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On Friday, August 10, 2001, we flew out to Chicago to celebrate the wedding of Robert's sister Tia to her fellow medical student, Namath. Christine was a bridesmaid at our wedding three years ago, and we were both excited to be in Chicago to be with her and Namath on their special day.

We began the weekend festivities by meeting Tia and her seven-year-old daughter Aurora, along with Tia and Robert's father, Dick, at Kamahachi, a nice sushi restaurant in Old Town Chicago which resembles California Sushi Roll (an innovative Santa Monica maki joint) in its tasty and complicated rolls. The service was very attentive, the maki (especially the Green Turtle--with wasabi masago--the Sunset--with salmon, ikura, and a miso glaze--and the Summer rolls) superb, and as an added bonus, the strawberry, green tea, and mango ice cream mochi for dessert were perfectly chilled and springy.

After lunch, Dick retired to the apartment of Tia's friend Peter, where he was staying for the weekend, and Robert and I set about helping Tia prepare for her wedding that evening. Robert took Aurora off to parks and bookstores and fast food places (in that order) for several hours, both to get Aurora out of Tia's hair and to get the cat hair (Tia has several cats, which Robert is severely allergic to) out of Robert's way.



At left, Dick, Robert, Aurora, and Tia pose after lunch.

Meanwhile, I helped Tia give herself a facial, put the finishing touches on the 8-inch layer cake (white chocolate cake with white chocolate buttercream frosting and filling, with a dark chocolate sauce and a raspberry sauce on the side) she was making for dessert for the small wedding gathering that evening, and answer the two telephones, which were ringing off the hook all afternoon.


At right, you see the cake Tia made.



Tia's best friend Cris came over to help Tia dress and give further consulting advice on hairstyles, and soon Robert returned with Aurora and we all set out for the wedding, which was to be at 7pm at a mosque in Villa Park, outside of Chicago. With Robert balancing the cake platter on his lap and Cris running errands for her friend on the way, we arrived at the mosque just after 6:30--impressively early, considering just how much we'd done since lunch a few hours earlier. I have to say that being with Tia and Cris that afternoon, helping Tia get ready, and getting to be with Tia and Aurora just before the ceremony was a very special time.

When we arrived at the mosque, we met Dick and Namath's family, and Aurora got dressed in the Indian outfit brought by Namath's mother Iffath, and after taking some pictures in the parking lot, Cris, Tia, Jennifer, and I all covered our heads in anticipation of entering the mosque. Tia, of course, looked beautiful--her outfit suited her very well, both in coloring and in fit, and we all admired her appearance.


At left, Tia and I adjust scarves in the

mosque parking lot, on the beautiful sunny afternoon of her wedding day.

At right, the bride and her daughter pose, all smiles.


Top left, the bride's father, Dick, the groom's father, Hasan, and the bride's brother, Robert, pose in the parking lot. Dick is holding the marriage license.

Top right, Robert and I pose with funny looks on our faces.

Bottom left, the bride, her father, and her brother pose as well (in size order).

And finally, bottom right, Tia's family and friends who accompanied her to the nikkah pose together, after covering our heads, just before the ceremony. From left to right, we are Jennifer (bride's step-sister), Tia, Cris, Robert, Christina, and Dick.



The ceremony was small and informal, but very nice. Just about twenty of the close family members gathered in a conference room off the main lobby of the mosque, with the men on one side of the room and the women on the other. While a cousin of Namath's videotaped, the imam, a friend of Namath's from college, began talking, explaining what the ceremony was going to be like, and soon read from the Qu'ran in Arabic and in English. Tia and Namath were asked twice whether they each agreed to the marriage contract, and each, twice, replied that they did. The imam pronounced the marraige official, and everyone hugged and congratulated each other. Then, Dick presented Namath with his wedding ring and Tia with hers, and the papers were signed by Namath, Tia, and their official witnesses.



Top, Tia signs the contract, while the imam and Namath look on.

Then, bottom left, Farhat signs the papers as the witness for Namath's side.

Bottom right, Dick congratulates Namath after the marriage is official.

Right, the bride and groom's families pose for a group picture in the room in which the ceremony was just held.


When the ceremony or nikkah ended, it was just before the sundown prayer, and the mosque was becoming crowded with worshippers. The men in Namath's family stayed to pray, while Namath's sister-in-law Naazish showed Jennifer and me the women's portion of the mosque, an airy, beautiful upstairs balcony, and the female family members led a caravan of cars toward Namath's parents' house for a small reception.



Now married, Tia, veil still on her head, smiles happily.

