Wedding Week

Before everyone arrived at Thanksgiving
Sunday - Thanksgiving and Shae’s gathering
Today is Thanksgiving. Tomorrow is a baking day to work on the recipes for my Matcha recipe book. Since I only give myself one day off a week from eating restrictively, and I try to avoid exceptions as much as possible… so it looks like thanksgiving is all salad and meat.
Normally at family gatherings like this, I feel like an outsider, jumping from island to island, occasionally floating at sea. As my sister put it, they don’t tend to want to hear what I’m actually thinking about. Fair enough, we come from a lot of different backgrounds. I'm the type that can be quite annoying at times; whenever I see an absolute statement (always, never, every, etc) I automatically start testing it to see where I can find an exception to the rule. This is even for things I already believe in, just to test my own beliefs. I may even approach the idea from a pro- and anti- perspective.* This is my default, and I don't find it tiring, but I get that other people might.

Comparing the different grades of Matcha
This time, however, it felt like my interests and my family's have finally overlapped to the point that I can hold conversation with most of them. Health stuff, like the matcha, green veg juice, and turmeric shots, seems to swing well with a bunch of people. My understanding of business is enough now that I can listen to some of my uncles talk about it while occasionally contributing. Not to mention all the stories/questions related to Australia. It was probably the most fun thanksgiving I’ve had… maybe ever.

I tried my hand at making Matcha Cupcakes in every combination between matcha and vanilla: vanilla top, matcha cupcake, the reverse, and both matcha. People seemed a little wary of trying them, which led to me cutting up and handing out samples. Didn’t get much feedback, though some people seemed to enjoy them. Then again, I hadn’t tried them myself.

After Thanksgiving, I met up with some friends in one of their apartments, caught up for a bit, then skipped over to my cousin Shae’s place to hang out. They were playing a cool game I hadn’t seen before: 10 tallboys, each labelled from 1-10, were being handed out to everyone via shot glass tasters. Once they had tried the beer, they wrote down a rating out of 10 on a note and stacked them in front of the cans. After all the beers were tried, they declared the winner. Seems like a decent night with friends to me! 

We played a game, which I forget the name of. The first person had to guess the object/category, while each person gave 1 hint, pausing after each person. The goal is for the guesser to correctly answer with as few hints as possible. As an example, “My favourite picnic food.” This is not what you would immediately think of with the hints “mine is often covered in ants,” and “mine comes in a box.” 

Good times.

Monday - The Baking Day of 1000 leaves

Delicious Matcha Mille-Feuille
Mike is back in town, and he brought his girlfriend, Elyssa! In high school, there were three of us: me, Mike, and Steve. Mike lives in Ottawa, so we don’t see him all that often. 

The Full Strip
It’s a funny spectrum between the three of us: Mike was Bio(chem), I was Psych, and Steve was Sociology. I am tall, Steve is above average, and Mike is average. Likewise with our approach to knowledge: Mike was heavily scientific, I am mostly scientific with a mix of philosophy, and Steve was much heavier in the philosophy. We are all odd balls, each coloured by our field of study. For Biochem, this includes baking.

That being said, I wanted Mike to help refine the recipes. I don’t trust my sense of taste, as I think it’s a bit duller than average. Honestly, it took me years before I could taste the difference between Pepsi and Diet.

The Before...
We made a number of matcha smoothies, matcha chia pudding, and Mille Feuille. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mille Feuille, it’s a flakey, layered pastry with layers of sweet pastry cream between them. In this case, we made a matcha cream for in between the pastry. Tasty!

Tuesday - Suit fitting, Haircut, hang out

At this point, I’m looking pretty haggard. I messed up my beard, as previously mentioned, and left the moustache. I haven’t kept up the rest of the trimming, so I basically have a makeshift beard with an extra-long ‘stache area. It seemed to confuse people.

First, we drove to windsor. I tried on and picked up my suit, while Mike got fitted for his. Steve, Elyssa, Mike, and I made lunch at Steve’s new house, killing time before the haircut. I wish it had been in the opposite direction of events, as then I would have had a haircut while wearing the suit instead of disheveled mountain man.

...And the After
There was some confusion with paying for the haircut. Steve directed the barber how to cut my hair, and insisted we all go to this one particular guy in Chatham. It was a group event with Mike, Wyatt (Steve’s nephew), and I getting our hair cut. Because of this, neither Mike nor I paid, as we assumed it was some sort of wedding party gift. Whoops.

Steve left at this point, leaving Mike, Elyssa and I to get Chinese food and play games the rest of the evening.

Wednesday - Eastern Michigan Uni (EMU) Somerset Mall

Steve, for those who are unaware, is now a professor at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). Since Mike is in town and I had wanted to see him lecture, let's make a day trip of it, all four of us! Since this diet restricts a lot of what I can eat, I brought a tupperware container full of (mostly) kidney beans and some morsels of chicken. Not So Delicious!

