We were either married the day before Valentines or the day after. Neither of us can ever remember. Nor can we remember how many years we’ve been married. I depend on an email from my mother to let me know the date and the vintage of our marriage. I haven’t got one yet this year; I think my parents are on vacation. To make sure Don has his bases covered, he got me flowers yesterday, he’ll pop me some of his special olive oil popcorn in the wok tonight (for Valentines) and tomorrow maybe he’ll find me some vegan, fair trade chocolates. Good luck. Poor man. (I am famous for my high maintenance expectations.)
In fact, I never wanted to be married in the first place. I knew he was the guy and I wanted it to last forever, but I was perfectly happy “living in sin,” as it were. In fact, I loved the rebellious nature of not being married and living together in unwedded bliss.
Being happily unmarried appealed to the part of me that wanted to be a rebel, a prodigal daughter, the part of me that people whisper about and say, “We need to pray for Leah. She’s on the wrong path.”
How wrong those naysayers (if there ever were any) were: I most certainly have been on the right path from the moment I ran into my guy on the airplane on the way to Taiwan some 20 years ago. I have to say that there have been very few moments (excepting those that were premenstrual and hysterical so they don’t count) that I have regretted choosing to spend my life with Don.
The reason we got married? He is American. I am Canadian. We had been living in Asia for some five years and we wanted to live together in North America, work and get our masters degrees, but we couldn’t live in one another’s respective countries without getting married.
The first of our weddings was accidental. We were traveling in India for a few months and found ourselves in Udaipur during the auspicious wedding season. There were a great many weddings every night, with bridegrooms being carried down the streets on elephants, horses, camels, walking…depending on caste. People carried makeshift lighting systems and danced around the groom in colorful splendorous saris, high from chewing paan and exuberant with the feelings of hope and new futures.
On one of these nights we ran into a particularly exuberant wedding party who asked us if we were married. We replied no, but that we were planning to do so. They invited us to join in their wedding celebrations and so we married there with enthusiastic strangers, exchanging marigold wreaths and going back to our hotel and dancing around a candle at midnight to solidify the marriage.
The bridal party invited us to their breakfast festivities the next day to celebrate our marriages alongside one another. We showed up at their hotel the next morning only to find them bleary eyed and unrecognizing of us after a hard night of partying.
That was the first of our many wedding celebrations. I remember calling my parents from a red phone in a telephone shop (no internet or Skype or mobile phones back in the day) and yelling into the phone that Don and I had just gotten married and my mother asking if it was legal and me being almost certain it was, of course, not.
The year of wedding celebrations continued. After our adventures in India and then Nepal, we flew to Canada, I applied for the fiancé visa, and we tooled around Vancouver for the better part of a year writing dictionaries and TOEFL handbooks for our still-boss in Korea. It was a year of fun and excitement and celebration and a year that we worked a small amount for what seemed to us a large amount of money.
Meantime we went for long walks and bike rides, Don threw pots, we spent long hours hanging out with friends on the beach and buying fresh produce at Granville Island Market and cooking beautiful meals and drinking bottles of cheap wine and listening to Bluegrass and Neil Young and kd lang, all the while waiting for my visa.
We had a big party with our friends on the Spanish Banks beach of Vancouver, then there was the big family shindig at my sister, Nicole’s place, and finally, when the visa came through, the hastily but beautifully assembled winter wedding at Don’s old girlfriend’s (and now good friend to both of us) husband’s grandmother’s cottage in Westbend, Wisconsin, the day before my fiancé visa to the United States was going to expire.
The party season lasted more than a year it seemed, and it still goes on today. So even if we don’t remember our wedding date, we are celebrating all the time. Life is good. We’re still in love after all these years. And we have two of the sweetest gals on the planet who are the lights of our lives.
So: happy anniversary, happy Valentines, happy loving, happy life. It’s all good.
- To let my sweetie know how much I love him every single day.
- To do something to show how much I love him every single day.
- To not be too high maintenance (at least not every single day).