Thursday – Travel Day! We have to pack our bags and head north to get in place for the wedding.
We have a fair number of suitcases but lots of able-bodied young men to help transport the luggage from our hotel at St. Pancras across the street to Kings Cross Station. Despite the fact that we are leaving from Platform 1 rather than Platform 9 ¾, our journey feels magical.
After all, we are headed to Yorkshire, where Pierce and Ghazal’s wedding is scheduled for Sunday afternoon. The two-hour journey goes quickly as we look through digital copies of old family pictures that I recently had scanned.
Ghazal relishes seeing Pierce’s baby pictures. “You were the cutest baby,” she exclaims over and over.
Before you know it, we’re in Leeds ready to pick up the rental car. And that’s where I discover my mistake. I made my reservation at the Enterprise location at the airport, not at the train station. Luckily, our friend Sarah (who is smarter than me) arranged to rent a car from Hertz at the train station. And our friends from Somerset, England – David and Gail – were there to meet us in their car.
Garrett and I Uber out to the airport to get my rental. The others head over to the Airbnb property that will serve as our base until the wedding. Before long, we’re all reunited at the house.
Our only activity for the day is to go over to Ghazal’s family for dinner. Ghazal’s family moved to England about a decade ago to escape the brutal regime governing Iran. Her mother, Suni, smiles broadly and often, her personality bubbling over. Daryoush, the father, is more reserved, perhaps less sure about his command of English (which is perfect, by the way). There’s no better description for him than to say he is a gentleman.
If you’ve been lucky enough in this life to have Persian friends, then you understand the importance of hospitality in their culture.
You’ll never go home hungry if you’re invited to eat at a Persian’s home.Chicken kababs, lamb koobideh, and barberry rice (my favorite) with its sour cherry-like fruit on top. There’s tahdig, the crispy golden layer of rice from the bottom of the rice pot. It’s not unusual for a friendly competition to break out to see who gets the last piece of the crispy rice. Tzatziki sauce, yogurts, lemons, olives, cucumbers, cheeses. A homemade cake for dessert.
And it’s rude if you only eat one serving. Let’s face it, a grateful guest goes back for thirds (at least this one did).
We raise our glasses to the couple, only a few days from taking their vows. Their eyes out-sparkle the champagne in our glasses as they prepare for a lifetime together.