Part I: Pre-Wedding

Trip Start Nov 05, 2004
Trip End Apr 03, 2005

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, January 8, 2005

 (I noticed that the piccies are totally out of order, so sorry! I was having that blonde moment again! Well, at least I learned something! Will be sure to get these piccies into order. Soon.)

I never really thought I'd get married. I've seen alot of marriages fail. I've seen people hurt and scarred and basically lose their faith in the idea of lasting love. It's a hard thing to witness but surely a harder one to experience. I always thought "what does a piece of paper mean anyway?. Why go through the phases? It is what it is and paper doesn't change that." I think for some people this still rings true and fair enough b/c people have different ideas of what marriage means, or doesn't mean to them. It did for me for a long time. I really dislike putting labels on things, and that was one I always thought was unnecessary. Well, as your parents say to you when you make unfledged statements such as those; "Wait until you grow up, you'll change your mind". My parents always said that anyway when I would make statements about how I would be, or what I would or wouldn't do when I "grew up".  Some of my vision remained the same, but alot of things I thought I knew, I really didn't and that's all just a part of aging, isn't it?  I had no desire to ever be married at home in Canada b/c I had absolutely no doubt I would drown in the wedding-crazed frenetic lunatics that would be family. I did know that if I ever did take the plunge, it would be somewhere in a far off land. Somewhere far away from any wedding hysteria that could ensue.
I still remember opening my eyes on my wedding day and looking up at the milky whiteness of my mosquito net. I remember smiling to myself. I felt no nervousness, no angst, no worry. I felt peaceful. We had both spent some time with our monk before this day. We talked about the Pali prayers. We talked of marriage and the meaning of it. We talked of love and hardship. We talked of life and struggles. We talked of the Three Refuges and of the Five Precepts. My Thai has gotten much better over the years, but Jeremy was still far beyond me and was doing really, really well. For someone who doesn't speak another language, I was very surprised at how tone savvy he was!

Vera showed up not long after with Dalton and some coffee in tow. Jer had met Dalton a few years back when I had already gone back home and Jer stayed on a couple of months longer, yearning to spend more time with the Thais and wanting to have a tour of Cambodia as well. Dalton and Vera had been living on Lanta, both dive masters and working for a very renowned resort down the beach from us, Pimalai. Both hailing from Ireland, they were going back and forth between Lanta and the Perenthian Islands in Malaysia for some years and working as diving instructors. Both are kindred souls.

There was minimal "beautifying" of the bride-to-be.  For one, there is little or no point in wearing makeup as it will certainly melt off your face within minutes of being in the hot sun! I was ready fairly quickly and with very little fuss. My dress was hanging up in the corner of the bungalow and I had been sneaking peeks at it during the weeks leading up to our day. Jer had picked it out in Bangkok and I fell inlove with it. Simple and lovely, exactly how I imagined our wedding day to be. I slipped it on and, still, after all the curry I had eaten, it fit!

Jer was in his folk's bungalow gearing up for the big day. His parents had come down to see their only son married. Jeremy's dad had been to Thailand many times before, but his mom had never been and she was having as torrid of an affair with the land and its people as I have been all these years. Though Western tradition dictates that the bride and groom should not see each other before they are married, we were in no way having a western-style wedding so in to the parentals bungalow I went so that Jeremy's mom could tie my shawl in a manner in which it would actually stay put. She's an expert in such things. That and I didn't want to be isolated from my family as the bride sometimes can be. I wanted to share in the pre-wedding joy. There was resounding laughter and excitement!

I emerged from the bungalow and went out to meet our friends in all my weddingness. They oohed and ahhed. The boys were especially cute. Op was so impressed, he told me he had never seen me look so beautiful and he was so heartfelt and emotional it made me teary! Then laughter. So much laughter with these people. Our people. The people who were to share this most special day with us. There was even more laughing and joking. Alot more! Things were being readied and loaded up into the vehicles for the drive to Ban Saladan where the Wat was. Eventually we all piled into the vehicles. I was to go with Polly, Mee's wife. Her truck was newer and less dirty then the others and she was trying to make an effort to keep me as dust-free as possible! Mee, one of our closest friends on Lanta, he had helped arrange our entire wedding. He had married Polly in England a year or so back, and missed his traditional Thai wedding with his family, and he assured us that the only way we would be married was the traditional way. This was to be a true Thai event! Our Buddhist friends would join us at the Wat for the proceedings, but the majority of our close friends are Muslim, so they would not be joining us for the first part of the ceremony, but would be there when we got back for the second part.

Off we went. We arrived at the Wat and got out of the cars. As usual we were in a flurry of red dust kicked up by the cars! I thought to myself how some brides might be upset at the thought of getting dirty, but I had no worries. Our monk was there to greet us with the biggest smile on his face. Though we were not wearing traditional Thai wedding clothes, he was impressed with our choice of wedding outfits. My dress was handmade by a Thai woman in Bangkok, and Jeremy wore traditional Thai Pants with a handmade shirt he had chosen in Laos.
The preparation began inside the Wat and the candles and incense and food was all being set out and readied for the ceremony. The monks had arrived from the mainland as well. The Magic Man, who was a close friend of Mee's family, had never spoken to western folks before and was a little coy. We both spoke some Thai with him and he seemed a bit more at ease and was smiling shyly. He was a wee man with thin lines in his senescent face. His position was to keep all the bad spirits away from our union, to bless the food given to the monks and to perform a special ceremony for us after the wedding.
Into the Wat we went........

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