Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Engagement Photos!

Yesterday Neil and I were very productive—we went to the Taipei District Court to make an appointment for the actual legal ceremony. After a lot of form filling, photocopying, walking back and forth from one office to the next to get things certified and paid, we finally got our auspicious court date.

Then, we went to Sight Reaction Photo Studio for an engagement picture session with Ivan. Neil's friends Mei and Carol were our stylists, doing hair, makeup, and outfit selection. Sandra came over to document the event. I wore false eyelashes for the first time (surprisingly heavy on the lids) which thankfully looked pretty natural on film.

It was pouring rain outside, so everything was done in the studio and in relatively record time: we were done in four hours. Here's a teaser:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Getting married in Taiwan as a Foreigner 101

I haven't posted in (gasp!) over a week as I've been busy moving (a subject deserving of its own post). Anyways, after checking several resources I now have all the steps:

  1. Get proof that you are single from your local embassy-equivalent (AIT has a comprehensive page on obtaining a "Affidavit Regarding Marital Status" for American citizens). The cost was NT$1980 total for us at current exchange rates when we went.

    At AIT, you must make an online appointment for notary services in order to get it done. The link to the online appointment system is hard to find on their website, but the actual process itself is very quick - about 15 minutes.
  2. Take the notarized affidavits (a.k.a. single certificate) to Consular Affairs Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get it authenticated. After you get off the escalators at their Taipei Office, you turn 180° and get a number for counter 28. Each person wanting their affidavit authenticated must also bring:
    • their ARC,
    • a copy of both sides of their ARC.
    Both people must be present if you want it to be done in one trip, or you can take the form, sign it, and return it on another trip. The cost is NT$400 per affidavit.

    Then, after the forms are filled and money owed is paid at the cashier, you're given the option of either paying extra for delivery or to come again another day (I opted for receiving the forms by post, an extra NT$98).
  3. The authenticated forms take about 2 business days to process. Then, take those forms, along with both people's passports, and a photocopy of both sides of two witnesses' IDs (should be Taiwanese citizens over 20 years of age), and go to the district court to schedule an appointment.

    The district court in Taipei that handles marriages is located in Hsin-tian (xin-dian):
    Taipei District Court
    248 Chung-hsing Road, Section 1
    Hsin tien, Taipei County
    8:30am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday

    Bring to the court:
    • both authenticated copies of the singles certificates
    • each persons' passport
    • photocopies of both sides of the two witnesses' IDs (should be Taiwanese citizens over 20 years of age)

    Apparently both parties do not need to be present to make an appointment. You must make the appointment at least 1 week in advance of the date you want to marry. Apparently auspicious dates (it's a superstitious country) get booked weeks in advance. Ceremonies on weekdays cost NT$1,000, and weekend ceremonies cost NT$1,500.
  4. Return for the actual ceremony on the scheduled date, this time bringing your witnesses. Apparently marriages at the District Court get Chinese certificates with an official English translation - the Chinese one being legally recognized in Taiwan, and the official English one required for recognition in the U.S. The U.S. recognizes legally conducted marriages conducted abroad.
The process may be slightly different if you are a national of a different country (regarding the single certificate part). The British Trade and Cultural Office has it's own page on marriage in Taiwan.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I finally finished packing and moving Wednesday night. Neil and I were pretty efficient—we got everything moved in one round. As we pulled up to where my belongings will be temporarily stored with Dan's van absolutely stuffed, I was holding back a box from falling onto our heads. Thursday at noon Angela and I met up with the landlord to return our keys and get our deposit back. It truly is the end of an era. Sort of (but not quite) like Sex and the City, when Miranda moves to the Bronx.

Now, it's time to focus on the wedding, which is 8 weeks (gasp!) away. Oh, and moving Neil out of his place next Wednesday. And eventually moving from our temporary temporary place to our more long-term temporary place in early December. Sorta makes me feel like this:

Just kidding; I don't really feel that way. I think it's a cute picture. The great thing about having to juggle so much is that now I can't obsess over wedding minutae, like making sure the napkins and tablecloths and flowers and bridesmaids' dresses match to the exact shade. Too much to do keeps you on your toes and focusing on the priorities!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Even more eco-concious jewelry options

And in case you want to read more discussion, the wedding blog Manolo for the Brides has a post called "What's Love Worth?" - does how much one spend on a ring represent one's love? There's also an interesting discussion on diamond engagement rings at the Vegan Represent Forum.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


While in the States, I shopped for my wedding shoes. I wanted strappy sandals (I have wide feet, so the pointy toe has just never been comfortable) that I could wear again for another dressy occasion. Plus, I figured my high school reunion would be the perfect occasion to test out shoes.

I walked into Nordstrom with about 30 minutes to spare on morning on my way to meet up with Sophie, and the sales guy directed me to Stuart Weitzman's Quando. Very sexy, leather heel, Swarovski crystals.

The only problem? The shoes were $385. I told him to hold it for me. I know Stuart Weitzman has other sandals that are much less, so I thought about it all night. Should I drive across L.A. to the Stuart Weitzman boutique in Beverly Hills or another Nordstrom with more selection? I had only another day before my reunion, I didn't really want to schlep around town, but that pair would cost almost as much as my dress! Plus, I've never had shoes with that much bling, and it was seriously pushing my comfort zone.

The next day I went back and I told him that honestly it wasn't in my budget. We had looked at a few other styles the day before, and even though none of them were as nice, I thought I should look at them again. Thankfully, they had gotten a shipment of new shoes that morning, and voila! I found the pair!

Rica by A. Marinelli. I thought they were even nicer than the Quando—not as in-your-face as the Quandos, but still sparkly. They're really comfortable and they were a bargain at only $95!

I hadn't heard of A. Marinelli shoes until then, but I'll definitely look at their shoes again in the future.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Like bread

Yesterday I went to the gym for the first time since...well, I haven't been to the gym since before my trip to the States, so about a month ao. My trainer said that my muscles have softened to a bread-like consistency. I'm imagining soft Hawaiian sweet bread or dinner rolls, not a crusty baguette. Alas, the wedding is two months away!

Sheng-Hong's plan: increase my gym attendance from 1x/week to 2x/week at minimum. He recommends doing both cardio and strength at least twice a week, and said that if I went straight to the gym after work to do cardio for 30 minutes, it shouldn't take that much time.

As for diet, the Taiwanese have what they call a 5-3-2 philosophy: eat a substantial and balanced breakfast, have 3/5 (60%) of the breakfast amount at lunch, and 2/5 (40%) of the breakfast amount for dinner. Try to avoid starchy foods like rice and bread. A serving of meat is okay for lunch, but at dinner, meat should be a flavoring, not a main course. Many Asian dishes follow this concept - rarely is meat a stand-alone dish like steak in Western cuisines. Instead, it's mixed with vegetables or tofu (like ground pork in dry stir-fried green beans).

Oh, and try not to snack in the evening—eat dinner as early as possible so that everything is well-digested before bed. This is sensible advice for anyone, not just a bride whose hoping to be more toned for her wedding.