Traveler Story: ‘We Decided To Get Married In South Korea’
By DeAnna Taylor
When you find your soulmate, you’ll literally cross the globe to make sure that you can be together if circumstances allow. For Elizabeth and Morris Jordan, that meant making their marriage official a little earlier than expected, even if that meant going all the way to South Korea.
How they met
Elizabeth, a New York native, moved to South Korea in 2014 to get a change of scenery.
“Since I had no real responsibilities, no financial burdens or debt, and completed my educational goals– I decided leaving would be best for me,” Elizabeth told Travel Noire.
She taught English in both the public and private school sectors there for three years.
During a weekend of visiting friends in a town called Daegu, she met Morris (from Ohio) in a nightclub. After that night, they wouldn’t see each other again for an entire year.
As fate would have it, Elizabeth ended up relocating and changing schools to the same one that Morris was teaching at. While they didn’t date during this time, they did become very close.
Elizabeth moved back to the States in 2017 and the two kept in touch. Sometime later, Morris admitted how he felt about her and well, here they are.
Getting married abroad
After the relationship blossomed more and the two became serious, Elizabeth made her way back to South Korea to join Morris.
Because Elizabeth was not coming back to teach, but rather to be with Morris, she wouldn’t automatically be granted a resident visa without the two being married.
“I think one of the main reasons we got married here instead of in the States was for convenience,” Elizabeth said. “I would have had to do visa runs, to be able to stay in the country for the duration of his contract. We had already discussed marriage and knew we were going to do it. So, getting married sooner than later provided the security I would need of being abroad with him.”
With both of them being expats, many of the Korean natives were unsure of how to properly process their marriage paperwork. The university where Morris works never experienced this situation and couldn’t offer a lot of help.
The couple spent some time doing personal research via Google and YouTube to figure it all out with several hangups along the way. In the end, they were able to hold a small ceremony in the town where they live, to celebrate their new life together. Elizabeth was able to apply for and receive an f-3 visa, that allows her to remain in the country with no issue.
“When we get back we will have a ceremony for our family and friends in America. We return to the States in March 2020. So we expect to have our ceremony in 2021. This way we have time to deal with reverse culture shock, getting adjusted, and planning for the big day.”
Married life abroad
Morris is still working at the university where he teaches. As for Elizabeth, she has found that she has a lot of free time since she isn’t teaching full-time.
She wakes up each morning and teaches a few online English lessons from 6-10 am. Once she is done there, she takes care of anything around the house which includes preparing for dinner.
“I enjoy buying fruits and vegetables from the elderly on the street and at farmers markets to accommodate whatever we are working on for that week. I’m always walking around exploring my neighborhood to see which ajumma or Ahjussi (respectful word for an older Korean woman or man ) has the best deal. After that, I’ll tend to my online store and business social media handles. Later in the evening, my husband and I will have dinner before I go to my salsa class for 2- 3 hours. I’m home by 10:30/11. So my days are pretty full,” she explained.
Advice to other couples
Traveling or living with your significant other will definitely allow you to learn things about them that you may not have known otherwise. One of the main keys to a successful relationship or marriage, especially while living or traveling abroad, is a compromise.
“The adage goes, “You never really know a person until you live with them.” While this is 100% true, I’d like to add that you never really know a person until you travel with them. Moving abroad with your partner is unique in that it gives you both of these experiences in one take. For other couples curious about moving overseas, I’d tell them that it would be the best decision they’d make. They will get to learn a lot about each other because of the unique situations they will be in.”
To catch more of Elizabeth and Morris’ life abroad, you can find her online at www.htjournals.com, and on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram @htjournals.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.