#28 – A week in the States with family, friends, and two more weddings!

Written on December 5th, 2018
Published on December 5th, 2018

On Friday, September 14th, Kelly and I left work a little early to head to the airport. We met each other at one of the train stations and headed to Charles de Gaulle. For this trip, our travel plans were a little more complicated than normal – we were going to Selena and Eric’s wedding on Saturday, but their wedding was in St. Louis (so yeah, no direct flight). Because of the timing though, the only way we could make it work and not pay an arm and a leg was to fly to Chicago.

We flew WOW airlines, which is based in Iceland. They have a lot of flights that fly through Iceland, and the price was pretty good. So our plan was to fly to Reykjavik, Iceland, then to Chicago, and from Chicago, we’d rent a car and drive to St. Louis (about a 4-5 hour drive).

The flight to Iceland wasn’t bad, a little over 3 hours from Paris. We were only in the airport, and only for about an hour, but it’s definitely a place I’d like to visit sometime (maybe over a weekend…). I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights, and that’s one of the places you can see it regularly.

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Our flight to Chicago was uneventful, and after a night in a hotel near the airport, we got up early (late in the day for us) and picked up the car to drive down to St. Louis. It wasn’t cold in Chicago, but it wasn’t warm either – we only really stopped once, and just for a few minutes, before we got to St. Louis. As we drove in, since we were coming form Illinois, we could see the Arch really well. It’s much bigger than I had imagined it being. As we crossed the bridge to the Missouri side (St. Louis is literally on the border of the two states, the river is the dividing line between the states), Kelly opened the window to get a picture, and the heat hit us for the first time.


It was September, but it was still hot out. We quickly rolled the window back up, and after a few more minutes, we were at the Missouri Botanical Garden, where the wedding was being held. It was an amazing location, the gardens were very beautiful. We also started to see some familiar faces – Selena is a friend from college, we both were in the same undergraduate (and masters) nuclear engineering class, and some of the other people from our class and other friends made it to the wedding as well. It was great to get to catch up with everyone!

The wedding was amazing, everyone was seated under these large trees and just behind Selena and Eric was a large pond and Japanese trees with a string quartet playing next to us. The ceremony was also very nice, Eric’s uncle gave a really touching speech/sermon (he was also the priest!).

After the wedding, we checked into the hotel, and got some frozen custard with Dillon, Lara, and a few other friends. The reception was a bit later, at a venue on a golf course. Everything was great, and Kelly and I really appreciate that we got to go and participate in the wedding. And I loved seeing all of our friends (who are now scattered throughout the country/world).

The next day (Sunday), Kelly and I got up pretty early again, said some goodbyes, and drove to the airport (thankfully this time, we were just driving to the St. Louis airport) for our flight to New Jersey to see Kelly’s family (and Kelly’s cat Kami)! It was really nice to spend a few days relaxing and visiting with family. We also got to see one of Kelly’s friends, Brittany!

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There was also a rainbow outside when we were at dinner that night, so I had to get a picture.

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On Wednesday, we all went into the city with Kelly’s Nana and Grandpa to the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. When we got there, there was a little farmers market set up near the entrance, so of course I got a pan au chocolat (my favourite).

We walked around the gardens for a bit, which was amazing. I had not idea it was such a large garden, and all the different plants they had there from around the world.

But I soon had to go, because I also had a second reason to go to the city – I had to pick up my suit for the next wedding! I left Kelly’s family for a bit, took the train down to Manhattan, and went to the tailor and met up with the other groomsman. We made sure everything fit just right and didn’t need to be altered, and after some catching up, I headed back up to the Bronx again, this time with a tuxedo in hand. I was able to meet back up with Kelly and her family just as they were starting lunch, which worked out great.

After our meal, Kelly and I said goodbye to her family and we headed to Long Island – and after a long drive, we made it home in time for dinner with my family. On Thursday, Kelly and I did some shopping and then I headed to the wedding rehearsal at night. And on Friday, it was time for Joe’s wedding.

I’ve known Joe since middle school, possibly earlier. He’s one of my best friends, and one of my oldest friends. I couldn’t be more happy for him when Christina and Joe started dating – she’s incredibly bright, a ton of fun, and really good at keeping Joe in line 🙂 I’ve also known most of the rest of the other groomsman for basically my whole life, so it was great to talk to everyone and just hang out. We did all the wedding pictures (which of course, we brought a cooler of beer to).

After pictures, we went to the ceremony at St. Killians, one of the big churches in Farmingdale, our hometown. The wedding was very nice, but the reception was amazing. Knowing Joe and Christina, I might have guessed their reception wouldn’t be the “average” reception, but they really changed things up. There were no assigned seats, and tons of waiters coming around taking drink orders and serving appetizers (and a huge sushi tower) – so it was basically a four hour cocktail hour/dance party – with a DJ and a violin player (who played over the songs the DJ was playing). It was a ton of fun.

The next day, we said our goodbyes to my family, and drove back to New Jersey, but just for a few hours – we had our flight to Paris out of Newark on Primera Airlines. Primera Airlines is another budget airline – or I should say was – two weeks after our flight, the company went bankrupt! I was originally going to bring my skis on the flight, but I had forgotten them on Long Island – I had asked about getting a refund for the extra bag I didn’t use, but I don’t think I’m getting one anytime soon. When we got to the airport, our flight was actually delayed three hours, so Primera gave us $10 food vouchers – we later joked that the $10 vouchers must have bankrupt the company. Even though our flight was delayed, we still got to Paris on Sunday, with just a little time to recover before work on Monday.

What a great trip!

One thought on “#28 – A week in the States with family, friends, and two more weddings!

  1. Sounded great, another world wind tour. Great pictures and great experiences, so glad you’re writing about and documenting your time abroad.


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