Yes. It’s true. Ali and I have only seen each other for two and a half days out of five weeks. We haven’t exactly been able to enjoy our engagement status side by side, but we do our best through texts, emails and skype conversations. We have gone through a lot of wedding ideas and research and changing our plans, etc. As for the research, it has occupied much of my free time since I have so much time on my hands here and I wasn’t travelling on the weekends. I have enjoyed it, notwithstanding its fluctuations. I was saving up for my big weekend in London with Ali to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — finally a holiday I didn’t have to sit at home and pout over not being out there celebrating as I have done recently in the past!
I arrived at London City Airport last Friday night and ali whisked me off to the pub to meet our old flat mate and some of his friends. It was a grand time, although ali and I mostly chatted with each other, sometimes entering conversations to our left and right, we were pretty snug in the corner. Afterall, we hadn’t seen each other for four weeks. And we had gotten engaged just six weeks prior. One of my favourite moments of the evening was when someone new joined us and ali stood up to introduce me as his fiancee!!! Since we haven’t been around each other, it was the first time to be introduced as his fiancee and it felt wonderful. There was a couple there that we had met last summer when they just returned from India. We were able to swap stories then and I was able to swap the proposal details and wedding plan ideas this time with the gal. It was fun fun fun. Another ‘first’ moment in getting to have some fun girl-talk about the latest events.
After taking the train back before midnight, we took a bus to a late night shop to get pizza and chips to eat once we reached home. After filling our bellies, we would sleep soundly until we had to wake up early the next morning for wedding planning! We found our way to Waltham Forest to discuss the legalities of getting married in the UK. Then we took a train to a small town in the English countryside, where the Reverend’s wife greeted us as we stepped off the bus and drove us to Little Gidding, [click on link to see the ceremony location: I wasn’t able to upload a picture from the site, but this way you can tour the site] where we were to discover rolling fields, a small 1700’s cathedral where T.S.Elliot had spent some time, leaving behind a written record of it in Little Gidding (No. 4 of Quartet), and beautiful trees standing alone like statues on the hill beyond the wooden fence.
We had a lovely evening with the Reverend and his wife at the Ferrar House — where if you visit the site you can see the beauty of the countryside and more of the wedding location — and began planning the ceremony. Ali’s uncle had recommended the couple and the place to us and although we had been researching other venues, once we arrived here, it just fit into place. It feels wonderful to have decided on the place, now all the other plans can get going and the fun really begins! It is very cosy and warm, in a very secluded, small, country-side venue. Perfect for our families who will be travelling from America, Australia, Scotland and London for an intimate ceremony of less than a dozen guests. There are so many people in our lives that we will share the event with throughout the next year with celebrations on a different scale in London, Melbourne and Michigan. Yes, we have planted that money tree and are waiting for it to bud!
In other exciting news, many of you may not realise all the legal stuff we have to wade through being from different countries, but the first step has begun. I applied for a Visit Marriage Visa on Monday and it arrived in the post yesterday! So now we are allowed to get married in the UK. Wahooo! And, another great accomplishment I felt as I flipped through the pages of my passport in search of the new visa, was that my passport is full AGAIN. I had to have pages added while in BKK and lucky it’s time for me to apply for a new one, with my new married name when I have it and before the passport expires in November. Amazing. If ever I feel trapped here in tiny Schaffhausen, all I need to do it flip through the paper memories in my passport of the places my feet have walked. Please feel free to remind me of this when I am complaining. te he. disclaimer: this is not a brag shout out, but rather an ‘I have made my dreams come true and am continuing to do so’ shout out and that’s cause for celebration!