Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Well, today we were married for the second time, on the beach, in Qingdao China!

The Foreign Teachers Office at our University has been telling us that we were invited to our wedding on the beach, but there was never anything definite and certainly no explanations!! We were informed Oct 15th that the ceremony would be at 10:00 a.m. Oct 18, to wear our "Sunday best" and be in the lobby at 8:25 a.m.

At 8:10 Leon knocked at our door to tell us Joe should speak for a few minutes. We have been told to be flexible, and he quickly came up with this:

"We feel it is such a great honor to be here today and participate with you. The day is a beautiful Qingdao day! The sea, the beach and the Chinese people ---what a great experience. You have a beautiful city, but what we have found is that you also are a very beautiful people. Last night we returned to our apartment by taxi. Even though we spoke no Chinese and he spoke no English we had a very enjoyable ride home, as we joked and laughed with each other. He taught us the word for "moon," and we became friends in a very short time! That has been our experience over and over! We are beginning to feel as though we are no longer strangers, but part of a large family in this community. We want to thank the officials of Qingdao University and Qingdao City for your hospitality and the way you have opened your arms to us, the foreign teachers from Brigham Young University."

We hailed taxis and we were off—3 couples, Leon and our flower girls, Elissa, Victoria and Nona. The ride was 15 yuan ($2.25) and Leon paid for us. I forgot to ask the flower girls if they had to pay for their own taxi. It took quite a bit of work to get them invited and then Leon said they would have to pay for their own taxi! We arrived and were shepherded (or should we say "railroaded" into a large room in the municipal building, across from the beach. It was a beautiful German building. There were so many people at the beach, kite flying, dancing, a merry go round and so on.

A very energetic and in-charge Chinese women then told us what we were supposed to do and how to act! There would be speeches and entertainment and then we would have our turn. The person in charged gave us a place in line and then told us we would hold hands and form a circle and dance around. Then they would present us with certificates and then take pictures. We were three couples of about 20: There were several Chinese dignitaries and several military couples, as well as 3 police couples.

The Governor gave a speech welcoming everyone and it went along with all the pomp and ceremony, as only the Chinese can do. They had several performing groups. We watched darling little girls sit on chairs and perform a "dance" with their hands and heads. Little boys did Kung Fu, there were ladies dancing with the paddle and ball, dancers that looked like they were riding a bicycle—it was great.

We lined up and waited for our turn.When our "time" came, we were ushered to center stage, 2 people gave talks, Joe was one of them. They loved his speech and applauded twice during the short little talk. The women were handed a bouquet of silk flowers and the ceremony was read and then they sprayed confetti in the air.

Then we got off the stage onto the sand, held hand and danced (ok, jogged!) around in a big circle, just as we had been instructed to do. There were probably 50 photographers, lots and lots of photo opportunities and presentation of a wedding contract. The Qingdao government officials and party leaders made us feel very special and it was a very fun experience.

Just before we left the beach 3 handsome guys took 3 blushing brides to some chairs, and then on their knee proposed to us once more. We all said YES! And received a most beautiful ROCK---talk about a big diamond, wow, we are so impressed.! I told my handsome groom that I would go back to the states and get a matching ring for the left hand now.

After the big "to do" on the beach we went, in a van, to a fancy hotel for a banquet. The food and the facility were great The food was very Chinese, with the entire chicken served, including the chicken head, complete with eyes and beak. - not forgetting those attached fried chicken feet , complete with the claws. A real delicacy...Also, a "real" crowd pleaser, (especially among the Americans) shrimp - in the shell, complete with tenacles and eyes...

Just before leaving, we were all given a special bag for each couple that included a new night t-shirt for him and her, as well as a commemorative plate - complete with a stand, a book on Qingdao – written in Chinese and a single bed sheet which I will probably make into a couple of tablecloths!!!

We came home, went to a store for Sunday groceries and then took a taxi 30 minutes away to East Campus where I teach. My students had asked me to come Thursday, changed it to Friday (and we couldn't) so changed it to Saturday. When we got there we found about 200 students outside the library waiting for their guests. Once again we were treated like rock stars, they were wonderful and so very appreciative that we would come. I talked about becoming a teacher of the deaf and Joe talked about what it was like to go to school in the US, how he got his degree and what he did as a career. We got home at 8:30---I told Joe I didn't think we would ever have another 12 hours where we were literally the stars of the show!


jpm1 said...

So, look what I happened upon....my next door neighbor's blog. Those places all look really familiar...haha.... Great site. I need to keep up with the Goodriches!

Grow Family said...

Hello Goodriches! Here you are on another one of your adventures. I think that is awesome. You'll have to check out what the Grow's are doing these days at http://kaysvillegrows.blogspot.com.
So good to see you both. Maybe we'll get to hang out whenever you come back to the states. I see Jacob is married now and all those grandchildren. Exciting. Thanks for everything over the years. You were some great surrogate parents for me in high school.

always, becky callor (Rebekah Grow)

Connie and Gary said...

Congratulations on your wedding. Great story, thanks for sharing.