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Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Wedding

Not long after we moved to Singapore, Harry's @ Orchard opened for business. It was close to home and we'd walk over there to get a bite to eat and have a "few" cocktails. One of the waiters was particularly nice, always remembered our names, and our beverage of choice. That, to me, is very impressive.

Since we went there so often, one evening after having a few, I asked him, "Will you please tell me your name? You're always so good to us!" He beamed his bright smile at us and said, "My name is Nabil." I asked him if he would spell it for me, and, of course, he did. I wrote it down. Usually, if I write it down it sticks. It did with Nabil.

On slow nights, we'd have the opportunity to have nice conversations with Nabil. We learned about him, and he learned about us. He found out that we have two sons, Jimbo and Peteenabs (Jim and Patrick). Jim is less than two months younger than Nabil.

We learned that his father died when he and his sister were babies, really. He went to live with his aunties and uncles. Eventually, his mother was able to bring him back into her home, and he became the "man of the house". There were struggles, but Nabil managed to grow up with a sense of responsibility, a beautiful smile, and most importantly, a gentle kindness in his heart.

After Nabil left Harry's (on good terms, mind you), we followed him to his next job where he was promoted to a management position. By that time, we'd shared our phone numbers and email addresses. Suddenly, though, he seemed to disappear. Several months went by without hearing from him. Then he IM'd me and I soon discovered that he'd accepted a management position at a new restaurant in the Central Business District. We spent Christmas Eve (watch the little video, will ya'?) with him and his crew. We had a blast.

That night, he told us that he and his mother had approved the engagement of his sister, Fatimah, to a Norwegian gentleman. He told us the date, and I marked my calendar.

I'd left a comment on another blog recently that I wanted to find something appropriate to wear to the wedding reception. One kind soul dropped by my blog and suggested a kebaya. Honestly, I looked high and low for a lovely kebaya and sarong. Unfortunately, that's not a simple task for Caucasian women.

I decided to wear a long skirt and top with sleeves. When we arrived, though, I realized that I was under-dressed. I could see, even in the dim light outdoors, that all of the women were in their best and most beautiful clothing. I'm talking hand-embroidered and beaded silks. They were very colorful and beautiful!

WHH is taller than me, and he was scoping the outdoors to find Nabil. He found him soon enough. Nabil took us to the table where his mother was handing out gifts and introduced us. Another friend of mine had explained to me that I should be sure to give my envelope to the mother of the bride -- no one else. As Nabil introduced us, I handed her our envelope. YIKES! MAJOR FAUX PAS! I did it wrong! (I was supposed to pass it to her as we left the reception, duh!)

Nabil said something to his mother, and then he quickly took us indoors. He seated us at a table and then people started bringing an abundance of food for us to enjoy. There was enough food for a table of 12, but it was just WHH and me sitting there. Not for long, though, soon Nabil was introducing his aunties to us, the groom's family came to greet us, and then, lovely Shyanne sat with us.

We had a lovely evening, and we're so grateful that we were included in such a special event. I've got other pictures on Flickr. I hope you'll check them out (if you don't, I'll know it too!) Nabil is so handsome! Most importantly, he loves his family very much.

I'm told that Fatimah had at least 10 costumes/gowns to wear over the two-day event. We only saw her in a Western-type bridal gown. I hope that I can see pictures of she and her groom in the other costumes. The bride and groom made a very handsome couple. Fatimah has been blessed with eyes that are almost hypnotic! No, I got that wrong, not "almost" they're absolutely gorgeous!

As we were leaving the festivities, Nabil saw to it that we got our gifts and about a 4-pound bag of food to take home as a thank-you (Terima Kasih).

This is why I came to Singapore -- to learn and appreciate cultures other than American, and to connect and LOVE. These are the things that make life wonderful!


Anonymous said...

I think it is great that you live in Singapore and are learning so many things about other cultures. And next time, you will know the customs and there will be no wedding faux-pas!

Curiosity.Killer said...

Wow. That sounds like a GREAT experience... an Indian wedding...

Have you watched the movie "Monsoon Wedding"? It's sweet too... almost as good as your story. ;)

Anonymous said...

I wanna visit. I have always wanted a four lb bag of take home food. Seriously.

Elle the Pirate

Diana said...

Hilly -- So many things to learn, but I keep trying!

Curiosity.Killer -- No, I've never seen that movie, but I will definitely check it out.

Elle -- Come on over! I'm sure we can find us a wedding to crash :D I've been told that happens quite a bit around here.

Don said...

Awesome. Here at the office we've had Malay come over from Pinang. The nicest people. How wonderful that they shared it with you!