Saturday, July 21, 2012

Crazy Fun Slovak Wedding Reception/One Year Anniversary

When Terezia and I first decided to tie the knot, we had originally planned to do it in Slovakia, partly on the assumption that marrying here would make it easier for me to obtain the residency visa necessary to live here (and in the EU) for longer than 3 months. But when the very helpful and informative guy at the Slovak consulate in LA told us, no way, that's not the case, that the process is (surprise, surprise!) actually more difficult if done in Slovakia, we decided to have our wedding in SF last July before moving.

But because nobody from Terezia's family was able to fly out to the US to witness the occasion, we really wanted to do something for them. So, we decided that on our one year anniversary we'd have sort of a second reception at Terezia's parents' house, which, much like what we did for the original reception at my mother's house, would be held in their garden out back.

We also thought it would be fun to coax my brother Jon and my dad to come out and visit us and attend the reception as well. After only a little cajoling they kindly obliged.

Jon and my dad arrived in Bratislava on a gloomy, overcast Thursday afternoon, thoroughly jet-lagged and weary. I had wanted to show them around Bratislava on Friday before leaving for Terezia's parents' place in Podrecany, but the nonstop rain that day (which somewhat suddenly appeared after weeks of intense heat and sunshine) put a damper on that. We sauntered through about half the Stare Mesto, had lunch, took refuge in a cafe, and finally escaped the soggy greyness by going back home.

The forecast for the weekend was not looking so great, particularly since we were planning on having the reception outdoors in Terezia's parents' lovely garden. We came up with a back-up plan to move it to the local Kulturny Dom (basically a town community center, which looks every bit as depressing as it sounds) if the weather misbehaved.

Luckily, we didn't need to. The weather was actually quite beautiful for several hours before the rain came along - very sunny and almost too warm. Also, Tony had purchased four large water resistant canopies for everyone to sit under, with the intention of providing shade from what we initially anticipated would be an afternoon of blistering sunshine. Thankfully, the canopies also shielded us from the rain that started gushing down in buckets at about 5:00 PM. But since the party started at 2:00, we were happy to have gotten through the meal and dessert before the rain.

The reception was a total blast, everyone seemed to have a fabulous time, and when the rain finally did rear its unpleasant (albeit much needed) head, we stubbornly gave it the finger and danced through the evening under the canopies. Terezia's dad worked throughout the party, plying everybody with a seemingly endless flow of shots. 

Pretty much everyone from Terezia's mom's side of the family was there, and several people from Terezia's dad's family came out from Partizanske. It was incredibly nice to see everyone, and I hadn't seen the Partizanske folks since the winter holidays at the end of 2010 when I first traveled out here with Terezia and her dad.

A few of Terezia's friends were sadly unable to make it (Zdenka Valvodova and Martina Hazlingerova, who live in Prague, and Cico, who works a lot of the time in Germany), but luckily Terezia's good friend Martina Zilkova came.

Amusing cultural tidbit: after Terezia's mom did a formal greeting and toast, Terezia's aunt Ludka read what I'm told was a really nice Slovak poem, after which everyone suddenly stood up and starting singing the word "Zivio! Zivio! Zivio!" over and over, in this strange ascending melody. I had no idea what the hell was going on and it kind of freaked me out! Nobody had warned me about this, nor could anyone give me a clear or precise explanation of what it means. Welcome to Slovakia!

Tony and Martina
The Gurlz: Martina, Ludmila, and Terezia
Terezia's parents
Me documenting Tony documenting the reception. Notice how lovely the garden and the sky are!
 Ludmila and Chris
The fam from Partizanske
Terezia's aunt Elenka shows off her relatively new granddaughter.
My dad and my brother; both have been given only a couple of shots at this point.
Terezia's dad singing with his sisters. They're actually really good! 

 Not quite everyone. 
Bob cuts loose. 
The dancing begins...
...and lasts through the evening. 

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