Red Right Ankle.

The week following the birthday bus extravaganza was pretty busy. Donnie’s parents arrived, and I was helping at our school’s awesome MUN conference. But it culminated in an event that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, Donnie and I’s ten year anniversary.

I have very few memories from the actual day we got married. I remember it was unusually hot for a March day, and we were all suffering a little bit from the heat. I remember going with my friends to get our hair and make-up done at my favorite salon in Chandler while Donnie and his family and friends set up our wedding in the backyard. We had done everything ourselves, from renting the tables and dishes and linens, to making homemade Limoncello as our gift to our guests (it was a drink we shared on our first date). I remember peaking out the window and watching friends and family arrive, also taking turns in front of the fan to keep cool. I remember walking to the front door with my dad and walking around the house on the way to the back gate where the aisle started, and feeling like those moments right before should be cherished. And they were. I remember very little from the actual ceremony, just that I was so happy and nervous and I don’t think I could get Donnie’s ring on his finger, but he helped. I remember as the sun set, it became cooler and the beer and wine eased everyone into a lovely relaxed picnic feel. The band we had to play during the ceremony (a local jazz band) was fantastic, but the DJ we hired was TERRIBLE. I remember not having time to eat because I was walking around talking to people, but that Donnie was really stressed out about the fact that our food wasn’t coming out fast enough or maybe we didn’t have enough plates? It didn’t bother me or many of the guests I don’t think. We danced to two songs in a row as our first dance ‘Lucky’ by Ben Folds, and Waltz Across Texas (I think). And that my dad chose ‘You are so beautiful.’ as our father-daughter dance. I remember the lights went out twice (Donnie and his pals had rigged them up), and that my friends were stealing bottles of wine at the end of the night. 🙂 I remember that the cake was sooooo delicious and that we went home and ate most of the leftovers that night (it was almond flavor with almond frosting). My last memory from the day is sitting in bed with Donnie, eating cake and opening presents.

People tell us they had fun at our wedding, which makes me happy. Our wedding wasn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t change anything about it. I loved every minute and every person who was a part of it. It was a prediction of our lives together: Donnie taking care of me in every he can, trying to fix the broken parts. And me who was enjoying every minute, even the bad songs that the DJ played that were definitely on our DO NOT playlist. Things didn’t go smoothly, but at the end we were together, and that’s all that matters.

A lot has happened in 10 years: a move to Texas, a move to China new jobs, new friends, a baby, and not to mention all the traveling we’ve done together. It’s so comforting to know that where ever we travel to, no matter how far we go, as long as I’m with Donnie and Paul, I feel at home. And for the last 10 (plus 2!) years we’ve been partners, I feel like I’m the luckiest lady to have such a supportive and loving partner.

Since spring break is so close, and my birthday was just the preceding weekend, we decided on a low key celebration. Instead of buying gifts for each other, we decided to write each other a love letter, and exchange them during a staycation at our local Hilton. Our actual anniversary is St. Patrick’s day, March 17, which fell on a Friday this year. It would’ve been fun to go out that evening, but we both had to work late, so when we got home, we opted for some yummy take out and hanging out with the family.

On the following Saturday, we booked into the Shekou Hilton, which we’ve stayed at many times. Donnie had told them it was our anniversary, so they upgraded our room and left us some special treats and flowers. I was super impressed with how nice they were the whole time.

We had some coffees in the lounge, exchanged letters and had sips of limoncello, then took our time getting ready before heading to the happy hour in the lounge. After lots of treats and yummy wine, we opted to see the view from the rooftop bar. It was a great view, but unfortunately a cold and blustery night, so we opted to jump into a cab and go to Taps in Coco Park to continue our celebration. We had a blast, just like the previous week. Sylvan chatted with us for a while and we tasted a few new brews, and then headed home around midnight.

Getting to sleep in and wake up in our big comfy Hilton bed was another anniversary treat, and after another delicious breakfast at the lounge, we got back to reality and headed down the street back home.

It wasn’t a big party or renewal of vows, like I anticipated a 10 year anniversary to bring, but it was perfect.  It was a celebration of Donnie and I, so it felt appropriate to have it be just us. Our letters were heartfelt and will be treasured forever, they turned out to be the best gift we could have given each other.

So cheers to ten wonderful, fun-filled years! And cheers to the future, because it’s only getting better!

From our wedding program from the song Red Right Ankle by the Decemberists:

This is the story of your red right ankle
And how it came to meet your leg
And how the muscle bone and sinews tangled
And how the skin was softly shed
And how it whispered,
“Oh, adhere to me for we are bound by symmetry
And whatever differences our lives have been
We together make a limb”
This is the story of your red right ankle.

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