Crossing the International Dateline twice in one week is not all bad, as it turns out. On Friday, the 13th of September, I flew to Vancouver for a wedding. I have known Conor all his life; in fact, he and my son Sam were born just 9 days apart. When Conor arrived, I knew that I, too, would have a second boy. The two of them grew up together and were great friends right through high school and traveled to Europe together after that. Sadly, they had some sort of falling out and are no longer close, but it was heart-warming to see them talking again at the wedding, and I definitely wanted to be there to see Conor marry. I had asked my boss for a day on either side of the wedding weekend last Spring and had bought a plane ticket when I learned that I was required in Vancouver the following Monday and Tuesday for work, so it turned out well for me. I never did get adjusted to the time change in Vancouver, and when I arrived back in China, I more or less stepped back into routine.
The wedding joined an Irishman and a Serbian lass (the beautiful Jelena) and was held in a Catholic church attended by an East Indian priest. It wasn’t a full Catholic service as Jelena isn’t Catholic, but it was very lovely just the same. The reception was held at the Serbian Cultural Centre in Burnaby. All of it was wonderful but for me, there were two very special parts to the evening. The first was when the mother of the groom, my dear friend Lynne, read the Irish wedding prayer, first in Serbian, next in Gaelic, and finally in English. Amazing! I studied the Serbs watching her; they were clearly gob-smacked that not only did she have the pronunciation right; she was also using the proper inflection (I am assuming that these were their thoughts because they looked completely amazed and pleased). I had never heard Serbian before and was so impressed—it is not an easy language! Lynne had asked one of the Serbs to translate the prayer and teach her how to say it in advance of the wedding. It was obvious she had practiced until she had it right! Next, I watched the Irish contingent mouthing the Gaelic words along with Lynne, and I knew she nailed that part as well. Talk about setting a standard! I can’t imagine anything that could be as perfect.
The second thing that I enjoyed so much was seeing all of Conor’s and Sam’s grade and high school friends, all grown up. What fun talking to all these wonderful young men and women! I heard so many interesting stories and had so many laughs remembering some of the crazy times when they were younger. It was a perfect night for me, even if I heard enough accordion music to last a lifetime. It was a great wedding!
So here we are, back in Jiaxing. The temperature is around 28 with humidity near 100%. It has been raining off and on all day and is ridiculously hot and sweaty. We did manage to get out to buy some vegetables—you’ll be happy to know that the goat is still very much alive—but the state of the place was deplorable. A massive fly population got our attention as did the floor, coated with muddy grime thick enough to write a name in. We got in and out quickly, then took a Tuk Tuk home. This veggie market is only 7-10 blocks away from our place but it seemed like our driver had never been this far. He kept looking with amazement at the Greenway as if he had no idea it existed a few blocks from his ‘hood. We hope he found his way back!
Back to work tomorrow (Sunday) to make up for the non-holiday holiday, as our new friends Cheryl and Andy from Australia call it. Meanwhile, it’s Happy Hour and Geoff is up from his third nap today, so time to sign off. Tight lines and straight shooting, everyone. Cheers!