Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wedding Update: The Interview

Huyen and I finally had our wedding interview and it didn't disappoint -- it was hilarious.

First off, the city officials told us that we needed a translator for our interview. The city supplied us with an expensive translator who was clearly friends with someone in the office. She also clearly spoke and understood about half the amount of English as Huyen does. Upon meeting the girl, I asked her some basic questions I might asked a prospective student I was placement testing. The girl answered some of my "How" questions with "When" answers. She answered my "Where" questions with "What" answers. It didn't take a long time for me to realize that this girl wasn't going to be giving word-for-word translations of what I was saying.

Huyen, the translator and I were brought up to a conference room in the city office. The three of us took seats at a table across from our two interviewers who had a laptop and our marriage applications. Without any introduction, they told us to answer questions truthfully. The interview then began. To the best of my memory here are the questions I was asked:
1. When did you arrive in Vietnam?
2. When did you meet Miss Huyen?
3. How often did you talk with Miss Huyen after meeting her?
4. How did you talk with her? On the phone?
5. Did Miss Huyen come to your house for dinner or lunch? Have you even gone to her house?
6. When did you first know you loved Miss Huyen?
7. Who expressed their love for each other first?*
8. Where did you express your love?
9. Have you taken any long trips with Miss Huyen? Where?
10. Have you met Miss Huyen's parents?
11. How many times? (I said 20 or 30)
12. You can't remember exactly how many times?
13. How old are her mother and father?
14. What do you know about Miss Huyen? How old is she? Where does she work? etc.
15. What characteristics about Miss Huyen do you like? (I said, "She's honest. She's funny. She's very kind...)
16. Can you tell us more characteristics and be specific? (I rolled my eyes here and began a list...)
17. Have you or Miss Huyen cheated on the other?
18. Is anyone paying you money to marry Miss Huyen? (I said, "I wish.")
19. Nobody is forcing you to marry Miss Huyen?
20. Where do you plan on living after getting married?
21. What is your plan for starting a family? When will you have children? (Here I wish I said, "Did you talk to my mom before this interview?)

The whole experience last for an hour and felt like some odd version of "The Newlywed Game". It occured to me about halfway through the interview that this must be what a meeting with a rabbi/priest is like before a wedding.

The whole point of the interview was to make sure that Huyen and I are in a legitimate relationship and there isn't some ulterior motive for getting married (i.e. some Chinese and Taiwanese men marry girls here to be able to buy property and start businesses). However, the whole process was pretty moronic since Huyen was IN THE ROOM WITH ME! Huyen heard all of the questions and my answers. After they finished questioning me, they questioned her. Clearly she was going to agree with everything she just heard me say (which of course was the truth).

The two interviewers were very serious during the whole process. I managed to get a smile or two out of them during the interview but that was about it. However, their all business attitude didn't translate into their work since I found that they had spelled my name wrong on the official document. I pointed this out to them and they fixed it.

Anyway, now that the interview is done, supposedly we just have 20-30 days until we can pick up our marriage license. Can you say last month of being single!!!!

* I loved this question because it reminded me of high school and college. I remember the immature embarrassment of being the person who said the L word first. Being a stubborn idiot back then, I remember taking a firm stance that I would never say, "I love you" first.