Writing in the local paper. Local issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.
It’s the time of year for cherries, little sailor suits, Playstations and travel agents with deals on trips to Euro Disney. I happened to be invited to a communion the other day and to this guiri travel writer, these celebrations are as exotic as bullfights, Songkran in Thailand or Novrus in Iran. It wasn't my first, so I had an idea as what to expect but this one happened to be in one of the megachurches in one of the newer parts of the city and therefore promised a different look at an old custom. It's been a warm spring and that particular day was no different. The traditionally sombrely dressed men had added a bit of color and had decided to dip into their clothing reserve that is normally reserved for summer weddings but it was definitely the rather short skirts that seemed to catch everyone’s...eye. When the ceremony began, I found myself inside the decorated gymnasium as the nervous children walked up the aisle, the weight of their protagonism etching itself in ever slightly different ways on their serious faces. As the ceremony drew on I found myself drifting outside along with clouds of incense and a steady stream of better-dressed people. Walking around the growing crowd, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on conversations here and there. Lunch seemed to be the topic of the day with the key words being where the luncheon was taking place and how many had been invited. According to many, communions were becoming like weddings in order to help with that trip to see Mickey in Paris. Sentries peeked in on the ceremony now and then and as it began to come to an end, the crowds slid back in. The children were now standing at the front and a crush of paparazzi formed in front, but the priest had yet to finish. The crowd grew and so did the noise as the priest strained to be heard over the hum, 'Don't forget that while today is important, it would be nice to see this enthusiasm here tomorrow (Sunday).’ I don’t often agree with sermons from the pulpit but this time he was on to something.