21 November 2006

Anna's Wedding

Two weekends ago, one of the Chinese teachers in our school got married. Chinese weddings are huge deal and very elaborate. I have a problem with taking too many pictures, so I'm splitting this post into five sections to make it more manageable.

Section One: General Wedding Pictures-
Let me first attempt to give some meaning to the event that it a Chinese wedding. This all comes with the disclaimer that I really don't know much about this at all and most of the information came from the bride in the weeks prior to the wedding. Here most weddings occur in hotels, not churches. The couple greets the guests in the hotel lobby and the guests sign in and proceed upstairs to the banquet hall. The couple arrives to the hall with much fanfare, where an MC greets them and conducts the ceremony. The meal is then served and the couple goes around to be congratulated by each table. There is no dancing, just good company and great food.

Jamie, me, and Megan greeting Anna and her husband as we entered the hotel.

Their car all decorated for a quick escape at the end--sadly no rice throwing or bubble blowing.

Wedding photos are a HUGE deal--they get all fancied up to take the pictures (I think theirs could be in a magazine or something)

The slightly tacky stage--bright colors are a must.

The head table for the couple and their family. Theirs was the only table with red coverings--red being the color of good fortune.

The altar with fruit to honor the traditional gods.

Some of the wedding favors on our table--five packets of cigarettes.

The ceremony, complete with balloons.

The couple going around to greet the guests after the meal.

Section Two: Food-
They go ALL out for the wedding meal. It is a symbol of prestige and class and the only the very best delicacies are served [Read: Food most Americans don't/won't eat ever.]

The kitchen that prepared all the food (notice the poultry hanging in the windows).

The Chinese version of the Love Boat or something (still not really sure what the purpose of this was--it just held some of the food, I guess).

Part I: Assorted seafood that I don't know the names of.

Part II: Assorted seafood that I don't know the names of.

Part III: Assorted seafood that I don't know the names of. (Oh wait! Pretty sure those are sea urchins, I take it all back...)

The fish in the aquarium on the left were HUGE--I would not mess with those fish, they were pretty scary.

Part IV: Assorted seafood that I don't know the names of.

Now that was all food that was displayed before we sat down for lunch. Here comes the actual food we were served for the meal. [Disclaimer: Not for the weak of heart or stomach. Also not for those who are going to eat food in the next 15 minutes. Be warned!]

A whole lobster.

Jellyfish. (Not how I would have imagined it to look like, but I have been assured that what it was.)

A whole fish.

A noodle dish complete with octopus legs (that's what's sitting off on the side of the plate).

Soup of turtle and chicken head.

Okay--deep breath. Time for number three.

Section Three: Three Dresses-
A Chinese bride wears multiple dresses during the few short hours of the ceremony and meal. One dress is usually bought while the others are rented. The first dress is a traditional Western-style wedding gown, the second is more traditional Chinese, and the third is...well, I guess, just the third.

The first dress to greet the guests as they come in.

Her hair and dress have completed changed into a more traditional Chinese style.

Anna showing off her ring.

Dress number three: A beautiful pink silk business suit.

Section Four: Group Pictures-
What better occasion for taking group pictures?

Jamie, Jessica (the admissions administrator), Megan and I. Jessica and Jamie have been meeting this semester and they often discuss questions about the Truth. Please think about them and their growing relationship.

The American teachers at Wuxi Oriental International School: Bill, Tena, me, Megan, Karri, Lindsey, Jamie, Daniel and Beth.

Some of us girls goofing off.

Laughing with our Dean of Students, Mrs. Tang (we have affectionately nicknamed her Mama Tong).

Section Five: Random Pictures-
The next two pictures have absolutely nothing to do with the wedding, but I thought I'd throw them in, just in an attempt to make this the longest post ever!

Our students come to school in a variety of school buses. They aren't the traditional idea of school buses though--no yellow twinkie with a flashing stop sign on it or anything. Think more along the lines of a rented minivan that they call a school bus. There are three little (yes short, but not that kind of short school bus!) buses and one giant (like Greyhound charter) bus. A few weeks ago the big bus was late picking the students up from school. The powers that be called and found out it was having trouble (side note: it was raining real bad that day) and that it most likely wasn't going to make it all the way out to us. Plan B went into motion: The other school buses would come back and make a second trip. This wasn't quick enough for some students (they had called their parents when the ordeal first began), so the security guard had to go out into the rain and get some taxis. Yes, the school sent some of the students home in taxis. In the rain. 5 and 6 students all crammed in. Plus a Chinese teacher. That is what I called craziness.

Mama Tong chasing after the taxi in the rain to give it last minute directions.

So I found the Chinese equivalent to Whoppers--woohoo! The best part--they're from Anglicism!?! Yeah, not sure how a candy can be from a religion, but we can pretend.

That's all I got and I think that's plenty :)


No comments: