When the Academics Decide to Say “I Do”

An international. couple.

January 12, 2014

Was it when the catering guy called me at 3 am to tell me that they could not find the requested 300 grams of sole fish in the market and asked what to serve instead?  Was it when the official called 3 hours before the big event to tell me that we were each missing a picture that he needed in 3 hours? Or was it when I ended up throwing up in a bag on the plane to the EuPRA conference in Cyprus and spent the rest of the night in bed? Or maybe it was when we finally landed in Bangkok for the APPRA conference, and my poor heel started to hurt like hell, not allowing me to step on it properly for 3 days and thus paying to much for a pair of shoes to allow me stand up on both my feet again.


I am not sure yet.


Let me roll the film back and reintroduce you to the story:


One day, my boyfriend and I were sitting at our regular cafe by the seaside in Istanbul and we said “OK let's decide!” We opened the calendar, and looked at our schedule for the next month and a  half. Then we looked at one another and we said “November 2nd it is.” That is how we set the date for our wedding.


Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t decide to get married out of the blue, just like that. We actually wanted to get married since the summer of 2012, and had gone through all the paperwork, which was a lengthy, costly and oftentimes adventurous process when it involved people from two different nationalities: me the Turk, him the Dutch. The bureaucracy of the whole thing overwhelmed this academic couple, who in totality hold 3 masters degrees, 2 Ph.D.s and a Doctorandus.  To our own detriment, we could not get married that summer since my boyfriend had sold his house in Germany, and we decided to spend the summer in Europe enjoying the house one last time, leading to the expiration of the paperwork we had prepared. Then winter came,and we were too busy to do anything. Summer 2013, we started the paperwork again but before we completed it, there were the Gezi protests in Turkey, and in that turmoil we did not feel like getting married. Then we left for vacation and upon our return we set the date.


What was with the date?


We wanted to have the wedding party on a boat on the Bosphorus and November 2nd, the weather would still be OK, not warm enough in the evening to have it on the terrace of the boat, but inside the boat would still be OK.


Besides, we were busy every other weekend, either at a talk somewhere, or there was a religious or a national festival which would be hard to get people together.  If we waited, the paperwork would expire once again and we could not afford that. Moreover, since the academic year had already started, we would not be able to take a honeymoon, yet I was leaving for two back to back conferences, first in Cyprus and then one day later in Thailand, and we thought “well, it will not count as honeymoon, but we will still be leaving for somewhere and that is something”.


In theory, that was a great idea. However, given the fact that we did not want to let anyone organize our wedding for us and arranged everything ourselves, and also that I was the President of the Association which organized the conference in Cyprus, the amount of work that waited both me and my non-Turkish speaking husband-to-be, for whom I often needed to translate, brought me to the point of collapse. The 4 incidents I started this post with, were snapshots from the moments of my collapse.


We did manage to get married on November 2nd. Our wedding party was gorgeous. Both conferences we attended to immediately after we got married were success stories. Now, I also know that I am capable of organizing a wedding, an international conference and attending another one in another continent within a matter of 2 weeks, probably the result of the experience and training in multitasking we academics have to engage in on a regular basis.


Would I recommend this to anyone? Not really. However, since I had no other option in my busy schedule, do I regret this story? Not at all! I had one hell of a time!


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