The Doc
The border was no problem since we all had our passports. Yes, Canadians need their passports to enter the states. We stopped in downtown Detroit, which was surprisingly nice given it’s reputation. Steve pointed out that it's the outer areas that aren’t as nice, while the downtown was somewhat posh.

At the university, we saw Steve give two lectures: one third year course about research methods, and a 1st year lecture on Religion. Given that it was a first year course that I had taken before, I didn’t think I’d take too much away from it. I was mostly there to watch Steve. But, I did take one particular idea, The Caveman Effect, home. It's about how we assume mankind had a long history of living in caves. This is a sampling error. The drawings in a cave are preserved from nature, while any artifacts left behind by our non-cave dwellers would have long washed away. In other words, there could have only been 1% of people living in caves, but they're the ones we know most about.

After leaving campus and filling up the car’s leaking tires, we headed to Somerset Mall for some last-minute wedding party attire. Since I have no money and was fairly hungry*, Mike, Elyssa, and I traded the shopping center for the food court. $6 USD for a bowl of vegetable soup with chicken chunks. How… unsatisfying.

Molding Minds like a Master Sculptur
Back across the border, we scattered to our corners.

Thursday - Rehearsal Dinner, chilli in the car, chicken in the ‘rant

Today is the rehearsal dinner for the wedding. Most of the day was spent doing online work, and thinking about the speech. I’ve put it off a lot, though I have a few versions written out - long and short form. I have yet to practice once, however. As I’ve said, I’m more of a writer than a speaker. The writing will be easy. The performance, on the other hand…

For some reason, I didn't take pictures in the church...
So here's some of Somerset Mall
I wait around to borrow a car, which makes me very close to being late. Mike was supposed to catch a ride with me, but saw that he too would be late, driving himself instead. We both sped to the church, making it 5 minutes later for the 7:00 posted time on the event. We find two bridesmaids and one of their husbands. No one else.

Steve calls, seemingly surprised that we’re at the church, since he thought it was starting at 7:30. Oh well, might as well get to know the other members of the wedding party.

Me, Singing to One Child while seemingly Strangling the Other
The rehearsal finally begins around 8:05 due to the manicurist holding up the bride. Everything goes well, we learn our parts, then head on over to a restaurant down the street. I didn’t expect to be fed, so I had brought chilli to eat. Borrow a fork from the restaurant, I scarfed down the chilli in the car before finding out that they actually have options that I could eat, AND it was paid for. Remember: no income. This is not a fun way to live, but it makes it more interesting if you view these things as challenges. Let’s see how I can work around these limitations while still doing as I believe I should!

This... is both unethical and illegal. I'm in!
The dinner was good fun. Bonded with some of the wedding party more, and laughed a lot. Adeline’s family is very large, and has a number of entertaining characters.

On the drive home, I finished “The Paradox of Choice” and began the book “Trust me, I’m Lying.” Paradox was a very good book, covering the idea from many angles, but Trust me is fundamental for understanding the current state of news, social media, and the blogosphere. It’s absurd. Take home: Be very skeptical of everything you read.

Interesting Church Sign...
Friday - Speech honing, a little practicing, police check, Sushi hang out

This is the last day I’ll cover of this week, as the wedding is good enough as a standalone. Today was spent running through the speech two or three times, making sure the point-form notes I had scribbled were good enough signposts to follow through under pressure.

Some Phallic Michigan Building
Mike and Elyssa invited me to get sushi with them, generously covering it for me. I decided to eat normal that evening so that I could hold more water in preparation for drinking the next day, and because I wanted to be able to get sushi lunch with friends who I rarely see.

We also stopped at the police station, where I was fingerprinted. What a criminal. This background check had taken a month while I was in Australia, and cost $550. That’s not a typo, yes, over half a grand. Now? $65 bucks, walk-in off the street because I was lucky and friendly.

We played games/watched shows the rest of the night, turning in early in anticipation for the long day ahead of us.

Editing Music: Chains by Nick Jonas

*Recent Examples: "Every girl deserves to feel beautiful," and "No one deserves to die on the road." Conclusions: Everyone deserves to feel that they are valuable no matter how they look, but not necessarily above others (as beauty somewhat requires); Inconclusive - it depends how we define "deserves." If someone lives constantly recklessly, driving drunk, high, and speeding all the time... do they deserve to die from that? Reframing it, if someone smokes a pack a day, do they deserve to die from lung cancer? Arguably, the reframe deserves it less than the drive because they're (presumably) not addicted to reckless driving. 

*you can only eat so many beans before not wanting to eat anymore, despite the hunger.

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