Memory.. Little threads that hold life's patches of meaning together. ~ Mark Twain

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Preparing The Wedding Bed

Our bedroom was finally complete and ready for the next stage - Preparing the wedding bed! Took a day's off from work on Friday just to wait for the deliveries and assembly, hung up the room curtains, cleaned the bathrooms, swept and mopped the floors, vacuumed the carpet, and even cleaned the window panes. Was so exhausted by the end of the day!

Inspector followed my family and I back to Dad's hometown on Saturday morning to offer prayers to Yeh Yeh and Nai Nai. We also went to visit my other relatives there to hand them their invitation cards as well as the second batch of 'ka lui beng'. It was his first time there, so Sis and I brought him to walk around the town which was really nothing very interesting actually. I think the most interesting part for him was when he followed us out for supper. I had initially told him that we would all be going for supper but he did not expect that there would be one whole troop of us - my uncles, aunties, Mum, Sis, cousins and even my nephews and nieces. There were at least 20 of us at the kopitiam. He commented that even in KL, he had never gone 'yum char' with his relatives, at most also with his cousins only. The other best part was when my uncle bought 2 bags full of their local durians. Inspector had a great time feasting on them. Tee hee hee..

Went back to the new house on Sunday afternoon to hang up these Chinese word decoration on the main and bedroom doors, and also to slip in angpow packets in each of the drawers in the bedroom.

Double Happiness
"Hei" - Double happiness

Then my family went over, along with my family's neighbours to help us prepare the bed. According to Chinese customs, we'd need to get wedded couple to make the bed for us. They should be with good fortune, with children and all, well to do, bla bla bla.. They're supposed to realign the bed, fit in the bedsheet and the pillowcases, and drape the bed with the duvet cover. In return, we gave them an angpow each as a token of appreciation. I think my neighbours had a lot of fun doing it. Even though they are Chinese, they'd never knew much about the traditions (just like Inspector and I) so when 2 of their children got married, they basically followed the Westernized way. So they were both quite excited witnessing the 'koh tai lei' ceremony and got the honor to make the bed for us. I think they're gonna follow this when their other daughter gets married in the near future. *smile*

For Good Luck
My neighbours' finishing touches - angpows on top of the pillows

Both of us are not quite a fan of red colour, especially for our bed! But what to do, being a Chinese, everything must be red. Mum said to keep it that way for at least 1 week after the wedding, then we are free to change the bedsheet/duvet cover colours and all. Yay! On the wedding day, Inspector's nephew will poke through a covered potty to retrieve an angpow packet in it and then hop onto the wedding bed (apparently for fertility). Next agendas will be to shift my things over (I have yet to pack!!!), discussion with my emcees and oh, so many more things to do.... *Gah* What's more, I'll be away for exhibition in KLCC this week - Am on duty. *Sighz* Anybody going for it?

Two more weeks to go!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"Koh Tai Lei" on Father's Day

According to the 'tong shu' (Chinese almanac), last Sunday was a very auspicious day for weddings. It was the reason why so many people had their weddings on that day itself. I know coz I did my homework, kay. Since it was an auspicious date, we decided to have our "koh tai lei" (also known as "betrothal ceremony") on Sunday.

KTL (in short la!) is held for the groom's party to visit the bride's family, bearing gifts - usually in terms of food, money and things. Apparently they must be of some form of significant meanings and comes in nice numbers like 2, 6 and 8. Inspector and I had initially wanted to keep everything as simple as possible. But the sooner the KTL date approaches, there were more demands from both sides of the families on what they want to receive, what they should buy, what they should follow. It was more headache and stress for us coz we had to reach a compromise between both the families. Even though we are not Hokkien, both parents still wanted to follow a bit here and there. What's worse was when all the 'yi ma ku jie' starts dropping ideas on what to do, what to get. *Ggggrrrrr*

On KTL day, the groom's side arrived with the gifts and roasted pig. Traditionally, the roasted pig is only presented to the bride's family on the 3rd day of the wedding. It is to signify the bride's purity. Means if not virgin, then no pig la! *lol*

Koh Tai Lei ceremony
Gifts from the Groom

Gifts comprised of 48 boxes of 'ka lui beng' (loosely translated as 'daughter getting married' biscuits), 'fatt choy', 2 bottles of wines, 8 oranges, 8 apples, a bunch of grapes, lotus, some vege (is that 'choy sum'?), oysters, mushrooms, a lump sum of money as dowry, and a red cloth to be hung on the entrance door.

