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Tag Archives: Engagement

A Very Long Engagement

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On Christmas morning, it will already be one year since we got engaged.  Guess what, folks.  You’re going to have to wait even longer for our wedding.  After serious consideration and much worrying, we’ve decided the date for our wedding.

After five months apart, in which Geoff and I talked online every day and slowly came to realize we didn’t want to live without each other, Geoff finally arrived back in Taiwan on March 4th, 2010.  Then, after collecting massive amounts of paperwork and official stamps and signatures from government offices around the globe, we were legally married in Taiwan on March 4th, 2011.  But with all the stress we’ve endured over the past year with applying for visas, moving to a new island, finding jobs and a place to live, our stress level was maxed out, not to mention the huge dent all of this put in our bank account.  I still don’t have any decorations in my house and barely enough furniture to survive.  My closet is nearly empty.  Not a lot of extra money floating around.

As you may have guessed, March 4th is an important day to us.  But March 4th, 2012 is going to come much to quickly for us to be able to afford to have the kind of wedding we’d really like.  We could have it on another day, but we just don’t want to.  March 4th is our day.  So, to give us more time to save up and prepare, and to give our friends and family sufficient time to make their travel arrangements, we’re going to have our wedding on March 4th, 2013.  It’s official.  We’ve set a date.  And now I feel like I can breathe and that my wedding won’t be tacky and ugly and rushed because I can take the time to make everything exactly the way I want it.  Can’t wait to see you all there.


The Impossible Possible

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I blame my father for this ridiculous belief that anything is possible.  That if you really want something, and you work your ass off, you can probably achieve it.  He tells me this over and over, that I can do anything.  And then my husband comes along with the same silly notions.  Yes, we can move to Hawaii.  Yes, you can have your own mobile bakery.  Yes, we can do anything.  It is all possible.

I spent a lot of years convincing myself that I didn’t deserve to be happy.  That the despair I felt each day as I drove to work was just the price I had to pay for the choices I’d made in the past.  Life was never going to get any better, so I just had to deal with it.  And then I left the country, and everything changed.  Suddenly, I could breathe for the first time.  And then at Christmas, I found myself overwhelmed with a happiness I never thought I’d feel when Geoff asked me to be his wife.

There is so much more work to do, but today we got one step closer to our dream of moving to Hawaii.  Our petition for application for immigration was approved.  All this means is that we can fill out the next round of paperwork and wait some more.  Geoff will have to go for an interview.  If we meet all of the requirements, he will receive a green card.  But, of course, you have to pay the fee before the interview.  He hasn’t heard anything new from the Honolulu zoo yet, but I’m still holding out strong hope for that job.  That just means I have to get a job.  As you can imagine, Hawaii is very expensive, so we’ll both have to work a lot to stay alive.

This means I have to do something I am very reluctant to do and find another teaching job.  I have lost my motivation for teaching.  I’ve had enough of the abuse and the futility.  But it’s the only thing I’m trained to do, so I have to do it because money needs to be made.  If anybody has any words of wisdom about why I should stay in the classroom, I’d really appreciate it.  I’m feeling pretty gloomy about the prospect at the moment.  I used to think I was a good teacher, but I’ve lost my confidence.  I’m beaten down.

In my dreams, I am surrounded by cake and cookies and frosting all day.  I just can’t make this impossible idea go away.  Who am I to bake a cake?  I have no experience as a baker or a business owner.  All I have is this great idea and thousands of hours logged watching Food Network and reading about baking.  But the idea hangs in front of my field of imagination at all times, even literally in my dreams.

The future is unknown and this blog is a wandering mess.  Time is running out for us to begin a new life in a new place.  Packing your bags and moving to a new place where you know no one is terrifyingly exciting.  And this time it will be so much more difficult as everything is expensive and apartments are hard to find.  If I didn’t waste so much time reading stupid inspirational quotes, I’d give up.  But this is my life and only I can control it.  Crazy risks, here I come.

His Own Words

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I confess, I’m feeling lazy and lethargic tonight, and particularly uncreative.  So, I’m going to let someone else do the talking.  I’m always going on and on about Geoff and how wonderful he is, and how lucky I am to have him in my life.  It’s all true.  Every word of it.  This man would do anything for me.  Tonight, I’m going to share with you something that he wrote about me.  Several weeks ago, our friend put together a scrap book for us as an engagement present.  It was a complete surprise to me.  She stole a post from my blog for the bit that I wrote, so I had no idea this book was being created.  But she had to ask Geoff to write something about me.  Here is what he said.

10 Things I Love About Renee

1. I love the way she always puts other people first.

2. I love that she’s so intelligent and I can use big words around her without feeling like an idiot.

3. I love that she’s showed me how to love reading.

4. I love the way that she’s always punctually grumpy in the mornings.

5. I love the fact that we can sit around and do nothing at the weekends together.

6. I love her cooking!

7. I love her accent.

8. I love that we have many similar opinions about life.

9. I love that she gets excited about hats.

10. I love that she loves me.

Yeah, he’s basically the best guy ever.  Ladies, be jealous.  And back off, he’s all mine.

