Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Woman, best friend of human

JenniferAs a little vacation, we attended the wedding of our Swiss friends G. and D. this last weekend. We stayed in the town of Neuchâtel, while the wedding itself was held in Coppet, with a reception in Crissier. Lots happened, so the report will be delivered in parts...

I'll start with the apéro and dinner at a 17th century mansion, now the Restaurant de Bois-Genoud, complete with a sculpture exhibit on the lawn. The weather was sunny and warm, and the wine at the apéro was cool, refreshing. The company was somewhat cosmopolitan, as G. and D. have friends from many places in the world— we spent time much of the time before dinner talking to a couple of Belorussian scientists living in Lausanne, a German enterpreneur living in Philadelphia, and G.'s sister's Belgian boyfriend, a photographer.

I don't know how traditionally Swiss this wedding party was, but the dinner-time entertainments consisted mostly of animations; that is, small skits or musical performances delivered by friends and family, some of them simple (for instance, G.'s aunt and uncle sang a comic tune), others elaborate (between dessert and coffee we were all herded outside to watch a small play). I delivered a 60-second skål to the happy couple early in the evening, and was the only one to do so, so I think that it may have been a little exotic.

Toasts at our table, on the other hand, were nearly non-stop. We had been seated with the Belorussians, Vladimir and Tatiana (if there is a Russian equivalent of Jennifer and Joe, perhaps that is it), and the topic of traditional toasts came up. Vladimir offered up a common Russian starter, "Peace between nations," and then we went around the table and everyone came up with several more. After a while of this, and after some wine had been imbibed, and after some humorous comment on someone's part that I laughed at but felt was slightly sexist, I proposed the next toast. "To women!", I said, and clinked glasses with Tatiana, who laughed and agreed. Not to be left out, Vladimir grabbed his glass, and offered up an elaboration: "To woman. Best friend of human!"

The evening ended with dancing, which G. and D. started off with "A Fifth of Beethoven," choreographed by G.'s sister, a professional dancer, and eventually including the entire 8-person wedding party. Free-form dancing after that, with my favorite new find being the techno-pop of Helmut Fritz). Joe and I took a walk out back to see the stars, where Joe got slightly waylaid by Vladimir ("Come, my American friend, I get you a beer!"), and I saw a meteorite flashing against the Milky Way. A little more dancing before we left for the 45 minute ride back to Neuchâtel, finally getting to bed at about 03h30m. A wonderful day, 7 août 2010...

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