Posts tagged Wedding
Why We Always Fight on Our Anniversary
What we're like when we fight...
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
— Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Ivan here. 

On April 4th, Jennie and I celebrated our eight year anniversary. For some strange reason, we always cap off our celebration with a huge fight. Jennie claims it’s my fault. I’ll let you be the judge.

Before I get to this year’s train-wreck, let me give you a recap of our last two anniversaries:


April 4, 2015: Six Years Together


This was back when we were still living apart, caught up in a seventeen month long immigration nightmare. I was living in Toronto. Jennie was in Boston. Let’s just say we were thinking some un-American and politically incorrect thoughts at the time. We were also running out the rope on a six year long distance relationship. All because some incompetent nitwit sitting in a cubicle somewhere had lost our paperwork. 

A month before our anniversary, I told Jennie I couldn’t bring myself to visit her that year. I informed her that I wasn’t going to set foot on American soil if it meant buying yet another round-trip ticket back to Toronto. The very thought made me physically ill. To make matters worse, I told her not to visit me because I knew that in my mental state, we were just going to end up fighting. 

Needless to say, Jennie didn’t appreciate my candor and we ended up fighting on our anniversary anyway. Except instead of fighting in person, we did it over Skype.

So well played on my part. 


April 4, 2016: Seven Years Together


I’m pleased to report that our seventh anniversary was not my fault. Jennie and I had just moved into our new Los Angeles apartment. We were in a new city and were both adjusting to our new environment. Jennie had a brand new job. I was writing more than I ever had in my life. We were feeling great.

A few problems though. We had no furniture in our apartment as our bed wouldn’t arrive for another week. We also had no power because the last tenant was late in paying his bills. Because our anniversary fell on a weekend, we had to wait until Monday to call the power company to maybe send a guy over at the most inconvenient time possible. BTW: if this were Taipei, I’d be able to walk down to my local 7-Eleven, pay my electric bill by machine and the lights would be back on by the time I got home. 

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We must have gone somewhere for dinner that year, though neither of us remember where we went. All we remember was coming home after charging our phones at a nearby Starbucks, getting into an argument about nothing in particular, then falling asleep on a pile of cardboard boxes. The weak, flickering flame of the candle we lit that night felt like a metaphor for our marriage. 


What Happened This Year


The week leading up to our eight year anniversary was lovely. We had breakfast together every morning before work, trading memories about all the wonderful things we’ve experienced together since we started dating on a perfect spring morning in Kyoto, Japan. We both agreed to keep this year’s celebration low key: a sunset walk to a nearby sushi bar we’d been meaning to try - a small, unassuming place run by a Japanese husband and wife team. The restaurant even had a clock that ran counter-clockwise. Isn’t that poetic? Like going back in time. 

When the day of our anniversary arrived, I was juggling a few deadlines and had also committed to a volunteer session that afternoon. Originally, I was under the assumption that Jennie would be at work, giving me time to take care of business before she came home.

What I didn’t account for was Jennie being a klutz and trying to off herself with a shard of glass to the wrist. 

Now I don’t expect applause or anything, but for context: I’d been doing all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry for the week that Jennie was incapacitated, all while trying to keep up with a mounting pile of work. By our anniversary, I was feeling worn out and irritable. Meanwhile, Jennie felt increasingly neglected as I went about my tasks, barely acknowledging her existence. 

That afternoon, after three hours of unsuccessfully trying to instill a love of reading into a group of eight year olds, I arrived home exhausted, but looking forward to some quality time. We took our sunset walk to the sushi bar, sat down and placed our orders. 

The conversation that ensued went something like this: 

Jennie: Tell me something. 

Ivan: What? 

Jennie: Tell me your favorite memory of us. 

Ivan: Wait, I thought we already did this. You know, this past week over breakfast?

Jennie: Yeah, but today is my anniversary. 

Ivan: Our anniversary. And I know. That’s why we’re sitting here having sushi.

Jennie (eyes narrow): Is it too much to ask for you to just come up with something? 

Ivan: I've already told you my best memories. Now it just feels forced. Besides, I’m tired and all talked out today. Can’t we just do that thing where we look deeply into each other’s eyes and lapse into a comfortable silence? 

You can imagine what happened next.


