February 4 – The Day Before the Wedding

This collection is courtesy of Sandro. These are all photos from the day before the wedding, February 4, and I’ve included an excerpt from the Wedding entry:

We left late morning on the fourth. There were several vehicles that erge,二哥,张健’s brother arranged, including two Mercedes which he had promised me during an earlier Chinese New Year if 张健 and I were to get married. 二哥 also drove the Buick, one of several company cars, filled with most of the foreign guests.


The drivers were mostly former employees who worked with him, and they had their work cut out for them. It started snowing on our ride to the village, and by the time we reached 仁安村, a heavy blanket covered the roadways. As we were a caravan of three vehicles, and had to wait for 张健’s college bros (his words, not mine) as well as taking the wrong route, the drive was closer to three and a half hours.


When we arrived in 仁安村, myself and all my guests were treated to a lovely meal sans meat as Mina is vegetarian (Jason did an excellent job of looking after all of us and communicating what we needed to 妈妈张). It also helped that Cherie and Mike are far more conversational than I in Chinese. Cherie ended up serving as the translator for the ceremony portion of the wedding.


I had left only two days before with 张健 and 二哥 to pick up Dee, my youngest sister at the airport in Xi’an, and was particularly surprised to see how much work had been done in our absence: a tent had been set up outside, an entrance constructed, our room had been cleaned and properly organized, a makeshift kitchen had been constructed outside complete with a high-tech noodle-making machine, a descending waterfall of woks cooking all kinds of heavenly confections, and even more unfamiliar faces.

Most of the immediate family including 张健’s eldest brother, his wife (大嫂子), 二哥’s wife, and 张健’s younger sister, Peipei looked after us. 张健’s mother is not Peipei’s biological mother, and at our wedding I caught my first glimpse of Peipei’s real mother (the resemblance is uncanny).

Peipei also spent much of her time clinging to her younger sister who seemed happy to get to spend quality time with Peipei. After enjoying the lovely meal, we entertained ourselves by playing Uno and teaching one of 张健’s cousins, who became good friends with Jules, to play.


Sara also learned and seemed to revel in her victories. Because of the cold, we did all this from the comfort of the kang, a heated brick-bed. After being fed dinner, we made the difficult journey to the county town, 旬邑县, where the foreign guests would be staying for the night, and where we would be picked up the next morning, symbolizing a quasi-home for which the groom, 张健, could ceremoniously pick me up and bring me to my new home.


Because of the snow, as well as the fact that we had to drive down the mountain, the drive culminated in at least one hours worth. Dee and I stayed in a room together as she would be my hairstylist and makeup artist in the morning. Both of my sister-in-laws came too so that they had the opportunity to take a shower.


I made 张健 come along for the ride as well, even though all of his friends, college and high school, were waiting at 张健’s. They didn’t leave the hotel until around midnight and intended to come pick us up the next morning around eight or nine.

You can read more about the wedding here as well as view more photos from being picked up from the hotel here.

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