Thursday, April 26, 2012

A year ago...

A year ago today, Andrew and I woke up in the morning. He was still feeling a bit sick (Tibercky - our nickname for him, a shortened form of tuberculosis), but said he wanted to get married today anyway. I put on my white dress for the third time, and he dressed in pants and a Carlton Draught polo. Then he realized he was wearing a beer shirt to get married, and figured he should probably change. So he put on a plaid button-up I think, and a blue sweater. We left our triangle hotel room (yes we were in a room that was a triangle, with windows along both sides - the lady upgraded us to a suite when she heard we were there to get married), and walked down a few streets to the registry office. There was a group of people walking from elevator to elevator, getting on and then getting off. Andrew and I looked at each other with a knowing glance, and laughed. It was because the upper levels of the building weren't open yet, so the elevators wouldn't go up to them. Then the designated time came, and everyone got on the elevators, and we rode up with the people who had been with us. We stopped off at level 6.

We got in line, and filled out the necessary forms, showed our identification, and then were directed to the marriage waiting area. We had to find two witnesses. Andrew said it was my turn, so I approached one of the ladies who had been with us in the elevator excursion, and asked her if she'd be willing to be one of our witnesses. She turned me down. So then I told Andrew it was his turn. He approached what appeared to be a mother and daughter, and asked them if they would be our witnesses. They said yes, though they seemed a bit put out about it. So we went back to the celebrant and told her that we were ready as soon as our witnesses were done with their business.

Enter Keanu Chong. (You must ignore any offensiveness of that name as no offense is meant by it - he just really looked like a Chinese version of Keanu Reeves). Andrew and I were keen to get married, and Keanu was the worker helping our two Maori witnesses. We thought they probably shouldn't be that long, but we watched from our marriage waiting area as he took forever to help our witnesses. So Andrew started making up stuff as we were watching and waiting, talking about how a block of wood could complete the telephone call better than Keanu Chong. Then that it was likely that Keanu Chong really had been murdered and this guy had just come and taken his place. My response: "Yeah, because that is what happens when you murder someone, you start doing their job." So I was laughing very loudly, both of us smiling broadly in the middle of this bureaucratic office. Finally, our witnesses finished up. We were taken to a room with seating for about 40, and large windows.

Our celebrant was a Maori lady, very friendly and happy face. She talked about how they had a simple ceremony prepared, but one that they hoped would be meaningful. The main part of the wording that I remember was that part of the words was just stating your desire to be married to each other. It wasn't til death do you part or whatever. It was just simple, and us saying we wanted to be married to each other. After which, she pronounced us married. We kissed, and I was in this super happy excited mood, and Andrew was in a quizzical mood, as he asked me, first thing when we were married, "Have you seen the Mutual Community ad?" I laugh about that every time I think about it. Proposed to in front of a bin, and the first words he says to me as a married couple are asking me about a television ad. Apparently something in the ceremony reminded him of this ad, which I still have yet to see. Our put out witnesses looked less put out, and were infected by our happiness, and everyone in the room had smiles on their faces.

I remember looking through celebrant websites before I came over, because I thought maybe we'd try to get married on the beach or something like that, but we ended up deciding to go to the registry office. Of all the ones I'd found, the lady who performed our marriage is who I would have chosen. Just a nice, unimposing demeanor, and added bonus that she was Maori.

We signed the paperwork, and that was it. We went downstairs, and I asked a random lady to take a picture for us. She took it, and then I thought we might go to a few other places and get more pictures, but the batteries on the camera had died. So this is the one solitary picture we have from that day. Good thing it's a good one. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012


When I came to Australia, I said goodbye to lots of people - even if I didn't actually say goodbye to them, I mentally left them back in America, with the intention that that was that, for a long time, until I made it back to the states. It felt final, but I always knew it probably wasn't, because I planned on making it back to the states.

When I heard Jared had died, it didn't really strike me at all, because he was one of the many who I'd said goodbye to, so it just seemed like that was part of that, but as I think back more on my friends in the states, and when I might see them again, he is one I won't see again, and for the first time I'm sad for me about him dying. And so, I want to remember.

Working at Vision, it creates this weird dynamic. You talk to these people every day, multiple times a day, and so you start to build a rapport with people, get to know them, joke with them, but you could have no clue what they look like, and if you do, it's a picture from facebook.

One time there was a huge thing at Vision with lots of people there. I don't think I'd met Jared in person at that point, but we were texting and we'd talk on the phone about random stuff from time to time, so I thought he might talk to me a bit, but all I got was a head nod. I gave him a hard time about that.

Other than that, there were actually only a couple times that I spent face to face with Jared. He took me on a friend date to see How to Train Your Dragon. I remember sitting there with my arms crossed, because he'd told me that he would often hold girls hands on friend dates, and so I wanted to make it clear that he wasn't going to hold my hand. He took me to Applebee's, and talked about the church welfare system versus the government welfare system.

But my bigger memories of Jared were from the phone - him talking me into liking Jesse, telling me we'd make a good couple (with both Jesse and I within hearing), then texting with me when Jesse got a girlfriend and I was crushed.

Can't really think of Jared without Jesse. Those were my most distinct impressions of Jared, as part of the Jared-Jesse duo, the brothers who were so tight. Jesse's the one I was saddest for when I heard, just because they'd had a special bond, and it'd meant something to me, just even to watch it from the sidelines.

I remember there was this huge secrecy around Vision, because I like Jesse, and this girl Jessica liked Jared, so we'd told each other our secrets, but no one else knew because it was a bit taboo. So one day Jared says something to a customer, about how I'm his girlfriend or whatever, and I blurted out, "Not when I'm interested in your BROTHER!" in the middle of the call center. I looked around to see if anyone had heard, and thought they hadn't but I was pretty embarrassed by that, and then started to worry that I'd hurt Jared's feelings, and what if he was interested in me? We women really do overthink things.

The image that sticks with me, though, is of a phone call I had with Jared one night. It was middle of the night, and he had just been out wandering around Viriginia Beach, a few miles from home by then. He ends up in some sprinklers, and ended up hitchhiking home with some apparently cool people, but he tells me that he is going to buy a scooter, and that when he gets it, he's going to ride around with a cape on. Virginia Beach's superhero is kinda how I imagined it, just moreso a dysfunctional superhero.

He took me out when I got promoted too. I don't know if  it's because he knew I'd be divorced, so maybe no one else would think to take me to celebrate, but it was really sweet. He let me choose where to go, and took me to Communal. I remember him saying he'd rather take people out and spend his money on people, because that was what mattered to him, and also that he didn't like to be alone.

Above all, what strikes me most about Jared when I think back on him is how human he was. He had uncommon generosity, all the while trying to convince me to try drugs. He called me up one day to ask me about the pig I'd bought, and wanted to go and name a pig, and then have it slaughtered and eat it.

I miss him. I think what I really miss is never getting to talk with him about the church, now that I'm on the other side of it. Because he tried to talk to me about it before, but I didn't know how to listen then. Still not planning on trying that bud, Jar.