Friday, August 28, 2015

Church Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner

I have to say, there were some moments during this wedding planning period when I thought, this is terrible!  I wish we had eloped!  So many details and planning to think about!  But you know what… it's amazing to look out at your audience and see that everyone that you care about, whom you love and who love you in return, is there to celebrate you, and to help you celebrate the one you love.

Weddings are ultimately about love, right?  And I felt so much love.

We had our rehearsal at the church on Friday evening.
My sister and Michael, as we wait for our Uber to the church.
A family portrait - why is my sister so much taller than the rest of us?
I had this qipao made back in 2002 when I was studying in Beijing - it came in handy on Friday!
Walking down the aisle with my dad
Hamming it up for the rehearsal
 We then ushered everyone into a big bus and headed out to Flushing, Queens, where we had a rehearsal dinner for our family at Imperial Palace.

We chose a restaurant with very good food - the setting was a bit crowded and hectic, but that's also kind of the intimate and natural experience we wanted to share with our family.  It's quintessentially Flushing!

As for the significance of Flushing, it is where my family settled when they first emigrated to New York, and where my paternal grandmother has stayed ever since.  My grandmother was a housekeeper for wealthy families out in Great Neck and put her sewing skills to use in a garment factory.  It was from Flushing that my mom and dad and my dad's family learned how to navigate the New York City subway system, worked as busboys and housekeepers, and generally tried to figure out their new lives in a new land.  I was born at Flushing Hospital.

Eventually almost everyone would move out (to Bayside, then Long Island), but even then, for every weekend, we would return to Flushing for dim sum (roast duck vermicelli noodles and chicken feet steamed in a black bean sauce being staples of my childhood), grocery shopping and mahjong.  It seemed fitting to have the rehearsal dinner in a city that figures so prominently in my life and memories.
Here I am with my two grandmothers.
We took quite a few family portraits.
We had a ten course meal which practically stretched everyone to the limit:
-appetizer platter of cold cuts and marinated jellyfish
-seafood soup with tofu
-sesame crusted shrimp balls with broccoli and walnuts
-pea shoots with bamboo piths
-steamed fish
-T-bone steak in a pepper sauce
-garlic fried lamb chops
-ginger and scallion sauteed lobsters
-fried rice
-fruit platter and sweet red bean soup

Near the end of the night, my dad and Michael's dad broke out the Moutai (a very strong Chinese liquor) and toasted each other.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Sisterly Brunch at Locanda Verde

My sister and I enjoyed a lovely late lunch at one of my favorite spots in the city, Locanda Verde, in Tribeca on Friday afternoon.  I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that the church rehearsal was happening, and quickly followed by rehearsal dinner and the wedding itself…and I figured the best thing to do was to relax with one of my dearest people and just sit back and enjoy life.

New York was jaw-droppingly beautiful that afternoon.  Tribeca was its usual impeccably charming self, with cobblestones, huge windows, warehouse lofts, brick apartments, garden rooftops…(yes I miss this city).

We got some sheep ricotta cheese with herbs and lightly toasted bread:
 An amazing duck ragu pasta:
 And a tuna salad:

I am so grateful I got to spend time with my sister during my visit to the US this time around.  As I get older I realize very much how these moments are so precious.  I'm so proud that she is headed to Harvard for law school in the fall.  She is brilliant and sweet and capable and all kinds of wonderful and I am so grateful to her for all of her help and support (along with my sweet bridesmaids) for the wedding!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

NYC Recap

A LOT has happened in the last five days since my last post!  Michael and I are now married!  Wow, that feels weird to say.  We are husband and wife!  Pictures to come in the next few posts.

For now, we are ensconced in Anguilla, which is currently being buffeted by two hurricanes, one right after the other (who said we didn't have good luck when it comes to weather…)

A brief recap:
On Wednesday, with just three days until the wedding, I went into the city and saw my friend for breakfast at Reynard's at the Wythe hotel.  Williamsburg is so different now.
 I then wandered through the farmers' market at Union Square a little bit, marveling at all of the gorgeous flowers and tomatoes (Look at The Tomatoes!!).
I've always wanted to shop for groceries like this… so hippie fabulous.

I miss these markets so much.  Actually, I also miss wide open sidewalks (and you know it's bad when you think Manhattan has "wide open sidewalks"), no humidity, clear blue skies, trees and parks…

I was really struggling with how expensive transportation was on this trip - whether parking, tolls, or subway rides.  I've forgotten how expensive infrastructure is in the US!  But this view… on the FDR…. ahhh, it's nice to be home!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Korean BBQ at Hahm Ji Bach

I love Korean food -- I went with my sister and parents to Hahm Ji Bach in Murray Hill yesterday night, to indulge in some of my favorite stuff.

We got some sundubu jiggae, some barbecued meat, some cold noodles, and of course sampled their many many varieties of panchan.  I really liked their burdock root, anchovy and kim chee panchan in particular.

They served a complimentary pumpkin tea (juice?) at the end that was very refreshing and tasty.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Charming Wedding Gift

Oh my gosh, less than 5 days to go!  I received a great wedding present in the mail a few days ago.

It was so sweet, from a friend of mine in Hong Kong who wasn't able to attend the wedding, and she took care of my "something new, something old, something borrowed, and something blue" with one cute little pin, which I plan to attach to my floral bouquet:

The sweet note that accompanied it:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Side Trip to Portland (Maine)

Of course we couldn't just be satisfied with a trip to Boston.  We decided to take a day trip to Portland, Maine.  Along the way, we stopped at the Scarborough Lobster.

 We ate outside, braving the heat:

 We ended up proving our ability to pack away a lot of food, quickly gulping down 4 pounds (2 buckets) of Maine steamers:

 Three lobster rolls:
 and a crab roll.

Once in Portland, we walked around the charming streets, and went down to the port to look at the boats.