We were half an hour late, and trying to find a restaurant in Tai Ma Li at 7 PM. There aren't a lot of street lights in Tai Ma Li, and I was wondering if we hadn't already passed by our destination. We knew that the restaurant was in a small village near the highway, but in Tai Ma Li there are a lot of small villages near the highway, each designated by signs that are easy to miss at night. 我們已經遲到半個小時. 在太麻里晚上七點的時候找一家餐廳. 太麻里的路燈不多. 我開始猜想是否已經錯過那家餐廳. 我們只知道那家餐廳在公路旁邊的小村子, 可是太麻里公路旁邊的小村子很多. 雖然每個村子在路邊都有名牌, 可是天黑的時候找牌子是件很難的事情.
Eventually we found the restaurant, which I can now tell you is located near Da Shu (Big Tree), where Highway 9 starts to climb up a big hill. We parked the car in front of a betel nut stand, and I followed my wife and daughters into the restaurant. 我們終於找到那家餐廳. 現在我可以告訴你它在一棵大樹附近, 靠近台9線開始走上坡的地方. 我們把車停在一個檳榔攤旁邊後, 我和我太太及兩個女兒一起走進去餐廳.
Inside, in a back yard behind the restaurant, an American friend was standing next to his pregnant wife. Standing next to them was a man dressed in Paiwan clothing, and next to this man was another woman, translating everything he said into English. There were about 30 people there. 餐廳後面有個院子. 我的美國朋友跟他懷孕的新娘一起站著. 他們旁邊有一位穿著排灣族服飾的先生, 他的旁邊還有一位小姐把他說的話翻譯成英文. 大概有三十個人左右參加婚禮.
The man in Paiwan clothing said a few ceremonial words, and then husband and wife took a drink from a long wooden cup for two people. Then he asked the groom's best man to come down, and share a drink with the bridesmaid. The man in Paiwan clothing explained the goings-on as various people took drinks from the two-person cup, and after a few minutes we were all encouraged to eat and drink. 穿排灣族服飾的人說一些祝詞, 然後新郎跟新娘一起用木條上的木杯喝了一杯酒. 之後他請新郎最好的朋友跟新娘最好的朋友去前面一起喝酒. 他們喝酒的時候那位穿排灣族服飾的人也介紹這婚禮的儀式意義. 儀式結束就是用餐時間了.
Which we did. The food was very good, and I ate more of it than I should have. The stars were very bright overhead, and everyone was in a good mood. We ate, and ate, and talked, and ate, and when we weren't eating or talking we took copious sips of beer. I talked with the groom for a bit about the child he was expecting. Others at the table were talking about surfing, or music, or life on the east coast of Taiwan. All in all, it was a very pleasant evening. 我們就不客氣了. 餐廳的食物很好吃, 我吃得太撐了. 天空上的小星星很亮, 大家都很開心. 我們吃很多, 講很多, 又喝很多. 我跟新郎談到他期待著的寶寶, 其他同桌的人談衝浪, 音樂, 或是台灣東部的生活方式. 是個很美好的晚上.
I've been to a lot of weddings in Taiwan, but that was the most relaxed. And what better way to start a long-term partnership, than with a simple ceremony beneath the stars? Weddings should be joyful occasions, and it's a shame that they are often bogged down with ceremony, and with expense, and with expectations. 我在台灣去過很多婚禮, 只有這個是最輕鬆的. 我覺得這種在夜空下的簡單婚禮是兩個人要一輩子生活在一起的好起點. 婚禮應該是一件快快樂樂的事情, 可惜它們常常被傳統, 金錢, 和個人意見變嚴肅了.
After a few hours we packed the kids back in the car and headed home. As we did so, I reflected on my own wedding, 14 years ago. Life moves so fast sometimes, and before you know it you are a husband, a wife, a father, or a mother, remembering a wedding that happened - it seems - only yesterday. 幾個小時以後, 我們帶孩子上車回家. 我們離開的時候, 我想到自己十四年前的婚禮. 有時候人的一生過得好快, 在你察覺前已經由一個單身貴族成為別人的先生, 太太, 爸爸或媽媽, 想到自己的婚禮, 感覺有如昨日.
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