I am full of surprises.
My brother scheduled his wedding back in February over Valentine's Day weekend. That happened to fall on the end of my semester break, so if I were to attend I would have had to take off a couple days of new-semester orientation (unpaid leave). On top of that, it's expensive to fly between America and the Middle East. So, with my brother's understanding, we decided that I would not go. However, every time I thought about it, I had a feeling that I needed to go and that I would regret not going. Finally, we decided to reverse our original decision, and I started making plans to go to America.
This time, we decided to keep it a secret from my family. They didn't have a clue. We joked with them that they should make a cardboard-cutout and put a laptop where my face should be so that I could Skype in for the luncheon. I even got my nephew - one of the groom's men - to tell me what tie they were wearing so that I could order it myself and surprise my brother in the Skype session by wearing the same one. Also, we had some things that we wanted to get from America to bring back to Qatar, which involved ordering those things. So, we ordered them to be delivered to Lindsay's aunt's house rather than my parents' so that we could keep the surprise.
Well, the day for the surprise arrived. I left early in the morning on Monday, 8 February, and took a taxi to the airport. I traveled from Doha to London to Chicago to Salt Lake, arriving late Monday night. I took a shuttle service to Springville, again to maintain the surprise. I knocked on my parents' door about midnight. The first thing my dad said to me was, "Do you want to know the irony of this?"
I had traveled all that way to find out the wedding was being postponed. Things had fallen apart the week before the wedding, which is way better than the week after the wedding. My brother and his fiancé had decided that they needed to take a little more time to figure some things out, so the purpose of my travel simply changed to being there for him (and some shopping). Well, it was late, so after talking a little with my parents about what had happened while I was flying half-way across the world, we all went to bed.
The next morning, I got up and got ready for the next part of the surprise. I was able to "hack" into my brother's university account and look up his schedule. So, I went up to campus and found his classroom and waited for him to come out. He's working on some nerdy degree that involves a white lab coat and goggles. He came out of the lab to go to the supply room across the hallway and there I was. Surprise! He invited me into his lab to show me the poo that he was working with. After he was finished, we grabbed some lunch and talked a little more until his next class. The next day, we also had lunch together between classes.
It was a rough week for my brother and my parents, but it was good to have family support for everyone. My brother continued seeing Kristina with an open-relationship understanding. After another month or so, they were back on. They probably would have scheduled the new wedding date for May or early June, but I think I convinced my brother of how much it meant for me to be there. The scheduled it for mid-July, during my Summer break when my family would be back in America.
We spent the first two weeks of the summer in Las Vegas visiting Lindsay's family. On a Thursday, we drove about six hours up to Utah to my parents' house. Tyler's wedding was the following day, Friday, but we had a big family dinner for Tyler's and Kristina's families on Thursday night. We arrived about an hour before the dinner, so we took our bags in and cleaned up for the dinner. We came out for the dinner with another surprise.
Lindsay is wearing an abaya, and I am wearing a thobe. This is seriously a rather authentic look. I even grew out my beard for about six weeks for this. I am rather proud of how good we look. And, these are normal, everyday clothes for Gulf Arabs - basically, the same as jeans and a t-shirt. Needless to say, my family was surprised. I thought about wearing the same thing the next day for wedding pictures, but that didn't happen.
The wedding the next day was very nice. Tyler & Kristina were married in the morning in the Draper Utah temple and then had a beautiful reception in the Springville Museum of Art that evening.