I have been on a hiatus since my last blog post. Coming here to U-M five years ago, I expected to graduate with a Ph.D. before changing my marital status but sometimes the least expected relationships happen at the most unexpected times. As though being a graduate student is not tough enough, I took on the additional role of planning a wedding!
If you have read some of my earlier posts, you will know that I began dancing Argentine tango through the U-M Tango club a couple of years ago. One does not require a partner to attend the classes and typically the followers rotate one down the line of leaders at the end of a song. One evening, after such routine innocuous rotation, I landed into this stranger who by the end of the evening decided that he was going to marry me! Yes, I met my husband at U-M on the dance floor. Guess there are benefits in getting out of the lab and exploring some of the student clubs on campus.
I thought I would mention some of the important tools that helped me maintain my sanity leading up to the wedding, which were borrowed from life as a graduate student. After deciding on a date (deadlines are important to work towards a goal!), the type of wedding was agreed upon by both my husband (actually my fiancé then) and me – something like agreeing on the goals of the thesis with one’s advisor. We agreed that having the wedding was an excellent opportunity for friends and families to meet and interact, and planned activities that would create this opportunity. Prioritizing was an important tool that helped in chiseling out the unimportant stuff and helped focus on the crucial details – for example the exact shade of the bridesmaids dresses matching the flowers for the reception was not a priority.
Enlisting the help of my family and friends made it easy to carry out the plan, the key concepts being planning and delegation. My parents and siblings volunteered to do the most of the ground work; setting up the venues for the nuptials and the reception, the decorators and caterers, and a live band. My friend here in the U.S. designed and crafted an elegant gown for me incorporating all of my requirements for an ideal “dream gown.” On the wedding day in December, everything simply came together and family and friends travelled distant lands to be there for me – that was simply a magical experience.
I am curious to know if there are any other students who planned a wedding in the midst of their studies. Was it an easy task to pull off? Now that the wedding is over, I am contemplating the legalities of changing my surname. Being an international student, the paper work of changing my passport, then the I-20 and then reapplying for a new visa is a put-off. I was thinking of changing my surname when my passport is up for renewal (in 3 years’ time), but by then I would have graduated (hopefully!). I am keen to hear thoughts of how others have reconciled dual names in the scientific community – one for academia and the other for personal/legal matters.