So, it is official now. My marriage is now recognized in both countries.
I must admit that I never gave much thought to the legalities of getting married. Somehow I thought that both governments would talk to each other and arrange all the paperwork on my behalf. Silly me, I know.
However, the beaurocratic side of things has been much less painful than it could have been. I mean, I did get married in England, under English law. All I had to do was to let the Spanish consulate know after all had happened. I married en June 09 and didn’t send all the paperwork until January 10. Yes, I took my time.
I had to send the original and a copy of the marriage certificate, the originals and copies of both Jon’s and mine birth certificates, some Spanish consulate form, filled in with the same details repeated again, and copies of our passports. Nothing had to be translated. Ah, and a self addressed and stamped envelope big enough for them to send me the Family Book. The only time that I had to contact the Spanish Consulate about anything was when I wasn’t sure about the size of the envelope. Not having seen a Family Book in years, I had no idea of its size and whether it would fit in the envelope I had, or not. I was very lucky to get my phone call answered the first and only time I called, as I’ve heard of many a case where constant telephone calls to the Consulate never get answered. Hopefully, I won’t have to contact them ever again.
Now, about the Family Book.
Some people think that having an actual paper-book, hand written with a ball pen, is soooo last century and very backwards. Especially in the second decade of the 21st century, when everything is computarised. However, I think it’s very cute. The fact that I have that book here with me, I can touch it, I can feel it.. It’s got a special thing about it. Yes, it can get lost. Yes, it can get damaged (my mum’s always had a huge coffee stain on it). And yes, it’s a pain in the arse having to do all your beaurocratic paperwork face-to-face because someone has to write in the damn book. But I feel a tiny bit more special for having it, much better than just being another entry in a huge computer database.
This long tradition of the Family Book is, however, going to end soon, as it was recently approved in Spain that the paper version of the Family Book will disappear towards a computarised system. In a way, I think it’s a shame. On the other hand, it’s evolution, baby.
Today is our 6 month wedding “anniversary”… A day like today, six months ago, Jon and I got married.
In a way, my mind is thinking right now: “I can’t believe it’s been 6 months.. it feels like yesterday!” But, on the other hand, my mind is also wondering where time has gone. It does feel like yesterday AND it feels like a long time ago. I have lots of fantastic memories of the day and still remember everything like it happened just a few days ago. But that’s all they are: Memories.
I remember all the preparations before the big day, all the arrangements that had to be done, all the nerves and stress. And then, the day came and went and that was it. Now I understand why some cultures have full-2-0r-3-day weddings, so at least all those well thought out preparations don’t finish or go away so soon…
So, the question that almost everybody seemed to ask for the first couple of months after the wedding was: How is married life?
Well, married life is fantastic. It really isn’t any different to not-married life, just living together in sin We were happy before the wedding, we are happy now. We are the same people, with the same habits… The only difference is a piece of paper that links us legally as husband and wife.
So, if everything is the same.. I wonder what marriage is then. I go back to Mark Twain, that poem that Barbara read at the ceremony, for some inspiration:
makes of two fractional lives
it gives to two purposeless lives
a work, and doubles the strength
of each to perform it,
it gives to two
a reason for living,
and something to live for,
it will give a new gladness
to the sunshine,
a new fragrance to the flowers,
a new beauty to the earth,
and a new mystery to life.
I believe the poem really says it all. Why try to explain Mark Twain’s words when they are so beautiful already. We are a whole now, we have a reason for living. We are married. We are perfect.
I’ve been lazy. I must be honest and admit it… I haven’t updated my blog for so many weeks now because of pure laziness. But, I must also say, that the best part of those weeks I’ve been so busy! Honest!
Well, the D-Day came and went, everything passed so quickly that now it just seems a distant memory. It is such a shame that one spends so many months preparing so thoughtfully for that day, and then on the day you are so nervous about everything that for a moment you can’t even enjoy it.
I did enjoy it though. No, actually, I loved it. I was extremelly nervious during the hours previous to the actual ceremony. I was getting ready in my room, and lots of people kept coming and going and telling me things of what was going on downstairs. But I wanted to BE downstairs! Somehow I couldn’t understand why I had to stay hidden, when everybody in the hall was having fun! (Jon tells me though that he was not having fun. He probably was as nervous as me…)
The time came for me to go down and walk the aisle with my bridesmaids and uncle… When I entered the ceremony room I somehow stopped seeing people. I saw one or two faces, the rest were a blur. Until I saw Jon… I suddenly felt this rush inside me. I think it can only be described as “happiness through my veins”.
The ceremony was beautiful. I couldn’t have dreamt of a more beautiful wedding. Everything went smoothly and much better than planned. I thought I would struggle with the vows, but I managed to get some proper English pronunciation off me and deliver them properly. Even after I had cried! My brother did the most beautiful reading and I got all emotive and sensitive… And I cried.
