Saturday, 30 June 2012

Gallivanting, Weddings, and General Happiness

My dear Nuk is married now, and my heart is swollen with happiness for her happiness. It's hard to believe how long it is since she first showed up in NY my last year of college. Certainly I never would have imagined then that she would become such a sister to me that one day I would come all the way to Thailand for her wedding.

A lovely wedding. Yesterday, I slept in late so as to continue to strengthen up in preparation for the long stretches of busyness ahead, and then started my morning perfectly: with avocado on toast. If I were a cat, that food would make me purr. Then the five of us girls met up at the Pink Tea House in downtown Chiang Mai. This tea house is actually quite, quite pink--slightly less flamboyant than a well-fed flamingo--and though it looks small when standing out front, the place is quite large! You step inside and are encased in tea and tea pots and ceramics and porcelain. My child-self was quite enthralled to be in that place. Then you can go outside and sit in these lovely seats alongside the river, or you can go upstairs to an airconditioned enclosure--which we did at the bride's request. That room is green. Green not like any Eastern-side North-American Green, but green rather more like a palm tree, and exquisitely filled with low rising dark-wood tables and colourful settees and chairs. 

I had lavender lemonade and pumpkin steak, which sounded like they would suit my stomach, but the choices were difficult to make as everything looked absolutely delicious! 

We spent a great deal of time there chatting and giggling and enjoying customary before-the-wedding girl-time fun, and then piled into Candace's song-taew (song-tao: a truck with a special thing over the back that makes for semi-enclosed seats) and went to a nail salon. Manicures and pedicures, if you please! My nails missed the point that being so painted, they are supposed to speak french to me. Oh well. Wouldn't do much good here... 

After that, we rushed over to the grand hotel downtown where Candace dropped us off so we could check in to our room and then get to the rehearsal. When you are putting together a Thai-American-Chinese-Canadian wedding, this rehearsal requires something more than the usual amount of coordinating, as you are not just coordinating a wedding, but navigating and negotiating between that many different cultures and each of their unique expectations. I deeply admire their ability to do so with such grace. 

Following the rehearsal, family and bridal party and other wedding ceremony participants travelled up into the mountains for the rehearsal dinner. This was also lovely. Up in the mountains, our special dinning room (all glass!) looked out at a view of the city stretched out beyond a lake with palm trees and an absolutely gorgeous garden with every colour of the rainbow splashed through it. The food was traditional Northern Thai, and I would have it on my menu every week if I could. 

After that, we went back to the hotel, where more wedding details were seen to and afterwhich, I was sent to bed. I think I must have slept over 12 hours solid. But I needed it!
Today was the day of the wedding. We spent hours leisurely preparing in our "bridal suite," and Nuk was a beautiful bride. The photographers and videographers were lots of fun to work with, and the make-up-artist did a great job enhancing Nuk's already lovely features (though we are not otherwise impressed with him or his company, so don't use them!). There were lots of last minute details to see to and then, it was upon us; the wedding itself. Suddenly we girls were leaving the room and taking the elevator down to the ceremony hall, and filling in before the bride and there it was, the admonishments to the couple and the saying of the vows and boom! they're ceremonialy married!

I think perhaps one of my favourite moments in the whole day happened when the grooms dad stood onstage to say his thanks and appreciation in chinese, which the groom translated into english, which the bride translated into Thai. I love that this is my world, and that these people are there to enrich it like that. I love that this is THE world, not just mine. 

The reception was also delicious, lots of curries and rice and general yumminess and lots of music. The cakes were each of them cut by the happy couple--with a SWORD! And the company was charming. It was especially neat to me, to meet people who know several friends I know from my Slovak world. It was also especially neat to talk with the father of one of my friends (hey Bethany, if you're reading this again!)--another girl I met my last year of college, and directed in a play. I learnt that her whole family was astonished that I had gotten her to do something like that. Now her brother works for me, too. I love this world we live in. It's so refreshing to get glimpses of the beautiful ways things work; of the relationships between people and how they shape our lives. 

In the after-party for the "young people" at the "imperial spa" which we had exclusively reserved outside on one of the hotel's rooftops, we had even more fun, which I  was happily refreshed enough for by then. (standing so long after being sick was an effort! I had several people on guard to catch me, but happily, I survived to the end and didn't have to distract from the event!) I don't know what my favourite part of the after-party was; if it was the merrymaking in general, the pictures we took with slow-shutter-speed with sparklers on the cameras (well, that the photographers took of us--I don't have any), the pool (which I didn't swim in, but totally waded in as consolation), the snacks... But I think maybe it was when we lit up floating lanterns one by one and sent them off into the night sky; kisses and wishes to the bright moon. If you want any visual of that, the floating lanterns in the movie "Tangled" are exactly what we sent up into the dark. One of the most exquisite moments of my life, I think. One of. :) 

So there you have two days of weddingness. Now I am back home with Candace, feeling even at this later evening hour so much better than I have all week. It's so great to feel alive again--mentally and physically. I am so sad to have sleep-walked of necessity through most of this whole week. It's almost impossible for me to believe right now that a week has already passed since I again left Slovakia, and that now already when I am only feeling like I have begun to awake from this malady, my main purpose in coming here has concluded. I have said goodbye to the bride. Not goodbye, but see you later--though who but heaven knows where that later will be with us. I think that is beautiful in itself, though. Now to keep healing and manage to maximize beyond imagination my last few days in this country! 

Look out, Thailand. I'm here, and I'm feeling better, and I have a lot of making-up-time to have at!

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