My Three Takeaways about relationships and arguments


1. Expectations are corrosive

I hate how certain days are “supposed” to be more romantic than others. Valentine’s Day, for example. Total bull-crap. It’s like we enjoy setting ourselves up to fail. I've had a great time with Jennie over the past eight years. Why should we have to get our hopes up for one day out of the year? 

2. Focus on the journey over arbitrary milestones

We were never more appreciative of each other and happy in each other’s company than during the weeks leading up to our anniversary. It felt great. I may not be that bright, but it’s almost as if the process (i.e. spending our days together) is more important than some arbitrary milestone. 

Btw: I feel the same way about birthdays. Why is being born such a great achievement? What did the baby do in the delivery room that’s so worth celebrating?

3. It’s (probably) my fault

I’m just a stubborn guy with a bad temper who prefers to be left alone 90% of the time. I should feel lucky that someone wanted to marry me in the first place. The most practical solution to avoid future blow-ups would be to refrain from standing on principle and just do the little that’s asked of me, right? 

Probably.



Our Taipei Trip in Pictures

In late October 2016, Ivan and I traveled from Los Angeles to Taipei for our wedding ceremony.


Wedding receptions, street food, and shrimp fishing all in one day...

The two of us, waiting awkwardly as the reception room filled up.

The two of us, waiting awkwardly as the reception room filled up.

We had our wedding reception at Taipei 101's Ding Xian 101 (頂鮮101) seafood restaurant.

Ivan's family actually arranged the entire reception. We had fancy seafood as well as other delicious Taiwanese influenced dishes. I'd say the biggest highlight of our wedding (reception) day was that we finally had a chance to relax and unwind. And it was my family's first time in Taiwan; my siblings first time abroad. Everything was new for them and I wanted to share all the great things that I'd come to love about the city. So, let me warn you -- there's a lot of food. 

Since I wanted to share my love of Taipei, I thought -- what better way to enjoy a new country than by eating more Taiwanese food? So, we headed over to Shilin Night Market

And what was I most excited about?! The Hot Star Large Fried Chicken. It was hot, crunchy, fatty, and oozing with hot oil. The hype around this snack is definitely worthwhile to check out. 

Another fun thing that we did in Taipei after my wedding reception was shrimp fishing. We stayed up a little late, had a few beers, and caught a few shrimp. Sadly, the owner felt so bad for how little we caught that they gave us some free shrimp on the house. 


Another beautiful day in Taipei...

We took the subway with my family to one of our favorite areas in Taipei's Zhongzheng District

Ivan grew up in the area around the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂). Every time we've been back to Taiwan, we come and visit this area. I love it because I get a peek into Ivan's memories and past. We could easily spend hours wandering around this area...

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A visit to this area also means that we have to visit our favorite soup dumpling place, Hangzhou Xiaolong Tang Bao (杭州小籠湯包)

We actually enjoy this place a lot more than Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) because it's still a family run restaurant and tastes great. 

Hang Zhou Xiao Long Tang Bao 杭州小籠湯包
Opening hours: 11:30am - 9:30pm (Opens daily)
Nearest MRT: Chiang Kai Shek MRT Station (Exit number 5 and walk about 5 mins)

If you're stopping by, I highly recommend checking out the cold side dishes, the crab roe xiao long bao, and the seasonal dishes. When we came out they had sweet pumpkin buns.
 

Jiufen (九份)

On our last day with my family, we took an hour long (and rickety) bus ride up a mountain to check out Jiufen (九份)

The views were spectacular but it was really crowded in the narrow alleyways, which were filled with delicious Taiwanese snack and memorabilia vendors.

If you want to see what foods you should eat in the area, I'd recommend checking out this guide from Food Republic. My favorite snack was the grilled snails!

Our last days in Taipei...

Our last days in Taiwan were spent together, wandering the streets for my favorite foods, hanging out with Ivan's family, and running last minute errands before we had to leave Taiwan again. 

Beef noodle soup from a local shop near Taipei Main Station.

Beef noodle soup from a local shop near Taipei Main Station.

We both got new bracelets from the Taipei Weekend Jade Market 台北市建國假日玉市.

Each time I come back to Taiwan, it becomes a little bit more difficult each time to leave it. At the airport before our departure, we had Mos Burger before we went through security. We sat around, thinking about our time in Taipei and we felt exhausted...and a little sad to say goodbye again.

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If you're thinking of visiting Taipei, check out some of our latest posts below.