach to start work today.

I did a little pleasant delayed onset weeping to keep me entertained in the car. Sang some cheesy love songs to myself (Backstreet Boys, you know it). Life is good. There’s good love out there.

oh i do like to be beside the seaside

Whew I had a busy week at the cancer center and now I’m back in the Triangle packing up my apartment (!!) since I’m a genius and will be moving on weekends since our lease is up before I’m done with my internship 2 1/2 hours from home. BRILLIANT.

Let’s talk about beach life.

Another day, another beach to try. Last Friday night I went to a new beach where the waves were a little intense for swimming but the walking was legit.

I saw pelicans divebombing the water, fishing for their dinner, and it was so cool I wanted to cry. GIF’d above for your viewing pleasure.

There was something satisfyingly old fashioned about this particular beach. Including FREE PARKING! What a luxury. And bubble gum pink motels, and a slow paced downtown with fishing piers and arcades.

I feel so much affection towards my fellow beach goers. Sweet families with their umbrellas. Dudes with metal detectors, livin’ the dream. Women in giant Tshirts with giant bassett hounds on them.

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AND OF COURSE THE AWESOME PELICANS AGH.

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Then, because I am an awesome independent women, I took myself to a beachside dinner at a cute little cafe where there was live music and this sweet, megatanned waitress who called my “baby”.

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I sat at the bar and got a comically enormous fried oyster po’ boy and sweet potato fries. And a redheaded welder chatted me up as he smoked several Marlboros hahahaha. It was fun.

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(that sandwich was ENORMOUS. I ate all the oysters and maybe 1/3 of the sweet potato fries and then admitted defeat).

Another day another seaside adventure. As you’ll recall I had a super cool social engagement visiting the aquarium with my cousin’s daughter’s girl scout troop. They were having their end of year party and got to go on a backstage tour of the aquarium and do some educational activities.

We got to meet a baby alligator! They name the lil guys after the patterns in the scales on their back and this little fella was named BUBBLES. A BABY ALLIGATOR NAMED BUBBLES.

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We also saw a bored looking albino snapping turtle hanging out behind the scenes.

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And a seahorse nursery ❤ ❤ ❤

Also, for some reason there is a large selection of animatronic dinosaurs in the courtyard outside the aquarium! So that was very entertaining.

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Another weekday beach stroll. When you park in the public lot, go to the beach, turn left, then walk for an hour, here is where you arrive! The end of the beach!

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At low tide there are all these mysterious marks in the sand- little critter trails?

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The crowds drift away and by this point I pretty much had the beach to myself. AMAZING. It’s hard to even describe what it’s like to be able to go walk by the water whenever I want, for hours at a time (the perk of having to be at work at 7:30am is that you get out at a reasonable hour and then, in the summer at least, have a couple hours of sunlight to do with what you will).

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My blood pressure has definitely lowered since I’ve been living by the water. I just walk and walk and my thoughts melt away.

Something that’s struck me over and over is how abundant life is when you look for it. With the retreat of this wave, tiny little shelled creatures wiggle wiggle wiggle to redisappear under the sand. Tiny little fishies come in with the waves and then zoom out as they ebb. The ocean itself is this incredible vital force that seems alive with all these tiny little microcurrents smacking into one another.

And this little sandpiper, who I swear was posing.

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I’m really happy walking on the beach alone, thinking thoughts. Sometimes I worry I’m getting too antisocial. I think I’m comforted by the fact that this is a temporary summer internship and that I have family and friends and a more social life back in the Triangle. If this were all of my life, I’d probably be lonely.

But, seeing all the goodness, nature in its perfect symmetry, life in abundance, is really good for me. There are really no guarantees (and believe me, working at a hospital- and particularly spending my most recent week in the cancer center- assures you of that on a daily basis) but it’s also nice to see this perfect little ecosystem, designed by God. It’s nice to know I can be alone and have this lovely world to keep me company.

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