Marrying the Man I Love Part 2

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The cover for our marriage certificate

Today’s shopping proved to be much more successful than yesterday’s.  At least when it comes to purchasing the things we actually set out to buy.  After aimlessly wandering around a stationery store for a while, we finally decided there was nothing for it but to ask the girl at the counter.  We presented her with a piece of paper that we assume said something like “marriage certificate” which was written for us by a very helpful waitress in The Early Bird Diner.  See, in Taiwan, Geoff’s research has told us that you have to buy your own marriage certificate in a stationery store, fill it out, have it signed by witnesses, and then you take it to the household registry office.  I assume they do their bureaucratic magic, there’s probably a stamp involved, and voila, we’re married.  So, we showed this slip of paper to the girl in the counter and she went literally running off to a corner of the shop where she showed us two different red boxes.  They each contained red velvet um… tablet sort of things decorated with gold.  One had flowers and the other dragons.  We looked at each other for a second and both said “Dragons!”  Awesome!  So now we have the necessary paperwork.  We just have to get somebody to translate for us so we can figure out what the heck we’re supposed to write on them.

Elegant and simple rings

Later, we went to Chili’s for dinner.  I’ve been craving a ridiculous chocolate dessert for about a week, so even though it was raining, Geoff took me out for molten chocolate cake.  While in Tiger City, a shopping mall, we decided to have a look around at rings.  Most of the rings we’ve seen have had some sort of sparkly nonsense on them.  We wanted something simple.  No frills.  As sort of a joke, we went to the jewelery counter where one of our favorite Taiwan caricatures usually works.  We call her chin lady, which is probably a horrible thing to do behind someone’s back, but she has a very prominent and pointy chin, almost like the bottom of a crescent moon.  Chin lady wasn’t working, but low and behold, there were two plain silver rings, just like we wanted.  And they were inexpensive.  And mine was free.  Even better.  I admit, I got a little teary after we left the store.  I still can’t believe this is happening to me.  This man must be crazy, but he loves everything about me.  I am stunned.  I am deeply in love, and I can’t wait to sign that piece of paper and wear our rings forever.


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When I was telling my boss today why I needed two weeks off in April I was suddenly reminded that in a few months, I will be facing my future in-laws for the first time.  They seem like absolutely wonderful people.  Geoff’s mom Barbara just couldn’t be sweeter.  She reminds me of Mrs. Weasley.  She is warm and kind and inclined to laughter.  She even knitted Emily and I Christmas stockings with our names on them.  His sisters seem generous and funny.  His father is a bit quiet and serious, but still holds onto his rocker past with long hair and beard.  I clearly have nothing to worry about from these people.  I’m sure they couldn’t be a kinder, closer family.

Of much more concern is if they’ll like me.  It gives me knots in my stomach every time I think about it.  I love their son/brother with all energy imaginable, and Geoff seems to think that is enough, but I’m not convinced.  I’m usually easily convinced that people don’t or won’t like me.  How will they feel about someone who left home to live on the other side of the world?  How will they feel about me making their son a step-father?  I’m American.  Will they hold it against me?  I can be loud.  I’m a picky eater.  I cuss too much.  Sometimes I complain about things.  I don’t have any money.  I need to lose ten pounds.  It all just makes me so nervous.

I just want to be perfect for Geoff and his family.  How can he live with me if his family doesn’t like me?  Normally when people get to the point of engagement you’d expect that you’d know each other’s family pretty well.  But seeing as how Geoff and I met in a foreign country, we don’t have shared experiences of home.  I’m sure that taking her son so far away from home is not putting any points in my positive category either.  Ugh…  I’m just so nervous.  I’m not even making sense.  I just want to give Geoff more and more reasons to keep loving me.  And I want his family to be confident that he’s doing the right thing.  I guess, like everyone, I want to be accepted.  That is all.

The Big News

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This Christmas brought the biggest surprise of my life.  In a tiny box under the tree, a ring had been quietly hiding for weeks.  I in no way suspected that my boyfriend was thinking of proposing.  When I unwrapped the package to see a jewelery box, and he asked to take the box from me before I opened it, my heart started to race, my temperature rose, and my hands started to shake.  When he knelt before me and started speaking in that nervous voice, words he had obviously been practicing and sweetly fretting about, I became practically immobile.  I never thought something like this would happen to me.  He asked me to be his wife.  I started to cry and couldn’t speak.  I finally whispered yes a million times, and wrapped myself around him.  I never saw it coming.

When my first marriage ended with my ex-husband’s revelation of adultery and five years of misery I was nearly as surprised.  It left me feeling fundamentally unlovable.  Six months later, when doctors discovered my mother’s massive brain tumor, I was certain real happiness was something I’d never find.  I wandered around for two years pretending to live.  When I escaped to Taiwan, it was never with the intention of meeting the love of my life, but that’s exactly what I did on my first weekend in this strange place.

I never knew what it was to be truly loved until I met him.  He treats me like a princess.  My happiness is his first priority.  I didn’t know a man could love a woman that way.  It’s been difficult for me to trust in this relationship.  Not because he’s done anything that would cause me to question him, but because I was so damaged, I truly believed there was no way he could actually love me.  But no matter how scared I was, he never gave up trying to convince me that he wasn’t going anywhere.

I used to think I would never get married again.  Too much paperwork.  It’s just a legal hassle.  What I really meant to say was that I didn’t want to be left again.  A person can say they love you for seven years and never really mean it.  What’s the point?  But I’ve learned.  I’ve grown.  I’m doing something I thought I might never have the courage to do again.  I’m trusting.  Trusting in love and commitment.  I have found a man who knows how to love.  And the best thing about it is, he loves ME.  And he wants to be with me forever.  And I believe him.