‘Hello dear cousin, I hope you are well. I know it’s just last notice but I’m getting married in a few days, and I would love for you to be there’ wrote my beloved nephew from Birmingham. While reading his text message I was having my coffee in one of the many Starbucks’ in Edinburgh. My heart was filled with joy just before a powerless feeling came over me. How would a poor student/traveller be able to buy a ticket on one of the busiest days of the year? ‘No matter what. I will be there’ I thought to myself. One of the key reasons was dear readers, that my nephew always came to all weddings no matter how far they were or whether others supported the weddings. What do I mean by supported? Well many cultures are still very traditional and prefer conventional marriages because it’s easier to communicate with each other if you come from the same culture, speaking the same native language and having the same religion. But I ask every one reading this. Is marriage meant to be with the one that thinks the same as you or with someone that thinks together with you? A collaborated mind and heart or a very similar one?
This beloved relative from Kurdish/Persian descent (which is in the heart of Middle East Asia) decided to share his heart and home with a lady from North Asia, China. My first thought was: ‘Well one thing is for sure, the rice would definitely not be wasted by throwing it to the bride and groom but rather used as one of the main dishes’. Being very curious who the lucky girl is that would become a part of the family, I wanted nothing more than to be there to support the unorthodox wedding. My adventure would not have been the same if I would not have gone, for it taught me more than I would realise at the moment that I received the text.
My dear mother helped me along and the family arranged a ticket for me. ‘I need you to be here’ my cousin said. The moment he said that, some tears fell on my cheeks. My relatives love each other unconditionally but we do not express it in words so much. Hearing this from him, filled my heart with a kind of love you only get from family. One that is as warm as a bonfire and as loyal as two brothers in arms, having eachothers’ back. A love that is most of all, safe.
The day came of my arrival. In the airplane I fell asleep, dreaming of my nephew saying yes to his bride in front of the altar. Over the years , despite not talking to each other frequently, he still felt more like a brother to me than anything else. A brother finding his true love is something that makes my heart content. Once I left the plane, my mother and another cousin awaited my arrival. She hugged me. I stood still by the thought of a mothers’ hug. Sometimes that act of love can give a kind of power that makes you think you can conquer the world. She made me feel like her warrior again. I was home, no matter the city or country. I was home.
Before the wedding started, my aunties house felt like a scene from ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’, where the whole family comes together and stresses out even more on the things that have to be done. The whole way through laughing and still enjoying the wonderful day it turned out to be.
The clock struck 6 pm and it was time to get dressed. Not having packed a proper dress in my backpack I improvised. Normally traditional Kurdish dresses are a bit like Indian dresses, very colourful and elegant like Jasmine from Aladdin. When we arrived it was almost time for the bride to enter. My mother and I sat at the first row. ‘You are my sister, G. You need to sit here’. It was my first time sitting at the front row of a wedding. I felt honoured in a way that cannot be described in words.
Once the most beautiful bride entered , I saw my dear Nephew’s face changing from being nervous to perfectly in peace. He didn’t see anyone else at that moment. Just her. Only her. It was a beautiful ceremony combining Kurdish and Chinese traditions into one. Some tears fell down my cheek by the sheer bliss of seeing a new chapter begin. I thought of love and what it means to me. That moment gave me an answer to that question. When someone else’s happiness is your happiness. That is love. That way of thinking deteriorates being jealous or selfish. It empowers and multiplies the happiness you get.
After the ceremonies, the Kurds could not wait to dance. So they started a dance called ‘Halparke’ which is a traditional dance where you hold hands and shoulder
to shoulder you participate in a long row which eventually becomes a circle. It represents the circle of life, the importance of uniting and to just dance until you get blisters. The Bride’s relatives were at first a little bit shy, but after some time they joined in the dance. It was a sight of different nationalities, dancing and laughing, without it being too awkward because of the language barrier.
After dinner and more dancing, the night came to an end. The memories and experience of this unification is something I will have forever. This adventure has taught me that we are the Shapers of culture, the Workers for change and the Dreamers of dreams. Only a few times in my lifetime I have seen dreamers achieving their dreams and making it reality. Making the impossible, possible.
This is a special blog for my beloved family. I am blessed to call you mine.
How this adventure lead me back to Edinburgh where I stood on top of a mountain with a view of the entire city, will be with you shortly on the next blog of G’s McTravels.