Due to one’s busy lifestyle, it’s rare to take some time to look and reflect back on important milestones & moments that lead you to where you are at today. You always tell yourself “I’ll reflect on it tomorrow” but tomorrow leads to the next tomorrow, then the next week, next month…and next thing you know many months, maybe years pass by and you don’t have a moment to look back and appreciate all the big memories.
Although it’s great to always stay on your grind, not taking some personal time to look back not only isn’t good for yourself, but also gives off the impression to others, especially those close to you, that you simply don’t care or appreciate their role in your life, your upbringing, or where you are today.
Such a moment is why I’m finally looking back at the weekend I married my wife, Charity, more than 1 (one) month after I jumped the broom.
For many of you who participated, you are probably wondering if I was appreciative on everything that happened that weekend, since I didn’t post anything on social media since the wedding. The truth is that I’ve personally called most people close to me and appreciated them…but since I don’t have everyone’s contact number I never had the chance to thank everyone.
So why didn’t I just come online to thank everyone? Remember the “I’ll reflect on it tomorrow” scenario I gave on the first paragraph? Well that was me! Just been way too busy on each day, each new task, each new thing that comes up. (Honestly, it’s been the story of my life since my November 2014 move to NYC…everyday is a change and something “new” always comes up). I’m also on the brink on publicly releasing my online digital businesses that I’ve been developing for the past 1 1/2 years (can’t wait for you to see them!). QA Software Tester by the day, setting up my businesses at night.
BONUS: For those who saw that long video during our wedding reception (or didn’t have a change to see it), here it is below:
(continued from before video…) A friend once told me that “a simple life-changing moment takes at least 6 months in getting used to“. I believe this statement to be 100% true…as I’ve personally had exactly FOUR (4) life-changing moments within the past 2 years…which took me from a guy with just $50 living at my parents place, to now a married man doing pretty well for himself and his new family. These moments and getting used to them made me “that much more busy…so I could eventually be comfortable”.
Reflecting is something that’s not in my equation…but I had to take some time off my job to reflect on a great weekend that happened on April 15 & 16, 2016 in Houston…as well as the honeymoon in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and the unexpected night-stop in Miami, Florida.
So here we go…I won’t go way too much into specifics on everything (some moments gotta stay private), but I’ll keep it “as general as possible” for you to enjoy. This is my first-hand (the Groom’s) account of our wedding and beyond:
My fiance (at the time) and I came to Houston the weekend before the wedding (Sat. April 9th). I stayed at my friend Jude’s place…and prepared for the week ahead. A friend once told me to “prepare for the wedding as EARLY as possible, because the closer the wedding day, the QUICKER the days go by.” This is a very true statement, as that week went by in a flash!
By the time Friday, April 15th rolled around, my wife and I, and our families were ready. It was great seeing all my old childhood friends (some who were my groomsmen), and also my siblings, who all now live all over the country (that has been a big mental adjustment, but hey, that’s life). We had the Nigerian Traditional Wedding (also called the “Traditional Engagement”), which explains the Nigerian clothes and my pointed blue hat (which my wife hates) in the above first pic of this blog post.
It was pretty interesting going through that day…as I once told myself that I would never go through the “Traditional Wedding process” (parents overruled me on that one). Lots of things we had to do, but my family and friends and my wife’s family and friends all made it happen. In all, we ended the event at around 5:30 am…only to go to wedding rehearsal at the main venue just a few hours later at 8:30am (ish). 1 hour of sleep is always nice, haaa!
As for the wedding ceremony and reception, is was magical! Honestly, my wife and I only had 3 requests…a good (but not too fancy) venue, our family & close friends reuniting & that there was enough food there (the food part was very critical). We didn’t want the glamorous wedding that has been accustomed in Houston area, especially in the Nigerian community. We just wanted to see our old friends again and celebrate for a great time.
Unfortunately we couldn’t invite everyone we wanted to, since we had an “invite only” wedding (which, for the record, was my wife & my choice — the more people that came, the more the accommodation, the more the cost…and we had a very strict budget to follow). To those that we didn’t invite, or couldn’t get in…our apologies. Nothing personal at all and we still love you.
After seeing our old friends (and my parents old friends — meeting a lot of them for the first time), the wedding and reception closed at 4 am (followed by another after-party — so I heard haha).
We couldn’t believe it. We actually did the “dreaded” event of a wedding and got it done!
We detoxed and relaxed on the following day Sunday, April 17th.
The “Flood” right after the wedding…
The following day after that, Monday, April 18th, our plan was to catch the 8am flight to Punta Cana, located in the Dominican Republic. I’ve never left the country before, ever, so I was ready to see what another country would be like (now for those saying, “you never been to Nigeria before??“, let me respond by this: #FirstGenerationNigerianAmericanProblems #FlyingOverseasIsNotCheap).
Anyways, so we leave early from the hotel near I-1o and Beltway 8 in very heavy rain, and immediately we see a car submerged underwater and someone standing on top of it. The road ended up being blocked off, so i literally had to take the rental car, a luxury Volvo that we had and drive the wrong way on the road…just to get out the hotel and onto Beltway 8 North, heading towards Bush Airport. Memories of Tropical Storm Allison came back (for those that remember 2001 in Houston). However, we thought we well on our way to catch our morning flight.
As we pass I-45, and heading towards Hardy Toll road, the traffic on Beltway 8 suddenly stopped. To make a long story short, miles ahead the freeway completely flooded over. All the backroads were flooded. We were literally trapped!
