Two crazy weeks…

I know you have been waiting for my update for ages…  I am sorry but the last two weeks have been sooo crazy. I really didn’t get to the computer at all.

Jon arrived on Tuesday, May 16th. I gave my friend Ira (who’s a flight attendant) a ride to the airport in the morning, because she had to get there right around the time when Jon arrived. Unfortunately there was a lot of traffic and Jon’s plane arrived early, so that he had to wait for me… I felt so sorry and he had been scared that I had forgotten to pick him up […never!] It was just wonderful to finally see and hug him again :)
We had a pretty relaxed day, drove around the city a little bit and then he took a nap in the afternoon.

Wednesday – we had an appointment with our local pastor at 10 a.m. for the Eheprotokoll, a document that you have to obtain if you want to have a church wedding. We spent about an hour with him and talked about the values of marriage and all that stuff. I don’t know if people in the protestant church have to do that but it’s mandatory if you want to get married in the catholic church. The pastor asked us to define the word “sacrament” and fortunately Jon (who went to a catholic private high school) was able to give a definition *lol*
After that we went to the Standesamt to get a German marriage certificate and start a Stammbuch [family register]. Unfortunately -as always – there is always something and so they were asking for a Ledigkeitsbescheinigung for Jon [which is a piece of paper stating that he hadn’t been married before]. We were told that we have to obtain that at the American embassy in Düsseldorf. It didn’t make sense at all, because how can you obtain a Ledigkeitsbescheinigung if you already got married and received a marriage certificate?!
We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant in town and then in the afternoon I went to the bridal store with my Mom for my dress fitting :) Unfortunately it didn’t fit at all – it was too wide around the cleavage – even though they had tailored it already. I was told that I had lost weight and that I had lost 2,5 cm around the chest since the week before [honestly, I don’t believe it].

Thursday – My cousin Nicki and her boyfriend Oliver picked us up at 8:30 a.m. to go to Düsseldorf. I had an appointment at her friend’s beauty salon to get my nails done. I never had that done before but I thought it would be a nice thing to do before the wedding ;)
Afterwards we walked to the Düsseldorf Altstadt [old town] and met up with Jon and Oliver who had had their first Alt beer already :) we went shopping for a little bit and then drove home at around 2:30 p.m.
I had two tutoring lessons from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and afterwards went over to my aunt’s, because we were going to try some make up for the wedding.

Friday – I had to make some phone calls in the morning, because there were still things I had to finalize with some people. In the afternoon, Nina and I went to the florist in Bedburg to order the bridal bouquet and the flowers for the table decoration. Later Nina dropped me off at my cosmetician’s, because I had a tutoring lesson with her son. In the evening we went out and had Italian food with my sister. Dirk wanted to come along, but since he had a soccer game the next day, he was staying at a hotel close to the stadium [that’s professional soccer for you].

Saturday – Jon and I got up early, because we had to drive to Belgium to meet with our catholic pastor, Harrie de Zwart, who was going to do the wedding ceremony. He used to be the pastor of a neighboring church in my town, but was moved to a monastery in Belgium two year ago.
We left at  10 a.m. and drove to Malmedy, a cute little town in the french speaking part of Belgium. We met our pastor at his apartment, had some coffee [and it was nice to see that he had so many memories from his church time in Grevenbroich on his walls :)] and talked about the ceremony. Since he’s an older man I didn’t know how conservative he would be about the catholic wedding ceremony, but he was actually really cool about everything… he said that Jon and I would enter the church as a couple [and not do the traditional way where the groom waits at the altar and the bride comeand he agreed on the gospel singers that I had booked. He was awesome!
Afterwards we went out for lunch at a really nice Belgian restaurant. We had a three course meal and we really didn’t expect it, but he invited us. He was so nice :) We spent about 4,5 hours with him [so he really invested some time in getting to know us :)] and then we drove back home.

Sunday - We went to a first communion in Kleve today. Jon’s Dad is the godfather of his friend Dirk’s son Philipp. We arrived at 11 a.m. at the church and it was a really nice service with lots of music and a ceremony really suitable for children :) After the service, we went to their house and had lunch. They had a very long table in the living room for all guests and it reminded me a lot of my own first communion – which was about 21 ago *lol* We had coffee and cake in the afternoon and Jon and I enjoyed talking to the other guests. We got home around 8 p.m.

