One of the interesting challenges in preparing a new application for spousal sponsorship has been to substantiate the legitimacy of our marriage. I’m quite sure that, given my previous rejection by CIC, this will be an area of inquiry. From what I’ve read in other forums (e.g. Canada Immigration and Visa Discussion Forum) an important aspect of speeding the spousal immigration process along quickly is to ensure that you document everything. I’m not trying to be so exhaustive that I overwhelm them, but at the same time I’m trying to make sure that the immigration officer reading through the file has no doubts that ours is a legitimate marriage.
Complicating this a bit is that our marriage is hardly a traditional one. We didn’t have a big wedding (my spouse had just returned from a family wedding and agreed with my assessment that big weddings are tremendously stressful.) We had actually discussed marriage before, but to be honest I had concerns – one of which was I never wanted my spouse to ever think that I’d used our relationship for immigration purposes (another is that there’s a bit of an age difference between us.)
Even though I expected to receive the fairness letter (I just went back and looked – I received it from my attorney on the 7th of April 2011) it was still a real shock to the psyche. Something that one cannot fully appreciate until in this position is the concern about losing your home and family because of the arbitrary and capricious nature of a bureaucratic process. Of course, bureaucratic processes are, by their very nature, dehumanizing. They turn real people into files full of paper, with numbers attached and objective standards to which the decision maker must adhere.
At any rate, we agreed to marry on April 9, 2011. After my spouse returned in May (recall there was a family wedding and my spouse is from Taiwan originally) we started discussing when and how to do it. I had suggested low key (with a party afterwards, although we’ve procrastinated a bit on the party unfortunately.) After going through a big wedding my spouse was in agreement and we agreed on the low key approach. Indeed we treated the whole thing somewhat casually – we went to Dim Sum on Friday May 13, 2011 and I said “you know, we could just go get the licence” – and that’s exactly what we did. We went over to the Jack Chow Insurance office in Chinatown that also happens to issue marriage licences. After showing our identification and being advised that we had to use the licence within ninety days, we left – both of us were a bit giddy.
We went ring shopping the next day after my spouse got off work. We’d done some online shopping up to that point, so we picked a shop that had a number of rings that we really liked. After looking at a number of rings we narrowed it down to three different rings. My spouse then wanted me to pick, but rather than do that I said, no you pick one and I’ll pick one and then we’ll see if we can accept one of those two choices. We both picked the same ring, which as far as I was concerned was the best possible outcome. It’s not particularly fancy, but it has a bit of “bling” to it (something my spouse likes) and really did represent a good blending of our own likes.
I contacted a marriage commissioner the next day (Saturday) and our first pick was available for the following Friday (May 20, 2011.) So we drove over (along with two close friends) to Kitsilano (still part of Vancouver, but a specific neighbourhood and outside of downtown where I lived.) The day was fantastic – beautiful weather (about 24 celcius), dry and sunny. Indeed, it was the best weather day in the first half of the year! The ceremony was poignant and we both cried at various points throughout it. The whole thing took about 20 minutes. We’d brought a bottle of champagne and I think I drank most of it.
It was an amazing day. Simple, yet thoroughly memorable. Even the lottery ticket I bought (for the 20 May 2011 lottery) won! It was only $20 (exactly what I spent) but given that its the most I’ve ever won on the lottery here, I was pretty happy about that outcome.
At any rate, I wander. I’m going to include pictures from that amazing day. Plus I’ve asked the owner of our gym to take a picture of us and write a letter of support (and she’s agreed to do so – this is a Crossfit gym, which is definitely NOT your typical gym.) I’ve also asked my doctor (who my spouse has seen twice as well) to write a letter supporting us. My hope is that this will be sufficiently compelling (I mean, we work out together at the gym. If that doesn’t say love, what does?)
Just for the record, my spouse has pushed for formal pictures and engraving the date in our rings. I’ve agreed to both. Plus we still have a party to throw – I’m thinking that May 20, 2012 would be a good date for it (it’s a Sunday.) We shall see.