50th wedding anniversary

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My godparents Mami Angela and Papi Roland.

A few weeks ago I was very happy to be in Mauritius to celebrate my godparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Yes, that’s right, 50th anniversary!

This is of course something that many couples, especially in North American culture, rarely achieve. We celebrated with 250 guests at a restaurant in the country’s capital Port Louis.

My godparents, whom I call Mami and Papi, are my first parents because they raised me for the first two years of my life in Mauritius before I went to Canada.

Mmmmmmm cake.

Mami’s brothers and sisters all in good health. She is one of 12!

Lovely cousins.

Cousins’ wives Jacqueline and Genvieve who are always so cheerful and welcoming.

My aunt’s family on my dad’s side. They are always so welcoming whenever I stay over and I love playing with their daughters. They have an endless amount of energy and always make me laugh.

My generous cousins on my dad’s side of the family.

My dad’s brothers and sisters who all live in Delicious Mauritius.

Ching ching (cheers).

Always playing.

My cousin’s daughter Lana. She’s so thoughtful to give me two of her jewelry for me to remember her and drew me a birthday card.

They’re always so photogenic.

My talented nephew who sings, dances, mixes and is my hookup to the cool places around Mauritius.

More awesome cousins Lonlon and Alain who I love hanging out with and are incredibly generous with all of their guests.

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The dream of Nyomen in Bali

The lovely Nyomen.

I was very happy to meet Nyomen, a staff member at the villa my friend was staying at in Bali, Indonesia. Every time we passed her, she greeted us with the most genuine and warm smile. She doesn’t speak much English and I don’t speak much Indonesian, but I can feel the warmness of her personality. If she didn’t see us for a few days, she would run up and give us a hug whenever we came back.

Nyomen has worked in three villas and is also a mother of two, one of whom is not her biological child, but she so generously took into her family. She grew up in Bali with six other brothers and sisters and now is busy taking care of the family after her work shift is over.

Nyomen’s lifestyle, modesty and unconditional love for her family is typical of many women I have met across Asia. She wakes up early to make breakfast for the children and does a lot of shopping. Husband doesn’t cook but if he has a day off he will go fishing and bring fish back home.

Nyomen makes these beautiful bracelets and sells them. I bought two as a souvenir of her wonderful and generous personality.

Marriage is highly valued across Asia and if people are not married by a certain age, often between 20 to 30, then many people act like it’s the end of the world for you and you have not fulfilled your ultimate mission in life. The families of the bride and groom have to agree with the marriage.

I was curious and asked Nyomen what the common age is for people to marry and she said girls can marry as young as 20 years old and 24 to 27 years old for boys. Sometimes if kids don’t have a job they marry instead.

In today’s Western dating culture, there is so much gaming involved, playing hard to get and often acting like a bad boy/bad girl to attract a partner. So I found the simplicity and genuine affection in Nyomen’s story of how she met her husband very sweet and a great of example of old school romance.

Nyomen’s husband came from the same village as her and they met every day. She said, “We spent a lot of time together and one day my husband said he fell in love with me.” They were not in a relationship for a long time before they got married. She was 20 years old at the time and he was 25 and is now working at a hotel.

I asked her if she wants her kids to marry early and she said, “No, I want my children to go to university, have a good job and then marry. In Bali it’s expensive so I want my kids to be successful and I can help my kids go to university.”