Second Half of the NEW YEAR

Good Morning All,

What a great Saturday I had.

To start the day off the weather was just as they had forecast. The sun was shining and it was windy. I as you know slept in a bit so was feeling a bit rushed as I always seem to do this to myself. But I was only about ten minutes short of being ready when my daughter arrived. I wore the dress, the cardigan and the scarf. The only item that I changed my mind about was the shoes and I wore some semi flat sandals which ended up being the perfect shoe to wear (I will explain later).

My daughter wanted to stop and get gas which we did at the neighbourhood gas station. Then we were on our way. We almost missed the first turn off from our neighbourhood to the highway but just as we were almost passed, I mentioned “aren’t we supposed to turn and go south.” Luckily the exit is roomy and there was no one behind us so we “checked” and made a quick turn and then were truly on our way. They have “google maps” and yes it was on but it was one of those times when because Amanda also takes the second exit, habit took over. Anyway we continued on our way. We had to go a good way around the City of Edmonton before turning off. The drive was beautiful. The countryside was a glorious palette of fall colours and some of the houses were amazing. I had no idea. Big, big houses with three and four garages built into the house. When we got to the final couple minutes according to “google maps” we were for a minute not quite certain if we had the right place. It was a leaf covered opening between the trees. But we carried on. There were several cars and I spotted an older woman (likely about my age) all dressed up. We stopped and I got out and it was the groom’s mother. We had arrived! The groom happened to come around the corner of the house and came over to chat. We used the bathroom before my daughter continued on her way to do some “thrifting.” She wanted to go and check the shops in the nearby smaller City of Sherwood Park. I was so relieved that we had found the venue.

The venue was actually a private residence which originally was rented out by the owner for different types of retreats. When COVID19 hit, he changed the plan and started renting out for smaller weddings, family reunions and as a B&B. It was the most beautiful place. In the front, the house was magnificent with a huge porch with steps going up covered in stone. Lots of stone on the outside of the house. The groom directed me to the back of the house where I walked down to the area set up for the wedding ceremony. I had no idea that a lake was within walking distance of the house. I was told the name of the lake but alas I have forgotten. Very nice backdrop with the water and the trees all draped in their fall colours. I took a seat on a chair in the ceremony area and just enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my face. The groom came and sat on a nearby chair and we chatted. I learned that his parents were refugees from Vietnam. His Mother had been a nurse back home and ended up in several places including a refugee camp before coming to Canada. His parents met and married in Edmonton where “the groom” was born one of two sons. I met his younger brother and his wife who are expecting a baby. I also learned that the tea ceremony is Chinese (an Asian tradition), and is a time for the generations to offer their blessings to the bride and groom. They also at this time would hand down items from one generation to the other. The groom, my neighbour and friend was always seeking me out to ensure I was doing okay. Some other wedding guests were milling about and some where playing a lawn game. I was introduced by the groom to the handful of guests that were outside. His cousin’s husband and his son, also formally to the groom’s parents. There was a bit of a breeze but not the gale force winds that we have been experiencing. What a lovely afternoon. Of course, I snapped a few photos of the surroundings.

It was about 2:00 p.m. when we were called into the house for the TEA CEREMONY. A sofa in the living room was draped with a red silk/satin covering. There were red and gold cushions on the sofa with two on the floor. The guests gathered in the kitchen/dining area which was an opening floor plan to the living room. The groom waited patiently for the bride who was to call him to the door of the room she was in. When he knocked on the door, the Mother of the Bride answered the door. She gave him tea to drink and then gave him instructions. He was asked to do a number of pushups for the amount of years that they have been together and one for eternity. A few minutes later a woman in a beautiful red lace dress came running around from a door on the other side of the room and it was the bride. They embraced and then walked over and knelt on the cushions. The groom’s mother was sitting on the sofa. A female cousin handed the bride and groom each a small cup of tea which they in turn handed to the groom’s mother. She drank the tea and offered blessings to the couple. Family members took turns ….. all the parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins and I asked the cousin (Michelle) if I could participate as they had mentioned friends or anyone who would like to offer their blessings. So little old me was able to participate in the TEA CEREMONY. I was over the moon. The photographer snapped photos of everyone who participated in the tea ceremony including me. I managed to snap a couple of photos of the bride and groom afterwards as we were instructed not to take photos during the ceremony as there was a professional photographer to do this.

