Monday, February 11, 2008

Wedding bells on the new year

Traditionally, I hate the Lunar New Year and the first few days of this new year were no different. In fact, the stresses were much worse because of the children and worrying about whether they were ok, whether they needed to nap, dealing with their cantankerous-ness that came about from being overstimulated coupled with the lack of sleep. On top of that, there's always the stress of having to be at 2 different places at the same time. It constantly makes me feel like I'm part of a divorced family and both sides are fighting over custody over my time and presence. Except, it isn't really custody but it is true that both families are fighting to gain dominion over that strangely treasured lunchtime slot on the first day of the Lunar New Year. This results in either pissing off one side of the family or rushing back and forth across the freeway to be at both lunches. That's when I get cantankerous and poor Packrat suffers the brunt of it.

Thankfully, that was over after the first day. Day 2 was relatively easy because it was spent with my closest non-family family. These were people I actually wanted to see and were actually extremely fond of, rather than people whom I am related to but cannot for the life of them get my name right. Day 2 was also spent grading papers. We were astounded at the number of people at MacDonalds and Cold Storage until I realised that Cold Storage was probably one of the few supermarkets open on Day 2 and MacDonalds...well, when people tire of Chinese food, any non Chinese food would do and Macs is about as abundant as they come.

Now, if the New Year ended at that point, I'd have been pretty pleased because it would have given me some time to get some much needed rest. But that was not to be so, the aforementioned non-family family was going to take up the rest of the weekend because Plentyfish (whose blog no longer is active so I shan't link him) was going to get married on Day 3. The run up to this wedding has been filled with exasperated exclamations on my part that went along the lines of "Who in their right mind gets married during CNY????" We knew it was going to be a challenge organising and ensure a smooth wedding on Day 3. What we didn't know was how big a challenge it was going to be.

I got woken up by a frantic SMS from my mother at 6 in the morning. Actually, I was already up but when I heard my phone go off, I knew it could not be a good thing. And it wasn't. SMS read "The petals of ALL the roses have fallen off. Trying to call florist. Not sure if open on Day 3! Bride may not have bouquet!" My poor mother! She had told me how, pre-CNY, she had scoured the island for the freshest roses that hopefully would be able to keep through the holiday (There were no flowers in from the eve of CNY onwards and none of the wholesalers were open through the holiday. This was made worse by the fact that the blizzards in China had caused fewer fresh roses to be available in Singapore). When she managed to snag what she thought were the freshest ones, she kept them cool and wet and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, the paper that held the roses together led her to believe we were actually going to be able to win this one. The truth only came out when she unwrapped the roses that morning and all the roses were good for was confetti.

That's when I took a deep breath, rang her and assured her that we would go look for a wholesaler that was open and buy whatever roses were available. And that was how our day got started, running at full speed, all over the island. I even had a 24 hour florist on speeddial in case we needed to get a bouquet. At that point, I was ready to throw money at anyone who could provide a guaranteed bouquet for the bride. I only found out later that my mom, being the dear that she was, was sick as a dog but kept at it like a trooper. I got a lot of flak for it which of course raised my heckles and sent my voice into decibels that only dogs could hear.

Anyway, all turned out good and the bouquet was as beautiful as could be. It brought back memories of my bouquet because my mom used the same orchids. Cymbidiums- I learnt, was the name.

And the bride, being the scatterbrain that she was, appeared at the end of the aisle looking the picture perfect glowing bride save for one thing. She'd forgotten the bouquet! This, of course, let me to halt the procession before it got started, sprint up to the bridesmaid, grab her bouquet and thrust it into the bride's hands with the most 'teacher' of looks. As Packrat aptly put it, it wouldn't have been her wedding if she had remembered the bouquet. Of course, all this was backstage and Plentyfish was blissfully unaware of any of this that had transpired.

The rest of the wedding went off without a hitch, sunset, by the ocean, with a nice breeze, with people milling around and tourists gawking and snapping photographs. The only other hiccup that sent the bestman, who was probably as wound up as we were, almost scurrying and burrowing into the sand was when the pastor dropped the slightest and finest of wedding bands onto the sand.

As payback for the stress and the raised blood pressure Plentyfish and Mrs Plentyfish had subjected us to, we decided to invade their room while they were taking photos at the dinner. First, we carted in 2 tanks of helium in a suitcase, making us look extremely suspect. Then, we proceeded to fill 200 balloons with helium and let it loose in their room. This created a beautiful boudoir effect in the room although it was going to be a bitch for them to sleep with ribbons dangling in front of their noses not to mention bopping balloons when the helium seeps out. And you can't see it from the photo but under what looks like the most innocuous and harmless of bedding was actually 2000 little tinsel hearts, generously sprinkled from top to bottom. For the blurry eyed couple at 3am in the morning when they were finally rid of us.

It's Tuesday now and I don't think I've recovered from the exhaustion and the adrenaline of the day. It was great fun though and extremely touching for me as I watched one of my best and oldest friends finally make an honourable woman out of his long suffering mate. I thought I would cry but I think I was filled with nostalgia and pride more than anything else. And now that it's over, I kinda miss it a little bit. I think I kinda miss them too. And oh! I'm filled with envy too because they're off to NZ for an entire month. A whole month, without work! And it brings back great memories of my own honeymoon.

Unfortunately, it's also made me feel a little bit bummed because I think back to then and I realise how much life has changed for Packrat and myself in the last 5 years and it's true, you do lose a little bit of that carefree, wide eyed joy. Ah, now to attempt to recapture that.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 16:33

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