My “traditional Chinese” wedding day

So I got married yesterday.  Again.  To the same man.  But in a “traditional Chinese” wedding.  It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences and was certainly unforgettable.  Here is exactly how my day went down.

  1. Wake up at 6:15am to wake John up.
  2. Sleep fitfully until my alarm at 7am.
  3. Wonder why I have to go to work when they know I am getting married that night.
  4. Throw clothes on, brush my teeth, and braid my unruly curls into submission.
  5. Pull on my purple puffer vest, hat, orange-striped scarf, and gloves cuz “baby, it’s cold outside”.
  6. Grab snacks for our Christmas party and my cafe latte and shove them in my bag.
  7. Walk out the door at 7:30am.
  8. Walk to the bakery and buy breakfast.
  9. Catch the #17 bus to the bus stop for the public bus to Changlian.
  10. Wait for 15 minutes in the freezing cold.
  11. Climb into the public bus and squeeze onto a seat on the engine cover.
  12. Doze/ride the bus.
  13. Get off the bus and walk 15 minutes to the training center.
  14. Greet the kiddos waiting for me.
  15. Look through the lesson and decide what to teach for the first half of class until the Christmas party.
  16. Wait a few minutes for more students to show up. (Only half of my class actually showed up.)
  17. Finally start class while waiting for John to bring the coloring pages and Christmas card paper I forgot in our office.  He was sweet and got it while I dealt the kids (aka urchins or munchkins depending on how aggravated I am with them).
  18. Enjoy the Christmas party we threw for the students in the second half of class.  They were so cute and focused – the most well-behaved they have ever been!  And they made Christmas cards for us 🙂
  19. Start to walk back to the bus stop.
  20. Turn around to have lunch with Carrie.
  21. Eat an awkward lunch and convince Carrie that we need to return to Yueyang before the Christmas party that night.
  22. Walk back to the bus stop and wait for 20 minutes.  Thankfully it is much warmer now since its 12:05pm.
  23. Enjoy the fact that we both had seats on the bus that were even next to each other!
  24. Sleep while riding the bus 50 minutes home.
  25. Stop by the bank to pull out some cash.
  26. Stop by the pharmacy for more birth control (it’s over-the-counter here; I figure it’s pretty safe given their one child policy).
  27. Stop by the bakery for some bread.
  28. Stop by the corner store for juice and chips.
  29. Go home (somehow the six flights of stairs still wind me despite climbing them every single day).
  30. Watch Hulu while snuggling with John and chatting with friends.
  31. Pull my hair into a bun for a semi-traditional Chinese look.
  32. Change into dress clothes to wear under my Chinese dress since it is slit rather high.
  33. Pull on my coat and puffer vest again.  It’s warmish now, but will be cold later.
  34. Wish I didn’t have to leave, but walk out the door anyway.
  35. Walk to the noodleteria for a snack/dinner.
  36. Eat my dinner even though I’m not super starving since it’s only 4:30pm.
  37. Walk to the bus stop to wait for the public bus again.
  38. Call Stella to tell her we are running a bit late since we ate dinner.
  39. Wait for 5ish minutes.
  40. Squeeze onto the most crowded bus ever.  We were standing squished like sardines.
  41. Practically fall onto an old Chinese women when the bus slams on its brakes and I lose my balance.
  42. Breathe a sigh of relief when people get off the bus.  Still standing, but I now have breathing room and more foot room for increased balance.
  43. Talk to the cute little girl next to me who has been practicing English with her mom.  Her theatrics put mine to definite shame, but it was delightful to chat with her.
  44. Get off the bus at the gate to the school.
  45. Call Stella.
  46. Wait for Stella to come get us.
  47. Go eat a second dinner with Stella.  She must not have understood that we already ate.  I am now so full I never wish to eat again.
  48. Wait in a taxi for our wedding clothes to be ready.
  49. Rush over to the place where the Christmas party is being held since it’s already 7pm.
  50. Find a place to change.
  51. Discover that there are no safety pins/hooks/clasps/etc. to fasten my dress so it’s like a robe.  At this point I’m grateful for the white tank and black pants that I’m wearing.
  52. Have my dress pinned by Stella and Carrie.  It’s awkward to say the least.
  53. Get my hat/headdress put on by Carrie.  It’s heavy.
  54. Have a quick run-through of what the ceremony will actually look like.  Totally love rehearsal dinners now – so much less pressure.
  55. Have my red veil put on by one of my former students who is acting as “maid-of-honor”.  Wish I could remember her name.
  56. Let her guide me since I can’t see through the veil.
  57. Wait for the ceremony to begin.
  58. Walk around the edge of the room.
  59. Walk to the middle to meet John.
  60. Let him guide me as I step over the fire pot (thankfully they decided red napkins resembled fire so there was no fire hazard).
  61. Bow once (toward the crowd) to Heaven and Earth.
  62. Bow once (away from the crowd) to our ancestors.
  63. Bow once to each other.
  64. Walk around the edge of the room again.
  65. Let John remove my veil.
  66. Drink the wedlock wine with our arms intertwined.  It’s actually water.
  67. Walk around the edge of the room once more.
  68. Sing along to Jason Mraz’s “Winter Wonderland” as our performance.  Wish I had run through it at least once that day.
  69. Go change back into my clothes.
  70. Rejoin the party.
  71. Realize that we were just one act.  We got married at a talent show.  Yup.
  72. Go out to the van waiting to take us home.
  73. Talk about our day on the much more comfortable and smooth ride home.
  74. Climb up those stairs again.  Winded once more.
  75. Change into sweats.
  76. Marvel at the screen Stella gave us as a wedding present.  It’s beautiful.
  77. Play Scrabble on facebook for a while.
  78. Watch Love, Actually with John.
  79. Collapse into bed.

That, my friends, was my day, along with some of my thoughts.  Long and exhausting.  But memorable.  Perhaps John and I can get married in a whole bunch of different countries and write a book about it.  Maybe not.  That may be more stress than it’s worth.  I’m so thankful for my husband.  He is an amazing man who loves and encourages me.  And I’ll marry him anytime!

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