Trip Start Sep 26, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Friday, November 3, 2006

Recently, my boss Condrad's daughter Chamila was engaged to lovely young man. I was thrilled that they invited me to what I was told was her 'registration.' I was told that this was the legal marriage ceremony. They had intentions of keeping this ceremony small - 20 people - but by the time the day came around, there must have been almost 100 people there.

The auspicious time was at 9:26 (or something...), which meant I had to be up and 'ready' at 7, so I could be in my sari (with much help from Nilu - the woman downstairs) by 8. (Dad - you thought it took 5 girls a long time to get ready? Can you imagine if we all had to get in a sari? There's no way we would we have ever made it to church on time!)

When I was told Nilu and I would be picked up, I assumed one of the other guests would be coming for us, so I was quite surprised to find the bride in the van! The van was late, so the driver got us to Conrad's - 10 kilometers inland - in 10 minutes (it usually takes 30 minutes). It's a windy, bumpy road lined with paddy fields and dotted with dogs and three-wheelers. It was raining. Conrad's tires are bald. The little girl beside me lost her breakfast. I held on for dear life. My beautifully blow dried hair (1st time I had blow-dried in SL) was a frizzy mess (serves me right for trying). We took out 2 three-wheelers and 5 dogs. Ok, almost took out...

But I digress. The registration. So we got to Conrad's, the bride was whisked in and sat next to the groom at a table in the living room. They signed a bunch of papers. Lots of pictures were taken. They exchanged rings. Then they kissed. Cut the cake; the bride and groom feed cake to their parents and in-laws, the parents and in-laws feed each other cake. Then they took a bunch of pictures. They reenacted the bride's mom feeding milk to the groom (I was somewhere on one tire when the real thing happened) for the photographer. We were served lunch. And I asked 'um... so are they married now??' To which they replied, yes, but the real wedding is in June.

I'm having a tough time comprehending the significance of this ceremony: she's still living with her parents and he's living in Colombo. She'll move into his place after the 'real' wedding in June. I'll keep you posted if I get more info!
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