About a month and a half after I came to Sydney, my best friend set her wedding date for August. She’d been engaged since September of 2008, and while I knew she and her fiancé intended to get married this year, the lack of a concrete date put the event out of my mind while I got settled on this side of the world.
After I found out about the August 7 date via Facebook in March, I decided officially not to go. My main reason: I had only 12 months to be in Australia, and I knew leaving to go home at any point would make me resentful for the lost time. There’s also the money factor–a round trip ticket home costs $2,000 or more, money I’d rather save. The following months brought a “save the date” to my first Sydney residence and rumors that my friend’s fiancé intended to spring for the plane ticket. People from back home conveyed that they expected me to be there.
But I stayed firm in my decision. Some people have taken umbrage with that stance. I’ve met people here who’ve left to go back home for weddings and other big events. The first friend I made in Oz cut her year-long visa down to four months to be in Canada for her sister’s wedding. I saw her for the last time in Sydney just days before she was flying home, and the bitterness she felt at leaving early was apparent in every hard slug of rum and soda she took. I know a couple here that has been back to the East Coast for several weddings and have their own in Mexico coming up in November. And my boyfriend will fly to America in a few months for his sister’s wedding. I give those people credit, and in cases where family is involved, I might have made the same decision.
I called up my best friend last week to see how she was feeling leading up to Saturday. We had a good talk, and she said she had made peace with the fact that I wasn’t going to be there (she added that other people had guessed I would make a surprise appearance, and she told them they were wrong. I assured her that she was right and that I would not be popping up in Jersey over the next few days).
My family attended the wedding and told me in an email that my friend looked beautiful and that I was missed. I saw the wedding pictures on Facebook. I thought of my friend as I got up the morning of City2Surf, just half an hour after her reception had ended. I sent her gifts and money and a card.
It’s not how either of us would have pictured participating in the other’s wedding. But sometimes, that’s just how things happen.