Sorry I’m Such a Tease…

Ok, so I had good intentions in, say, March, when I wrote all about how I was coming back to my blog.  Hopefully, I’ll stick to it this time. After all, I have no social life anymore, (Did I ever?) so I really shouldn’t have much of an excuse. Regardless, over a year of crazy happenings in the life of Kaitlin have left me with plenty to write about.

Forever Alone Meme

Or a few months…

I’m in a completely different place than I was at the time I wrote my last regular post. Literally. To begin with, I’m across the state (still in North Dakota, unfortunately) sitting on a bed covered with teddy bears and unicorns in my room….in my parents’ home. In Williston, ND. (You know, Wild Wild Williston? It’s even wilder. And Willistonier.)

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That’s my unicorn. I also have its baby now, too. Maybe I shouldn’t have admitted that…..

That may sound like I’ve become a total failure on the surface, but hopefully I’m not. At least, I try to tell myself that. You can’t really go anywhere but up when you come out of college bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with your shiny, new several-thousand-dollar piece of paper and find yourself working at the local Olive Garden. I will never be able to hear the words “Unlimited Soup and Salad” again without cringing. (Fun fact: I worked at the Olive Garden Marilyn Hagerty went to when her review of the restaurant went viral. In college, I also worked at the newspaper Marilyn writes for and had her as a guest speaker in a ton of my classes. But the whole story about all that and my time at the ol’ OG is for another post. Or seven.)

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That’s me. Looking fresh as ever.

Anyway, I’m banking in on the cash cow that is Williston, ND, while I can. Yes, Wal-Mart’s starting wage really is $17.00 an hour. McDonald’s will get you $15 an hour starting. So, this is a great place to work at a law firm, getting some experience while saving for law school. (Yep, I got in! And I’d be there right now if I hadn’t been offered a rather significant scholarship to defer my enrollment a year. You know, because too many people accepted their offer of admission and they need to make themselves look uber competitive for the US News & World Reports Rankings. It’s all a big conspiracy. But, I digress.)

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Woot!

Living at home and banking money also has its perks for saving for a house, the big move across the country in a few months, and the WEDDING which will follow shortly after! Yes, in a little over 8 months, my blog title will no longer be a catchy little spin on my last name, but it’s a small price to pay for the lifetime of awesome I’m getting. Especially since Chris and I have been, and will continue to be, living across the state from each other until we make the move. It sucks, but at least I can get away with not shaving my legs very often. (Gotta always look on the bright side.)

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I was distracted by something shiny and didn’t see the random bowl of popcorn on the floor…It was Chris’s house, don’t ask why it’s there.

So, now that I’ve unnecessarily updated you, dear reader whom I probably don’t know on a personal level, on the biggest intimate details of the last year, I think I can successfully move on and begin blogging like I used to. Maybe not every day, but at least regularly. My original plan, in March, was to just let all my big new changes come out as they needed to in the process of writing different posts, in an attempt to not give off so much of my personal life. But I think that idea was a little too daunting. I guess it seems like I need to let people know where I am in life to make my posts relevant. Even though anyone who might still be interested in my blog probably stopped reading about my ridiculous personal blatherings after the first paragraph.

Anyway, yay for blogging again 🙂 I hope to see you around.

(P.S. I also got an adorable kitten. I’m obsessed with her. And she’s the one who loves the unicorns on my bed, I swear.)

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Yes, she is laying on a placemat. I may have been a crazy cat lady when I lived alone…

Hello, Gypsies!

"Vaarry niiiice!"

So, I stumbled upon the sneak peek episodes of an upcoming series on TLC called “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.” I honestly expected to watch about 10 minutes, because the preview reminded me of “Toddlers and Tiaras,” which chronicles the life of miniature pageant divas. If you’ve ever seen an episode, you know how appalling this insight into their lives is, since they’ll eventually be the future of America. But, I digress.

Cue the theme music from "Psycho"

“My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” didn’t make me fear for the future of American culture and society. I actually found myself completely engrossed, mainly because I — like most people — know nothing about modern Gypsy culture. To be honest, I had no idea Gypsies still exist. Probably because their lifestyle is intentionally kept extremely secretive. But I found their way of life so interesting and strangely contradictory that, instead of changing the channel during the first commercial, I watched straight through the second episode to a full hour.

Both of these might actually be brides -- Anything's possible for the Gypsies.

The show started in the UK, where a large population of Gypsies continues to reside. Called “Big Fat Gypsy Weddings” in its original British version, the show caught the interest of over 9 million viewers. The pilot episodes that premiered tonight on TLC featured Gypsies from the UK, but a little pop up appeared at the bottom of the screen asking, “Are you a member of the US Gypsy or traveller community?” and offering a website where you could sign up for the show. (The terms “Gypsy” and “traveller” seemed to be used interchangeably on the show — I’m not sure if different subcultures have different preferences. I mean to be PC. For the sense of ease, I use the term “Gypsies.”) I’m really interested to see what turns up in the US, since in my bubble of North Dakota, I’m completely naive to the fact that cultures like this exist.

The shows I saw both featured one bride and one young girl preparing for her first communion — the second most important milestone in a gypsy girl’s life. (Her wedding is the most important, often planned by Gypsy girls since they’re able to talk. Religion is a staple of Gypsy culture — It seems most are Catholic.) For these girls, the bigger and more over-the-top these events are, the better. Donning dresses that oftentimes outweigh the wearer, the Gypsies ensure they’re the center of attention on their big day.

This girl was actually a non-Gypsy marrying into the traveller lifestyle. She was assured hers was the biggest dress the designer had ever created.

Another unique thing about Gypsy culture is the average age they tie the knot. Most girls begin looking for a husband by age 14 or 15 and are married by 17. Teens often get dolled up and attend other Gypsies’ weddings in hopes of finding a future husband. From the time they can toddle, Gypsy girls are raised strictly to be housewives — It’s unacceptable in Gypsy culture for a women to go into the workforce, placing even more emphasis on the need to marry early.

Gypsy women’s emphasis on capturing the center of attention through their looks isn’t saved exclusively for their weddings. Going out on the weekends, these young girls definitely portray a much older image. They generally wear short shorts or skirts and cropped tops — even at age 7 or 8. Special occasions are another story. The picture below features a bride-to-be at her bachelorette party. Her mother and friends were all dressed similarly, supporting her on her last night as a single girl.

No, she's not the entertainment at the bachelor party -- She's the bachelorette.

Despite the reputation their clothing style might give them, Gypsy girls have extremely strict morals. They are closely sheltered by their parents and families — Dating is a strict process. Any kind of physical interaction before marriage would cause the girl to be viewed as “scandalized.” (Which is probably another reason for the early marriages)

Another element that stands in strict contrast to Gypsies’ emphasis on looking their best is their home life. They’ve generally moved away from the traditionally nomadic lifestyle they’re known for, but retain the potential to be mobile, shunning stationary houses in favor of trailers.

The bride in the pink dress featured in one of the earlier pictures goes "house hunting" with her fiance.

In light of my low expectations from the commercials, I’m proud that I can safely say I didn’t spend another mindless hour in front of the TV losing brain cells and faith in humanity. Although “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” undeniably has “big fat” entertainment level and shock value, it’s also worth a watch for its educational insight in to a subculture that may otherwise have gone unnoticed. Ten million British viewers can’t be wrong.