Monday, 27 May 2013

In a Name

I have names on my mind of late. I have often pondered, as girls tend to do getting married - and though the question of whom I might marry has been very uncertain for the last thirty years I've always felt certain that if  such an event took place I would not be changing my name. The tradition in my family of strong women is to retain your own surname on getting married and when thinking of it in the abstract I never felt inclined to alter my initials.

In the hear and now of being newly-wed I am however quite happy about taking on my husbands name - though still entirely disinterested in giving up my own. So Ms S.B is becoming Ms S.B-H, (the Mrs, though I don't mind being referred to as Mrs by my Mr, it is still a little alien to use in everyday life).

The new Mr and Mrs and our piper. Edinburgh 2013.

So I have changed the signature on my email and my name on Facebook... but what next? Bureaucracy is what is next. With my current passport having less than 12 months before it expires I thought that would be the place to start, so with my new marriage certificate in hand I happily set about filling in the passport application form.  According to what I could make out on the form all I needed was my marriage certificate and some other ID with my old name and things would be right as rain.

Then I got a bit further on in the form filling out process and discovered I needed a photo witnessed by a fellow Australian. I had some of those gathered about me for the wedding, but they were long gone by the time I started on the bureaucracy. So I got myself a photo and posted it off to London to one of my high school buddies, stamped - self addressed envelope included to hurry it back.

It arrived and I filled out my guarantors details - scarily realising in the process that I had known her for 17 plus years - turns out we are indeed old. With all the other boxes ticked I printed out the form, read over it, about to put my shoes on to head to the embassy and discovered that she also had to sign the form.  So off it went.

Back it came and I got my shoes on again, got all my documents assembled only to discover that the little photo my friend had witnessed for me was absolutely nowhere to be found. Whether it is a baby brain thing or a packing thing or a general chaos of our lives thing I do not know - but there was a temper tantrum. The husband helped me look - fruitlessly and then he calmly headed off to the post office with another photo and stamped - self addressed envelope while I sat down and Skyped with one of my Aussie mates to bemoan the misery that it was to be me.

Back the photo came, arriving on a Saturday when the Embassy was closed, still I opened it up happily enough, finally things could go forward... only to discover that my friend had miss-spelt my husbands surname. I am pleased to say that at this point I managed to laugh rather than throw another tantrum. I pondered - would the bureaucrat look closely at it? Could I alter it to the right spelling? Should I send her another photo? Should I give up the whole notion of a new name?

Sunday night I was sitting up in bed writing some notes to myself in my little notebook and what should fall into my lap but the original, correctly named photo.

I put on my shoes and caught the bus to the embassy with a light heart on Monday morning, certain that my new name was within sight. Unfortunately the very nice embassy lady informed me that although the British wedding certificate signifies to the Australian persons who care about such things that I am married, it is insufficient evidence for an Australian to change their name on a passport. I must send of a pile of papers to the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages in the state I was born in and apply for a legal change of name before I can be Ms S.B-H.

So it was back to the paperwork for me.

At least the guarantor signatures on my passport application form remains valid for six months - and I am storing it in a safe place.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

a moment of calm

As evidenced by my lack of blog posts this year life has been rather hectic. It is hectic in all of the best ways - life is brimming with unforgettable happenings.
Over Easter there was the wedding of friends to attend - which took us from Edinburgh to London and then across the channel to France - with a day or two in Germany on the way home. Much eating and dancing was done and sleep was distinctly lacking.

After that it was home to Edinburgh to finish planning my own wedding - and while the Easter celebrations set the bar very very high I think our happy day was a pretty good follow up - and from the perspective of the princess in the white dress I have to say I loved every minute.

bride and groom in Edinburgh's Old Town

Somewhere in the middle we went to see Paul Kelly perform in Glasgow, and had the second ultrasound on my growing bump - getting to see Paul Kelly and our healthy, acrobatic baby within the space of a few days was a very special lead up to our nuptials 

Even though I was something of a dead beat bride and did very little in the way of a hens do I was still pretty happy with my pre-wedding outings. The Edinburgh hen tradition of going out with a squealing gaggle of girls and vomiting in the loo's in a pub in the Old Town was not really an attractive option for me, though the girls at work did manage to get a sparkly tiara and veil combo on my head for a meal out.

... and we have been flat hunting, doing rental applications, started packing, had my mother visiting, had lots of lovely other visitors for the wedding and been skyping with all the folks in Oz. All this on top of working and getting stuck into the paperwork involved in new passports, name change, visas and plotting a celebration down under...

It can all make a girl rather breathless -
The lists of things to do have been raging on the edge of out of control - and no sooner has one event passed us by than there seems to be another one chasing us down. I wake up in a cold sweat rather often remembering than I still have not sent out any thank you cards - and don't even get me started on the fact that I have not had time to see the inside of the flat we are moving into in a month.

All the chaos is the glorious stuff of life and I remind myself every now and again that I am not the first or the last girl to be having a baby, getting married, moving house, holding down a job whilst living on the other side of the world from many of her nearest and dearest -  but it is the first time that all of these particular stars have aligned for me and I try to squeeze in the occasional moment of calm so as not to miss the excitement of it all in the midst of the busy blur.

I had thought that when I sat down to start this blog before running off to work - and am finishing it now on my return home that I might be reviving out one of those extinct moments of calm in my life - but actually I think it has just reminded me how harried I have been feeling of late - oops.

 Perhaps... perhaps I will sneak off and have a bath this evening and leave those thank you cards for another day...