Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My brother's wedding

Ollie and Leanne got married on Sat 14th November in Cashel church, Connemara. I was glad I could make it. It only took 14 hours to get there-Nairobi to London flight, London to Dublin flight, Dublin to Galway bus and car trip deep into the wilds of Connemara.

So back in Ireland again after 3 months in the Dark Continent. Funny enough, it was Ireland that was dark. Grey growling clouds threatening rain, or sleet and then torrential rain the rest of the time. Very few people seem to carry umbrellas and of course it's unsightly to wear a bag over your head as is the fashion in Nairobi when it rains. And the pain in people's faces when it rains, their mental health taking a nosedive untill the bleakness passes, if it does. It is grim when it rains in Ireland.

Luckily, there was no rain on the day of the wedding. My mother had put a "child of Prague statue" under the hedge and prayed for weeks for sunshine. I don't believe in piseogs but it seemed to work.

People arrived from the US- my first cousins Patrick, Yvonne and aunty Rena; Ollie's friend Eamonn from the Jersey shore, many fun people from Kilimordaly, a general sprinkling of people from all over. Elaine arrived from Florence, where she is working very hard drinking red wine, eating pasta and researching law.

The church ceremony was surprisingly the funniest part of the entire event. The priest must have watched and rehearsed Father Ted because he was in fact Fr. Ted. He spoke about the holy sanctity of marraige by referring to how women and men fall in love, from experience of course, and how to have a fight before you go to bed to clear your head or wait the next day and through dishes at your partner's head if you feel like it. He spoke about how single couples walk hand in hand and then proceed to one walking in front of the other. In general, tips on how to survive a marraige.

The prayers of the faithful were executed with grace and precision, having been rehearsed twice live. I blame myself. My cousin asked me if it was time for the prayers just before the first reading which I was in charge of. I, so focused on the first reading from Tobiet, responded yes and then all five of them trapsed after me up to the altar for company. They got a clap on the way down though and were ready for the next time they were actually called to say the prayers of the faithful. Dave forgot his and read out cousin Elaine's part. She was hiding in back of the church. She said later that he made a much better job of it than she would have.

I was like the paparazzi for the day. Armed with my Rebel XT super power Cannon camera, I made sure to capture people usually with their mouths open or crossing their hands yelling "no more" or dancing at the disco. Eamonn S has some crazy moves on the dance floor. A mixture of finger pointing, floor sliding, standing on chair routine and hip girating, all with a broken collar bone. He had broken it while attempting a somersault in Sullivans (classic disco in Gort) the week before. As one man said, its dangerous at 25 but even worse at 35.

My Dad gave a moving speech, welcoming Galway hurlers to the event and of course Leanne, saying "he wouldn't have chosen better himself".

Ollie spoke about how lucky he was to have Leanne and how much our parents have done for them. My mother Agnes, who saved lives during the day and looked after five brats and Paddy as well. She deserved that bunch of flowers and much more. Ollie spoke about how Dad had written the book on how to live well and supported him through years of hurling training, blaming the referee or Joe Rabbitt if he had not played well. It was emotional and I was proud of them

By the end of the meal, jet lag kicked in, but first the Old Timers band and much later the disco. If you would like to view pictures of the disco shenanigans, view my facebook page.

Now I'm back in Nairobi. Back to the sunshine, blue skies, few shillings and the noise. Unlike the peace of Connemara, this place keeps you alert and awake even when you are supposed to be sleeping. I'm getting up at seven to the sound of horn beeping, and the constant buzz of cars and matatus.

It was worth the trip. I met great people, caught up with old friends and even managed to fit in the Ireland vs France game on Wednesday where Ireland were cheated out of the World Cup. Great company that night despite the loss. I had to leave McSorley's pub in Ranelagh just before Thiery Henry struck the ball twice with his hand. I can't believe I am writing about football in my blog. Africa is really changing me!