Sunday, February 25, 2007

A little more on time in Portland

Ryan & I flew out to Portland, Oregon last Thursday to "meet the fam"-- most notably his father, Robert & step-mother, Joanna. It was wonderful to see each other for 4 days straight after 7 weeks without, Oregon is beautiful (and somewhere I'd never been), and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Ryan's "other set" of parents.

The future Mr & Mrs Szrama, and the senior Mr & Mrs Szrama! (this was at a really pretty park in Portland, designed by the same guy who designed Central Park)

Now I know "where he gets" SOOOO much! Joanna and I exchanged many a look of "oh, he does that too?," and she teasingly asked if, after meeting Robert I wasn't afraid to say yes. Not at all! His parents were most welcoming, and it was wonderful to have them join in our joy! Right after The Event (which apparently everyone but me knew to expect. =D), they threw us a "Congratulations!" dinner in celebration, at a Lebanese restaurant called 'Ya Hala.' There I got to meet Ryan's step-brother Willie & his wife Iala (from Cuba!), his step-sister Jenny & her husband and their adorable bundle-of- energy daughter, Shyanna . We had a literal feast a la Lebanon, complete with skewers of lamb, beef, chicken and tuna, gluten-free falafel and a chocolate mousse on the house "for the happy couple."

All throughout our trip, Ryan & I were both rather amazed at (and thankful for!) all the people who shared our joy without even really knowing us. Like the owners of Ya Hala who made the falafel without wheat just to make sure I could eat some, or Rabbi Warren who had us stand and be congratulated by the congregation and addressed us directly, or even Ryan's parents were so kind ...I mean I guess they had to be nice for Ryan, but I felt absolutely embraced, and they'd never met me before! One really special moment was when Robert & Joanna's congregation sang a traditional Jewish prayer, the Shehecheyanu, for us-- they are Messianic Jews, and we were able to go worship with them on Saturday morning. The Shehecheyanu goes like this: Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh. Amein. In English: "Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign king of the universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season. Amen." Apparantly it is sung at the start of something new-- like the first day of a feast, or... an engagement. =D

We celebrated the close of Shabbat (Havdalah) with Ryan's can read about it to sort of understand the context you want, but at one point you pass a lit Havdalah candle around the table, and you look at the contrast of light and shadow the flame makes against your hand. It represents the contrasts, between Shabbat and workdays, between holy and profane, (light-dark) and Ryan's father told us to think about things God had taught us (changed in us) or places He'd brought about change in our lives during the past week. It was a good call to stop and think. My favorite part was Ryan's grabbing of my left hand as I passed him the candle and his holding my ringed finger up to the light so that the stones sparkled. That certainly was a change-- it wasn't there before!! =D We closed Shabbat with Vin Santo, a very sweet dessert wine which I brought from Florence, and that was quite enjoyable, too.

Ok, I'll put up a post with the proposal story later...I'm needin' to get on a beauty-sleep schedule! I also haven't been able to take a really good picture of the ring yet, but it's absolutely perfect for was the proposal. My fiance (heheh I love saying that) did good!! I'll keep trying and will post more words and pictures later!

Oh, and no date set for wedding yet...thinking end of this summer...will let y'all know!

--the very happy future Christina Maria Ruiz Szrama (how's that for an ethnically confused name?)

In Pictures (for more, click here):

The feast table-- that's Robert, Joanna, Shyanna & Jenny. hehehe, wow-- these are my future in-laws!! Yay!

From other side of table: back of Aaron's head, Willy (in the red), Iala, Me, Ryan

Joanna & Shyanna-- It was under her instructions that I took this shot. =D

Ryan, me, Shyanaa & Iala after dinner.

We thought we may as well get a plane pic, since we spent a good deal of time together on them these past couple days. I was very sad to have to leave him, right after this picture was taken. :( [hey can you see the ring?]=D

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