married

Publié le par chrislzh

So now we're married.

It was a right pain in the arse, though. We got to the registry office just after 10. It took us a few minutes to find anybody who worked there. Then they told us, "No, sorry, you have to get the Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage translated". Bloody hell. And they wouldn't let us do the translation, of course, it has to be done by somebody with the appropriate stamp. So we got them to tell us where a good translator could be found in jumped in a new taxi.

The office for sino-foreign joint ventures like us is just west of 中华民族园, just inside the north 4th ring road, and the translator they recommended was down in 西交民巷, just west of Tiananmen Square. And the office was in a building belonging to the State Grid company, or whoever, with no sign outside. Anyway, we found the place, told them we were in a hurry, and then found a little restaurant to get some brunch and a couple of beers and while away the time. The translation was done in time for us to get back to the registry office at about 1:15, meaning lzh wanted to first go to the shopping centre she'd spotted to see if she could buy a red coat for our informal little Christmas/Wedding gathering we had last night. No luck, so we were back at the registry office bang on 1:30 in time for them to reopen for the afternoon and for us to get married.

And then we were told our photos were too big and needed to be cut down to size, so we were given a guillotine and showed the example standard-sized photos. We started chopping and they took our documents off to be bureaucrated. Then we were given a form to fill in and sign. Everything but my signature had to be entirely in Chinese, so now I have yet another wacky sinicisation of my name on an official document and we had to come up with an even wackier sinicisation of my parents' address (it was hard enough to convince lzh that we just don't have 户口 or ID cards in New Zealand, I wasn't even going to try persuading these bureaucrats). We signed and fingerprinted then that was taken off to be bureaucrated. Then after about half an hour waiting, during which we helped translate for an Indian guy who could speak a little Chinese and his South Korean girlfriend who didn't seem to speak any language (at least, not that I heard) then we were called over to the desk and given another form to sign, asked for nine kuai, and given our marriage certificates.

So we succeeded. We're legal.

Walking out of the registry office felt really good. Not just because we're now married, but the elation at having escaped the tangled web of red tape. We'd been bureaucrated and survived. Felt like getting out of a taxi at the end of another insane highspeed race through traffic. Now I have another red tape story to tell.

My parents called yesterday afternoon. That meant telling this story five times over, to each member of the family individually.

Mother dearest doesn't seem so happy that her first born got married eleven thousand kilometres away in a country of godless communists. She probably thinks they took a photo of us under a portrait of Mao holding little red books over our hearts. I tried to persuade her that it really is just registering our marriage legally to satisfy the bureaucrats and that lzh's parents also didn't get to take part and that we'll have a big ceremony later.

And for Christmas she gave me a t-shirt with the word 'Home' and a map of New Zealand on it. I think she's trying to tell me something.

Mothers. Almost as much trouble as bureaucrats.

Nevermind, we're married and that's the important bit.

Then we got a few friends together last night for a wee party to celebrate. It just doesn't feel right without a party. So we partied. For some reason the two coming from Tianjin couldn't get a train and wound up on the slowest bus to Beijing. They arrived somewhere and phoned me for directions. When they found out they were still in 通县, I yelled "No! Don't get off the bus!" Bloody hell, I wouldn't wish a trip to 通州 on anyone. They made it to 北京站 unscathed, though, so no worries there. But then they found themselves the stupidest taxi driver possible and wound up at the wrong gate of Beiyu, making them later, still. By the time they arrived the party was pretty much over, unfortunately. But we got to hang out with them for a bit, which was cool, 'cos I haven't seen them since I escaped Tianjin.

Then, after a really long and crazy day we retired.

Finally we got married.

Publié dans chrislzh

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