In the above picture, one can see a pensive Angela sitting next to a Ryan who doesn´t quite seem to know how to use a pen. With that pen, I am signing a marriage license. So, Angela and I are officially, legally married, pretty much! Probably! I know, that was fast. But don’t worry, I didn’t elope, and you didn’t miss the wedding. It’ll still be in July, and we’ve still not set a date. What we did yesterday (Tuesday) was just the legal ceremony. As my friend Julien said, “It’s a beautiful thing when two people get married…especially if one of them has to do it for legal reasons.”
I myself didn’t really want to do the legal ceremony until the regular, church ceremony, but when it because apparent that the advantages of doing the legal ceremony now (an expedited residency process, the ability to work and own property, a faster American tourist visa application process for Angela, and a shiny new Costa Rican ID card for me!) were weighed against the disadvantages (no awesome shiny ID card, legal abysses in regards to building a house and working, and possible deportation!), we decided it’d be best to get legally married as soon as possible.
And no, Angela’s not pregnant.
In any case, though, I really didn’t want to get the legal thing done so early, cause it kinda made me feel like some sort of mail-order husband from a poorly-titled catalog like “Men Who Is Northamerica 2005!!” (yeah, I know: it wouldn’t even be the current edition). The ceremony itself was very legal and decidedly un-romantic. But still kind of a fun way to spend an afternoon. Angela and I hadn’t even told most people at work that we were even dating, nor had we told many of our friends that we were engaged. We just figured it was none of their business…plus we didn’t know if we’d get fired. But we had told some people, and we each agreed to bring one of the two required witnesses. I brought Abuela and Angela brought along her friend Carol from her college (family members didn’t count as witnesses, it turned out).
Right after we got to the law office in Palmares, though, the lawyer said that according to some law restriction he found or thought he might have found, he’d need someone to verbally translate the laws and documents for me, even though I understood the written Spanish. I guess he wanted to cover his bases. But, the translator couldn’t also be the witness, and the translator couldn’t be one of us getting married, either, and Abuela doesn’t know English. So, we needed another person to join our group…someone that spoke both English and Spanish and lived in Palmares. After a little cell phone hustle, Angela was able to get a hold of our co-worker Aurelys, a girl that teaches English at the Elementary school part of the Colegio Bilingue. Since she didn’t even know that we were engaged, she of course had no idea about the civil ceremony, and proceeded to freak out a bit, both on the phone, and when she arrived in the office (and likely on the walk from her home to the office, also). She kept saying things like, “Oh my God! What is this! How can I translate this!? What if I make a mistake? I can’t go to jail!” and making the sign of the cross quite a bit. Basically, it was pretty funny.
After I assured both Angela and Aurelys to their satisfaction that I had never been married in any country on earth, and that I had the documents and the sworn testaments to prove it (which was a document that Aurelys had to translate, for the lawyer) Aurelys had to read all of the Family Code regulations that pertained to marriage. Like I said, I understood the Spanish just fine, but she had to do it anyhow. Meanwhile, Abuela nodded off to sleep, and Angela chatted with Carol.
Finally, then, Angela and I were able to attest verbally that we wanted to get married, that we had the full use of our mental and cognitive capacities, and that we weren’t crazy (although since she married me, she might have been lying a bit at this point). We then signed a bunch of papers, the majority of which pertained not to the marriage, but to the fact that the documents were indeed read out loud and translated for this Gringo-assed Gringo. We also signed a paper which might have been like a marriage license, although I guess there won’t actually be a license available, nor will the marriage be legal, for another 15 days to three or four months. “Ahorita,” as they say. I think we may have even signed on for a time share in Pensacola…
Actually, all joking aside, I am very happy to (probably) be legally married (assuming it’s all kosher and the mound of extra papers doesn’t cause suspicion in San José). Angela is a wonderful woman, and for those of you who have met her, you can understand how I would not want to waste one single day before spending the rest of my life together with her. Now I just can’t wait until the real wedding in July!
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