Friday, July 18, 2003

Milestones

I'm sitting here at half past midnight, not feeling even a little bit guilty for not having entered anything noteworthy in the last couple of months. I didn't want to share what was going on in my life because it was too fresh, too exciting, too personal, and too close to me at the time. Now things are settling into a comfortable routine, and I am getting some perspective on things.

I am married.

I married a beautiful, funny, incredibly perceptive, loving person - Vanessa Pan. (Her Chinese name is Pan Huixin - pronounced "Hway-sheen") We got married on my 36th birthday - a date we chose so that I would never forget our anniversary, so that Vanessa can combine my b-day gift and anniversary day gift, and because we're also getting married publically next summer, so we didn't want to assign too much significance to one individual day. It was a really hot day. I wore a black silk Chinese style shirt that V had bought for me, and she wore a beautiful cream-coloured dress.

I was pretty excited that day, even though I had tried to fool myself by saying it was just paperwork and didn't mean that much. It didn't work - by the time I got there, my heart was racing. It was a thrilling experience.

The gentleman presiding was a Notary Public who specializes in this sort of thing. He had a little altar set up, with the Chinese character for double happiness in red neon behind. It wasn't as tacky as it sounds. He spoke to us about the powers invested in him by the government of the Republic of China, our responsibilities to each other as a married couple, he mispronounced three out of four of my names, we then bowed to each other (almost bumping heads), smooched, and he then handed me our marriage certificate. That was it.

Despite the banality of the procedure, when it came time for the little "ceremony", I felt very moved. I mean wow - there was a beautiful woman standing next to me who actually wanted to be with me for the rest of my life. I was thrilled and proud. What a high! Our witnesses to the ceremony, next-door-neighbours and all-round good guys Geoff and Joyce Lin, took us out for a celebratory bowl of beef noodles for lunch that were just insanely spicy. We went home, had an afternoon nap (we were both zonked - too much nervous energy), and then later in the evening went to Salsa Bistro on Anhe Road with them for Champagne and dinner.

After dinner, we went to an outdoor cafe very close to Lotus Hill and had coffee outside under the trees. The music was nice. I just remembered - when we sat down there, the waitress came to take our temperatures - SARS was in full bloom back then - and the way she was fiddling around with the laser-pointer thermometer made me realize that she was new at this. She did me first and the second she pointed the laser at me, I grabbed my head in apparent agony and started moaning. The poor girl was startled - she thought she had killed me.
"Omigod sir, are you alright?!"
"Yeah, just playing with you - I'm sorry...."
Everybody else was in stitches, but the poor girl looked faint. I'm such a bastard...

Anyhow we all talked about nothing for a couple of hours, and I kept stealing looks at Vanessa beside me. She was especially beautiful that night. I think I'll remember that day and that night for a long time - forever, I guess. Here's to our beautiful life together ~clinks glasses~

2 comments:

killthejoe said...

That sounds like a great experience! I'm also planning on getting married in the next while and was interested in the part where you mentioned getting married in the Notary Public's office. You said you don't need an appointment... Does this mean couples can show up at the Notary office where they have the aurhority to marry people on the spot, so long as they have all the appropriate documents?

Thanks much!

Craig Bond - urmonos@gmail.com

Maoman said...

We had made an appointment the week before. I'm not sure if they'd do it on the spot, but I don't see why not, as long as all the paperwork is in order...

Our notary public was on the 2nd floor of the building on the northwest corner of Fuxing North Road and Zhulun Street, just one block south of Nanjing East Road.