Saturday, October 31, 2015

Making good on Declarations

One of our first pics together, my hair was SUCH a mess!!
In the wee hours of August 6, 2014, Zorig said to me, while walking me home from River Sounds to Dad and I's hotel, "if I have any chance to have your hand, I'm going to take it." At the time, I thought the man was crazy. We were acquainted just six days, had different native languages and cultures, and we lived continents apart. What could he really think was possible? I left that day thinking I would never see him or Mongolia again. 

But throughout the late summer and fall, he pursued me relentlessly. As I made the long overdue changes to my personal life, I began to consider seeing him again if/when he came to the U.S. for work. Time marched on and we chatted twice daily learning all we could about one another. From simple information--what we like to eat and what we don't, to deeper, more philosophical things. No topic was off limits and we had nothing but time and opportunity to learn all we could in this unexpected virtual courting period. We never skyped--all of our communication was through email, facebook messenger, or international SMS texting. Who knew you could build such a solid foundation on words. And yet, it makes sense....we couldn't be distracted by the physical with all those miles between us. And so we got to know one another.

On December 22, Zorig came to the U.S. in pursuit of me, in pursuit of the love that had developed between us. There were no guarantees, no insurance that we would have the magic. But we had to find out. Had to know for sure. I will never forget that epic gesture--investing the time and money to travel 6K miles to come and see me. To meet my family and my friends. To see me in my world. Seven weeks together--though the future course was determined within those first hours and days. I would move to UB come summer. I knew in my gut that this was THE right choice, the right option, for us. For Zorig. For Enji. For me. During those weeks together, Zorig proposed marriage to me and I said "yes." While I knew I was hopeful to find work in UB at one of the International schools, I wanted to have a spousal visa so that living in Mongolia would be long term and not directly connected to my employment. 

Marriage kiss

Speeding ahead, I arrived to UB on July 2nd. I enjoyed summer fun with Zorig and my father, then with Zorig, Enji, and my dad. Dad left and I began to learn my new home and city. At the end of August, my work began at ASU. 

In September, Zorig and I began to chip away at the necessary paperwork to apply to marry. This is a tedious and time consuming endeavor, as laid out by the U.S. Embassy. While I went along to get documents notarized, Zorig did most of the running around. At the end of September he submitted our completed application and the necessary supporting documentation. The woman at the Office of Civil Registration told him it would be a month. So we went about our lives, not thinking much about it. When she called to request a meeting a week later, we thought perhaps something was missing or that we needed to be interviewed to push the paperwork onward. I took the day off from work so that we could attend a 10 am meeting on Friday, October 2nd. 

Unexpectedly, we were told that we were being married and then entered into the official archive of Mongolian records. Zorig had to run down the street to the bank to make a deposit of 2,800 MNT (about $1.40) to the Office of Civil Registration. I had that in cash, but they needed it to be a bank transfer. After he returned, we stood up and the female official wished us happiness and health in our future life together (I assume reading the words that are written in traditional Mongolian script/calligraphy on our Marriage Certificate). We kissed and giggled and smiled and kissed some more. The woman kindly snapped some pictures of us--kissing and with our certificate of marriage. While this is not at all what we expected for the day--there was a simple beauty in just going with it all. Nothing about our relationship, our love story, has been traditional or expected.....so why should our marriage be so? 

It was a lovely day and weekend. After getting married, we caught a taxi and headed to Sunshiroh, Z's father's warehouse/business. En route, Zorig called his mother to share the good news, and I informed my fellow American wives and my best friend back in the states. The taxi ride was filled with smiles and laughs and more kissing. One really never knows what a day of life in Mongolia can hold in store for you.....and while this is sometimes hard for me to roll with (being trained by Americans to plan and schedule).....as the days and weeks move on, I see the beauty and feel the joy of living in the present moment. In going with my gut, my heart, and feeling free to express myself and be seen without masks and constructs to box me in. 

Zorig and Majig
After visiting Sunshiroh, we went to the in-laws apartment, where we presented our Marriage Certificate to Majig and to Enji. We ate and talked and drank 12 yo Glenlivet in celebration of our marriage. While I can't yet communicate directly with Majig, I feel her. She has the most beautiful and warm smile I've ever seen and her joy at our marriage was complete and obvious. Zorig gets his smile and big cheeks from her, as well as his pure heart and generous nature. We spent three lovely hours visiting and celebrating. 

In the evening, we met up with some of my fellow American wives and other mixed-nationality-couples for a bon voyage party (for a Canadian man, his Mongolian wife and two boys--who were moving to Canada the following day).  We enjoyed good food and the company of fellow mixed culture/race couples at Namaste, an Indian restaurant. 

It was a day filled with surprises and joy. We did not need a formal ceremony or to perform in front of others (though we yet intend to have a party to celebrate with extended family and friends). We did not need to say vows or make promises. We do that each and every day in our life and love together. We live love. 

Zorig made good on the declaration he made last August. He reached out and overcame me. Taught me to open up and expand. Taught me to believe in something I'd never known or imagined.  And my heart is yet moved by how he pursued me, how he was and is a man of his word, while simultaneously being a man of action, and most of all by how he loves and cares for me. This is the love of movies and novels. Of legends. And it's real. If you are waiting or looking for love, I entreat you to hold out for the BIG love. If you don't know what it means to feel and say, "I love you too much," then hold out.....there is something bigger, something greater, than you can imagine......until it happens. It can be a reality. 

It is not easy. It is not simple. It will require raw vulnerability, complete honesty, the baring of everything you know and hope and believe. You must have complete faith and trust--in being yourself, and in loving and accepting the other. Everything you are and want has to be exposed. There are no guarantees, no surety. It is scary and consuming and it will change you forever. And it can be the greatest journey of your life. 

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