I was teaching in Quanzhou and lived in the dormitory where all the other teacher had apartments, both Chinese and foreigners. There were just 2 foreign teachers and we lived in the same corridor.
I was on the first floor and he on the second just above my head.
One day the teacher asked me to help with his wedding. He was going to marry a Chinese girl
The wedding was supposed to be on the 22nd of May, which is my birthday. This birthday I became a legal senior citizen, 65 years old.
The teacher was from Canada.
So, he asked me to help with his wedding and that was of course nothing but happiness. I thought I would be some kind of prettification and my task would be to make sure everything would be decent during the dining, but that was not quite the truth.
I was supposed to help with the cooking, just help. When cooking for 100 guests you have to cut a lot vegetables, meat and god knows what. The recipes were made by the groom. Everything on paper, really organised. I was cooking or preparing the food from Friday afternoon until noon Saturday, of course with a bit of sleep during the night, or at least not cooking during the night. I was supposed to sleep.
When I came home Friday night I was so tired that sleep would not come and I slept almost nothing. Pain in my wrist also kept me awake. I had broken the wrist some time ago. I forgot to look ahead and dug my toes into screws that stood proud in the road. There are abandoned screws and nails all around. Not worth cleaning peanuts like that after road maintenance and everyone knows this, except of course me who had just arrived to the city and was totally ignorant.
On Saturday, the wedding day, I arrived in the kitchen at six o’clock and now everything that had been cut the day before should go into the pots and the cooking start. Everything went well and according to plan, but
The electricity died and there was no gas in sight at least for several coming hours. Now the imagination had to pop in. The vivid imagination. I pictured more than 100 people hungry and no food. In the weeding. Disaster and nothing less.
Three teachers, dressed up came and wanted to help. Dressed up in short skirts, really short ones, the skirts are short here in China. It is ok if you see the nighties under the shirts but it is not ok to wear low-necked dress. These 3 were the ones that pushed me over the edge and I was totally devastated. How could those help with their bags and in their mini skirts help? When they had wandered around for about 5 minutes I told them to go down to the church. It took another 5 minutes to get them out, everything had to be discussed. My oh my how we can discuss everything into death here in my lovely country.
Of course I had to apologise again and again for my attitude and how abrupt I was, but I think I have been forgiven. People here are used to me and they are used to me speaking my mind. Someone said that they could trust me, I would always tell the truth. Here we don´t express our opinion or say what we want to say. We dance around the words and no one knows what we really think. This is being polite, you know.
Another thing I find quite amazing is how the women dress. Since I was a teacher in a Middle school I was supposed to wear cardigans or blouses up to the neck with sleeves, and never something that could hint that inside my bra is not just push up, but real flesh.
Here it is a mortal sin to have breasts but very nice and fancy to wear a big bra full of foam. Of course it is not a problem for the Chines women to wear low necked tea shirts or blouses because you never see breasts, you just see the bras. On the other hand there is nothing wrong with a shirt so tiny that when you move the nighties appear. It is just porch and not to mention if you are wearing spike heals and preferably high winter boots. It dropped out of my mouth one day when observing some of the women teachers here in the school who dressed in the mini skirts, that this was how the hookers in the west dressed.
Not very modest but in 38 degrees and having to wear a long sleeved cardigan with the sweat running down between real breasts, even though not too big, can make a person loose their minds watching the staffs striped and dotted panties.
Back to the weeding. The couple is Christian, and being a Christian here in China is special and important. Always said a prayer before the meals and everyone is halleujaing all the time, just like being at a denomination meeting or something. I am not a fan of denominations and they are not in line with my believe, not to mention that I believe God is really nice and he loves everyone even those who are from other nationality or believe.
A good friend of mine gave me a beautiful cross when he said good by in Iceland. I often wear this cross, specially if I need courage or love. When someone sees the cross and sais in a sleek voice: ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN? I run and as fast as I can.
Many foreigners and even the Chinese do agree with me and have experienced this huge hypocrisy according to the religion. So, here I was among at least one hundred people who more or less belonged to the wholly ones, and there was a wedding in the pipes.
The couple was of course already married according to the Chinese law, they had got the paper a month before or more, before the Christian wedding. To get married in this land you go to some bureaucracy in Fuzhou (which is the capital in the province) and there you get a certificate that you are married. I have no idea how this is done but I know the end result is that they are a couple, a married couple.