Before heading back outside to wait for the Wedding Ceremony to begin, I was checking out the photo tree by the entranceway to the house. The tree was filled with photos of the happy couple from all of their travels all over the world. There was also a table with small coloured cards & envelopes spread about so I picked one up and write some good wishes to my friends. A young woman, best friend to the bride came over and asked if she could take my photo, I said yes. The photos were placed in the envelope with the card as the bride & groom wanted to have photos of everyone in attendance.

By the high point of the sun it was a good 20 degrees celsius and although in the beginning of the day and partway into the afternoon there was a bit of a breeze.

Back outside and down to the ceremony area the guests were beginning to gather. The groom’s cousin Michelle officiated the wedding ceremony and was preparing the sound system. We waited for a little while before the groom came to take his place. It was not much longer before the bride and her mom came down the stairs to the back lawn area where her dad took her arm and the three of them walked toward the wedding area. The bride looking gorgeous in full length white gown and opting for a floral wreath crown instead of a hand bouquet. Her dress had a lace bodice and long sleeves with a skirt of organza and a beaded belt tied with a satin bow at the back. She looked so beautiful. Both the bride and groom wrote their own vows. We all had a giggle when the bride signaled for her cellphone and read her vows from it, followed by the groom who pulled out handwritten pages for his vows. The vows were so moving. Then it was over and they were married.

After the ceremony the wedding photographer took photos of all the guests in one big photo followed by family photos and over the course of time photos of the bride and groom.

I went back into the house for a drink and found they had some special treats laid out in the kitchen for all of the guests. So I chose a barbecued pork bun and some veggies and a can of Sprite. All of the food was individually packaged for the guests. I sat down at the end of the big table which was empty at that time. As the table began to fill up, I gave up my spot to an woman with mobility issues. Once I was finished eating, I went and sat on the front porch. Just enjoying the afternoon air. A small boy came outside with a coconut bun. His name was Evan. We chatted away until a few minutes later his sister Macey came out. This is how it all started with me meeting these two sweet young children. Evan (4) and Macey (6). They told me all sorts of things about school and themselves. It was a few minutes later when a young man came out and introduced himself as Jimmy. Thinking he was the children’s father as he was so good with them. Anyway, I am thinking that I have been writing this post for well over an hour. Sometimes you just meet people and click and this was the case with this family. Not long later I met the Mom, Jenny. We ended up going back outside to the lawn area and then going for a long walk in the area off the back lawn. Walking and talking and enjoying each other’s company. There was sand on the path and posts from an old dock which meant clearly the water had been further out at one point in time. From that point until I left we were together. What an awesome family. I found out that Jimmy was Jenny’s boyfriend and that she was divorced. The children adore Jimmy that was evident. Jimmy was so polite and kind. They even called me Auntie Carol. I was taken aback by this but after realized that in most other cultures they call older females “Auntie.” When I say taken aback, I meant in a good way. After our walk the FOOD TRUCK arrived and we had supper. There was a nice choice of food. We sat together at a table in the backyard and enjoyed our supper as the sun set. I texted my daughter when I was getting my food as it was about a 30 minute drive for her to come and pick me up. Before I left, Jenny and I decided that we had to keep in touch ….. so we are now FB friends.

I said my goodbyes to the family, my new friends and hugged the children. By the way, masks were wore and social distancing was done. As I walked away Jimmy said to the children “would you like to walk Auntie Carol out” so they joined me to the top of the walk. Such cute children and so nice. Best time. As I walked to the parking area, the food truck was leaving. The driver of this monstrous vehicle when backing up accidentally backed into something, I did not see what it was. There had been a pointer out helping but it was getting dark and I could see trying to maneuver something going wrong. As I started to walk around the vehicle the groom came out onto the porch and called out to me asking if I got a donut, I said no. I also said that my ride was here and that I was leaving. In a minute the bride was there. Jess came down to say goodbye and asked if she could come and say thank you to my daughter for driving me. I said of course. So the bride and a few minutes later the groom came to my daughter’s vehicle. We had a little visit before we were on our way.

What a glorious time I had. There are so many moments that I could have included in this blog but time is passing and I have some things to do before Mr. Alvin arrives home. Miss the little guy.

Amanda and I found our way back to the highway and back home with no problems.

I am so grateful for the invitation to my neighbours, my friend’s wedding. Their family and friends are so friendly and wonderful. Just to add the family that I connected with …. Jenny went to University with Eric, the groom. They drove up from Calgary.

Living my life with KINDNESS and RESPECT.

I/We shall remain,

As Always, Carol & Alvin

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