Saturday, January 01, 2005

A Chinese Wedding

Just doing errands when we decide to stop for a quick snack. There's a great Chinese place that serves some crunchy sushi. They call it kani sushi (stuffed with crab). It's stuff to die for. The Chinese girl takes our order and we wait in the empty place. It's only 4:00 p.m. We find out she's going to school in Massachusetts but has come down for the holidays to help out at the restaurant.

Chinese kids are playing outside and grandma is watching them as the girls attend to the restaurant.

We are drinking green tea when a big local guy walks in with a binder under his arm. He makes a beeline for the cashier who he recognizes from a year ago. Right off he tells her he's dating a Chinese woman. Then he says he proposed to her just last week when he was in China. She asks him the typical questions you'd ask a 50ish man who's just told you he is going to marry one of your people. "How did you meet her?" "Does she speak English?" "Is she coming here?"

"I met her on the Internet. She doesn't speak any English but we get along just fine, you know, nod, and look at each other in the eyes. You can communicate in other ways besides words you know. Hell, I was married to my wife for 25 years, we talked all the time but never communicated. She writes English just fine because we've been writing on the Internet for several months. We went to the Great Wall."

This whole dialogue came tumbling out in nearly one sentence. All the while the young girl behind the cash register smiled politely, giggled occasionally, and interjected "Oh" and "Ah huh" at random places. She was as surprised as I was.

"Here, I have some pictures of the trip and wedding." With that he opened the big black three-ring binder, and they began paging through the pictures. He's pointing to the relatives.

I can't believe this guy. Has he any idea what he's in for? I can't believe that the woman from China has any idea what she's going to find. He said he's working on the VISA now and hopes it'll be complete in six months.

I didn't get the impression this man had any idea of the culture of the Chinese. He spent two weeks there.

It also seemed strange that he'd share all this with a stranger here in a Chinese restaurant. Or that he'd be this open with customers eating nearby? Doesn't it seem odd that he'd carry a binder around?

How crazy is this?

A good past is the best future.