Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I married the same woman twice!

I’ve heard of people marrying the same person twice but that usually entails a divorce in the middle.  I’ve done it with no divorce in the middle.   Some may argue that it’s just one marriage accomplished in two different stages, by my explanation is more fun.
On the 23d of November we were married in Maliwan’s village in Nan Rong.   Then we got busy with life.  There were new volunteer opportunities and writing projects for me and a new job and at the same time going back to college for Maliwan.   We’ve been busy!   I just realized that though I posted pictures on face book, I never wrote a blog article.   Let’s back up a bit.

Some time ago we decided to marry.   We picked a time frame some 14 months in the future.  We discussed this with her family and in typical Thai fashion left the choice of an exact date up to her mother, who of course consulted monks and fortune tellers to find the most auspicious date.  23 November 2012 was chosen.

Photo is not good, the food and fellowship was! 

Maliwan and friends
I made it perfectly clear that I was not going to be a part of any drunken fiasco very common at Thai weddings, especially village weddings.  She needed to have some sort of a party or perhaps lose face.  I refused to pay for any alcohol.  The compromise was simple.  I increased the dowry and she paid for the party.  Trust me when I tell you she spent less that 10% of what they were expecting me to pay.   Everyone came away a winner except maybe a couple of neighbors who had planned on a free binge.  You've seen it before.  20 people show up for the ceremony and 100 find their way to the reception.


Wedding Day, Maliwan's Father in foreground

The ceremony was simple, the people genuinely happy for Maliwan and me.   The next day we headed back to the North and resumed our busy lives.  Time has flown since.

Finally today, the 10th of July we managed to finish.  It wasn’t difficult at all, just tedious.   First she had to secure a copy of her divorce certificate and her family registry.  In the meantime I needed to get a notarized document from the American consulate which attested to my status and then get a legal translation of that paper.  Armed with these documents, my passport and her ID card we arrived at he office about 9:30 this morning.

Just because there is no ceremony is reason not to get ready!
There was no ceremony. That was done the 23d of November, but as far as I could tell was totally irrelevant to the proceedings today. The nice lady at the counter gave Maliwan a couple forms to fill out, all in Thai of course.  Four trips down stairs to make copies of things later we had accomplished two things.  First her family paper has been registered here in Chiang Mai and then our marriage was registered.  Maliwan commented that the people were much nicer than the ones she dealt with registering her first marriage. No, I couldn't resist the opportunity to make a comment about when it's right it's easier. 
Here we are with the certificate! 
They gave us a lovely folder with two copies of the marriage certificate.  Why two?  I asked.  Apparently this is just the way it’s done, one for her and one for me.  At first it made no sense. After thinking about it I’m guessing the reason is because of the fact that married people often live apart for economic reasons. Living in two different parts of the country having your own copy of various documents makes total sense. ( I remember my old driver friend from Bangkok, who I’m sure I met more than 40 years ago, telling me he will be happy when the Federal hotel closes at the end of the year.  He will go and live with his wife in Lampang  See the article “All things are impermanent” below). 


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