Hello to anyone who might have stumbled upon this website; Welcome to my blog.
My name is Corine. I was born and raised in Montreal (Canada).
During my free time, I enjoy traveling, food and photography among other things. I decided to give blogging a try and to share my different life experiences with you. You will mostly find posts about travelling, but also different lifestyle themes.
After completing the Vietnamese portion of our marriage ceremonies, Nick and I went to change and put on the traditional Laotian sinh while the guests took a break.
Before starting, Nick was offered a shot of hard liquor and came into the house with his sunshade, a bouquet and lit candles once again.
The ceremony started when I, the bride, was waiting sitting on the ground next to the offerings and Nick, the groom, came to join me. We were sitting across the master of ceremony, who lit the candles on the offerings and chanted a buddhist prayer while the guests who wanted to participated and us listened with our hands together in prayer. We were then asked to feed each other a piece of hard boiled egg, which should bring us fertility in the future. We then washed it down when we were asked to each drink a shot of hard liquor. The next step was to receive wishes from the master of ceremony as well as from any guest who wanted to participate, while they attached a ribbon of cotton around our wrists to seal the wish in. We ended the ceremony with offerings from the couple to our parents and older guests to ask for their forgiveness for any wrong we might have done in the past and for asking for their blessing.
What I noticed was that both Vietnamese and Laotian marriage traditions were based on the same values of family and respect. These are the values we were both raised with and represented us perfectly. I loved that planning these traditional ceremonies allowed us to learn more on our own cultures and to teach others about it. I also very much enjoyed wearing the traditional clothes, which were stunning, made me feel like a princess and never have a chance to wear!
While we were both born in Montreal, Canada, Nick is half Vietnamese and half Laotian and I am Vietnamese. It only seemed natural to us to honour both of our cultures in our marriage ceremonies. So, we did our best to combine traditional marriage practices from Vietnam and from Laos. Both had to be done before noon for good fortune. We started with the Vietnamese ceremony, then continued with the Laotian ceremony, before inviting all our guests to a buffet lunch in my parents’ backyard. The day was memorable and we were blessed with gorgeous weather. Everything was done at my parents’ house in order to simplify the process. However, traditionally, in Vietnamese customs, parts of the ceremony normally take place at the bride’s house and then the groom’s family take her back to their home and invite the guests to continue the ceremony at their house.
Nick’s family arrived together to my parents’ house, with five male family members carrying the Vietnamese offering platters, covered by a red and gold cloth. Nick was wearing a blue and gold traditional Vietnamese ao dai. To add a touch of Laotian tradition, he was holding a bouquet with a candle in it to symbolize finding his way, and was covered with a red and gold sunshade to protect him from bad spirits. Notice the repetition of red and gold? For Vietnamese people, these colours symbolize luck and prosperity.
While I was hiding upstairs, my family welcomed Nick’s family. Five girls from my family received the offering platters from the five boys from Nick’s side. The platters were then placed on the altar. My mother brought me downstairs and our parents took the reigns. Each set of parents did a short speech. They welcomed our family members and wished us all the best. Nick and I prayed to our ancestors with incense sticks and asked them for permission to welcome a new member into our families. We then continued with the tea offering to the elders, during which we offered them tea and they offered us wishes. Finally, my new mother-in-law gifted me with some gold jewelry as a welcome gift into their family. We then finished the Vietnamese customs with a presentation of our families to each other.
My favorite part of the Vietnamese marriage tradition is the part where both of our families are presented and get to meet. I feel like it is much more the blending of our two families than it is focused on the bride and groom like in Occidental customs.
Tam Bao Son is a Vietnamese buddhist monastery located in Canton d’Harrington, in Quebec, a little more than an hour and a half drive from Montreal.
It is a peaceful monastery with temples, statues and pathways all around its grounds. It is particularly gorgeous in autumn when the leaves change colors. The orange, red and yellow leaves match the typical yellow and red colors of buddhist monks clothing and temples. The walk up to the Buddha of compassion’s giant statue at the top of one of the mountains takes you through various representations of different Buddha’s.
Tam Bao Son Monastery makes for a nice spiritual one-day getaway that makes visitors feel like they’re transported to a whole other place.
In my Japan Vlog series, here is my 2nd vlog, in Tokyo for our honeymoon.
Day 3 started at the old location of the Tsukiji Fish Market, where we got out best sushi to date at Shou. We then went to the Imperial Palace Gardens in Tokyo. In the evening, we had dinner at Ichiran for some ramen served in individual cabins, a unique Japanese experience.
On Day 4, we spent time people watching at Shibuya Crossing in daylight before heading to Sushi No Midori for another sushi fix. Next stop was the Meiji Shrine and the spiritual gardens surrounding it. We then walked around in Harajuku on Takeshita Street and visited a hedgehog cafe to end the day.
On our first day in Japan, thanks to our jetlag, we woke up at the break of dawn and realized the weather for the day would be amazing; hot, sunny (and windy).
It was the perfect opportunity to make our way to Disney Sea. The theme park is located just outside Tokyo and is accessible by subway/train.
As soon as we got on the monorail from the subway train station to Disney Sea, the magic began. The futuristic monorail, the organized entrance to the park and the magnificent views all made the experience an unforgettable one. The rides were fun and were always preceded by an amazing set up which put the rides into context.
The theme park had many different areas depicting different parts of the world. I recognized some of them where I’ve been to right away, such as the Venice canals and the Florence Ponte Vecchio.
There was an area called the American Waterfront where there were some American restaurants which didn’t really interest us because we’re normally so close and so used to going to the US. The Arabian Coast was gorgeous and transported us across the world again. The Mermaid Lagoon was very pretty with all its colors, but it was indoors. The Lost River Delta was so realistic that it made us feel like we were in South America. Finally, there was a rollercoaster that went inside and over a fake volcano that looked super realistic and impressive in the Mysterious Island area.
After an amazing day at the park with the best weather we could’ve wished for, we ended the day with dinner at Tsukiji Tamasushi, a restaurant located next to the subway station but still within the Disney Resort. My Chirashi bowl was of an unprecedented freshness and was perfect for our first ‘sushi’ meal of the trip! By that time, we were burnt out by our busy day and our jetlag so we just headed back to Shibuya Tobu Hotel.
From September 29 to October 14, Nick and I had the chance to fly to Japan to enjoy some quality time together for the occasion of our honeymoon. Here is the first of a few vlogs, which depicts our first 2 days at our first stop, Tokyo.
We flew from Montreal to Tokyo on a comfortable and direct ~13 hour flight with Air Canada. We took the train into the city, and checked in to our hotel, the Shibuya Tobu Hotel. The next day was devoted to Disney Sea.
Doing yoga in Bali has been on my bucketlist for a while. Little did I know that meant practicing yoga while overlooking the lush green rice paddies of Bali. Ubud is a spiritual and cultural part of Bali where yoga and meditation are very popular among tourists and expats.
We booked ahead of time and paid (a very reasonable price) just before class. It all went very smoothly. Walking through the rice fields to get to the yoga studio, the unique experience had already started. The paddies and the tropical vegetation combined with the serene and silent atmosphere of the area were memorable. The studio was clean and well cared for. Our class was given on the roofed outdoor terrace on the second floor. The teacher was a Canadian expat who had been living in Bali for a few years while teaching yoga. The staff were all very nice and made the experience an even better one.
I loved the experience of doing yoga with nothing but fresh air, the sun and the sound of birds and water running through the rice fields.