January 2007

:: The King Of New York…

New York, New York the big city to be… What can I say… This is not the first time that I’ve been to New York and each time I come back it never ceases to amaze me how beautiful, vibrant and fast paced this city is. From standing in the middle of Times Square to Climbing the steps of The Empire State Building or strolling along the paths of Central Park; the city seems to grab your attention in one way or another.

Since we were there for a few days and were adament on seeing every major sight there was to see Tash and I bought a New York Pass which gave us access to over 100 sightseeing places for 2 days straight… before we knew it we were navigating the subway lines like the locals and managed to see The United Nations Headquarters, Empire State Building, Statue Of Liberty, Times Square and Maddison Square Gardens all in one day! I would say even though it was my second visit to the UN Headquarters, both Tash and I were amazed with the work that is being done there and our very informative tour guide from Israel was able to answer every question we asked in addition to the “off the record” chat that we had once the tour was over where many opinions were aired openly… 😉

 

– Random Fact: Did you know that America is one of the only countries in the world that would not sign an agreement to never use or produce landmines for use in combat. Also they are the biggest producers of landmines in the world. For every land mine that is produced it costs $3; and it costs $1000 to remove and disarm it once it is active!!!

Over the next couple of days we managed to make our way to Rockerfella Centre, Trump Towers and Ground Zero (The site of the former Twin Towers). This truley was a heart wrenching moment as we looked around. Even though most of the twisted steel and concrete was cleared away and the foundations for the Freedom Tower were being laid down, there is still a sombre feeling around the site as there are still many memorial photos, letter, flowers and candles for those who were lost on September 11, 2001. When you look around the area it brings a tear to your eye as you read some of the cards and letters tied to the fences…

From one sad moment to a happy one… I managed to meet up with my mom’s sister (Aunty Barbara) while I was in New York. I haven’t seen her for over 12 years and I was so excited to meet her again. When I was small we always used to joke around and we have the sort of relationship where even if there is a long absence from each other we always pick up as if we were never apart. It was so good to catch up with her and tell each other stories… hopefully now that we’re living on the same continent we can make these meetings more frequent!

From here we’re off to Europe… Will keep you updated soon!

:: Palace Of Fine Arts

  Palace Of Fine Arts @ San Francisco

I took this panoramic photo of The Palace Of Fine Arts @ San Francisco… I’m a real sucker for Venetian architecture and this scenery was too good to pass up. Hopefully I’ll have more opportunities to photograph more panoramic scenes while we’re visiting The Golden State…

Let me know what you think of it!

:: Palace Of Fine Arts @ San Francisco

At first glance you’d think that Tash n I have arrived in Europe and were strolling in a park as we admired the Venetian architecture. WRONG! This is the Palace of Fine Arts located in San Francisco around the Bay Area. The beautiful architecture has been the backdrop of many movies including The Rock starring Sean Connery. Not far from there is The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz which are two other landmarks that are featured in the film. Today Tash and I opted to trade in the night vision goggles and assault rifles for a quiet moment soaking in the scenery as we sat on a park bench watching the ducks and swans swim by…

:: Where The Phuk – et Am I…?

Leaving family and friends is the hardest thing to do, especially when you don’t know when you’ll see them next. It was great to have a lot of our closest friends turn up to the airport to see us off. After a teary farewell we made our way though the departure lounge and boarded the aeroplane off on part one of our honeymoon in Phuket, Thailand!

The minute we stepped off the plane in Phuket we were immediately saturated from head to toe because of the high humidity and it was so hard to breathe!

Even though it was monsoon season, there was plenty of sun and it definitely has picked up in the tourism industry after the Tsunami. The food here is so cheap (especially seafood) so we’ve been pigging out on rock lobster, prawns and fish almost every meal. I’m starting to get used to seeing your food alive before you eat it because its all fresh over there. The hotel we stayed in was pretty awesome. It’s call The Royal Phawadee Village and they just opened in October so it’s quite new. We told the staff members that it was our honey moon and they delivered flowers to our room every couple of days which was really nice.

During our stay in Patong Beach we did all the tourist things like shopping (very bad move… we were 12kg over our limit even after getting an extra 20kgs)… we went island hopping, snorkeling, canoeing and I did some scuba diving. Compared to the diving that I’m used to, diving in Phi Phi Islands was such an awesome experience. We went down to 22m and the reef life was thriving. I’ve never seen such a vast variety of coral species and marine fish. In one area I was surrounded by over 200 barracudas as they circled a pillar of limestone. It was truly a breath-taking experience…

While shopping and sightseeing we figured that it was taking us too long to walk along Patong Beach so we were game enough to hire a scooter to get around. As crazy as it sounds driving in Thailand wasn’t too bad… Just as long as you ignore all the Australian road rules you’ll do just fine! I think the car to motorbike ratio is something like 1:10… so it was a case of safety in numbers!