Robert and I were somehow volunteered to drive both Aurora and Namath's car home for the newly married couple, so that he and Tia could drive back together for the first time in their married life in her car. The drive to Namath's parents' house was therefore eventful for us for several reasons--first of all, Aurora, in the backseat, insisted that Namath's Corolla was in fact her mother's car--and indeed, both their cars are remarkably similar--and a large debate ensued over whose care we actually were driving; secondly, we had no idea where we were going, and we spent this part of the weekend as we were to spend many more parts--following, with some friendly bumping involved, another car over the expressways of surburban Chicago--and thirdly, we suddenly found ourselves on a toll road, with our wallets forgetfully in the trunk of Tia's car, back at the mosque, two cars ahead of us speeding merrily along, and scrounging through Namath's car for $.35 change.

Finally arrived at Namath's family's house, we were treated wonderfully by his mother Iffath and sister-in-law Naazish while we waited for the the bride and groom and the men to arrive from prayers. We sipped Cokes, admired their lovely living room, and chatted, primarily, at first, about airlines and the perils of luggage--this topic was prompted in part by the fact that we checked three bags on our flight to Chicago from Boston, and the airline lost one of them--one that contained most of the presents we had brought to present to Namath's family as an unofficial mehndi. Supposedly, the airline was going to deliver the bag (which they eventually found) to Namath's family's house sometime between 7 and 11 pm--I wasn't holding my breath about it, though.

When everyone else arrived, dinner, catered by a close friend of the family, was served--the food was delicious, especially a spicy jalapeno pepper dish and a lovely rice pilaf. For dessert we had the cake Tia had made (which she and Namath playfully fed each other, as a nod to "American" wedding traditions) and a traditional Indian rice-based dessert. Everyone was very welcoming of us as Tia's relatives, and although Robert and I had only met Namath once before, very briefly, and none of our family had ever met any of his family, we felt very relaxed and happy together as we celebrated Tia and Namath's marriage.


At left, Tia holds Taskeen, her new niece, at left, and her daughter, at right, sitting on the couch in Namath's parents' house.

At right, Tia and Namath cut the cake together.


Just after we ate the cake, the doorbell rang and an airline delivery man actually arrived with my lost suitcase--Namath's brother Farhat appreciated and remarked upon the dramatic delivery of our presents, right to the door, and we all thought it was amusing. Namath was good enough to get his family's attention, and we presented him, his mother, father, brother, sister-in-law, and three-and-a-half-year-old niece, Taskeen, with the presents we had brought, as a way of thanking them for their many kindnesses to Tia and their hospitality to us this weekend. Tia and Namath also opened a few presents given to them jointly, and we admired the trays of gifts of clothing and jewelry that Namath's family and family friends had presented to Tia.



Surrounded by small girls, Tia and Namath open a few presents.

Then, Robert and I took charge of a reluctant-to-leave Aurora, whom we would care for until Sunday so that her mother and Namath could have a few days alone (even though their honeymoon officially won't be for six weeks, they were spending two days together in a hotel this weekend, and Aurora would be with Robert, me, and Jennifer and her husband Joe and baby John--getting spoiled by her aunts and uncles on her mother's wedding weekend).

Saturday morning we all woke up early at Jennifer's house in Plainfield, where we were staying, and after breakfast we went over to Robert and Tia's aunt and uncle's house--Loretta (Tia's mother's sister) and Don. There, we met up with Tia's cousin Candy, and Jennifer, baby John, Candy, Aurora, Robert, and I all went to the Brookfield Zoo for a couple hours in the afternoon. It was nice to get to visit with Jennifer and Candy, and to get to see baby John again--after all, spending time with family is a large part of what a wedding is about, and we were very glad that we could do so much of that this weekend.

After seeing bears, lions, and leopards at the zoo, eating cheese fries, hot dogs, slurpees, and visiting the gift shop, we went home so that Aurora could rest before the Saturday night celebrations and so that we all could get dressed.


At left, the group of us pose in the zoo, with Aurora on Robert's shoulders, then Candy, then Jennifer, then John in his rented stroller.

At right, Robert lifts Candy in the air and Aurora decides to clamber on as well.


Saturday night was the official reception and celebration planned by Namath's family, with about 150 people, nearly all of whom were Namath's family or family friends. Tia and Namath arrived around 8pm, with Tia once more looking spectacular, this time in a specially made wedding outfit. Of course, everyone wanted to greet the bride, and so for awhile she was nearly besieged with introductions and photographs. Once more, everyone was beautifully dressed and very outgoing and welcoming of our family. Aunt Loretta and Uncle Don sat at a table with Jennifer, Joe, John (sleeping under the table in his stroller most of the evening), and Nora--a friend of Aurora's--and her mother. Robert and I, Dick, Cris, Aurora, and another friend of hers sat with Tia, Namath, and Namath's immediate family at the head table.



