This was the eighth leg of my travels. Ohio. I'm going to be honest I never thought I would visit Ohio. However one of my Japan girls was getting married and I knew I had to make it there. She asked me very early on if I would do the flowers for her, and of course I said yes!!
Now, a little prelude to this story is that I grew up in London except for the two years I lived in Tokyo, Japan during the ages of 13-15. My dad had to move for work, so along with my mom we all moved out there. At the time I was so angry with my parents for moving me. How dare they move me from my friends especially at an age that everyone was solidifying their friendships. I mean it wasn't like they were moving me somewhere unfamiliar. I have been going to Japan almost every year since I was a baby. It was totally familiar. I was just thinking like a teenager. Naturally.
Little did I know this would be one of the best things that ever happened to me. During those two years I made friends who to this day I call my nearest and dearest. A group of girls who are from all corners of the world, with an amazing mix of travel, culture, heritage, humility, independence, intelligence, confidence, kindness and honesty. We are each others' rocks. Since most of us were used to moving around the world from place to place through our childhood and young adult years, some more than once to different countries, we understood that our bond was stronger than any other group I knew. We probably didn't all appreciate it at the time, I certainly didn't. Sometimes in recent years I was so saddened that my closest friends were scattered all over the world. I have come to realise that we are the luckiest girls in the world. One thing we all have in common, other than Japan is we are all ambitious, honest and we know how to live to the fullest. We're supportive of each other with no judgment, no envy. Every moment counts. This is one of the reasons I travel a lot. To see them.
Ever heard of TCK? It stands for Third Culture Kid, and is based on the concept that people who have a similar background as me and my friends in a sense don't know where home is because it's technically everywhere. Our identity is all over the place. I often cannot be bothered to answer fully when someone asks where are you from... "I'm half Japanese, half American, but born and raised in London, except for a few months I lived in Hong Kong and 2 years in Japan." It's long winded (and mine is nowhere near as interesting as some of my other friends! I wish it was haha), but it doesn't mean I don't think I am a total badass. :p I'm so proud of that sentence, some people just don't get it.
So let's get back to the wedding. I had planned to work with another florist in Middletown that my friend had sourced, as she had been adamant that I was still able to be a guest without having to worry too much about the flowers. It was a great compromise as sourcing flowers in place you have never been to before can be so daunting and stressful! This meant, however that I could leave the ordering of the flowers to the florist (Tracy Armbruster), which was a a huge life saver! I let her know what flowers and foliage I preferred and she did her best to get them for me. I had two of my girls fly in early before the wedding and they were so sweet and helped me arrange the flowers in Tracy's studio. Tracy was kind enough to let me have complete control, she carried on with her own work. It was such an amazing thing for her to have done for me and the bride to be.
My friends are so so easy going and down to earth. This was a prime example of how awesome my friends are: the future bride and groom at the time casually helped dress the wedding venue on the day of their wedding and help me with the flowers along with the other girls. To make sure I wasn't completely stressed out we had agreed that Tracy make the garland for the table and for the gazebo and that I do the table flowers, bouquet and button hole. It was so fun being silly with the girls and seeing how calm the bride and groom were just hours before they were to be married.
One of the only downsides of having friends everywhere is that now we are all starting to settle down we all realise that we won't be able to make it to every single wedding. But the amazing thing is that no matter what there is always enough of us that are able to go to represent everyone. I started a tradition of making a booklet so that whenever one of us reaches a significant milestone in our lives I would get everyone to send a message of love and pictures. I had somehow managed to do this all while travelling for months. I was determined to get it done so I had friends in New York and Japan helping me put it all together. It was so worth it as we all stood up and presented this to the bride who had no idea that we had done this for her and we each read out a short sentence from some of the other girls who could not be there. We all started crying!
This was really a special wedding and I am so grateful to have been a part of it and provide her with the flowers. I also did some photography for her as a gift from me to her. I hope you enjoy the images - she has kindly let me share them with you. :) P.s. I LOVE that she had a donut stack as her cake. Genius.
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