Here’s the long-awaited post about the village wedding. We arrived late on Tuesday night and found all of the village gathered in the front yard of our friend’s house. They had lights strung up all through the trees and around the yard and everyone was dancing. When we arrived it made quite a sensation — many of these folks rarely make it to the next town of 15,000 people. So, seeing someone from America was a big deal. I’m tired of it being a big deal, though. One good thing about this village is that we’ve been there enough that we’ve become more normal. Our friends can answer the typical questions for us. (“Who are they? Why are they here? Where are they from? Where did they learn the language?” etc.)

Then, most of the neighbors went home. Only the very large extended family remained. At that point, a few people got together to do a play. All of the parts in the play were performed by women. From what I can tell, the bride’s “mom” was asked by the local religious guy if he could marry her daughter. She told him she’d rather marry her daughter to the town drunk. Then, the town drunk (played by one of our other friends) showed up with beer can in hand. “He” asked if he could marry the daughter. Apparently the mom hadn’t really meant that and she also told him no. So, he stole the bride and married her without permission. The mom sat and wept and there was a lot of gnashing of teeth until the “grandmother” came and helped the couple make peace with the family. It was very interesting. And, apparently it was very funny, but I couldn’t understand most of what they were laughing at.

That night we stayed with our friend Lily and her husband and baby. They were so gracious and gave us their bed in their small home. They slept on the floor. The next morning after we all ate breakfast together, all the girls went into town to get their hair done. They saw me getting money from James and they told me I wouldn’t need it. The groom pays for the bride and all of her friends to get their hair done. By the end of the day, this salon had done 17 updos. And the groom footed the bill. Amazing.

That night was the second night of the festivities. I’m not sure exactly what happened because we had to leave early. We had to get home because we all were leaving for the Big City the next morning. Weddings in willages last 3 days — the first night is just the village people (so it was a real honor that we were invited). The second night all the guests begin arriving. The third night is the real wedding. I hope that we get to go again so I can tell you more about what happens at these things.

This time the thing I was most impressed by was their hospitality. They took care of everyone who showed up. They set up a tent outside and hired women from another village to do all the cooking. You should have seen the giant pots of food that they were preparing. We got to witness the butchering of two lambs to provide meat. Then, there were huge pans of eggplant dishes, soup, salads, noodles with yogurt and garlic, potato and meat stew-type stuff, and lots more. It was insane how big these dishes were. I literally could sit in them.

I took a lot of pictures from the day, so I’ll try to get those up soon. I also got some interesting video of the people cooking some things. I’ll also work on that. For now, I have to shower and get ready for the day. So, this is the end of the first village installment. Let’s consider it the overview.

*The sounds for V and W are not distinct in the language over here. So when Central Asians speak English words that start in V or W, they often mix them up. Hence the fact that they say “willage.” And hence the fact that we say it, too.