Sunday, March 16, 2008

Wedding Weekend: Day 1

the bride

My Saturday morning started early with a 6:25am pick up by a former student driving a minivan. He was my transport to the house where I would attempt to participate in the preparations for the big wedding event of my sister-in-law.
Being the only daughter, her wedding was a huge celebration that brought out the assistance of the entire village quite willingly, though I was less inclined. I thought I would be more helpful, but my morning was full of emotional chaos. For what reason, I do not know. I spent the morning on the brink of tears. Mom-in-law attempted to put me to work on the old standby of garlic pealing. It seems to be something harmless that the foreigner can do without too much harm. Of course everyone wanted to talk to me but I wasn't in the talking mood. Then it came down to the "big" comments by everyone. Not today!!!! Please!!!!
Once the garlic was finished, I was finished too and walked away from the area towards the irrigation canal to stare at the fish jumping and colorful dragonflies landing on leaves. A boy came over to ask me why I was here and I replied with, "I don't want to listen." And that was true.
I continued to stand there for awhile and then walked down the lane for a bit til some dogs announced my entry and I turned around. I came back and sat around some more. Da was busy with all kinds of errands so he had little time for me. Eventually he showed me a little attention by taking me tamarind picking.
We drove over to the tree and the village climbed up to shake the branches for the tamarinds to fall. We scurried around in the dirt picking them up to place in the basket. It was sweaty and dirty work. I came back drenched in sweat and it was still morning. Did I mention that it was hot and humid. It's slowly gotten hot so this wedding weekend will not be fun since we're out in the countryside without fans.
Lunch was served. I ate a little, but wasn't extremely hungry. After I went upstairs in the house to rest and read away from the stares. Eventually I was found and told that it was hot. Yes, of course it's hot. Then I was showed the new bed so I could take a rest. Somehow I didn't feel right resting on the newlyweds newly purchased bed. The bed that looked as if it was built to the exact dimensions of the room as it filled it in its entirety.
With no nap, I was invited down to help the old ladies prepare the rice cakes. Actually I was put on the soy bean paste ball rolling station. All I had to do was roll balls of the filling until there was none left. Of course the old ladies had to put their two cents in of comments about me and my size. I'm so over the never-ceasing need to talk about my size.

procession to the hair cutting ceremony

The next event of the day was the evening's wedding activity with the hair cutting ceremony. I don't have any idea why this is part of a wedding. I don't think anybody really knows either. The groom and bridesmaids took off down the lane with some guests decked out in wedding apparel outfits to take part in a small procession back to the house. The chairs were set up as two aisles with the bridal party at the end. The bride comes out of the house and joins the groom. A lot of the events are poses staged by the photographer for the typical wedding shots. There is a host and two dancers who sing and do a bit of a comedy routine leading up to the "hair cutting." Then there is a show of fake hair cutting and spraying of perfume by the dancers. The utensils are handed off to the parents for their turn at clipping away. And then a whole procession of family members and guests go through the motions of cutting the bride and grooms hair.
That's it. The first day's events are over. We eat a meal and people go home or stick around and keep preparing for the next day. Another early rise.

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