Monday, August 2, 2010

Wedding Update #1

(PICTURE: Take 1 on getting married.)

Today is Huyen and my 27 month anniversary. On such a momentous occasion I think the only appropriate posting should be a wedding update:

Let me start off by stating a simple fact that I'm gonna complain about a lot over the next couple of weeks: All the paperwork/bureaucratic stuff Huyen and I have to do to get married in Vietnam must be done in Ha Nam (Huyen's home province) and not in Ha Noi. Basically, there is something in Vietnam called a "Family Book" and one must do legal paperwork for weddings/etc. in the province that your family book is registered in. For Huyen to switch family books to Hanoi would take a little bit of time and a few million VND. So what's the problem with having to do things in Ha Nam? Well, there's a few problems which I'll talk about over the next couple of days. The first most glaring issue though is that we must drive 3 hours roundtrip to submit any paperwork. In a perfect world, going into the process, Huyen and I figured there were three necessary trips. Well, add one more trip because the first one was totally unsuccessful.

When I say there is a mountain of paperwork we have to fill out, I really wouldn't be exaggerating:

(PICTURE: Those sixty pages are our marriage application.)

Huyen and I have a copy of the Vietnamese marriage laws in both English and Vietnamese and thoroughly prepared our documents. This required weeks of preparation and about nine notarizations from different offices. Well, turns out, we should have had ten notarizations. After showing up at the Ha Nam government offices, a man went through our paperwork and quickly pointed out that we were missing a stamp from Vietnam's Foreign Affairs Hanoi. Nowhere in any of the paperwork was this office ever mentioned. Basically -- and this totally makes sense -- the Foreign Affairs office gives a stamp saying that my Affidavit of Being Single from the US Embassy is legit.

(PICTURE: Huyen holding my document which needed one more stamp.)

Huyen and I had to drive back to Hanoi and a) Had to find the office b) Had to wait 48 hours for the stamp.

So that was our dress rehearsal for turning in our marriage paperwork. Stay tuned for opening night tomorrow...