Now that the lazy part of the holiday has ended and we leave sunny humid Thailand to the cold climates of Vancouver… that’s if we get there. We had to fly from Brisbane to LA and because of “Homeland Securities” extremely efficient and competent staff we managed to miss our flight. For them it didn’t seem like a big deal and from what I gathered it seemed like it was a common occurrence. They just scheduled us onto the next flight out which happened to be 5 hours later… I’ll fill you in on more of the adventures… or miss-adventures of Saj n Tash.

:: The Big Day – Her Version

My anticipation and excitement toward the wedding had built up as the big day was getting closer.  I didn’t feel anything until maybe about 5 days before the wedding, that morning I woke up on Christmas day and thought to myself  “OMG, I’m getting married in 5 days!”. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good feeling though…

My family rented a 2 bedroom serviced apartment and Megan (one of my bridesmaids) and I stayed there the night before the wedding. It was really nice to have some time alone with my best friend and just chilled out.

 

The next morning by 9.30 everyone was there, all of my family, the bridesmaids and soon followed by the hairdresser, photographer, videographer, and the bouquets.

As I and my 2 best friends are beauty therapists, we have the advantage of doing our own make-up. We even had the time to do another 2 of my family members 😛

We were doing very well and were right on time. As I put on my dress, the jewelleries, the tiara, the shoes, I truly felt like a princess from a fairy tale.

 

Our priest mentioned that brides are usually always late and he asked that if we could be at the church at 2.05PM the latest. What do you know? We got there 5 minutes early at exactly 2PM. I became really nervous when I was in the car, I started to get butterflies in my stomach, worried that I might trip over or wouldn’t remember what I was suppose to say. As I was walking down the aisle with my arm linked to my dad’s, behind my veil I saw Saj looking at me slowly walking towards him; all of the sudden my anxiety started to disappear and I felt content. My dad then put my hand in Sajith’s and that’s when I knew everything is going to be alright…  I was happy that everything went so well and no, I did not trip over and I said the vows clearly and correctly!

To me, that was the hardest part of the day, having hundreds of people standing and staring at you for a good 5 minutes. After that was the fun part, photo shooting, toasting, hanging out with our amazing bridal party and the reception.

  

Approximately an hour before midnight, I changed from my dress into this beautiful Sari that Sajith’s mom bought for me. It was a very emotional moment when we had to say farewell to everyone. For those of you who are getting married soon, my advise to you is to enjoy every minute of your day as everything will happen so fast, and before you know it, it was time to say goodbye.

 

I can truly say that it was the happiest day of my life; I am extremely blessed to have so many family and friends who love and support us unconditionally. The memories of that day will always be with me for the rest of my life.  It was a beautiful day…

:: The Big Day – His Version

 

After nearly a year of planning our big day has finally come and gone in a hurricane full of and anticipation, excitement and emotion. The night before our wedding, Tash and I each had dinner with our family and it gave us a chance to spend some quality time with them amongst all of the chaos of planning and packing up our things. The morning of the wedding was quite laid back for me because we had spent the previous day transporting and finalizing all of the things for the reception. Around 11am the groomsmen (Sahan, Jamie and Heath) came over and we got ready. Nothing can calm the nerves down like a Hungry Jacks double whooper with cheese and a Jack Daniel’s with Coke! After some formal photographs we made our way to St Thomas More Catholic Church where we were greeted by Father Clayton.

Not long after, the choir started to play Ave Maria and at the back of the church my beautiful bride appeared with arms linked with her dad. After making her way down the aisle we held each others hands. All of the anxiety that had built up leading up to this day melted away as soon as I looked at Tash as she stood before me. Before we knew it we had exchanged rings, said our I Do’s and were signing the official paper work. Later on we lit one main candle from the flames of our family unity candles which symbolizes the uniting of Tash’s Family to mine.

After the church ceremony we went our for our professional photo shoot with Russell Barton Photography. The bridal party got into our vintage stretch limo from A Old Limo and we cruised around to various places such as Central Park, Supreme Court Gardens, AQWA and the Hilary’s Lighthouse. This was probably the most laid back part of the day where everyone was joking around with each other as we sipped away a bottle of Moet. As we made our way down St George’s Terrace we had plenty of people staring , congratulating and tooting their car horns at us… all the attention made us feel like a celebrity couple… I’m sure Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie don’t have to dress up so extravagantly to get that sort of a reaction!

  

At the reception we were introduced as Mr and Mrs Gunawardena and after the entrance we had a Poruwa Ceremony which is a traditional Sri Lankan blessing for newly wed couples. All in all the reception went smoothly, the staff at AQWA were great and the food was very nice as well. I’m sure Tash’s version of the story will highlight different aspects of the day… but for me the emotional climax was at the end while we said goodbye to our closest family and friends. With our big move to Vancouver approaching so quickly; we both knew that we wouldn’t see many of our closet family and friends for a while and we soon realized that we were leaving our comfort zone embarking on a new adventure together as husband and wife. 

   

 

On behalf of Natashia and myself I’d like to thank everyone for their best wishes and generous gifts. We are happy that you could share our special day with us.