Fall is officially here. But here in Florida, you don't quite feel that dramatic change of season, yet. It's still mostly sunshine state and the pumpkin spice latte takes a while to kick in. Temperatures are still above the 80s (Fahrenheit, or 30 celsius), even though we are in the hurricane season in the east coast. This week, the weather channel is tracking Hurricane Matthews, which is sweeping across Jamaica heading towards the Bahamas and Cuba as we speak, looking like it will be several miles off the coast without making landfall in the US. Fingers crossed. Nightly storms seem to be a thing here, at least out here in south of Florida.
However, the weather's been holding up really well in the day, especially on weekends. We spent one sunny weekend up in Orlando, a 4 hour drive with our friends here in Miami, two days in Universal Studios and Island Adventure. I felt like an overgrown kid taking rides that were meant for... adults. I have a fear of heights especially when you swing, drop and manoeuvre me in ways beyond reason. I sat out of the new Hulk ride. Which was a pretty crazy roller-coaster ride I had no guts for. But somehow I managed to find myself plunging into the Mummy and Harry Potter rides that had a dramatic 45 degree angle fall, thrusting into sheer darkness, sweeping forwards and backwards into unexpected lunges that sent my heart stuck in my throat and my guts sucked out my being. At one point, I lost control of my saliva glands and as the vehicle pulled to a stop, I could feel my cold shivering drool drip down the sides of my face... I never understood why people pay to be scared the living daylights out of them. Maybe now I am beginning to comprehend... or not.
The following week, which ended this past weekend, was one that will go down memory lane for a while. We attended a wedding that was a private family affair out in the backyard of a beautiful family home in Miami Lakes. We were invited to the same house at a family dinner several months ago and we had fond memories going back. Our good friends, K and O were getting married and they tasked me, of all people, to bake their wedding cake. Lol. No, really.
I must say, it was both an honour and privilege to be trusted with such a task. Firstly, because, I have never made a wedding cake ever in my life. This is probably my second official cake I have baked. I've baked muffins, cupcakes and such but working with buttercream and red velvet layer cake was definitely a first. As due diligence would have it, I did tons of research in the past week, spent a day and then another test baking and shopping for cake supplies before spending more than 15 hours to bring it all together. Finally it all came together at 3am on Saturday morning. The morning before the wedding. The cake I envisioned sat nicely in the fridge, waiting to get set and delivered.
To say I am not proud of my achievement would be a lie. I surprised myself. I enjoyed every minute of the process. Even though there were many imperfections I would have improved upon, it turned out a pretty good feat for my first attempt. K calls me an over-achiever and I love a challenge, always. I loved how the family, K's mom and her auntie's eyes lit up when the saw the cake. Nothing satisfies me to make people happy through food. I think this season of my life has just been that. Being able to create things to tuck people in with my hands and reach into their hearts and share that joy and love. Thank you, K and O, for giving me an opportunity to do this.
And, the wedding. What a beautiful day it was! Tears of joy and laughter filled every corner of every room as the guests, pretty much, all family and relatives, arrived from all corners from Miami to New York to London. The weather was absolutely sun kissed too! My partner and I were the only non-family members invited. Such a treat to witness familial joy as they cajoled and poked fun at each other, caught up over shots of rum, rounds of wine, proseco, champagne, around the kitchen table, living room, backyard, overflowing with food from every corner of the house. Literally. It was a beautiful sight and sound to be engulfed in the conversations and chatter that feels so familiar and at home.
One thing I noticed about the women folk gathered in this household - they are such real people who know how to laugh at themselves, speak their mind and let their emotions show. It was the most evident when almost everyone of K's aunties each gave a toast to the couple during the cake cutting. It was pure joy to be surrounded by women who are so confident, warm and full of love. From abuela to madre to hija (grandma, mother to daughter), the women exuded strength in their unique ways that was at once graceful, familiar and demanded all the respect a lady deserves. Nothing quite as beautiful a sight as this gathering - as far as the eye can see. Confident, strong women are the most beautiful women. Regardless of age, size, skin, hair or colour.
In our short time knowing K and O, we have been so blessed by their friendship and generous spirit. Our time in Miami would not have been the same without them. It will be hard to say goodbye, even though it won't be forever, when we relocate to Hong Kong by the end of the year.
But for now, we rejoice in the moment as we share in the joy of two souls coming together in matrimonial commitment. May you create many more beautiful memories in this adventure of life ahead of you. xoxo
Asian Australian food adventures in and out of the kitchen. Around the world. Like an oyster searching for it's pearl.