A very Chinese weekend

It didn’t start out too Chinese, unless you count the several games of Xmahjongg I played on our flight.  We landed around 4:30 and had to wait a bit for my brother.  There was tons of traffic.  It was good that we didn’t take a taxi.  The drive to the hotel was about an hour, and I can’t imagine what the fare would have been.

As we walked up to the hotel, I heard my name and saw one of my aunts.  Then I realized my entire family was there in the lobby, about to leave for the rehearsal dinner.  Yikes!  I hugged everyone and introduced MB (for the first time!).  It was a bit scary but kind of fun.

We went upstairs to wash off airplane grime and get dressed.  My mother had said the hotel was run-down, but our room was really nice!  Not fancy schmancy, but an above average, clean hotel room.  The bathroom had one of those see through shower stalls, which I love.

The restaurant was right across the street.  As we walked in, I felt somewhat nervous about my brightly colored dress, but people seemed to like it.

The food was Chinese banquet style, ie, a ton of dishes.  Shrimp, duck, sea cucumber (which wasn’t as bad as I remember), pork, etc.  But somehow at the end of the meal, we were still hungry.

I think because those big banquets were originally to show how rich a family was, the purpose wasn’t to satiate hunger but to give everyone a taste of these exotic, expensive dishes.  Unlike the noodles and Taiwanese “street food” we had a few hours later at the Tea Station.

The thing we discovered about San Gabriel is that it’s incredibly Chinese.  There were two or three mini malls that were entirely Asian, which means awesome food but also lots of Chinese people.  Obviously I’ve no problem with that, but many of them seemed to have a problem with us as  “mixed couple,” at least as far as I could tell by their constant staring.  It’s like, one, this is America, and two, you can’t swing a dead cat in some cities without hitting an Asian woman-white guy couple.  Where have you people been?  It was a very strange experience.

But the food was good.  MB got a bunch of small dishes and got “tea flavored” noodles and fried cuttlefish balls, all of which was yummy.

MB and I thought we’d have all of Saturday to laze around and do some work, but somehow we got roped into helping one of my cousins with some last minute wedding preparation.  I actually didn’t mind.  It’s fun when it’s not my wedding.  And MB managed to get out of it when some time sensitive work issues popped up (how convenient!).

We worked on the favors, which involved shoving slightly too big cookies into slightly too snug bags.  Then there was placing the favors on the tables, and alphabetizing the name cards, which I bitchily took over since one of the women was incredibly inefficient.  My adrenaline was actually pumping!  Reminded me of my meeting planning days.

Then my aunt, the mother of the groom, appeared and said she needed a guy to help nail down the runner.  My brother was already dressed up, so he couldn’t do it.  I volunteered MB, who didn’t mind taking a break from work to come down.

But once we got out to the terrace, what my aunt – and my uncle, and two random guys – were saying made no sense.  First off everyone was talking at once in a combination of Chinese and English.  Next it sounded like the runner couldn’t be rolled out till right before the bride walked, so being dressed up or not didn’t seem to be an issue.

The whole time I thought, Then why have MB do it?  MB, basically random white guy, rather my brother, a first cousin AND an usher?  But I didn’t want to make it seem like I didn’t want MB to do it.

I did tell MB he definitely didn’t need to stick around and to just go back to our room.  Luckily my mother, older sister to father of the groom, spoke up and said, “Why not just have my son do it?  He’s an usher!”

“Oh yeah,” my aunt said.  I can’t blame her really for not thinking clearly.  I remember being completely crazed on my wedding day.

That settled, I went to relax with MB before the wedding started.

Overall it was beautiful.  Being on the garden terrace was sort of hot in the sun, but the flowers were beautiful and the harp was very nice.  Of course I teared up a little during the vows.  The whole ceremony was thankfully short.

Not so for pictures afterward.  Between my aunt’s siblings, our family, and the bride’s side, there were a billion family pictures and various combinations.  No biggie though.  We mostly sat around in the shade, aghast at how ludicrously cute one of my other cousin’s daughters are.  My cousin’s wife is, I think, part South American and part African American, so their kids are Chinese-South American-black, and SO FRIGGING CUTE.  I want to abduct them.

Like the rehearsal dinner, the reception was Chinese style banquet, but with much more food, so it was impossible not to be full.  There were tons of speeches and a “This Is Your Life” slide show, but no bouquet tossing or garter throwing, thanks goodness.

The first couple of times my brother asked our mom to dance, she was embarrassed and resisted.  “Oh my God!” she said, mostly because no one else was dancing.  But when they played Moon River, she enthusiastically went with my dad to the floor, and then during an Elvis ballad, she practically jumped out of her chair when my brother asked.

MB didn’t feel like dancing, but I got him to go up once.

By ten we were back up in our room.  Very convenient to have everything in one place!

The next morning it was back to the airport, then home, finally, yay!

The ‘rents flew up to San Francisco with us and are in town till Wednesday. Their flight got in a little after ours.  Their hotel is just two blocks from our place, so we picked them up in the early evening to show them our apartment and a little of the area.  For dinner we took them to our favorite Thai place, which they really liked.

I had switched my schedule around to hang out with them today, but they’re actually going to my aunt’s in Fremont and aren’t back till tomorrow afternoon.  Free day, woohoo! which I really need because I have an article due tomorrow which I’ve barely started, I’m totally behind on my Nervous Breakdown reading, and I need to go to the library and possibly the gym.

Tomorrow night we’ll have dinner, probably in Japantown.

Whew, very long catch up.  Now first thing: more caffeine!


  1. You know it just occurred to me that I’ve been enjoying your writing for several months now, here and at the NB, and I’ve never said “Hi”,or thank you for your stories, (especially the rants re: marriage and divorce, family relationships, mother). You help to reinforce my belief that there are certain things, if cut up the right way, can always be put back together again. There are other things which can’t be reconstructed, but my theory is that those weren’t made well in the first place. Of course, blenders, incinerators and steam rollers are a different story, or at least give the story a different ending. But it seems to me that broken hearts, relationships and life in general can be fixed – like a lizard, or starfish. So, Hi to you from this side of my blue screen and thanks for the warning about Prince of Persia.

    • thank you veronica for reading and commenting.

      i agree there are certain things that can be mended, or that can, as you eloquently stated, regenerate. and sometimes the regeneration is better than the original!

      ah yes, Prince of Persia. a definite don’t-see, unless it’s free on an airplane.