Thursday, February 7, 2013

February 10, 2004

It was nine years ago and almost two months when my husband and I traveled to Norway to get married. We went for Christmas and planned to get married around the first week of January. We left CVG on December 19th and were both very excited. This was my first Christmas in Norway and I thought it was so cozy! Little electric candles in the windows of houses everywhere you went, and it looked so inviting and warm. Tasteful decorations  everywhere and a general spirit of good will made it seem even more special and romantic. Every home you went to offered delicious cakes, cookies, and coffee. The reflections from the snow made the long lasting darkness seem lighter, and act as its own Christmas light, shimmering against everything dark like magical holiday fairy dust. You probably get it. It was gorgeous and I was excited to be there, doubly excited to marry the love of my life.

Christmas came and went and we prepared ourselves for the mounds of paperwork and things we’d need to do in preparation of our wedding. We just wanted to have a little courthouse wedding with his mom, dad, and sister. I had been married before and didn’t want to have a big fuss. We had done a good bit of the paper work through email and were working with the American embassy in Oslo to make sure we would be okay to come back to the states afterwards to live. We started working with the county where my husband is from, sending them all necessary paperwork, talking to them on the phone and jumping through all of the hoops. We had to make a trip to Oslo to get paperwork done for my husband’s green card. He had to have x-rays, blood tests, among other things, and have interviews at the embassy.  By the 2nd week of January we were both starting to worry. We had already completed all of the paperwork and everything was basically good to go, and we had thought we’d be married by now, but there was a small hitch. My lawyer had sent my divorce decree via fed ex since the Romsdal Tingrett wanted to see it. When I got a copy to them, they had so many questions about it. One lady told us she didn’t understand something and was going to consult someone else. Several days later, someone else is looking at it and finds it suspect and wants to bring in yet another person to inspect it. Half of the time we would try to talk to someone they would be having a cake break, or would have left early. I started to doubt that Norwegians ever worked!  At this point we realize we need to change our ticket back to the US. We moved our ticket back to the last possible date without having to repurchase our tickets to February 14th, which is of course, Valentine’s Day.

We became miserable. I found it hard to sleep. We were both so stressed and the Christmas fairy dust blew over the mountains and went somewhere else making the dark envelope me and get inside my head. We decided to put our rings on anyway to cheer us up. We had purchased them back home and had them inscribed on the inside. This did cheer us up a little. The next day, my husband’s dad said, why don’t you guys just drive up to Molde again and demand to talk to someone in person. “Refuse to leave until you get an answer” he told us. What did we have to lose really… by this time it was already February. We hopped into the car and made the windy one hour car trip though the fjords to Molde, marched in and demanded to talk to the people we’d been dealing with. They seemed really taken aback by our forcefulness and determination. I don’t think Norwegians typically push like that, but we were actually getting somewhere finally. We went into some woman’s office and poured over my divorce decree with a few other folks at the Romsdal Tingrett. They were really upset about one sentence that they felt didn’t translate right. They felt that it left too much ambiguity and perhaps I am not really divorced. After about an hour, they finally decided that I’m probably not collecting husbands and I’m most likely on the up and up. We got a wedding scheduled in the court house for the afternoon of February 10, 2004…. In just 3 days! That’s okay, we’ll take it!

On our wedding day, we woke up and hurriedly got ready. My husband’s mom insisted on ironing my dress, we rushed and rushed and were out the door with plenty of time to make the drive back up to Molde. As we were driving there was some sort of accident or avalanche up ahead and the whole road was closed down. It was bad enough that everyone is shutting off their engines and getting out of their cars to smoke, talk, etc. CRAP!!! After what felt like HOURS we were ready to move. Luckily, we pulled into town with about 10 minutes to spare. Not ideal, but at least we won’t be keeping the judge waiting. We were about 2 blocks from the courthouse when my soon to be mother in law exclaims “we don’t have a bouquet!!” She yelled for my soon to be father in law to pull over, jumped out of the car and disappeared around the corner (I didn’t speak or understand Norwegian at this point so my husband had to explain to me what was happening, and she bolted before I had time to protest). I was about to cry and extremely upset and stressed. My husband was too. My mother in law is a quick little lady though, and she came bursting back around the corner with a beautiful bouquet of mini roses.  We flew into the parking lot and walked into the courthouse with something like two minutes to spare. It was all good. The judge was relaxed which made me relax. He told us the procedure and took us into the room. They had it decked out with Norwegian and American flags, and the judge said everything in both English and Norwegian which I thought was really nice.  It really turned out lovely, and I ended up being really grateful for the beautiful flowers. My mother in law dried the bouquet and has it displayed in the room we sleep in when we visit.

That evening, we had a nice big celebratory meal and champagne with family. We packed our bags quickly and got on the night train to Oslo. We spent our first night as a married couple in a sleeper car on the NSB train. It was actually super romantic in my eyes. We had a 9:00 a.m. appointment with the US embassy in Oslo, another interview, had to show our marriage certificate and get his passport stamp with his temporary green card. The train got in at six a.m., so it gave us plenty of time to check into our hotel, shower, and prepare. After the wedding actually happened, things went down very smooth and effortless. The sun was starting to stay out longer, it was February. 

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