Holidays, weddings and rain

Sunday morning. Michael, hammering on the porch, creating; chaos now, beauty later. Me, snuggled on Ikea couches with my trusty sun lamp and college football on TV. (It might be Sunday here, but it’s still Saturday night in America, y’all.) And of course, Albus, alternating between tearing through the living room like a whirling dervish and lying sacked out asleep behind (on!) the sofa.

This week has been a pleasant change of pace; it’s national holiday over here (rough approximation of an explanation: Mid-Autumn Festival plus Independence Day) so we’ve been out of class for the week. Michael filled his time with studying; I went to a friend’s wedding on the east coast. This is only the second Asian wedding I’ve attended since living overseas (although I’ve missed the weddings of several friends due to travel conflicts); the first was the wedding of a teacher’s niece which I went to as a cultural experience and not out of affection for the bride and groom. I was delighted to be a part of my friend’s celebration and couldn’t be happier for her and her new husband. Plus, one of the bridesmaids is a dear friend of mine as well as the bride’s so it was great fun to visit with her during and after the wedding.

Weddings over here look much different from ones back in the States; most weddings are held in hotel banquet rooms. Guests are seated around the room in circular tables and eat dinner while watching (and sometimes participating in) the festivities. This week’s wedding included: a final countdown video (while the music was familiar it wasn’t actually final countdown and I couldn’t place it) before the groom’s entrance; a scavenger hunt race through the crowd for items like high heels and cell phone and belts; a couple who were actually incredible dancers doing a sexy interpretive dance up and down the center aisle; and the bride throwing paper airplanes through the room. The lucky folks who caught the planes (including me! although my plane was handed to me) got to go up front and make a toast to the bride groom.

I texted Michael updates throughout the wedding (of course); here is our conversation from my personal wedding highlight:

Me: Now the newly married couple just weighed themselves together on a scale in front of everyone!

Michael: One flesh.

Me: Ummm the point was to find two people who weigh the same as the married couple. Annnnnddddd [bridesmaid friend] and I just won! Humongo teddy bears for each of us!!!!

Michael: Heck yeah!!!! Happy bday Albus!

Me: Don’t worry this would be the SECOND teddy bear I’ve won tonight.

Two things. One: the fact that we won this competition means that I weigh about the same as the groom. Two: yes, I absolutely carried both of those teddy bears back with me on the plane and it was totally worth it. Albus has basically destroyed the small bear but the big one, my prize for the scale competition, is still hanging on…. just barely.

As you can see, weddings over here are very different from the way we do things in the States. Differences aside, the evening was a glad celebration of two people who have joined their lives together, and honored the communities they come from and those of which they are currently a part. I’m so grateful to have had the chance to honor my friends and to join with them in eating, drinking, and joy all-around.

P.S. The weather has been wretched here, raining everyday but one by my count, for the last three weeks. Surprisingly, I was heartened to look through my archives and remember that this is what October looked like last year. Somehow, it makes me feel better to know that I got through then and I’ll get through now.


2 Comments on “Holidays, weddings and rain”

  1. Thanks for the post. . . good to have this down in print.

  2. Erika says:

    Beth, I’m glad I read this in the morning. It’s so good to start my day with a smile! Did you make your toast in English or Chinese?

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