One of the main reasons we wanted to go to Kosovo this summer was that Lumi´s sister Sqhipe was getting married. I have been to two weddings in my life, one traditional Icelandic church wedding (pretty much like the American), a lesbian buddhist 30´s theme wedding and now I was about to experience a Kosovo-Albanian one. I couldn´t wait.
Before the wedding, there is the preparation. Me, Sqhipe and the women of the family went to the hair/makeup session for several hours. Then came the dresses. Sqhipe wore at least 5 dresses on Sat and then one on Sunday (typical white wedding dress). I, however, did not have the proper wardrobe so a woman in the family borrowed me a couple. The first one, the one they wanted me to be in was red, with a corset and very tight skirt, how tight...well I moved like a penguin. That was my limit. I was about to explode of anger, no way in hell I would wear that. I have my limits. Thankfully i got a hold of Lumi who could translate and tell them to find another dress for me. I got a blue one and then a green one which I loved.
The next thing i did was to greet everyone, not with a handshake but with respect, so i had to take their hands, my arms in the height of a praying position, bend down and put their hands from my chin to my forehead. Below is Sqhipe, the bride, showing respect.
Sqhipe looked absolutely beautiful but as you can see in the photos she is not smiling. On Saturday she had the stomach ache I had, so i felt bad for her, having to be in such pain on her wedding day.
So the women in Lumi´s family came, all dressed up, some in traditional clothes, others normal. They sat, talked and in the end of the night we ate some gulash, meat, bread and salat. Normally they also dance, but since Lumi´s grandma passed away recently they didn´t feel like dancing.
I was the only one there that didn´t know Albanian and a total foreigner, although everyone was so nice, took the time to come and tell me how great i looked and take a picture with me. Which was nice until I was doing nothing but taking photos with people. I felt like a celebrity. It´s fun at first but then it gets really tiring.
At that point an Albanian girl, Egzona, who lives in Sweden came and not only could she talk English but could also explain the albanian traditions and things that I´ve been seeing but never understood (from a Scandinavian point of view). She saved my night and for that I will be forever thankful to her.
I don´t know what the men did but when i asked lumi´s teenage uncle, he said with a smirk "We drank beer".....sound good.
That was the end of the first day of the wedding. I was so happy to get off my high heels, take off my makeup and hairdo (reminded me of old days of ballroom/latin competition) and get into normal clothes and fall asleep. It´s exhausted not understanding and just smiling. I dare you to try it.