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Thursday, April 26, 2007


Getting married

Well, the wedding is only three days away. How do I feel, you may ask?

Excited, thrilled, exhilarated...and terrible.

I've been living over three years in south China, called by one expert "the influenza epicenter." (Note that this article is over nine years old, and talks about H5N1. We are now dealing with H5N2. Bird flu: another reason to be a vegetarian.)

And at last, I've caught a good one. Not bird flu, but flu enough. I think I have missed more workdays this week than in the previous three years combined. Why is this happening now? 


I mean, look at it. I'm getting married Sunday, and I get sick this week. It's obvious.

I was over in Hong Kong Monday, taking care of business (paying for the tickets to the Philippines for the "honeymoon," negotiating for a consulting job in Yangzhou, Jiangsu). Then I spent several hours pounding the pavement in search of rings (we'll have to buy them in Manila, I guess) and suitable shoes for the kurta I'm wearing.

Before I headed back across the border to meet Crazy Al, my best man, for dinner, I started feeling achy all over. That night, I discovered I had a fever of 101F (38.3C). My head and intestines soon showed me that my muscles and the thermometer had not lied: I was sick.

But I still don't know WHY I'm stressed. Seriously.

Look at this: has an article on "the top five people who will stress you out" when getting married. [2023: Link GONE]  Let's look at them, and assess my situation:

5. Wedding vendors: This is an obvious source of trouble in most cases, always pressuring you to spend more. But we only have one vendor--Spice Circle restaurant--and they are like family. Inder (the assistant manager) made me promise not to tell anybody the price he gave us, so others won't ask for it. And Sunny (the manager) and his wife Vinnie, took us into their home and gave us the clothes we will wear for the ceremony. Vinnie even took us into Luohu Commercial City to oversee the tailoring! Minimal stress here.

4. Divorced and bickering friends/family members: None here.

3. Well meaning opinions of others: No one has tried to influence how we are doing things.

2. Your parents: Three out of four are half a world away; the other is on an archipelago that requires a 90-minute flight. No trouble there.

1. Each other. Get this: says:

The most common complaints are "He's not doing anything to help with the wedding" and "she never talks about anything other than the wedding."

HA! Because Lila is in another city Monday-thru-Friday and works 40 hours plus overtime, while I am in Shenzhen and usually work around 12 hours a week, I have done much of the legwork. AHA! you say. THERE'S THE STRESS! But really, this is as low key an affair as possible. Lila is so easygoing about it that her mantra has become "I just want to get this over with" (romantic, huh?).

So she's not applying any pressure, and the process itself is pretty simple: A civil ceremony in Hong Kong = no decorating the church, no "entourage" (just two witnesses, or Best Person and Person of Honor), etc. The "reception" is just a party: no band, no cake, no caterers, just a bunch of friends meeting at one of our favorite restaurants. Our pal Gentleman Jess is a great photographer and offered to snap a few at the wedding.

So whence the stress?

Ah, I think missed the largest single source of stress in a wedding:


A few facts:

  • I was married before--and failed 
  • I've been single (and selfish) for seventeen years 
  • I have found a near-perfect person, which puts a lot of pressure on me to be a better man 
  • Things always change after a wedding 

Etc., etc., etc. You see, it's not the wedding that stresses. It's the marriage.

Let me be clear: Lila is the light of my life. She is a positive, upbeat, smart, funny, deeply spiritual, loving person. We share a lifestyle few can match for sheer joy. I have never met anyone who didn't like her. Everything about her is in the "plus" column.

But no matter who you marry, marriage is a big change (at least, it is if you take it seriously, which I do). And change = stress. Even POSITIVE change.

So, in a few days, the headache and the tummy troubles will be gone. Lila will be a permanent part of my life. And it's going to be a good life. Already, I am living a life that I never imagined ten years ago or so. And it's just going to get better.

Thanks, BB. I can't wait to be married to you.

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