Sunday, May 29, 2011

Reflections on a Chinese Wedding

We recently went to Jinan in Shandong Province for the wedding of Jack's cousin. It was my first experience with a Chinese city wedding and it left me thinking, “identity crisis”. Or perhaps I should say, it was a Western wedding with Chinese characteristics. There was a wedding march of sorts, but it was into a hotel banquet hall. It was set up on a stage that resembled more a catwalk than a church aisle. There was an emcee instead of a minister, “I do”s but also long speeches. People seated at tables with snacks and drinks like they were watching a show.  

The couple arrived with a bang, literally, in a convertible with painfully loud fireworks. The groom was wearing a pink dress shirt, though somehow it suited him. The bride changed costumes several times during the day. And after all the fuss by my friends over what I would wear, the groom’s side of the family were wearing simple slacks and polo shirts, shiny pajama-like clothes and such.  The bride’s side was much more smartly dressed. The family actually seemed little involved besides speeches by the fathers. No big wedding party participating in the ceremony.

It also made me think, at least for the father of the groom, that this sort of Chinese wedding is also an excuse to drink for two days. Nevertheless, despite the constant eating and toasting, it was still enjoyable. In any culture it’s fun to watch a new couple begin their new life.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

For all the mamas

In honor of Mother's Day. I wrote this when the twinkies turned one.

Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

I do

If home is:

Staying out til 2 a.m. partying
And sleeping til noon

Enjoying a carefree dinner
And a movie

Jetting off to a beach with friends
And drinking sangria every night

Being able to save money
For that big-screen TV

Telling your friend
You’ll be right over

Being alone, really alone
With no one to worry about but yourself

Who wants to go home?

I don’t

If home is:

Not waking up at 2 a.m. to hold you
And napping at noon

Not seeing that first step
And getting that first kiss

Not being “stuck” at home
Drinking juice with you

Not watching your face light up
Over a new toy, or book

Having no one
Who needs you at home

Being alone, really alone
With no one to worry about but yourself

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dyeing to fit in

I just had my hair dyed. Yes, it needed it – my white roots were quite standing out. But the real motivating factor was the imminent arrival of the aunt/uncle-in-law. If I have any white hairs, I will never hear the end of it, or Jack will never hear the end of how he’s married an old lady.

Plus, we are headed to the wedding of Jack’s cousin, and as my neighbor gleefully informed me, I will be more of a star than the bride. That actually makes me feel sad. It’s possible the bride might be quite happy about that and feel she is gaining some face, but I don’t enjoy it. Said neighbor also suggested I should be the best dressed there as I will be “representing America” to people who will never meet other Americans. I’m still leaning toward a bit more understatement, rather than actually risking looking ridiculous.

And frankly, I’m also relying on my kids to draw most of the attention.