Then we did all the official pictures… That was fun. I decided then and there on the spot that I wanted to throw my bouquet in pure American-film style. That was so funny and everybody loved it. The problem was that afterwards the photographer said: “you’re going to need that for the shots now…” But nevermind, the bouquet managed to stay “alive” for the rest of the day
The wedding breakfast was a bit disappointed, as the caterer managed to completely screw the dishes we had booked with them. That got me in a bad mood for a while, and I felt terrible for the guests as the quality of the food was rubbish compared to what we had been promised (I must now say that Gorse Hill were good as a venue, but still have lots to improve on). The speeches after the dinner were fabulous. Jon’s speech made me cry (again) and laugh so much… Steve’s was hilarious, even with visual help of Jon’s “embarrasing” baby pictures. And my brother Jose’s… well, that one, though improvised, was also very moving and made me cry (once more)
And then the party started. All the evening guests had arrived by then. Jon and I were getting ready to do the first dance when suddenly saw that Graham had prepared a surprise… A table football appeared and Jon and I had our “first game” instead of a “first dance”!! It was fantastic and everybody loved it. I played Jon. I beat him. I played Graham. I beat him. I played Dave Flanagan. I beat him. I played Pablo… He beat me!
And we danced all night. I hadn’t danced so much since the 90s… I felt a bit guilty for not talking to people a bit more. Lots of people made the effort of turning up on the night and I barely talked to them. But I was having such a good time that I couldn’t leave the dancefloor! We finished at 2 in the morning… my feet gave up on me…
I am not going to write a big blog about the honeymoon because Jon and I kept a diary during our holiday (courtsey of Paul and Olga) and we’re going to transcribe it into our website (www.mariaandjon.com) very soon, with pictures and videos of our adventures in LA and Hawaii.
I will only say that it was the holiday of a lifetime. The jetlag left us exhausted for a few days, but it was more than worth it. We WILL be going back to Hawaii one day. It’s too beautiful to just visit once.
Hightlights of the holiday?:
- Two chopper rides
- Snuba diving
- Haleakala crater at sunset
- Eating pineapple!
After the Honeymoon
Going back to work was painful. Literally.
I was so clumsy and slow for the first day, making all kinds of mistakes… I think it would have been more beneficial to the company if I hadn’t come back at all; I wouldn’t had lost them any money! (£30, yes, I know…)
But the thought of an early weekend kept me going. We had only gone back to work on the Wednesday, so we had a very short week. On Friday we went into London to see Derren Brown’s new show, Enigma. It was brilliant, mind blowing… I still think about it, try to figure out how he did things, but it’s just of my reach.. my mind is not developed enough to understand such craftsmanship!
I can’t tell waht happened in the show, as it wouldn’t be fair on anyone reading this who might go and see the show themselves (not that anyone reads this anyhow…) but I’ll just say that it was better than seeing it on telly (although on telly or DVD they often tell you the secret behind the trick, and in the live show you just have yourself or your partner to torture finding an explanation)
That same night, after the show, we decided to go for a little walk around London. This was Friday 26th, the day after Michael Jackson died. We were walking towards Trafalgar Square when we realise that the base of Lord Nelson is full of people. As we get nearer we see that it’s people “mourning” Michael Jackson! It was quite something. Definetely weird. What really struck us was that 80% of the people gathered there weren’t older than 20 years old. I am not saying that there aren’t any real fans of MJ who aren’t younger than that, but it seemed to us that a lot of people were taking the event as an excuse to get drunk. I mean, MJ hasn’t really been in the spotlight for any original music merits since 1991… making all these people 12 years old? Of course, we’re talking about the King of Pop here and I am convinced that everybody on the face of the planet has at least once in their lifes listened to a MJ song.
We stayed the night in a hotel in Charing Cross and the following day we took a trip to the Science Museum. It was quite good, but we didn’t see it all. We must come back some other time to finish all the levels we missed. After the museum we wandered around South Kesington looking for somewhere to eat and we came across a very good Spanish Restaurant called Casa Brindisa. I don’t normally go to Spanish restaurants here in the UK because they ALWAYS disappoint me. But this one… This one was great. Every single plate that we ordered was delicious. I was really impressed. I have already recommended it and I have to make sure to go back there, as it brings quite nice memories of “home”.
People ask me how married life is and I always say: Same as before. But I lie. It’s not the same. It’s even better. I love Jon with all my heart, and every minute I thank the gods for given me such a wonderful life…
And that is pretty much it. We’re now filling up our calendar for July, meeting friends and family every weekend… And somehow we thought that we would have all the time in the world after the wedding!
The really serious “final countdown” has started (Is it only me, or does everybody have to hum the tune to Europe’s song when the words “the final countdown” appear anywhere…?)
I can not believe it is two weeks to the great day. It hadn’t really downed on me yet, but this afternoon, as Jon was getting ready to go on his Stag-do weekend finally the penny dropped. Yes, in two week’s time we will be married. In two week’s time we will be husband and wife. In a fortnight I will no longer be a 31-year-old-single-girl, but a 31-year-old-married-woman. How scary!
Tomorrow I’m going into London for a “pre-wedding get together”. I don’t want to call it a Hen Night because of several reasons (the most important one: it won’t take place at night) Seriously, it is just a get together with my only few friends here in the UK. We will go for lunch to a Greek restaurant (www.therealgreek.com) in Marylebone and then the plan is to either go to Hyde Park and get a boat on the Serpentine, or go to the Photographer’s Gallery (www.photonet.org.uk) in Oxford Street if the weather is not too good. Depending on how we all are feeling, we may even do both things! I would very much like to do both, but we’ll see…
And not much more to tell, really. Well, probably lots of things, but at the moment I’m so stressed about the whole thing, that the more I think about it, the more nervous I become! So better leave it like that. In 4 weeks time, when we’re back from the honeymoon, there’ll be no more talk about the wedding… It all will be over…