Anecdote Six: The Box for Wedding Gift Money Turned Into a Trash Can
在美国住了二十年，中式西式的婚礼也参加过几次，可是轮到自己筹办，还是如“刘姥姥进大观园”目不暇接。一向不喜欢逛商店的我，开始流连于不同商店的Brides用品专柜。一天我看到一件由白色锦缎和珍珠点缀的精美盒子，四面全封，仅在上面留了一个长条小口儿。On sale! 我赶紧问店员这是干什么用的。装贺卡和礼金用的！对呀，我怎么就没想过如果有嘉宾送贺卡或“红包”什么的，往哪儿放啊？
Having lived in America for more than two decades, I have attended several weddings, both Chinese and Western. But when it was my turn, I was like the old Lady Liu's visit to the Daguanyuan--crazy busy to handle everything. I'm not into going shopping, but I went shopping from brides' counter of one store to another. One day I saw a box wrapped by white silk and decorated with pearls. The box is a sealed one, with a long opening on the top side and, it was on sale! I asked about its use--for gift money and cards! "Right! How could I forget this?! What if someone brings me a card or some gift money?!"
Actually, I regarded the wedding as a chance for the family and friends to get together, so it never occurred to me to receive any gift or gift money from anyone. Why? My fiancé didn't understand it at the beginning, but he agreed with me. For middle-aged people like us, we've got everything. And when we get married, house, car, furniture, kitchen cookery, everything is in two. So gift money and gifts are actually unnecessary.
说归说，可是没有几个人会空手参加婚礼的。有备无患。有红色的吗？ 没有？婚期接近，红色的盒子还是没有买到。我别出心裁地用一个比大号影集还大的盒子让未婚夫在上面按贺卡的比例开了一个口子，又在镶金的蝴蝶封面上配制了一个红色“双喜”字—— 既不俗气又避免了收礼时的口舌 。绝创！
But hardly anyone comes to a wedding empty-handed. Therefore I asked the store assistant if there was a red one but she said no. As the wedding was approaching and I hadn't bought a red box, so creatively, I found a box, a size bigger than the large size photo album, and asked my fiancé to cut an opening in the size of a card. Then I stuck a letter "囍" onto the golden butterfly cover, making it elegant and not like we were asking for gifts and gift money. How unique!
I thought I had made it perfect. But, I forgot to tell the two friends who were helping the attending guests what the box was for. So after the wedding, when I opened the box excitedly, what I saw were the invitations I sent to the guests, and most of the invitation envelops were torn into two halves. I was astonished: that was so disrespectful!
"No wonder! I was wondering how to give you my gift money." Screamed my friend. "In China, a bride will carry with her a little bag for the gift money. One person will be in charge of the money. When one bag is full, he will change for another one for the bride. But I saw you empty-handed that day, and I was afraid that you would throw my red envelope with the gift money contained away somewhere. I had no idea that the box was for the gift money. I saw your helper friend collect the invitations and put them inside."
No wonder some day after the wedding, my husband's friend explained to me again and again that his wife loved the Chinese culture on the invitation and kept it for memory and asked me to apologize to my helper friend when she asked them to drop the invitation into the given box but they didn't.
I didn't know the box he talked about was that gift box until one of my girl friends told me vividly how the helper friend was serious about the invitation card collecting and almost did not let her in when she said she forgot to bring it.
We laughed so happily on the moon night. We almost called my helper friend but she was in China that night. I hope she will laugh as happily as we did when I tell her the purpose of the box next time we meet each other.
后记：写到这儿有一种欲罢不能的感觉。为什么？ 看到这两只纸做的天鹅了吗？这是一位好友送给我的结婚礼物。太“薄”了？这可是这位好友和女儿在欧洲旅途中用千张彩纸折叠出来的！还有这首诗，这是另一位好友在婚礼现场即兴而发的。矫揉造作？错了。婚礼现场的湖水里真的就有两只不离不弃的天鹅，朋友只是将美好的愿望寄情与景而已。我想说的是：在这些笑谈之后，还有许多令我感激涕零的故事，但是我选择了上述片段作为文章的内容，并非是要渲染自己的婚礼，而是希望自己经历过的“文化尴尬”能够受惠於他人。 当然，如果我的文字一不小心又因文化的碰撞伤害到哪位朋友的感情，请向我学习，就把它看成是对于东西方文化融合的贡献，一笑了之吧。
P.S: The article is finished but I somehow don't want it to be. Why? Have you seen the two paper swans? They are my wedding gift from a good friend. You think the gift is not valuable enough? My friend and her daughter folded them with 1000 color papers when they were traveling in Europe. And this poem, it was improvised by another good friend of mine. You think it's too pretentious? You're wrong. On the day of my wedding ceremony, there were two swans in the lake who were so in love. My friend just embedded her best wishes into the swan picture. What I want to say is that there are many stories that made me so gratified that I cried behind the anecdotes, but I only chose the ones above to tell, not to depict what a wonderful wedding I had, but to benefit others by my experiences of cultural embarrassments. And of course, if my writing accidentally hurts the feelings of a certain friend, please learn from me--just take it as a contribution to the blending of Oriental and Western cultures. Just laugh about it.