My scheme was always to hold our wedding in Florida, where most of our family members live, around Thanksgiving time. We thought this would make it easier for our family and friends who don't live in Florida to make the trip down. We knew that we had a little over eight months to plan the wedding and we didn't waste any time -- within only a few weeks, we already decided on the date, secured venues for both the ceremony and reception, and made up our guest list. Meanwhile, we were blessed with new, challenging ways to finance the wedding.
Throughout 2013 and leading into 2014, I earned my keep between teaching music lessons and busking. In February, the latter finally paid off in a big way when a curator from the New Museum of Contemporary Art invited me to involve my musical performances in an exhibit that was to run through April. The idea was for street musicians to perform in three-hour shifts on the sidewalk, outside the museum, while having their music broadcast live into one of the exhibition rooms. But since the bitter cold lasted well into April, I performed my every-other-Wednesday shifts in the museum lobby.
Aside from being a fun and artsy busking gig where I could collect donations and sell my CDs, this was also a modestly paid gig, from which I took a check home after each performance. But the greatest benefit came only by chance, when another curator at the museum heard my very last performance and decided that I would be fit to perform in another exhibit planned for the months of May and June.
Take Me Here, By The Dishwasher is a performance art piece that calls for ten guitarists to simultaneously sing and play individual parts to a three-minute song, looped repeatedly for six (or nine!) hours. The song was composed by a songwriter from one of my favorite post-rock bands, Sigur Ros, and the two-month full-time gig was (again) modestly paid. This was a no-brainer and a huge blessing, except that I had already made plans to go sailing with my fiancé, parents, sister, and brother-in-law during the first week of the exhibit (I don't think that I need to elaborated on our sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands. It went predictably awesome!). Thankfully, I was able to join in after the first week and see the exhibit nearly through the end (I was there for the very last performance, but I missed a few of the final days to perform at the Wild Goose Fest in Hot Springs, North Carolina for the first time... officially, anyway).
Performing at the exhibit was an incredible experience and it would be terribly difficult to put it into words... so I won't try. At least not right now, this is only supposed to be a brief recap of the year!
The very same week that the museum gig ended, I started a new part-time job, which I've not really had the chance to write about. I do plan to delve pretty deeply into this subject soon, so I'll refrain from doing so now. Just know that the blessings were pretty continuous throughout the year.
In August, we made a 10-day trip down to Tampa, Florida for more concerted wedding planning and to hold a bridal shower for my fiancé; it was also a great opportunity for our families to finally meet each other. The bulk of the next four months was also spent in preparation for our mostly DIY wedding -- working out logistics with vendors, visiting florists, creating the decor, pre-marital counseling, etc.
Meanwhile, in September, I celebrated five years living in New York City by releasing a new album, GioSafari Does NYC. I also finally settled a housing court case that had begun in January, winning a good bit of money that -- you guessed it -- we would put toward the wedding. But while this was both a huge blessing and a hugely gratifying victory, it made our apartment search in the following months all the more difficult. With our low income and less-than-stellar credit, finding an apartment would already be very difficult; for many brokers and landlords, having been to housing court so recently was strike three and most of them wouldn't give us the time of day.
Nevertheless, we were blessed to eventually find a broker who did give us the time of day and did all that he could to accommodate our unique situation. On November 13, we began moving our respective things into a new apartment in Washington Heights, where we would also crash for nearly two weeks, until leaving town again for the final week of wedding planning in Florida.