Well, I decided to leave the wedding post on top for a bit, just because well, it's kinda important, but now I have to update the past week...
As romantic, barefoot, hippie weddings on a hilltop aren't recognized as legal marriages in Korea (actually, no marriages except those done in a district office are recognized - not even church weddings or the hideous "wedding hall event" type things), we were legally married in Seoul the following Monday (December 22). This process was, well, less romantic, as we had to first go to the South African embassy and get Ty's letter of no impediment (proving he isn't already married - it's the document we've been waiting for since October), then to the Canadian embassy where we had to fill out 2 different forms in triplicate and have them stamped. Then, we had to get to the Jongno gu office and fill out another form, while a few of our forms were stamped and signed - our actual wedding certificates. And then *ta-da*, it was all legal.
We celebrated by having Indian food for lunch, getting Ty's visit visa for the UAE (yay!), taking a nap, and then having Mexican food for supper (mojitos! Yay!). Seoul was really really just bitter cold, which quashed our plans to have a bit of a touristy afternoon. The thing with embassies is that they only seem to be open 2 hours a day for their own people, so we had to do as much as possible in the morning, then wait until the next day to continue the process.
The next day, we had to take our wedding certificate back to the Canadian embassy and have it stamped again (so that it's all legally recognized in Canada - there is a different process for South Africa that we'll take care of later), then off to the UAE embassy so that it could be notarized by them so that we can legally live together there and so that I can sponsor Ty for a residence visa.
We got to the UAE embassy and were told that we had to get it legalized by Korean Foreign Affairs. We were given a phone number (so that our cab driver could call to find out where the building was) and sent on our way with the warning that the embassy closed at noon. It was 10:20.
The great thing with taxis in Seoul is that most of them have very advanced GPS machines on their dashboards... full colour 3D screens. All you do is type in the phone number and, like a video game, you get a virtual showing of your route. Most taxis also have big "Free Interpretation" stickers on their windows, meaning that if you need service in a language other than Korean, you can request it.
Taxi drivers in Seoul are, presumably, not from Seoul, have never driven in Seoul, and don't know where *anything* is. Small aside: We also had a cab driver who sang "Silent Night" to us as he drove and another one who couldn't find one building we were looking for on Monday, so he stopped a police car and asked them for directions.... which was awesome!
Some of them will admit this, but only after about 10 minutes of tooth sucking and playing with the GPS. Then, you have to get out of the cab and find another one, so that you can repeat the whole process, which we did three times outside the UAE embassy before finding a guy who would actually drive us where we needed to go. It was now 10:55.
Once we got to the office (it's now after 11:10), we were greeeted with the inevitable giggling by the educated adult woman behind the counter, presumably because we weren't Asian. Therefore, it was hilarious. Maybe I should mention that we were both coming down with some kind of weird flu and looked like pale narcoleptic zombies with dark circles under our eyes. Maybe she was laughing at that.
Anyway, being faced with a Canadian and a South African with a Korean wedding certificate that needed stamping for the Emirates almost caused a rift in the spacetime continuum, which meant we had to get yet another stamp (from a different office, happily located only one floor up), before we could get the rest of it done.
We finally got back to the UAE embassy at... 11:55! Woooohooo! I really think that Ty and I would win the Amazing Race if we ever did it....
Feverish and shivering, we headed back to Mokpo, instead of spending another day in Seoul.... besides, we had to get back for Christmas.
We celebrated Christmas eve with a small group of close friends (pretty much the same people as had been at our wedding), watched the Grinch - the cartoon - and listened to Wim read "The Littlest Angel", in between a rather hilarious version of Jenga. Not the most traditional way to celebrate, but then, nothing here is the same as home.
The rest of the week was dominated by our actual packing up of things for the move. We are going to ship three suitcases and one box of stuff - books, a sound system, some clothes, and all our souvenirs from travelling here, there and everywhere. It might take up to 2 months, and we're crossing our fingers that everything makes it there. We've had to downsize (again) on some of our treasures, as there are things that might not make it through UAE customs.
With just over a week left before we fly out, and only two days left in this apartment (we'll be staying in a friend's empty apartment until Jan 5), it's suddenly becoming a lot more real. We're leaving. We're going to a new place. We're in this together.