Well. It’s been a long time coming. Me and this writing… thing. It’s hard to imagine that I haven’t blogged anything in about a year, perhaps over a year. That’s just crazy. I’ve certainly still been writing in the various journals that I keep, even typing up random notes when I occasionally “spiral” at three in the morning. So I guess it’s not me and “the writing thing”, it’s me and “the writing-and-sharing-it thing.”
It has definitely been a while but I’m finally back on the wagon. With one of the craziest and busiest summers to date all finished up, it’s time to fully embrace that overseas life. I’ll be posting about the summer in the next few weeks but it's a busy time, as my month in Innsbruck, Austria with Rudy is coming to an end (sad face!!!). In a couple of days I will be (re-)packing my bags and heading out for my own adventure in Indonesia for 5 months. I don’t know a whole lot about the situation and league there, so it will most definitely be an adventure with many tales to tell along the way.
But back to writing. I can’t tell you how many people I had come up to me this summer and ask why I hadn’t posted anything on the blog. Instagram had been my writing-release where I was able to share a little bit more of what has been going on in my head and going on in life, especially in terms of missing my brother Connor. But to be honest, I didn’t know people were reading the blog posts THAT much so it kind of just graduly faded out. It was really encouraging to get some feedback this past summer, however. The week leading up to the wedding I was in a kitchen store with my mom and the owner came running up to us saying “Oh I can’t believe you’re here in front of me right now! I just have my computer open behind my desk and I am currently reading all of your blog posts. Crying. They always talk about you as a person and athlete – but your writing!” That was really reeeally lovely. Sometimes you just need that swift kick of encouragement. I promised her I would post something soon just to get things going again (okay, just a few months later...). But as I said, it’s been encouraging hearing from friends and family about my writing. There are just so many blogs out there, and athlete’s blogs at that, that I kind of figured it was all getting irritating and redundant. But screw it – I love to write so let’s do this.
Volleyball and other life things will have to be blogged about at a later date because I currently NEED need need to write about my wedding for a quick minute.
First of all: Wow. What. A. Day. Leading up to our date everyone was continually telling us that it FLYS by. Rudy and I were really intentional about setting aside some time for ourselves as well, in and amongst the wedding hustle leading up to the day, as well as on the actually wedding day. We are a pair of people pleasers (tongue twister?!) so we wanted to make sure we weren’t just running around like crazy people all day long. It was also an interesting time to manage as I had only a few weeks off at the beginning of August with National Team, but the week of our wedding I had to be back at practice until Thursday morning. Later that afternoon we took the ferry over to the Coast, had a small family dinner, Friday was rehearsal day, and Saturday was the wedding. Talk about frantic. Regardless of our intentional time, we blinked and it was over just like that. Turned out that I had (still have) post-wedding blues which I’ve decided should be a real thing and we both want nothing more than to relive the entire day and take five or six hours to hang out with our guests again. Why is pausing time not a thing?
The day before the wedding, we popped over to the Botanical Gardens and did a run around with our wedding planner, Kori. On route, however, Rudy got a call from the Liquor Store that our entire order was out of whack. NONE of our wine came in. Oh the horror (literally my worst nightmare)!!! Our order of well over one hundred bottles of wine had not been shipped to the liquor store for whatever reason. Weeeowwwww that was not something I had planned for to go wrong. Paul and Lance Verhoeff to the rescue: they ended up going in and getting many handfuls of different bottles from various stores. Wine is wine though, ammiright?! We then eventually got to the gardens to walk around, refining the vision and seeing where everything would be set up. A few tweaks here and there, settling on décor and other things, bringing in the five kegs (unheard of?!) of Trading Post beer into the pavilion, and before I knew it, it was rehearsal time. I laughed and joked my way down and up at the aisle until at one point it hit me that I really needed to be paying attention. Hm.
I don’t really know even where to begin but I will first start by thanking my mother. As pops said in his father-of-the-bride speech, Rudy and I ‘planned’ this wedding overseas and somehow got mom to execute the majority of the things, “…neat trick if you can pull that off.” Neat-o indeed. So many trips to the Athens café’s for better wifi to skype mom this past season for an hour or two, wrestling with all the big and small details, trying to share my vision with her as well as my wedding planner and vendors. Then having to call Rudy to let him in on what the heck was going on; ask him for his advice on what glasses to choose, the plates and table runners, centerpieces, flowers, and all that fun stuff a groom dreams of making decisions on. I also had to find a dress in Athens which was almost a disaster as the designer made the dress twice… incorrectly. Ha. It’s still a bit too soon for me to laugh at that one… and alas, the whole “plan-a-wedding-overseas” was not the easiest task and at times, if I'm honest, was very frustrating. Mom kept me grounded and forced me to make decisions I didn't care to make. Thank goodness for her or else there would have been no wedding. Or a very different one at that. And Rudy kept me focused on what was important. It would definitely be easier planning a wedding in the actual country you plan to have the celebration in. However, it all came together. And if anyone out there is looking for a wedding planner, legitimately call Jan. She’s the best event planner I know.
The real thank you speech.
I spiraled in the morning of our wedding and wrote a few sentences which, of course, I didn’t read at all once I got up there (...and so ended up going off the cuff). I’m pretty sure I accidentally said that I was always hung-over at my maid of honour’s family’s house. I don’t think that’s something the bride normally says in her thank-you speech but oh well. I did a handful of “brides-don’t-normally-do-this” type-things that day. Sigh. But I guess you’re technically allowed to do whatever you want on that day. So cheers.