Monday – I had an appointment with my cosmetician this morning. I really love to go there :) She started off with a really nice neck massage and then she did a skin treatment on my face and cleavage. It’s really relaxing to be there. When we were finished, she tried out a make up for my wedding. I liked it a lot :)

Tuesday – We left for Frankfurt early in the morning to meet with our protestant pastor, Keith Chamberlain, a friend of  the Bond family. He wanted to meet with us, because he wanted to get to know us a little more since he was going to write and present the meditation for our wedding ceremony. We had some tea and a really nice talk with him. We drove back at around 12 p.m. and had some lunch at an Imbiss place. Then we went to see my great-aunt for a little bit and later in the afternoon Jon and I went to the airport in Düsseldorf to pick up Jon’s Mom and his brother Chris and his girlfriend Jina. We only found Jon’s Mom Diana who didn’t know if Chris and Jina were going to meet her at the airport or not. Communication hadn’t been really clear between them I guess. We waited for about another hour, had Chris paged at the information desk, but he and Jina didn’t show up. So we went home and had dinner with my parents and afterwards we had another make up trial session with my aunt ;)

Wednesday – We drove to Düsseldorf in the morning and went to the embassy to obtain the Ledigkeitsbescheinigung for Jon. The consulate in Düsseldorf is like a small version of the huge consulate in Frankfurt. We had to leave my purse in a locker, we were checked from head to toe and the consulate even has its own elevator in this building. The officer at the entrance has to use a key to make the elevator go up to the third floor and when you step out you have to go through another metal detector.
When we finally talked to an officer about our request, he was laughing at us. He said that he had never heard before that someone who is already married needs a Ledigkeitsbescheinigung for the Standesamt. It’s indeed really absurd if you ask me – but who asks me? Nobody. We had to pay a 25 euro processing fee and then Jon had to make a sworn declaration that he had never been married before marrying me *lol*
After that we went to the jewelry store to pickup our wedding rings. They just looked beautiful. I am really glad I decided on two rings – the actual wedding ring and a second ring with a gem.
Unfortunately, something went wrong with the conversion of Jon’s ring size. It’s either that they didn’t measure the right ring size in the US or the conversion wasn’t right – Jon was about four sizes too big :( We were going to get it resized after the wedding. Oh, and before we left the guy at the jewelry store told us that we were lucky that we hadn’t come to pick up the rings the day before, because they had been robbed by three guys with ski masks and guns. OMG! How scary. I am so glad we didn’t go there on Tuesday!
We went back to Grevenbroich, I dropped Jon off at the hotel his Mom was staying at and went to the Standesamt to get taken care of our paperwork. We were finally able to get the family register and an international marriage certificate which we both needed to be married in church. Also, my name officially changed  to “Sandra Bond” today :)
I went back to the hotel, we had some coffee with Jon’s Mom and then we went over to my house where we received a phone call from Chris and Jina who were waiting to be picked up at the Nikolauskloster [the monastery we were going to get married at]. Don’t really ask me why they weren’t at the airport the day before and how they got to the Nikolauskloster – I have no clue whatsoever!
We dropped them all off at my house and then my Mom and I went to the bridal store again to pick up my dress. I had hoped that it would fit perfectly this time, but… it didn’t. It was too wide again. They changed it again while I was there and then finally I was able to take it home :) Ah, I couldn’t wait to wear it!!!
In the evening Jochen [one of my parents’ friends] and Jon picked up Dhevan and Chris Rigg at the airport and then we all had dinner together at our house :)

Thursday – Jon and my Dad went to the airport again that morning to pick up Aaron and Maria. I stayed at home to work on our church booklet, the little frames for our table decoration and the seating chart. Eric and Diana took everyone on a little trip to the city, so that my Mom and I would have time to work on some stuff at home. In the afternoon around 5 p.m. we all met at my parents’ house again and had dinner together. It was fun to have this multicultural get together :) There were my parents, Jon, Chris [Jon’s brother], Jina [his Korean girlfriend], Aaron [Jon’s best man], Maria [his girlfriend], Chris Rigg [Jon’s and Chris’ friend], Dhevan [our friend from Davis, now LA] and we really had a great time. Jina is such a sweet person. I am so glad she could come to Germany…

Friday – Friday morning my Dad and Jon wanted to go to Köln, because they both still needed ties for the wedding. Chris, Jina, Aaron, Maria, Dhevan Chris Rigg went along to walk around the city. I went the bank with Eric and Diana in the morning to cash some traveler cheques and then they dropped me off at home. I went to the copy shop with my Mom to finish the church booklets and then afterwards we went home and worked on the table decoration and the seating chart again. It pretty much took the whole day.
My Dad and the Americans went out for dinner that night and I went over to my sister’s at around 9:30 p.m. We had planned that I would stay over at her house that night :) She made me a nice bubble bath, we had some Chinese food together and then she helped me with some last minute preparations. We also talked a little bit and then finally realized it was 1:30 a.m. already – time to go to bed and get some beauty sleep for the BIG DAY!

I am going to end here for today… I know this entry is way too long already, so I don’t blame you if you don’t want to read all of it… my next entry will probably be more exciting for all of you, but I felt the need to let you now what was going on in the last two weeks ;)

… to be continued!