Our Big Fat American Wedding

Phew!  It's been a few days since our celebration, and I am still reeling from the excitement and fun of the day.  The amount of love and friendship at our wedding has left Chris and I reflecting about how lucky we are to have so much love in our lives.  We had friends and family come from all over just to spend a few hours with us on our special day and we are so grateful.

It also left us realizing just how easy it is to let life get in the way of making those phone calls and writing those emails to those who do not live near us.  We really must get better about that.  But the funny thing is, our friends are so great that we pick up right where we left off, and it is literally like no time has passed at all. That's a sign of a good friendship in my book.

I am so glad that Chris' parents had a chance to come over and meet my entire family.  Any other time, that would not have been possible, so the fact that they were able to make it over for our American wedding meant a lot to both of us, and I know my entire family really enjoyed meeting them.  

I will post more from the wedding celebrations soon.  After flight delays and trouble sleeping last night, today is definitely not the most inspired I have felt in a while, and I hope to get back to a sense of normalcy soon so I can come up with some clever posts to entertain you all.  :)

Oh, and I witnessed a few great examples for my Language Barrier Monday posts this weekend so stay tuned!

Language Barrier Monday

A few years ago, when Chris and I were still living in San Francisco, we frequented an Italian restaurant called Bacco.  It was a really nice restaurant, with dim lighting and a warm, welcoming atmosphere, only without the sky-high prices or attitude that typically accompanies those types of restaurants.

The service was no exception.  The servers were always friendly and helpful.

One evening, we ventured in after a long day of work and were greeted by a server that we did not recognize.  She welcomed us and we chatted for a few minutes about the weather before she asked us both where we were from.

Chris looked at me, so I politely replied that I hailed from Washington state originally, and continued to fill her in on our new arrival to San Francisco.  

She then turned to Chris, "And how about you, where are you from originally?" (Everyone is always curious about the accent. But don't worry, I'm not bitter or anything...)

Chris, feeling in a fun mood, responded, "have a guess."  Smiling up at her expectantly.  

{ Side note: This is a fun game for Chris and I because 9 times out of 10, people will guess that he is from Australia.  In fact, most of them say "which part of Australia are you from?" To which he cheekily responds, "London!" }

His question to the server, was clearly not understood. As she responded, "Oh that's great..." with a confused smile pasted on her face, and walked away from our table.

Haha. Our shocked laughs could not be contained.  She obviously thought his response, 'have a guess,' was him saying the name of where he hailed from and she had not heard of it!  

Are we cruel to get pleasure out of these awkward conversations? Because we totally do.

Until next time... Happy Monday!

Sustenance Sunday

Today, my SS post is dedicated to two of my favorite (unhealthy!) treats when I am in England: the Aero chocolate bar and the Curly Wurly chocolate delight that I also refer to as: heaven.

The Areo bar (I like the regular and the mint chocolate), are the lightest, fluffiest chocolate that you will ever taste.  The melt-in-your-mouth texture is unlike any other.

The Curly Wurly bar is quite different. A delicate caramel "braid", covered in light milk chocolate, it melts in your mouth in a completely different way than than Aero bar, but is delicious all the same.

If you ever encounter either of these while waiting in line at the petrol (gas) station, I highly recommend snagging one (or three!) for an afternoon treat.  You will not be disappointed!

Don't worry, there will be plenty of our American wedding to come... stay tuned!

Language Barrier Monday

A few years ago, on a run-of-the-mill Starbucks stop, Chris was driving and had placed his usual order (English Breakfast tea, aka Tazo Awake tea).

"Will that be everything for you today?"  the perky barista asked?

"Actually, can I also get a bottle of water?"  Chris innocently asked?

After several seconds of silence, at which point Chris was wondering if he had heard him at all, the barista slowly responded, "Uh, no, sorry... we don't have any live music here..."

While I will admit that the way Brits say 'bottle of water' is a bit tricky to understand, I have no idea how the barista managed to hear Chris ask if they had any live music at Starbucks?

Water is a tricky one for us to understand when said in such a "posh" accent. :)  Especially when compared to our "wadder..." and it still manages to throw servers off in restaurants when Chris informs them that he will just stick with water.  They inevitably look at me with questioning eyes (sort of a deer-in-the-headlights sort of look), to which I respond, "he'll just have wadder..."

Happy Monday!

Sustenance Sunday

As I mentioned before, this girl loves a good old-fashioned tradition.  So when it comes to English afternoon tea, this is no exception.  I love the idea of sitting down to a proper tea every afternoon.  And if that proper tea could be a "cream tea," even better.

I literally force Chris and his family to take me for an English Cream Tea every time we are back in England, but apparently I never pause long enough to snap a photo before inhaling my scone, because in browsing back through past England photos, I can't find a single photo of our cream tea adventures!

I found this adorable photo so that you can at least get a better visual of my obsession.  

Yum!  Fresh scones topped with clotted cream and preserves, to be enjoyed with a nice, creamy black tea. Also known as heaven.  If you ever visit England, or if you are lucky, an English tea room in your local town, give this delectable treat a try.  I promise you won't regret it.  

Now, who wants to play "mother?"