Knowing that we more likely missed our 8 am flight to the D.R. (Dominican Republic), we somehow got off and saw a hotel on the side (feeder) road. The hotel was serving free breakfast to its guests. We just walked right in, sat and got food. Free food for us! (You can take a person out the hood, but — you know the saying).
To make another loonnnnngggg story short, we eventually escaped the floody waters by literally driving through several high water floods (shoutouts to the Volvo engine), made to the airport at around 4 in the afternoon, and luckily caught a standby flight to Miami, Florida for an overnight stay. We would make it into the Punta Cana the following afternoon.
So now we are in Miami, and I decide that I wanted to rent a car and drive though South Beach…even if it was a Monday night. Those building architect design in Miami, though…maybe we will get a vacation home there in the future or something.
After parading around town, even at one time going near 100 mph on the freeway (you only go to South Beach once haaa), we made our United Airlines flight to Punta Cana on the following day, Tuesday April 19th.
It’s Freakin’ Paradise Out Here…
Anytime either Charity or I have a bad moment, we mentally think about our time here in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. That’s how nice it was here (and how much we wanna come back, or at least to another vacation).
However, as soon as we landed on the sunnyside island, we go into the airport and immediately exchange part of our American dollars into the Dominican peso at the very first booth we see. We later find out that this was a huge mistake, as their “exchange rate” caused us to lose some $$$ in the process. (The exchange booth said it was 35 peso/dollar … we found out later on that it was actually 45 peso/dollar — I think we exchanged 150 dollars in cash initially at that first booth). To make matters worse, we also found out that the resort we were going to accepted American dollars. Welp, welcome to a new country.
After taking the taxi to the area (they at first took us to the wrong place), we finally arrived at our resort.
Arriving at the lobby of the resort, we had to do some negotiations. We booked 6 nights (Monday – Sunday) at the resort…but due to the flood in Houston there was no way we could’ve made it there on time. We arrived on Tuesday, so we lost a day. We tried to tell this to the people at the resort, but at first they didn’t care because in their words “what goes on in the United States is not our problem“.
I wasn’t buying it. To make matters worse, I couldn’t really communicate with the team there because, lo and behold, English is not their first language (those 6 years studying Spanish in High School and College could’ve reealllyy helped a brotha out at this moment). Luckily, my wife saved the day, as she was pretty fluent in Spanish (to my surprise, really).
Since they didn’t give us a refund for that missed day, we asked if they could upgrade our package. They eventually upgraded it to the best suite possible (how that process actually happened is hilarious…if you ever ask Charity or me how it happened we will gladly tell you).
We made it to the grand suite in the resort, and we were pleased with the results. Punta Cana…here we come!
Although the events during our honeymoon remain private (what happens at the honeymoon, stays at the honeymoon), one of our favorite outdoor events was us speedboating and snorkeling underwater to see the fishes. I initially didn’t want to do it due to the monetary cost…but my wife Charity eventually talked me into it.
AND I THANK HER FOR THAT!
We ended up going to a yacht party at the end of that ride…had drinks, etc. Wow…that whole experience was very fun. Everything in Punta Cana was great.
***For references, the resort we stayed at was a place called Melia Caribe Tropical. Also never forget: ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS IS THE WAY TO GO!
So now it’s Sunday, April 24, and it’s time to leave the D.R. Honey moon is sadly over. We fly to Houston to get the rest of our things. We stay overnight in Houston. We then leave the following afternoon and make it back to Rochester, NY at midnight.
We get out the plane, and find out that we are in the middle of a cold front.
It’s funny…while in Houston, it was 80 – 85 degrees, humid. Stayed there for a week…but felt good. We then stayed another week in Punta Cana, another great 75-80 degrees, perfect weather spot. Then come back to Rochester, the place where we, very reluctantly, have to go back to work. And it’s 35 degrees.
It then hit us….the Honeymoon is over. The entire wedding weekend was over. Just like that…all that time we saved up, all that planning…it’s over. Back to work the next day.
But the memories stay forever.
Special Thanks and Pics…
I have a rule, in that I never start naming names whenever many people, some whom I don’t know, are involved in an event while I’m giving thanks. It’s simply because someone will ALWAYS feel like they were left out, even if we didn’t mean to do it.
However in this case, I would love to give thanks to my parents and my wife’s parents (we are all one now!) for all they did to hold it down. I would also give thanks to our siblings for also holding it down. Then our cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents (some we haven’t seen in a while) for their support. Also to our wedding planner and coordinators (Aunty Layo, Aisha, Ennie, Bettina…) for holding it down. As well my wife and my parent’s friends and family who all contributed, some that we didn’t know contributed (and still to this day don’t know)…thanks for holding it down. To the venue coordinators, and vendors (DJ Tunes, Seyi Brown, Ehi Cakes, Muyiwa, Matt Gorgol, PC Dunamis, Mike for security, Chris Mitchell for giving me the sax at the altar, all the camera and video and fruit catering and suya people — don’t have everyone’s name on me)…thanks for holding it down. To all our friends who came from out of town…you came through. Even the ones in town who came through, and those who gave us our wedding gifts through the honey fund (I know that was a pain), RSVP’ing online (I know that was a bigger pain), thanks for holding it down! To our high school, college, childhood, medical, residency friends…thanks for coming! If there’s anyone else I forgot…please-o, don’t kill me…thanks for holding it down!!!!
Below are some of our pics. If you don’t see yourself below, no worries…you may be in here: Click Here (shoutouts to Muyiwa at Forever Day Photos for the link).
Much love to you all.