Part I: Pre-Wedding
Trip Start Nov 05, 2004
4Trip End Apr 03, 2005
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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
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
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
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
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........