"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour devoted to the ceremony of afternoon tea."
-- Henry James

The City That Loves You Back

I have no idea why Philadelphia was given this moniker, but how can you not love the city that loves you back?  I will say that there is something special about this city, though I really can't tell you what it is that makes it so special.  On the surface, it is just your average small city.  Or so I thought.  Did you know that Philadelphia is the 5th most populated city in America?  Neither did I.  And having been there now, I find that incredibly hard to believe because it feels really small.

So we continued our Philly adventures on Sunday morning with the hop on, hop off double-decker bus tour.

{ I learned my hair lesson with the humidity the night before. solution? topknot! }

I was pretty overwhelmed on the bus tour at all of the historic sights we were seeing, and in an effort to keep up, my photos are a bit hit and miss when it comes to quality.  I definitely have to give myself an A for effort, though.  It is important to note that while on this bus tour, we were literally getting smacked in the face with tree branches (why they don't trim them so the bus can fit through without harming anyone, I will never know...).

{ these two monuments are in dedication to those who fought in the civil war }

 { a closer view of one of the monuments }

{ Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul } 

{ infamous Rocky statue, aka a classic Philly sight. } 

These next two photos are a part of the city's "Your Move" art collection, which scatters over-sized popular game pieces across the plaza.  This is designed to juxtapose childhood memories with adult responsibilities. Can you spot the game pieces?  Which games do they belong to? 

{ Benjamin Franklin statue, sculpted by Philadelphia's own James Peniston as part of the Keys to the Community collection in the Old City. } 

{Betsy Ross' house, adorned with the flag she is credited with designing. } 

{ seriously lovely architecture here... I was constantly looking 'up!' } 

{ might seem strange to see a giant clothespin in the middle of the city, but it is known as The Kiss, resembling two people in an embrace. I think it's so cute when you look at it that way. } 

{ Philadelphia city hall, topped with the city's founder: William Penn. } 

{ Rocky fans rejoice!  Here are the steps he ran up in the movie, though our tour guide told us Stallone only did the last few steps, his stunt double did the rest. Really? Sigh... is it difficult to run up some steps? } 

{ classic Chinatown shot. Every metropolitan city's got one... } 

{ Elreth's Alley, known for being our nation's oldest residential street. And go figure, it is the same size as the streets in England! }

Our first "hop off" was at Eastern State Penitentiary.  I have to admit that I had never heard of the place and had no idea the history we would learn about while we were there.  Afterall, the concept for this prison was born in Benjamin Franklin's living room.  One inmate, one cell.  The idea being that isolation would give the prisoners time to reflect and think about their crimes, and ultimately show signs of penance for what they had done.

{ at the time, rumors flew that Al Capone was allowed to live in relative luxury during his stay here. } 

{ I don't know why, but I love this photo... } 

After our tour of living like an inmate (heat and all!), we stumbled on, what else? A London pub!  We decided it was a sign and that we were meant to have lunch there.

{ coincidentally the inside looked strikingly similar to a pub across the street from Big Ben in London. }

Next stop? Independence Hall!  I was so unbelievably excited to see this historic place and try to imagine all that had gone on inside those walls.

After much running around trying to figure out where to get tickets, we managed to find out that they were sold out for the day.  I say sold out in relative terms, because the tickets are actually free.  They just have to monitor how many folks they let in. Thus, the reason for the tickets.  

I was crushed that they were sold out, and just when I had given up hope, another ticket agent came over and told us that they had just had two cancellations if we wanted to go right now.  Did we?!  So we were off on our tour of Independence Hall. Oh how I love it when things work out...

{ is it just my imagination or is the sun shining directly on Independence Hall? }

{ the architecture inside is beautiful. }

{ known simply as the Assembly, or Signer's, Room, it was here that both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted and signed. }

I couldn't get a clear picture of George Washington's famous "rising sun" chair, but that is it in the back center, where he presided over the Constitutional Convention.  James Madison's journal quotes Benjamin Franklin making a very inspiring quote about the sun seen on this chair, just as the final members were signing the Constitution.  It gave me goosebumps when I heard it.

"...Painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising from a setting sun. I have often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting.  But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun."

{ bottom left hand seat believed to be Benjamin Franklin's. }

{ I couldn't get a very clear picture, but this is the first printed copy of the Declaration of Independence.  This copy is actually a month older than the handwritten copy that is on display in our nation's capitol.  This one was read aloud in the square to the general public, announcing our independence. }

{ incredible to see this in person... words can't describe it.. } 

I think it is safe to say we were pleasantly overwhelmed by late afternoon and decided to retire to our air conditioned hotel room to relax a bit before heading out to dinner on restaurant row.

We had reservations at a very highly rated Spanish tapas restaurant, and I couldn't wait to try it out.

Unfortunately, I completely forgot about the art of photography when the delicious food was placed in front of me, because I only managed to photograph my drink (sangria, of course!) and dessert (there was nothing tapas-like about this dessert, let me tell you...).

I think I have successfully overwhelmed (and distracted!) you all enough for one day.  Tomorrow I will post about our final day touring around this great city, including the Constitution Center and Christ Church!

Stay tuned...

I think I speak for everyone when I say T.G.I.F., right?