Is it strange that I can’t think of all that many romantic moments from our honeymoon? That might be because we’re not really romantic types, and also because we were backpacking for six months, not ballin’ it around the world.
But what an adventure. A few memories that really stand out:
Lamb, wine, filo pie, and explosive sunsets in Santorini, a stunning tourist trap that bears only idyllic memories for me
Flying through the forests in the Munich countryside on our pushbikes, feeling every bump and dip along the way
Paddling through Halong Bay, peering out for monkeys, craning my neck to look up at the strange land formations
Strolling the Highline in NYC at sunset, and late night karaoke in the East Village
Wandering along the sand dunes at a San Diego beach one night
Blazing through Vermont on a motorbike, surrounded by rosy forests and empty roads (and nearly falling asleep on the back after lunch)
Winding through Venice’s canals, marvelling at the skill of our gondolier
Enjoying a platter of mixed soft cheeses and honey in quiet ecstasy at a random Roman restaurant
And of course, all those instances of greedy face stuffing in Thailand, Bologna, Paris, New York, of spring rolls, panzerotti, cakes, gelato, cheeses, deli sandwiches and tacos.
There was enough luxury for it to feel special amongst the backpacking – the constant discomfort (Auckland’s stupidly mild temperatures have spoiled us both), the stress of navigating non-English countries (especially for him).
I am so, so happy we took that trip. It was great for us on so many levels, not just as individuals but as a couple. We’ve seen each other at our absolute worst and pushed through. Made so many memories to share. I feel it brought us closer together and strengthened our relationship. Between that, and the big scary talk that came up pre-wedding, I’m not sure what state we’d be in now. Possibly a less healthy one. Either way, it was a catalyst for us to re-examine things and work harder at them. Because when you don’t, they can deteriorate very quickly. It takes years to build what can be undone in days, hours – minutes, even, or seconds. Even after years together, you can still surprise yourselves, and even after years together you can work toward making some things better than you’d ever dreamed possible.
Weddings are powerful events. No matter how informal, they pack a lot of emotional weight. As Elizabeth asks Philip on The Americans: “They’re just words people say. But do you think things would have been different between us if we’d said them?”
But beyond that, weddings are ultimately occasions of unbridled joy. As I write this particular paragraph, I’m in floods of quiet tears, having just gorged on a friend’s 600-odd wedding pictures. Just as with the photos from any other wedding, ours included, the thing that shines through is how happy everyone is. Imperfect as ours was, I still like to look back on photos for that little lift they give me.
I am still not used to the words ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ yet. I’d barely gotten comfortable with ‘fiance/e’ by the time we got married, so maybe in another year or two?