June 5, 2006

Nice was nice



There are three types of weddings: yours, other people's, and a third kind that is sort of a spiritus mundi, a gathering of souls like-minded and cool enough to spin its own gossamer nets of sweetness. The marriage of Jiffer Bourguignon and Ingo Zamperoni was just such an event, and though traveling with a one-year-old is challenging (even with a kid as rampantly cool as Lucy), we are SO GLAD we did it.

First, a sidebar. I said it a few days ago, I'll say it again: the rudest people in France are Americans. The French themselves, straight down to the guy working at the Esso gas station at the airport, have been absolutely delightful to a man. This crap about impoliteness and "not being funny" and all that is the biggest bunch of post-Iraq-war-freedom-fries hoo-hah I've ever heard in my life. The French are not only nicer, but they dress better and their espresso is to die for. But I digress.

The wedding itself was held at an ancient church in Cabris, a little mountain town just north of Nice and Cannes. The planned details were perfect, but the weather was even better. Jiffer, as usual, was both radiant and Wisconsin proletariat, only this time in a smashing dress. And let's just say that Ingo is one of the few people, like Abraham Lincoln, that can pull off a top hat, even if he didn't. As a couple, they are cover-of-Land's-End-Catalog beautiful.

I talk shit to Tessa, Lucy, Allison, Zia, Jiffer, Anna, Laura-Julie, Dee, Eva and Seth

You'll be glad to know the UNC contingency was well accounted-for, even if it was left to me to make the reception speech. I've got many Jiffer stories, most of them either surreal or R-rated, but mainly she was famous for stealing all of my food, especially my cherry Pop Tarts. I finally resorted to padlocking my kitchen cabinet. In my toast, I gave her the combination to the lock - ten years later - and told her she could steal my Pop Tarts anytime, which is true. I mean, I can afford them now.

Can't say enough about the people at the wedding without boring you all, but seeing all the Carolina people from my third generation (1994-1997) was amazing. Especially old housemate Zia, who was my roommate at the Pink House. She has blossomed into an amazing person, and hanging out with her and her husband Warren was more fun than I deserved; the second night I went to bed at 6am. God bless Tessa the next morning for taking care of the Li'l Pumpkin Pie.


The reception was at a medieval castle (la Napoule) right on the Riviera, and it was resplendent, drunken fun. I made a key decision a month ago when renting our car - even though I'm a pill-popping leftist stooge, I chose a minivan SUV because I knew I'd be driving, want to come back to the hotel a little early, and that two or three people would want to come.

Turns out fifty or so wanted to. One of the buses hired for the event messed up, leaving a fourth of the wedding guests stranded at the castle until 6:30am the next morning. Not the case for me and the nine intrepid, infinitely contortionist souls who stuffed themselves in my car four hours earlier. We rock the mike, yo, and did it at 130 kilometers per hour.

If you put a thumbtack in a map of Cabris, France - and then drew lines to the point of origin of every guest, you would have a vast, unthinkable web extending to every forgotten country, every cranny, every proto-indo-european language in the world. Jiffer and Ingo's friends work in Sierra Leone, the South Sudan, Hamburg, India, New York, Green Bay and everywhere except Antarctica, doing humanitarian aid, tsunami rebuilding, TV reporting, parenting, artistry - it's a humbling crowd. That we all came from every nook in the globe to pay witness to their ceremony is one of the most telling, wonderful statistics they'll ever get. To paraphrase that awful bumper sticker from the '80s: those who die with the most friends wins!


Posted by Ian Williams at June 5, 2006 4:45 PM
Posted by: kate from the DTH front desk at June 5, 2006 5:24 PM

Aw, congrats to Jiffer and Ingo! She looks absolutely beautiful, and it looks and sounds like it was a wonderful wedding!

Posted by: xuxE at June 5, 2006 5:44 PM

gorgeous!! if you're gonna do a church type wedding, that is the way to do it. what a vivid setting, it's like you can almost smell the beauty from the pictures, it must have that kind of ancient masonry + airy green countryside type of scent.

Posted by: CL at June 5, 2006 6:05 PM

If they're hyphenating, I hope their first kid is a genius!

Posted by: DFB's&T's at June 6, 2006 4:50 AM

Truth be told, I have never been to France, but have often been to French islands in the Caribbean. In Saint Martin, for example, the people on the Dutch side of the island are a zillion times more friendly than their counterparts on the French side. So, this dumb Yankee's experience is entirely in sync with the stereotype -- French people are rude.

Posted by: LFMD at June 6, 2006 4:54 AM

My gosh -- how lovely! Any photos of Jiffer and Ingo?

Posted by: chip at June 6, 2006 5:59 AM

Congratulations to Jiffer and Ingo...it was also nice to see Laura-Julie, Zia, Seth and Eva

Posted by: jason savage at June 6, 2006 7:07 AM

i have never found the French to be particularly rude, i have just found certain aspects of Paris to be more gruff and fast-paced, as urban areas and people tend to be. i do think, though, that the stereotype of the French being rude (especially to Americans) pre-dates the recent Iraq war by a good bit. i don't think it was drummed up as part of the France sucks hysteria.

Posted by: oliver at June 6, 2006 8:22 AM

Nice nice nice. Mazel tov to Jiffer & Ingo!

Posted by: Beth at June 6, 2006 8:45 AM

I think it's silly to say that the French, or any other countryfolk, are "nicer" or "ruder" than the Americans (though I'll admit they do tend to dress better). Most people have days when they're patient and friendly, and days when they're aggressive and rude. I really believe that people are the same the world over. It's not like we're different species; we're just different cultures. Same goes for city vs. country/suburbs. Sometimes things just get lost or confused in the translation.

Congratulations to Jiffer and Ingo! What a stunning-looking wedding. Thanks for sharing with us, Ian.

Posted by: k at June 6, 2006 9:07 AM

oooh Jiffer looks so gorgeous! so glad you all got to go to this. what a marvelous experience.

Posted by: scruggs at June 6, 2006 12:25 PM

Wow, what amazing scenery. Greetings to Zia from your math instructor circa 96/97...no more short hair, I see.

Posted by: Maria loves pictures at June 6, 2006 1:23 PM

Congratulations to Jiffer and Ingo!
This must have been a wonderful wedding as I see on the pictures.
I think the ceremony pleace was very well chosen.

Posted by: Rebecca at June 6, 2006 1:48 PM

Can we see the Mediterranean Sea behind the group? That's what it looks like to me. Anyway, nice pictures, and even nicer sentiments.

In a strange coincidence, I bought Pop Tarts for my son the other day when he begged for them at the grocery store. I still love them after all these years.

Have fun in Paris!!

Posted by: Sergio Munda at July 4, 2006 7:31 PM


This is Sergio, your old roommate from Boston, 1066 Commonwealth Avenue. Last time we saw each other was for Monica's wedding in Paraguay. Coincidently in June 2005 I was 40 miles away from Cabris, in Lorgues France, at friend's wedding whose reception was held a Chauteau de Berne. That wedding was on June 10th. Anyway, I wanted to congratulate you and I wish you and Jiffer a life full of joy.

Posted by: Rachael Aitkin (Kimps) at September 25, 2006 10:00 PM

Thank you so much Ian for including this in your Blog. I am a high-schhol friend of Jiff's and I just found out a few weeks ago that she was married and I loved seeing the pictures of her! Jiff, if you read this... all of my love and best wishes! Love and miss you and keep safe-

Rachael, Tony, and Emmy

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