Now that I'm in Taipei on Fridays, it's harder for me to get down to Yuli for a weekend. While only 3 hours from Yilan, it's more than 4.5 hours from Taipei... and with only 2 days to do it, it just hasn't been practical. But last weekend, I didn't have a choice! Why? Because my good friend Vivian (Suhan) got married! Vivian used to come to our adult English class when Hope and I were in Yuli. She also went to the same church. She took us on a memorable trip to Taidong, and taught us some aboriginal dance moves. When my parents came to Taiwan, she took time off and brought us to her hometown, which is in southern Taiwan. She's a really sweet and generous person. When I lived in Yuli, she was battling cancer. In fact, she had more than 10 surgeries. Through prayer and treatment, she is now cancer free. I was really excited to hear that she was getting married, though the wedding was the first time I "met" her husband, since they only started officially dating in August. It went really fast, but they are both almost 40, so I guess they were ready. They had 2 weddings: the first was a traditional aboriginal wedding in Pingtung which I didn't get to attend, and the second was in Yuli, so I had a great chance to catch up with some old friends while I was there too! The ceremony was at an Amis Aboriginal Catholic church. The service was conducted in Mandarin and the Amis language. I felt like she didn't really understand everything that was happening in the service... poor girl! But the best part is that they were facing the front when I came in and at one point turned around. I was waiting with my camera, and as soon as she saw me, she flashed me the Taiwanese "peace" sign! Too bad my camera took the picture a second before!
When we arrived at the ceremony, the lunch guests at the tables outside the church were already there and waiting for their food. It was really different for me to see that most of the wedding guests didn't attend the ceremony, but just sat outside until they were done.
Holding to wedding traditions, Vivian went and changed dresses halfway through the dinner! Good thing most people rent their formal dresses here (even wedding dresses) as part of a photo package. For about $1000 U.S. you get 3-6 dresses to wear on the day, studio or outdoor photos, photo invitations, a huge framed photo for the banquet, a photo book, and small photo cards to pass out to wedding guests at the reception. Weddings in general seem to be a lot cheaper here!
Another highlight of the visit was to go see my dear landlords, who now have three little boys. The twins were up when I went there, and I played with them for a couple of hours! Samuel (older) and Daniel are fraternal twins.
I also got to see Michelle, Peggy, Coco, and get hugs from people at Yuli church. I really need to get back there more often!