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Anita and Bob's Big Fat Indian Wedding - Baraat and the Ceremony

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The Grand Finale to the Big Fat Indian Wedding started out with the Baraat for Bob.  The groom lead his family and friends in a procession to the ceremony.  We all danced around while Bob rode in on a very large white horse.  Lots of music and dancing (and sweating -it was 95 F and high humidity!) to start the party off.



 After that excitement we all filed into the ceremony venue.  The room was beautiful with an ornate alter in the middle filled with flowers.  The program listed several different traditional ceremonies with description of what was going on with each.  Good thing we had explanations because we would have been lost otherwise.  The groom led the bride in circles around the alter, the bride led the groom around the alter, their scarves were tied together, parents threw things at them, Anita's sisters stole Bob's shoes... all part of the tradition.

Anita & Bob's Big Fat Indian Wedding - Sangeet

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I must confess that I had to change the title of the last post to Anita and Bob's Big Fat Indian Wedding.  Because yes it was Bob's wedding too, but also because it was so wonderful to see how not just Bob but his entire family fully embraced the traditions of Anita's family.  It was truly a wedding about two families coming together.
Day two of the extravaganza was the Sangeet.  It's basically like having the reception before the ceremony - one big dance party.  We knew our usual wedding outfits wouldn't suffice, so my Sri Lankan coworker gave me some pointers and directed me to the Little India in Dandenong.  She said the more colour and bling the better, so we jumped in the deep end and went with it.  Phil got a Kurta - the long tunic - and I found a Lehanga that I loved.  My coworker said I needed a lot of jewellery, so I found the biggest matching green earrings I could find and a Maanga Tikka hair ornament to match. Our friends all clearly got the same memo an…

Anita & Bob's Big Fat Indian Wedding - Mehndi

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We had never been to an Indian wedding before and were very much looking forward to the 3-day experience.  The first night was the Mehndi party held at Anita's parents' house.  This is where the women gather and get henna applied.  Anita had already spent 6 hours having hers done - how she sat still for that long I haven't a clue!
 When we arrived we were introduced to mountains of delicious food cooked by Mama Rai.  I have no idea what any of it was but it was very good and full of flavour.  After dinner we took turns having henna done - not hours luckily, just a few minutes each.  It kind of looked like they were putting puffy paint on our hands.

The designs were all really intricate and pretty.  The problem with henna is then you can't do anything or touch anything while you let it dry - and it takes awhile!  Fortunately I only had it done on the backs of my hands, it was hard enough not messing up that part!  The "aunties" set up a band and starting playing…

Classy Cleveland

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We never thought we'd find ourselves vacationing in Ohio (especially while living in Australia), but our wonderful friend Anita was getting married there and we couldn't miss it.  So after a few days relaxing at Sequoia Lake, we drove to San Jose and took a red eye flight to Cleveland. Who knew Cleveland would be such a pleasant surprise.

Our friends from the bay area are living in Michigan for a few months and drove over to visit.  We decided to take the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad through Cuyahoga National Park, about 20 minutes South of Cleveland.  It was a cute old restored train staffed by volunteers who where absolutely tickled to share the journey with us.  As one volunteer told us, "Where else can you ride a train all day... for free?!"  Fair point train dude, fair point.  We enjoyed a pleasant ride down along a creek and back again.  

 After the train ride we drove through the park and stopped at Brandywine Falls.  It was very warm, so fortunately it was j…