The main point that I wanted to get across from this little write-up-post is how unbelievably amazing it was to have all of our people celebrating under one tent. Every person there was so important and made it the extremely special day that it was. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Wanting to originally elope, we would never have had this experience that I guess would only happen by celebrating your marriage. Thanks for being scared of how our parents would react Rudy, I suppose that it all turned out pretty okay.
We had friends and family fly in from all over the world, which was so special and meant so much to the both of us. There is such an array of different feelings you experience when it’s your own wedding. I had to continually pinch myself and ask “wait, are they really doing all of this for us?” The entire experience was so humbling because for a couple of days, everyone was there wholeheartedly celebrating and supporting us: Rudy and I, and our entire families. People took a moment to pause the hustle and bustle of their own lives to come and share a pivotal moment in ours. It’s more than just attending a party. More than just attending a wedding. The people you choose to invite and that make their way there, that’s your community. The people you are choosing to surround yourself with that day and into the future. These are the people that you can turn towards in your darkest hour. They will be the people that will come running in an emergency. You’ve invited these people into your most intimate, closest circle and the act of them showing up is the start of a lifelong friendship. Manifesting community. And it gets to commence with an epic celebration.
However for some, especially my small Sunshine Coast community, our journey didn’t start here, and I know it will be the same for many in Rudy’s corner. This special group of individuals watched my brothers and I grow up in Roberts Creek, the same house born and raised. They’ve been there since day one – a handful since all three of us were born. I’ve been over at their homes for meals, for holiday celebrations, cheered for by them in elementary school, high school, university, and international competitions, I’ve been coached by them, mentored by many, inspired by all. Every single one of them has played a pivotal role in my upbringing, which goes to say, it truly does take an entire village to raise a child (and as I said in my Thank-You Speech: a very ambitious, patient, strong-willed community to raise up three Richey children). I have them to thank for the beginning and the middle – when our family’s life got flipped upside down. These were the people that showed up. And still choose to show up for myself, Stuart, and my mom and dad. They came into our house, got things done, and supported us in ways that only they knew how to do. For that I am truly grateful. And your strength continues to guide my family and I through this life; we couldn’t be doing it alone. I am eternally indebted to my Creeker Fam.
Life’s journey will always be messy, complicated, and sometimes uncomfortable. These humans grab our hand, sprint into the rain, and jump straight in to the puddles with us. The messy, the beautiful, the complicated. Rising up and overcoming any obstacle or challenge that blocks our path can be so hard alone, but with a community backing us, it is all possible. I am living proof of that.
When Rudy was on the coast at any point this past summer, he was always approached and asked about our wedding regardless of if he knew that person or not (or if they knew him. Ahh – the beauty of social media). But it goes to show that a) the Sunshine Coast is a very small community (he felt like a celebrity) b) people LOVE love and they are so refreshed and encouraged by seeing a wedding union. It demonstrates to me how truly important marriage is and that it can’t possibly be just a random thing that us humans made up in order to throw a really cool party for each other. Oh, and for the bride to wear a really lovely dress (although I am very thankful for that part too).
Yes, weddings are fun. Yes, you get to see other friends and share a great meal, celebrate, drink and dance, but it is so much more than that. So much more. When you experience your own wedding it kind of all comes together for you, and you realize how sacred the act and covenant of marriage truly is. Living the days after the wedding and moving into our first year of marriage, I already feel a much stronger bond with Rudy than I ever had before. The day to day doesn’t change much, no. But the feelings did. Love intensified. I realize that marriage is the greatest act of vulnerability we can choose for ourselves and each other. We hand over our entire heart to somebody else to nourish, grow, love, and take care of. And they have that responsibility even on our darkest, ugliest days. They still have to show up. The beauty of it all is, is that when we do show up for one another - truly show up wholeheartedly in the small and monumental moments, that connection is intensified and that love grows deeper. Imagine if we could show up Every. Single. Time. Imagine who that person could become. What they could do. And yet, that’s what we should be striving towards each and everyday.
Rudy is the love of my life. That's cool. He baffles me everyday with his selflessness and love. He’s basically everything those romantic quotes and poems talk about. Perfect? No. Nobody is. But dang, he’s pretty close in my eyes. I love telling him that he’s my favorite person because well, that’s exactly what he is. I made sure to end my vows that same way as well; just a little reminder on how much I truly appreciate him and everything he does for me; "you're my favourite." As I said before, in a couple of days I take off to Indonesia for five months. We aren’t sure if we’ll see each other at Christmas due to busy game schedules and our cities of interest being on opposite sides of the world, but let’s all keep our fingers crossed, shall we? Our first six months of marriage will look absolutely completely different than anyone else’s but that’s our individual (pretty crazy) love story. We’re going into this time with intentions on continually learning to love one another from afar, working on communication skills (my weakness because I hate skype so much…), and even though we’re oh so far apart, choosing to show up each day for one another.
They say marriage is a tough gig… and whenever I get to that point maybe I’ll write about it. But for now I’m still reliving moments from the wedding, and of course, blowing up your social media newsfeeds with photos from that day. Yes, you’re welcome. So as I depart on my own little solo adventure, be sure to follow along – 2018 is a year for me to get back into my writing, be honest with myself, and love every word that comes out onto the paper. Or screen. Regardless of if it scares me or not.
Sending more love to my community back home and all of our people that chose to show up in person or in spirit for Rudy and I on our very wonderful, most special day. I think I’ll be reliving it in my daydreams for a while longer.
Cheers to you all.