Roasted Pig
Roasted pig. Think it's a mummy pig, got flower one!

Roasted Pig
Close up look of the pig's head. Errrr.. No comment.

Roasted Pig
Measuring at nearly 3 feet long. It even weighed 33 catty.

They brought along a 'chopping' expert to help us chop the pig. This was what he had to do..

Chop middle part of the pig out - for the bride's family to distribute to their relatives. The head and the legs are to be returned to the groom's side.

Roasted Pig

Bride's family replace with a red package which consists of a pair of dark blue pants and a belt for the groom. Apparently, the pants means 'wealth' in Cantonese and the belt is to 'tie the wealth' around the groom's waist so that he is always blessed with good wealth.

Roasted Pig

Cover the missing body part with a red piece of paper to make it look like a complete pig. Top it up with 2 Mandarin oranges in front of the pig to signify wealth. We didn't have Mandarin oranges, so we made do with normal Sunkist oranges instead. Tee hee hee..

Roasted Pig

Now that the pig's done, we proceeded with the gift returns. We returned 2 boxes of 'ka lui beng', along with 8 pieces of 'fatt kou' (pink coloured kuihs) and another 8 pieces of some fried kuihs with sesame seeds.

Sweet Things

Add a small token of 'angpow' in each bag.

For each gifts the groom's side gave us, we returned them in a lesser amount, some wrapped in 'angpow' packets. And 2 bottles of cordial orange were given in exchange of the wines. We also returned a partial of the dowry money, also must be auspicious amount!

Gifts for the Groom's Party
Gifts returned back to the groom - Except the wooden carrier. That was for us! *lol*

Mum also prepared other gifts.... Red baby bath tub (for fertility la). Red potty (wrapped in red paper with an 'angpow' in it, for an assigned baby boy to poke through the paper and grab the 'angpow' before he jumps onto the wedding bed). Red umbrella (to cover the bride when she leaves the house on the wedding day). Red basin (dunno for what). Sewing kit. Red ruler (to measure what ah?).

Everything Red
All things red! Errrrrrrrrrrrrr..................................

Then the groom's party left with their gifts. Inspector and I went to our respective relatives' places to offer prayers to our grandparents and ancestors, in a way to 'announce' to them that we are getting married, to 'invite' them to our wedding as a form of blessing. For Inspector's ancestors, we burnt money and nice 'clothes' for them to 'wear' to our wedding. Then we distributed more invitation cards along with the 'ka lui beng' to our relatives.

We proceeded to purchase our wardrobe and room curtains. Now that was done, we finally managed to breathe a sigh of relief. It was indeed a very long day but we were both glad that we were over with the KTL ceremony and done with the furniture shopping. Next up would be the furniture deliveries, shifting my things over to the house, and going back to Dad's hometown during the coming weekend to offer prayers to Yeh Yeh and Nai Nai.

I must admit one thing, although we encountered a lot of stress while planning for KTL ceremony, but it was quite interesting to learn why was the traditions done in such and such ways, what did the gifts resemble and all that. The best part of all - 'SIEW YUK' (roasted meat)! Yum yum!!!!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

My Hen's Night

It was M-A-D!!!!!!!!!!!!

The girls had been mass mailing each other on what to do for the hen's night. It was very rushing coz I had only managed to slot in a free Saturday just for them and they had to plan everything in less than a fortnight. It boiled down to 2 ideas - spa ("but one person per room, so lonely!") or clubbing ("too noisy la and I don't drink!"). Because it was a last minute thing and by then, it would be difficult to book for day spa packages, we ended up going clubbing. Uh oh.. I still had the 'scary' memories of Jewel's hen's night. Even Sis wanted to pull out from the outing when she heard of all the games they were planning for me. *lol*

We started off with a trip to Kuku Bar, Bangsar for some manicure/pedicure sessions. It's funny coz in my entire life, I've not been for any of these but now that I'm getting married, I'm suddenly going for manicure for my 3rd time and pedicure for my 2nd time. Not that I'm complaining though.. It's actually very fun to do it with a bunch of friends. *grin*

Then we headed off to Chalet Suisse, a Swiss restaurant hidden between lots of Korean restaurants in Ampang. Even with a map in hand, we still got lost. Tee hee hee. Food seemed pricey but I guess we're paying for the ambience and yes, they did taste delicious and came with heavy servings. Very cheesy too. Yum yum! I couldn't even finish my Chicken and Veal Bratwurst!

