Did you know that getting a marriage certificate is actually free in Georgia? Now you know.

As it turns out, there are various different services available, at various locations, at various costs – you can have a ceremony on Mtatsminda, for instance, for something like 150 lari on a weekend – but the certificate itself costs nothing. You just need two witnesses, and, if you have a foreign passport, a certified translation.

The translation, for me, was the tricky part. My last name is spelled Zupancic (most likely Americanized from Zupančič), and even for a native English speaker, it’s totally not obvious how the name should be pronounced. My friends in High School often rendered it “Zu-pancake” and called me “Pancake Man”, which, I suppose, isn’t the worst nickname in the world. In any case, it took an hour and a half for the clerk at the civil registry to email back and forth with the official translators and straighten this issue out, and we had to fill out a waiver affirming that we were dissatisfied with the spelling “ნილ ფრენსის ზუპანკიკ” (think “Neal Frencis Zupankik”) and I had to sign it, which I did, in Georgian, because sometimes when I’m bored at school I just practice my Georgian signature hundreds of times in my notebook. As I said in my second post ever, I chose the spelling “ნილ ზუპანჩიჩ” as the Georgianized version of my name, and luckily that spelling actually reflects how it is pronounced and it’s what Georgians write down when I say it to them out loud. Add in the middle name and it’s ნილ ფრანსის ზუპანჩიჩ.

All this, I should mention, was after we had already paid to have my passport translated and notarized in advance so that we could avoid the exact situation we ended up in, which was having our witnesses sitting around in the civil registry office for an hour and a half. (Big shout-out to my witness, fellow blogger pasumonok!) On the bright side, it was air conditioned and the seats were super comfortable. I could have sat there all day. We talked about air conditioning, summer, window screens, electricity bills, and other issues related to the fact that this is likely to be the hottest summer since I’ve been in Georgia and it is already in the high 30’s (think high 90’s, Americans) during the day. Luckily I plan to spend the summer at the seaside this year, enjoying the beach weather and working on my memoirs. How pretentious does that sound?


We met exactly one year ago today. It was at the orientation meeting at Buckswood. She was an English teacher, I was an Activity Leader (like a camp counselor). Flirtation was immediate; by the time I left for vacation we had really hit it off. When I came back, she went home to Kutaisi; we texted each other often until she finally arrived to work at Buckswood’s final intake. After Buckswood she visited home again until I convinced her to move to Tbilisi for the year. Our first apartment, in Vera, was sort of a one month trial – we had separate rooms – to see how we adjusted to living together; after that we moved into a place in Vake.

We’ve kept our relationship mostly offline; she’s a much more private person than I am, and I respect that. I guess I’ve mentioned her once or twice on here, although most people who have read my blog this year seem to have concluded that I am single (probably due to my less-than-charming online personality). I will probably continue to leave personal details out, although I imagine I’ll have some things to say about married life in Georgia.

In any case, this has been a great year, and I am looking forward to many more.


So anyway, that’s why I’m moving to Kutaisi. My wife (how unusual it feels to type those words!) has an apartment there, so we won’t pay rent, which means that my TLG salary will go a lot farther and I’ll have more time and energy to devote to other pursuits in my life – my teaching job, my family life, learning Georgian, etc. If I’m lucky I’ll even save some money… or, perhaps I should say “we’ll” save some money – it’s not just me anymore!

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15 Responses to Married!

  1. Leslie Dugger says:

    Congrats Neal! Sounds like you’re going to have a great future. Best wishes.


  2. katarzynawid says:

    Congratulations! Exciting!!


  3. Congratulations, sir. Best.


  4. Sasha says:

    Mazel Tov? Congratulations!


  5. George from Georgia says:

    My heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to you!


  6. Any says:

    Congratulations and good luck in Kutaisi!


  7. Joy Wells says:

    Congratulations Neal and to your wife.


  8. Sam Bowlby says:



  9. loe says:

    How cute…Congratulations and best of the best wishes to you two 🙂


  10. pasumonok says:

    aha! in your face, all the bitter people who keep writing that neal is unhappy and loveless.
    nah, i didn’t mind waiting, it’s not like u’re getting married very often (are u?).


  11. Pingback: Fresh Apricot Wedding Cake « Making a Difference

  12. Anonymous says:

    გილოცავთ 🙂


  13. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Neal and Tea!!! Wish you lot of happiness and bright future, you really deserve perfect life!!!


  14. Dr. t. lee says:

    Congratulations Neal! Best wishes to you and your wife.


  15. Oh, how wonderful for you both! So happy you found a woman who makes your heart sing, Neal. I wish you both much love, true joy, great companionship, lots of laughter, and a lifetime of getting that butterfly fluttery feeling you get when meeting the love of your life for the first time. I just KNEW you’d find the love of your life in Georgia! So happy for you both!
    Robin Carlisle


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