Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Grand Sable Dunes


Grand Sable Dunes Log Slide


We recently traveled to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. One of the most spectacular sights is Log Slide of the Grand Sable Dunes.  It is near a city called Grand Marais.  This is just a spectacular bit of scenery. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Disappointment (A cautionary tale of names)

When you marry outside of the United States many countries require that a person provide proof of singleness. This is usually some form of official document that is a certified affidavit of singleness. In the case of some one with a prior marriage I believe a divorce decree is required to obtain the document.

When I married my wife I required this document, there is a process that China will accept where by you create a notarized affidavit, have it sent to the state’s secretary of state, have it sealed and then send it to the nearest Chinese Consulate to have it sealed by the Chinese government. So I traveled to China with this very document in hand thinking well I'm ahead of the game, yay.

My fiancé’s and I traveled to the local provinces' main city (sort of like the state capital) to submit our paper work.  After a lot of discussion in Chinese the young woman that was the local bureaucrat decided that since my passport had my full name including my middle name while my affidavit only had my first and last name, the affidavit and the passport were not for the same person.  Hence my Wife to be and I could not receive our marriage paper work…..    

As I watched the thunderstorm developing on my beautiful fiancé’s face I was thinking okay who do we appeal this to..  She was thinking “I’m going to marry an idiot".  Okay take a note here, in China the local desk clerk pretty much makes the rule and going to the next higher authority seems to really not be something that people do.  So we walked outside and my Fiancé tells me you need to fix this right now.  Call your consulate and make them fix this.  And that was the course of action we would take and her face was set like flint.

Did I mention that we were getting married around Christmas.  I recommend against this especially in the States.  But at least in some foreign countries things are open.  However the US consulate was not one of them, sigh…..   After some calls with our friends and them getting on the consulate web site we had a plan and an appointment we would fly to the Consulate and get the right papers unfortunately it would be after the new year and our dreams of tax refunds were dashed (later I discovered that was the most infuriating thing for Nancy). Well back to our friends house. 

Traveling in a taxi back to the bus station with my Fiancé, face of flint, frozen anger, we decided to eat.  She walks in a restaurant places an order and sits down glaring..  I tell her you really need to eat, “No”.  Come on dear you really should eat your need your strength.  At this point she looks at me a hint of a smile cracking her stoney demeanor and announces.  “Disappointment is my FOOD!”..  

After that things were alright.  Nancy did become my wife, when we returned with the new documents with my full name everything proceeded nicely.  Interestingly when we had lunch at the same restaurant the works remembered us and remarked that she looked much happier this time.  This was not the end of our battles with local bureaucrats and faces of flint but we still forge ahead together.