The girls were pretty worried that there will be less guys in the club, or worse, all will be deeply immersed with World Cup. What's more, last night it was the match between England and Paraguay. I heard them suggesting to bring strippers back to someone's place. Hehehe.. We ended up in Passion though, the same place where we had Jewel's hen's night. That was when the night REALLY began!

We warmed up with a bottle of Bombay Blue Sapphire Gin. Then we started off with the Truth or Dare card game. I think we've changed the rules for countless times. Hehe.. Then Lily took out a new set of Bachelorette Party cards she bought over from eBay. The whole deck was only dares! I had to scout around the club gazillion times to look for dare 'victims'. *lol* Then the girls took out a white collared tee with their messages and a few random guys' names on it. Just like Jewel, I had to go around the club to look for guys with those names. That was pretty tough. At one point of time, in a distress attempt, I went up to the DJ to ask if he could announce the names for me. Easier mar! Too bad, he didn't have a mic but I got a free signature from him anyway. Haha! For the final game, I was made to sell a couple of M&M packets blindfolded. I was pretty lucky coz all I needed to do was to hold up the packets, while the girls did most of the talking and convincing.

By the end of the games, I was pretty blur already. I'm not a drinker, really. The most I drank (also, my first and only drinking session) was a glass of Bailey's and a few sips of beer while touring in Amsterdam 6 years ago. That also I was still ok. But last night, it was considered too great for me. A few glasses of small volume of gin (as Bubble kept telling, "Only 1 teaspoon of gin la!"), topped up with lots of Coke, and a tall glass of Sex on the Beach (is that alcoholic drink, anyway?) really did it for me. A bit dizzy and I was pretty quiet after that. *lol*

We left at 2 plus in the morning. Took my shower and somehow, vomitted the whole lot of my Swiss dinner! Was still conscious enough to call/SMS the girls to check if they got home safely though. But I had to wake up pretty early to go scout for wardrobe in Ikea. Oh boy...........

My Hen's Outing
Gin, girls, games, guys, giggles... GILA-NESS!

To the girls - Sis, Moorish, Bubble, Sue, Wan Nei, Lily and Jewel - Thank you soooo, soooo much for the entire night. You girls have the privilege to see me stoned the first time in my entire life! I had helluva fun and I hope you all did too. *hugz*

To Gummy, you missed the fun!!! Would love to have you around though. But then again, with all that was going on that night, I don't know if you should count yourself lucky. Hehe..

Now I'm wondering who's gonna get married next. With the games we've had for Jewel's and mine, I'm pretty sure the standards are gonna be much more higher the next time. Really good luck to whoever she is, man. *lol*

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Uh Oh..

The girls are planning a hen's outing for me this weekend. I had just gotten the itinery from Moorish.

If it's like how it was for Jewel's hen's night, then I'm getting really afraid.... Even Sis asked if she can be excused from the outing. *lol*

I've been trying to coax Bubble to remind them I can't drink. I reaaaaaaally, reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally can't! But what the heck.. I'm ready, girls. Bring it on!!! *grin*

Friday, June 02, 2006

A New Chapter Begins

The day was finally here. They, along with their families, gathered at the Civil Registrar of Marriage in JPN Putrajaya. He in a blue long sleeved collared shirt, dark blue suit, and a matching tie. She in a pink, sleeveless knee-length dress. There were a few couples waiting for their turn as well.

They took numerous photos individually, as a couple and with their families. Their names were called and they were all asked to proceed into a room.

Side by side, they stood in front of the Registrar and said their vows, with their fathers as their official witnesses and the rest of the families watching from behind them.

I will stand before God
Give you all that I've got
I can promise you I'll be true
I reveal here and now
As we both take this vow
I am so in love, I am so in love with you

They signed the ROM certificate and its duplicate copies, followed by their father's signatures.

I promise to honor and cherish you
For better or for worse
I'll be there for you
For richer or for poorer
In sickness and in health
Till death do us part
From this day on and forever

They exchanged rings and sealed with a kiss before they were officially declared as a married couple at 8.40am.

Registration of Marriage (ROM)
The proof of marriage

The chapter ends, and a new one begins. They made it through the past 10 years. Just like any other fairy tales where it ends with them living happily ever after, they can and will go through anything together now and in the future. Marriage will never be a smooth-sailing journey but no matter what, they will write their very own happy ending together.

