Many Are Cold, but Few Are Frozen

David Lawrence's personal blog

From Tbilisi to Ulaanbaatar: Ten Years of Marriage

Today is one of our 10th wedding anniversaries. The other one, the real one, is in July. When my fiance came to Tbilisi in May 1999 to help organize the wedding, the priest told us that our planned date was during Post, which is some kind of Lent-like period when getting married is not possible. "But tomorrow's OK," he said.

After some energetic consultations, my bride-to-be decided it would be OK to have a church wedding in May and the legal one later. So we rushed to the Tbilisi gold market, bought rings, and let our friends know we'd be getting married on Monday at around lunchtime.

The wedding was a typical, spooky Orthodox one in Tbilisi's main Russian Orthodox Church, complete with chanting in old church Slavonic and a lot of incense. The only unusual thing was that a bird crapped on my head right before we went in. I though this was a bad omen, but apparently it's good luck in Georgia, especially at a wedding.

Ten years later, after dragging her around the world and producing two kids, we are in Mongolia. We spent the day having a cookout (muttonburgers anyone?) with friends on the river Tuul, just behind the Hotel Mongolia. I waded across the freezing river and hiked up a nearby mountain. Now that everything is green, the landscape is particularly beautiful.

On the way home, I decided to surprise my wife by gong to Ulaanbaatar's new Orthodox cathedral. I watched as she taught my Ukrainian Orthodox children how to light candles and cross themselves. (As far as I'm concerned, they're still 13th-generation American WASPs.) My five-year old girl stood on her toes, stretching, straining, to light her candle. My son, bewildered, asked why anyone would nail a guy to a cross. I guess I'm going to have to deal with this whole religion thing sooner rather than later.

Ten years. So fast. I can hardly remember my life before then.