At top left, a friend of Namath's family secures Tia's veil.

At top right, Tia the bride beams.

Center left and right are a few wedding guests from Namath's side.

At bottom, the father of the bride and the mother of the groom sit with the happy couple at the head table.


Dinner was again catered by the friend of Namath's family, and was again delicious, with an especially tasty ground meat dish and wonderful Indian sweets for dessert. During dessert, Namath's brother Farhat introduced a friend of Namath's from medical school, who read from the Qu'ran and spoke on the significance of marriage, both to a husband and wife and to the community as a whole. Jennifer and I especially liked the part of his message about a husband and a wife functioning as clothing for each other, in order to hide each other's faults, protect each other from the world, and show off each other's attributes. Then, Farhat said a few words about marriage and his younger brother, and Robert also spoke briefly about marriage and his younger sister. Finally, Aurora took the microphone, and, shyly from the floor behind the podium, wished her mother and Namath well.

From ten until after midnight, Tia and Namath were seated taking wedding pictures with the family and friends, but after just a few shots, we took Aurora home to Jennifer's house to go to bed.


At right are some of the posed pictures taken that night.

Top left: bride and groom with Robert and me.

Top right: with Dick, Aurora, Robert, and me.

Center left: with Dick and Aurora.

Center right: with Aurora, bride's brother Robert, bride's step-sister Jennifer, Joe, baby John, and me.

Bottom left: with Aurora.

Bottom middle: with Aurora, groom's brother Farhat, sister-in-law Naazish, and niece Taskeen.

Bottom right: with Hasan and Iffath, groom's parents.


We knew that Aurora was tired, and Tia specifically asked us to take her home, but we were sorry to go so soon--sorry to leave the beautifully decorated hall, at a country club, and sorry not to have more time to visit with Namath's family, who were so good to us all weekend, and we know will be good to Tia her whole life.



At left, Robert snaps one last picture of the evening, as Aurora and I pile into Joe's car to drive home.

Center, Robert and Aurora clowning for the camera just before saying goodnight for the evening.

At right, Jennifer takes a picture of Robert and me.

The next morning, Sunday, Jennifer, baby John, Robert, Aurora, and I met Uncle Don and Aunt Loretta and cousins Dave and Candy at the Oak Brook Marriot for a buffet brunch. Tia had asked if I could help organize a Sunday brunch, so that Namath could get to meet her relatives in a more relaxed atmosphere and we could all visit together one last time in the weekend. As I didn't know anything about brunches in the greater Chicago area, I turned to Jennifer and Candy for help. They suggested that Oak Brook or Lombard would be good centralized locations, easy to get to for everyone coming from different directions, and with nice hotels so that probably one of them would have a good brunch. On Saturday, Candy was nice enough to drive around and scout out places, and she hit on the Oak Brook Marriot. Saturday night at the reception, then, I told Tia that we were thinking of brunch at this place, but that it was up to her, because none of us knew where she and Namath had been staying that weekend, and if it was too inconvenient for them we would change it. Amusingly, she and Namath had had a suite at the Oak Brook Marriot since Friday night, so she said she thought they could make it downstairs for brunch by 10:30.

At top left, cousins Candy, Tia, and Aurora smile over brunch.

At top right, Namath chats with Tia's cousin Dave.

At bottom left, Aunt Loretta and Uncle Don (Dave's parents, and Candy's in-laws, and all four of them natives of the Chicago area), wish the newlyweds well.

At bottom right, all assembled for brunch pose for a group shot, courtesy of the watier (a former high school student of Uncle Don's).


After brunch and photographs, everyone except Robert and me, Tia and Namath, and Aurora and Dick (who had met us at the hotel just after brunch) went their separate ways. We sat and talked for a little while, admired the newlyweds' suite, and then headed back to Oak Park to eat ice cream and to say our goodbyes. The weekend had ended, and, hugging and expressing congratulations and good wishes again, we said goodbye to the bride and groom, now husband and wife, and made our way back to Boston.



At left, outside the ice cream place, Tia hugs her father goodbye until another trip brings him to Chicago.

At right, the bride and groom, now two days married, pose and smile with the authors of these pages (an old married couple of three years and two months).

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Created: 8/15/01. Last Modified: 8/15/01.