And this, my friends, is the love story of Patchee and Inspector's. *grin*

When The Going Gets Tough

It was still the year 2000. She came home and got herself a job. He had yet to complete his studies then. She asked to try again and they did. It was their fourth try.

It was a difficult period as they both were in different levels of life. When the girl is earning her own dough but the guy is not, he is bound to have inferiority complex. He'd demand attention, while she'd expect him to understand that she could not always call him while at work. He'd be worried that she would meet someone new at work, where her department was totally male-dominated. She'd be jealous of the girls that was craving for his attention and time. And with all that had happened, she had to throw in more effort to convince him of her love. To make matters worse, her parents were not quite supportive of their relationship. Her mum felt that she should open up her options, to look for someone much more better and successful.

3 years later, he graduated and joined the workforce. She'd expect to still speak to him over the phone every night. He'd expect her to understand that he had to put career as his higher priority, for the betterment of their future. They resorted to spending time together during the weekends. Their relationship got very, very shaky. Too many conflicting opinions and issues cropped up that they argued very frequently. Sometimes to the point where they'd raised their voices and yell at each other, with profanity words flying left right, or slammed the phone down. Sometimes, they just did not speak nor hear from each other for a week. At worst, they'd too exhausted to work it out and threaten to call off the relationship. Too many tearful nights. But isn't making up always the best part? They'd hug and kiss each other more, they'd buy little gifts for each other, they'd send lovey-dovey text messages saying that they miss each other and that they appreciate all the little things they do for each other.

His parents had been pestering that they settle down. The harder part was that they had to put in their best fight to prove to her parents that he is right for her, that he will take care of her. She'd relate all his accomplishments at his workplace to them during dinners, about how his bosses look very highly on him and would not let him leave the company. She'd bring him along to all the family functions and trips. It took them another 2 years to put him in her parents' good books.

They had been discussing about their future together. About how they'd want their wedding to be like. About how they'd want their house to be like. About how many kids they'd want to have. About how they'd want to raise their family. She had one day, casually mentioned that she would be eligible for a free trip from her company, in appreciation of her long service with them. That because she wasn't married, they'd give her a much lesser value. "Let's get married", he suggested. They mentioned it to their parents. His parents were ecstatic. Her parents thought she was pregnant.

As much as they agreed to tie the knot, they were not financially ready yet. And so, the idea was left as a thought. They'd occasionally bring it up but they knew it wasn't the right time. His parents helped to speed up the "thought" and bought over a secondhand house just directly opposite theirs. His parents paid 1/3 of it, and they would repay the rest of the amount through loan installment. Her parents chipped in for the house renovation and furnishing.

On her birthday in year 2005, he suprised her by proposing with a diamond ring. She said Yes. They announced to their families and thus began the preparation to book for their Registration Date and the wedding dinner ceremony. Their families and friends helped out with the preparation. They both couldn't wait for the day to come.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Absence Makes The Heart Fonder

The year 1998. He pursued on Economics. She ventured into Engineering. Even though they were in different colleges, they did reconcile again.

It was a short bliss for she had to leave to further her studies in England. It was a tough decision to make - To continue the relationship or to break it off. Friends said that it will not work. Some said not to give up. He promised to wait for her. She promised to come back. And so, they moved into a long distance relationship for 2 years - 7 hours apart from each other, 12 hours flight away.

They wrote letters as often as they could (they take almost a week to reach). Internet wasn't very easily accessible back then, he had to go to the cybercafes and she would camp at the computer lab in between and after classes or from home just to log onto IRC to chat or e-mail each other. She would buy £20-30 worth of international phonecards just to call him from the nearest public phone booth every weekend. Even so with owning a mobile phone, one could not even send international SMS-es back then. On top of that, she was living with 5 other guys and she could only come back during her summer break.

It was a difficult test for the both of them - On trust, patience and communication. No hugs nor kisses whenever needd. They couldn't even be physically there for each other but to resort to hearing laughter or sense each other's smiles over the phone. Absence did make the heart grow fonder. They both looked forward to every single phone call, letter, parcel, e-mail and her summer break. He even used up his savings just to fly to England to celebrate Millenium with her.

