In the past four years that I’ve lived in Argentina, I’ve attended at least four weddings, but to say the least, none of them were as epic and as memorable as the one we went to last weekend.
This was THE EVENT of the year, as I’ve told you before, and in the past one month during which we prepared for Barbi’s and Agus’ wedding (think hen parties and dinner with the best men, and many other meet-ups just to talk and plan the wedding), I’ve made acquaintances with so many people who openly and unabashedly show their love for the couple.
The celebration kicked off last Friday, with the civil ceremony reducing us to tears, as we watched Barbi and Agus sign their marriage document in the presence of six witnesses and tie the knot in the eyes of the law.
Later that afternoon, we had a small and intimate lunch reception with delicious cocktail snacks amidst chatter, laughter and plenty of love. The celebration didn’t stop there, but continued at night with an asado organized by the groom’s dad, and as we mingled over choripan and endless glasses of wine and Fernet (the girls gathered around the dining room table, the guys squashed in the kitchen by the barbeque pit) – I found myself being so grateful and glad to be part of this group of people, whose show of love was loud, joyful and honest.
Saturday passed, uneventful and only interrupted every now and then with the buzzing of the cellphones, as our Whatsapp group chat was filled with photos and comments on the dresses we were going to wear for the wedding party the next day. Suggestions for hairdos and make up were thrown around, and there was an anxious excitement that all of us felt, even if we weren’t the ones getting married.
Come Sunday, after our girls’ appointment with my hairdresser (who’d agreed to work on a Sunday especially for us), we returned to our own homes, dressed up, applied our rouge, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick, and met again at the Jewish synagogue for the religious ceremony.
It was the first time I’d entered a Jewish synagogue (apart from the one I’d been to in Israel), and sitting in the pews of the beautiful and large temple, watching as Barbi walked in regally with her stunning wedding dress was just breathtaking. Parents of both Agus and Barbi stood by their sides, and as they spoke words in Hebrew and sang hymns that sounded like heaven, I felt tears of pride springing to my eyes – a pride for them that they made the decision to get married, and to make a commitment to one another, for life.
As the Rabbi blessed them and they kissed as man and wife, I felt an immense surge of happiness for these friends whom have become an important part of my life.
The religious ceremony eventually came to a close, and we finally headed for the dinner party.
You see, when Argentinians celebrate, they celebrate in style and in extravagance.
Wedding parties here are events that last at least nine hours (not kidding!!) – from the time you gather around the table for cocktails, till the time the party is officially over. And because Argentinians love to dance, you can imagine how the party went – between the different courses of food, the party was punctuated with videos of the couple now and then as kids, and without fail, good music that everyone (even the grandmothers) danced to.
Mostly, I remember having so much fun (despite my heels killing me), because I was in the midst of amazing company – faces to whom I could put names too; hugs from friends and family of the couple, and knowing that everyone there was there because they loved the couple.
The highlight of the event of course, were the newlyweds – Barbi and Agus make a couple whose love and affection for each other is evident to friends and strangers alike. They speak praises of each other (even in the absence of the other), there is a sparkle in their eyes when they look at each other, and there is a very powerful, tangible love that is between them.
When I hugged Barbi goodnight at around 5am in the morning (yes, that’s how long the party lasted!), I squeezed her tightly, telling her how beautiful she was, and for her to enjoy this new chapter of her life.
It’s events like these that remind me of how fortunate I am – that developing a friendship with Juan’s friends’ girlfriends is definitely one of the best things to happen to me in Buenos Aires.
To say that I am thankful and fortunate, is not enough. I am blessed – truly and wonderfully blessed. And for that, I give thanks.
And…as the cooking legend Julia Child once very determinedly said – “A party without cake is just a meeting.”
So for now, I’m celebrating with these cake-like cookies. These cookies are made with coconut and quinoa, and are soft and chewy instead of crunchy. They’re filled with chocolate chunks that melt in your mouth; a treasure every bite of the way.
I remember eating these cookies with my friend Jeanie as we chatted about life the week before she flew back to Singapore; I remember her reaching for cookie after cookie in my living room, as our conversation filled the apartment. And mostly, I recall being glad to be able to feed and nourish someone else.
I’m thankful for that, and for friendships, and for everything good that comes my way.
CHOCOLATE COCONUT QUINOA COOKIES
Take a look at her wonderful blog, which explores an incredible amount of ways to cook with quinoa. Stay a little while, tell her I sent you and say hi for me!