|Wedding Day, acrylic, 16" x 20"|
Sooner than we had originally thought, the big day of our wedding had arrived: October 14, 1995.
My parents and my sister had arrived safely the Thursday before the wedding. As they had never been outside of Europe, it was a big adventure for them.
The day before the wedding the weather had been fantastic. The temperatures climbed to the high 20s. We went to Niagara Falls where we and enjoyed a trip on the “Lady of the Mist” along the falls, all dressed in what looked like huge blue garbage bags. The mist from the waterfalls surrounded us. We even saw a rainbow in front of the falls. After our boat ride, we had lunch at “The Pillar and Post” in Niagara-on-the-Lake, then walked through the beautiful little town. We walked through the beautiful town, marvelling at the beautiful fall colours and decorations.
My mother, my sister, and I also went to a bridal store and picked out the wedding dress for the spring. I picked the dress I had seen and fallen in love with while studying bridal magazines: a pink silk dress with white flowers on the bodice. The veil would be sewn with the same flowers. It was twice as expensive as what I had budgeted, but my mother, and sister as well as everyone in the bridal store was enchanted. It did not hurt that my mother offered to pay for the dress. She had offered me her dress, but when she saw me in my dream dress the decision was easy. I was glad because my mother's dress was short and I had dreamed of a long dress.
On the wedding day, it was raining. Ingo and I got married in a civil service at Mississauga City Hall presided by his church’s pastor. It was my wish to have a big wedding in Germany with my family and friends who would not have been able to come to Canada. I was very nervous, and afraid I would forget the vows. I was just glad that the marriage ceremony was very short. The pastor spoke slowly, and he divided the vows into short paragraphs. It was perfect for a foreigner still getting used to adapting to the language spoken outside of the classroom setting.
After the ceremony, we went directly to the “Cataract Inn”, in Alton, ON. in a tiny room. As the rain had stopped, we took the wedding photos.
The lovely celebration was held in a tiny room with low ceilings which was only accessible through an even tinier passage, a real challenge for some of our guests who only could fit sideways which resulted in a lot of laughter. It felt like being in a doll house.
At night, we went to Toronto to see the musical “The Beauty and The Beast” at the Princess of Wales Theatre. We had decided on a musical as a good option of entertainment as the music would go beyond the language barrier.
The next day, instead of going on a honeymoon, my parents, my sister, Ingo, and I squeezed into our Ford Escort for a drive to Ottawa. It was a very cozy ride as we also had all our luggage and the wedding gifts on board.
While it had been very mild in Mississauga, it was freezing in Ottawa. It was time to get out the hats, scarf, and gloves. We still had a great time. I showed my family Ottawa's traditional landmarks including Gatineau Park. Unfortunately, most of the leaves had already fallen. However, the big stands of pumpkins at the Byward Market provided lovely fall impressions. We also visited the special exhibition of the Group of Seven at the National Gallery. During a trip to Orléans, we were even able to show my family a similar home to the one we had purchased.
After three days, we left Ingo behind in Ottawa and returned to Toronto. The next day, after visiting some Toronto landmarks, my parents, my sister, and I boarded the flight to Germany. I felt very sad to leave newly-wed husband behind, especially knowing that I would not even be there for his birthday.
I spent four weeks in Germany. During the time, I arranged the shipment of our belongings, and said good-bye to all my friends and family, not knowing when we would see each other again.
It was a busy time, but I still missed Ingo. It must have been even harder for him as he was alone in a new city, and did not have family and friends to distract him.
I feel very blessed for both my family and friends here in Canada and in Germany. They are what is most important for me in my life. I cherish all of the different relationships, and do a lot to keep them alive. Every month, I send out a German newsletter with the latest news from our family to keep the ties alive and strong. It has paid off: I still have contact to most of my friends and family. Social media and video chat have made it possible to increase the intensity of connection even further. These days, I do not have to wait weeks for a response to my letter. It has made communication a lot easier.
How do you keep in touch with the important people in your life? Is the phone still the most effective tool? I would like to hear your experiences.
I hope you enjoyed following my memories. Next week, I will write about my first experiences with the real Canadian winter.