But barely few months before she came back for good, it finally took a toll on them. Perhaps there had been many issues being that they did not know what was going on with each other, that they couldn't do anything for each other and so many more. Perhaps it was also the insecurities that she was surrounded with guy friends while he on the other hand, had plenty of girl coursemates. So many unresolved issues that they unconsciously let the flame stop burning.

Being in a long distance relationship is always tougher than said. But it does not mean that it will never work. It does. It worked for others. Perhaps it just did not work in the end for them.

The Bumpy Ride

People say that college years are one of the best years in one's life, that one should enjoy these years to the fullest.

He went all out for their relationship. But she wasn't. She felt that at 18, she was still too young to commit into one. After four months into the relationship, she broke it off. He avoided her yet she confessed to her best friend that she still missed him greatly. A few months later, he asked her again and she gladly accepted him back. This time, she thought she would give them another chance.

They were happy for a while... Until his best friend came into the picture. He had been confiding that he had feelings for one of his close friend's ex. She suggesed that he'd be sure if his friend was alright with it and that the ex had feelings for him too. Turned out, he meant her. He was furious that his best friend betrayed him and their friendship, for trying to 'steal his girl'. She was upset and felt she was at fault.

To make matters worse, they were both in the midst of their Finals. She was being pressured to excel in her studies, to be accepted into top-rated universities. With the tension building on in her, she subconsciously isolated herself from him and her friends. They drifted apart and by the end of the year, she let him go again. She felt she was to be blamed for all that had happened.

Once Upon A Time

It was the year 1996, in a home tuition on a not so far away land. Students from various schools gathered in the living area for a short briefing and class distribution. Across the packed room, he thought she stood out from the rest. She thought he had the nicest smile. They did not realize until months later that their younger siblings were classmates. That her sister used to date one of his best friends. That he used to teach her sister to play basketball. That his other best friend was an old friend of hers. It was a small world after all.

On his birthday, her sister bought him a card. She penned down her message as well. Few days later, he wrote her an appreciation letter. From then, their friendship blossomed. Thus they began trading letters with each other, stole glances every now and then during classes, and being heavily teased by friends.

He expressed his feelings but she said to wait till after SPM. Their first date was on his birthday when after school, they met up for lunch, watched a movie and she gave him a personalized engraved pen. While preparing for the exams, they went out for several group outings and attended intensive classes together.

Few days after New Year's in 1997, he popped the question again and she agreed. They were due to attend the same college. Both of them were excited, looking forward to seeing each other much more often in college.

Out Goes The Invites, In Comes The Pressies!

Invitation cards are finally ready to be sent out! First batch goes to my colleagues and then this weekend, to my close friends.

Muffinz Uncle was extremely generous to sponsor to print out the cards for me. He owns a printing company actually, but I do intend to pay him back. What I did was to search for a front cover picture, provide him how I'd want my content to be, he got his designer to design the entire card for me for free. So nice! After a couple rounds of modification, Muffinz Uncle got the cards printed on recycled paper. They're of course not as posh as the proper wedding invites you'd usually get (with glitters, embossed wordings and all), but hey! It's fantastic enough for me. *grin*

He had also printed a stack of cards only for the location map, with the idea that guests can just bring the map card along without the invitation card itself. I bought pink ribbons and a leather belt puncher from a Tukang Jahit shop. Punched holes onto the front cover and tied the ribbons on it, to give a sweet and bright colour onto the card. Also coz Mum thinks it's better to have something red/pink since the card is not of that colours, Chinese traditions la. Then I printed out the names on the envelopes, and inserted the card and the map card into them. Finally, I bought a stack of glittered personalized name stickers (that's sold for about RM 5 per 100 stickers), and stuck one on the back of the envelope.

Wah lahhhhh..................

Wedding Invitation Cards
An almost DIY wedding invitation card collection

Last evening, my neighbour, a.k.a Sis' godmother & her family gave me a present in conjunction with my ROM. They attached a card along with it, "May your married life be Sweet... Sweet... Sweet...".

Wedding Present - Patchi Chocolates
A box of Patchi chocolates with a lovely packaging

On top of that, Mum's Japanese lady friend mailed us some gifts. She gave me an envelope holder made out of wire and a handmade purse pouch (with 50,000 yen in it!!) as wedding gifts.

Japanese Wedding Gifts
Gifts all the way from Japan

Soooooooo nice of them! I'm gonna go shopping this weekend to give them something as an appreciation gift. *wide wide grin* Have a nice weekend, everyone!!!