Monday, 15 March 2010

Wife.Bride.Life – Revealed! Part One.

I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to write this post. It was at first a secret, then a non-secret, then not-so-common knowledge and then it became one of these things that was talked to death about and became a non-topic, as things do. However, it’s the idea behind this blog’s title so I think it’s relevant enough to bring up now.

So, I guess this could be interpreted in a few ways but the meaning of my title is fairly straightforward. You see, life is just life, but I was a wife before I became a bride. In short, I got married before I got weddinged.

“Whatchootalkingbout, Willis?”

Long story short, Dave and I tied the knot in a private ceremony at the Palais de Justice in Montreal on December 20, 2008. It was wonderful.

Long story long, falling in love with a person from another country and deciding that you want to be with them is tough. It’s hard in the sense that you are constantly thwarted from being with that person by immigration, exorbitant fees and lengthy applications. When I met Dave, I did something so uncharacteristic of me at the time – I just went with the feeling. I got to know him and fell in love with him. When it came time to inform JET about whether or not we were staying on for another year, we just knew we wanted to see where our relationship would go.

Near the end of our time in Japan, we knew that I’d be moving on to my 3rd country of residence to be with him (he looked at moving Canada to undertake his graduate degree but it was just too expensive). I applied for a working holiday visa, got it quite easily and quickly, booked my tickets to Glasgow, kissed my mom and sisters “à bientôt” and met Dave in Scotland for phase 2 of our relationship. We drove down to Nottingham and moved into a well-situated but dreadful ground floor flat where we navigated the sometimes tricky terrain of living together. We got through our growing pains while Dave studied and worked a variety of shitty, low paid jobs and I temped my way into a UK career. Six months after Dave carried me over the threshold of our first flat, he proposed in our tiny kitchen and I sobbed out a yes.

Life continued amid our plans for a wedding and Dave finishing his post-graduate degree. We had a lovely time in Nottingham, but were on the road again when Dave successfully landed his first full time career-related gig which would bring us (back) to his hometown of Kirkcaldy. This all happened in a year. And at that point, I had worked for close to my maximum work allowance on a working holiday visa. Our final wedding date was locked in for July 9, 2009. We looked at applying for a fiancée visa which would be valid for 6 months but wouldn’t allow me to work and we needed money to fund our little wedding. My moving back to Canada to work and to wait out our wedding date wasn’t going to happen as our little separation while I was waiting for my initial visa (nearly 2 months) nearly ended me. Long distance just wasn’t an option.

So after a lot of research, cost-benefit analyses, discussions and sun dances, we came to the conclusion that we should get married before we got married. We were planning on visiting Montreal at Christmastime anyway and even with our flights and the cost of the marriage application, it still worked out cheaper than faffing with the UK system. It was convenient for us and really, it would be just several months before the big hoo ha in July, so it wouldn’t be a big deal for us. Our parents understood (my mom filed my paperwork) and it was done. Shortly after producing the marriage certificate, I applied for my visa allowing me to stay and work in the UK for a further 2 years.

At first, we explained this to our friends as best we could, but let’s face it, if you’re not in the situation, it’s hard to wrap your head around immigration issues. We found ourselves repeating the same story and the same rationales ad nauseam and it just got tedious. Everyone we spoke to were behind us 100% and no one twisted it to turn it into something it wasn’t. And that was that. We are on our way to being Ms.N and Mr. B forever.

I’ll explain how we got there in my next post.


  1. How long did it take between submitting the paperwork for marriage and getting the certificate, then submitting the paperwork for the visa and being able to apply for jobs in the UK? Once you were officially married, was that it? Or was there some process of recognition on the UK end that had to happen? I've always been curious since an American friend who married a Canadian wasn't able to apply for jobs in Canada for quite a while after getting married.

  2. Kudos to you guys for not sticking too much in airy-fairy land and for just doing what needed to be done to prevent another long-distance phase. I'm in the long-distance thing and for sure, it is not recommended. ;)