Thursday, January 5, 2012

Seventh Heaven

Over Christmas break, my birthday corresponded with another very memorable day of my life. B was here and we took the opportunity to get our Taiwan-style wedding photos done. I was a little nervous about the whole thing, but in the end, all the minor problems encountered were quickly taken care of, and it was not nearly as tiring or overwhelming as I expected it to be.

We set off bright and early at 7:30am to take the MRT to our studio location. The trip would almost span the entire length of KHH's MRT system, and even the car ride to the closest station took about 20 minutes. (That should tell you how far out in the boonies I live.) But even with the length of the trip there, we ended up arriving 15 minutes early. B and I sat on a nearby park bench to wait for someone to open the doors.

A lady arrived who dialed inside, and the manager opened the doors for us (the lovely little manager girl seems to live there). The lady who called happened to be my makeup artist--she was super nice and told B and I that we have the sweetest smiles. I was a little nervous about the makeup, but she put me at ease, telling me that if I didn't like anything I would have to tell her. Fortuately, I never had to.

All made up! Complete with the unmistakeable Taiwan-style caterpillar falsies
As we were getting ready, we encountered two problems: 1) My dresses didn't fit and 2) The photographer didn't like B's glasses. Problem #1 was easily solved by the expert seamstresses on hand who altered the dresses on the spot. B overcame problem #2 by learning how to put in contact lenses. To our astonishment, our photographer happened to have a prescription similar to B's and had a pack of daily disposables on hand.

Our first look was upstairs in their "attic" -- Seventh Heaven's on-site shooting spot. We met our photographer (who's name actually is Seven) and his assistant, called A-Shiang. Seven was a trip and a half. He was like a cartoon character, perfectly modeling the poses he wanted us to do and occasionally bursting out into a hilarious laugh. It didn't take me until later to realize that he is just like a Taiwanese version of Jack Sparrow, replacing the brandy with betel nut. He must have ingested at least 15 of those things during the course of the day, and the loopiness was increasingly exaggerated in his personality. A-Shiang on the other hand, was a balance to all of that with his down-to-earth, polite friendliness. Spending the day with them was a blast!

Our first look was all-white, and sparkly. I loved the dress I got to wear! At first I didn't want them to give B a white suit but it turned out okay I think, given that white suits are for FOBs and B looks like a FOB. The jacket he wore was pristine and looked really good on him.

After the first look, we changed to go to the beach at SiZiWan. They took us down a secret passageway next to a deserted parking lot, across dirty water, pebbles, and small boulders (very difficult to travel over in a big dress and heels). The beach was so much fun! The wind was really blowing but Seven knew how to work it, and we got to stick our toes (and the lower part of my dress) in the cold water.

They gave me hair extensions. What B said about it: "I will make sure not to touch them."
We came back, washed up and changed, and had lunch. They gave us bien dang that came in two layers--rice on the bottom and veggies/meat on the top. So smart!

Topped off with a yakult yogurt drink!
Excited to eat!
Third look was off to a park, as per my request to have "trees and grass." My favorite part was getting to climb a tree in a beautiful white dress!

We brought everything needed to change into the other two looks, and I was wondering where we would change when, much to my amusement, my makeup artist told me we would use the "over-under" trick. So right out in the open road with plenty of cars, mopeds, and pedestrians passing by, I slipped out of the old dress and into the new one all at once. It was quite the technique, but definitely requires assistance.

After the park they took us to some old neighborhoods built by the Japanese during the Japanese occupation back in our grandparents' day. Someone living in one of the houses there had a pretty garden with huge, yellow, iris-like flowers and Seven stopped to pick one on a whim. "These flowers are made for picking," was his excuse to our protestations. The flower made it into a few of our pictures, but I personally didn't think it matched our outfits that well.

We came back for the fifth look because this dress (above) broke at the zipper, and I had to be sewn into it. But we didn't go far and got a few night scenes in this dress. By this time, Tu Zi, the manager, was making tang yuan and we were invited to stay. Tang yuan are little balls made from rice flour that may or may not contain something inside. The kind we ate had meat inside--traditional hakka style. They are supposed to be eaten on the first day of winter (which my birthday happens to land on sometimes).
Here we are waiting for the tang yuan after we finished our pictures

Here are the studio ladies busying over the food, while Seven looks on and tries to offer suggestions

Happy birthday to me!
We had two bowls, then Seven and A-Shiang graciously drove us to the MRT station where we bid our goodbyes. I brought B to Little Italy at the HanShen mall. Sitting there in the ambient light with B, chatting like best friends, recounting the epic year was a moment that filled my heart with joy and thankfulness where I realized that my cup was indeed overflowing.

B with his food and his TW-style hair
We topped off dinner with ice cream - my favorite! =) Coldstone knew it was my birthday and gave us a free cup of tang yuan flavored ice cream (black sesame ice cream with red bean and mochi topping). Actually, no, it was because it was the first day of winter, not my birthday. But we pretended like it was. :)

It was such a fun day, and when we get our pictures, we will have them forever to remember it by! <3


  1. SUCCESS!!! I tried it one last time to see if it would work! :) I enjoyed your description of the day! I can't wait to see how the pictures turn out!

  2. i think the trouble must be my school account! Now that I am home it actually lets me! WHEEE :D