Thursday, August 15, 2013

One Link Plus Another Link = Hitched

Well there ya go.

Last Thursday, me and Yoyo took a train to Xian to get married. Signed some papers, not without complications, but luckily no complications that were insurmountable. I repeated some Chinese sentences whose meaning i had no clue to, signed some papers (requested not to use my real signature (which is illegible)), the marriage officer suddenly decides to accept our marriage photo which doesn't meet specs, (see above) and presto! We're married!

This may come as a surprise to some as I may have let slip about plans for a 2014 wedding.

But there's a Chinese tradition (one of the new "traditions") where couples get legally married up to a year before their wedding date.

Because the legal process of getting married is definitely not w/out its hassles. Such as having to go to Xian where Yoyo's hukou (Chinese household registration) is from.

Many Chinese folk don't consider a couple married until after the wedding, regardless of legal papers. So that puts me and Yoyo into the gray area of "sort of married," ha.

But it's married as far as we're concerned. Now she's my shijie shang zui hao de laopo and i'm her laogong.  That's fun.

Yoyo's mom and dad and cousin came out from Hanzhong to celebrate w/ us. We had a couple gala meals, which was all rather good fun. Her family's really great. My Chinese is slowly getting better and better, but still horribly inadequate to communicate as well as i'd like to w/ her parents and relatives. They nonetheless give me the benefit of the doubt as to being an all around fine chap.

At the last meal, we drank the super expensive bottle of baijiu that i bought for her parents last spring festival, and we also cracked out a pretty damn tasty bottle of Canadian wine (courtesy of my parents).

Lots of toasts and all. Yoyo's dad was entertainingly inebriated. Also, a couple of my best BJ friends were also in Xian and were able to attend the lunch. This American friend's Chinese is pretty damn impeccable, so he was a big hit, ha. I also win face from that, so that's all good.

My folks and Yoyo's folks also had a semblance of a Skype conversation, which is all good to establish a bit of contact.

It all feels a bit unreal. i admit, i was ignorantly mostly expecting it to be a simple legal affair, not anticipating the gatherings of  up to 20 people. But it felt really good to see everyone out.

As for now, i still have to pay attention to stop calling her my gf. But it's great to be w/ this awesome lovely woman who really cracks me up sometimes. It's great to plan a future w/ her. And yes there'll be challenges and ups and downs, just like Oprah promised, but it's nice to have someone at my side to ride it all.

Also... me and Yoyo plan to go to Calgary and Vancouver this December. We've been busy gathering all sorts of pain in the ass records, documents and bank statements to attain her travel visa. We've been told that having a marriage license might smooth out the visa process, so we added it to the documents and submitted the whole inch high stack of papers as soon as we were back in town. Wish us luck! I'll be hugely disappointed if we don't get it.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Crash Course

On Friday i was riding my bike to interview a woman (and carrying a crazy expensive work camera), riding pretty fast when suddenly some car just zooms out in front of me. I jammed on the front brake, hit the side of his car and ended up sprawled on the hood. I slid off, and yelled at the driver a bit. "Fucking hell! what the fuck are you doing? Is that the way to drive?" (1/2 in Eng, 1/2 in bad Chinese). I was repeatedly slamming my fist down on the car hood. It was very exciting. He was certainly apologetic and asking if i was hurt or needed to go to the hospital. 

I was acting pretty mad, but in my head there was a little voice saying, "No problem. You don't need to be so mad." So i paused and looked over my body, which seemed to be quite free from damage. I looked at my bike, which seemed to be quite free from damage. I worried about the camera, but assumed it was free from damage. 

"Sorry, I shouldn't have yelled at you," I apologized. "We should both be more careful." Then I hopped on my bike and rode away. Maybe 5 minutes later i realized that the front tire sustained a flat. Which complicated matters, but actually led to some very cool things that afternoon/evening. 

Anyhow, that's the 2nd time i've been in a car accident in BJ, both times, very fortunately escaping body unscathed. Most sincere thanks to the powers that be. 

I would never ride a fixie without brakes in Beijing. Or anywhere pbly. I like brakes. 

Riding a bike in Beijing can definitely be a bit dangerous. But even the cyclists can be dangerous too!

Like some months ago, it was a rainy day, and some pedestrian was wearing dark colors and I totally rammed into him at pretty high speed. That wasn't so cool. 

And another time, I ran into this old man who had a little girl on his bike. Everybody ended up on the road. the girl was crying. The old man's shirt was all dirty. I looked up and was like, Hey who had the red light? Oh, it was me. Sorry! 

The good side of those bike accidents is that now every time i'm annoyed at people riding like idiots, i have to say, "Well at least they're not crashing into people!" Really, i shouldn't gripe about other's riding habits. Or driving habits. So long as i come out okay, no big deal. And thanks to the universe.