And now a word from my sister on her life as of late:
One Year Later…
It has been a little over a year since I married my safari guide husband. We’ve known each other for almost 2 1/2 years, so in the grand scheme of things, we are much like other newlyweds, except, we are so not in so many ways.
The most obvious distinction is our meeting, which took place while I was on vacation in South Africa. We had 22 in the group and three jeeps, which means even my placement in his jeep seems almost fated. The first night he drove my friends and I around at dusk, chasing a lioness on the hunt. We prayed she wouldn’t catch anything, but how thrilling to see nature in action. BTW, did you know it’s the female lions that do all the work, catching and killing, while the male lion sits around and looks handsome. After the kill, the male gets first dibs and then females can join. Needless to say, we are NOT a lion household, but take our cues more from the matriarchal elephant herds.
Our relationship was seamless almost immediately. The laughs were continuous and I felt instantly at ease in his presence (which made chasing lions and having rhinos almost enter our vehicle all the more enjoyable). So much laughter came from our jeep that the others on our tour were starting to wonder. The joke was on me however, because while it was happening, I really didn’t know. I was on vacation for christ’s sake and who doesn’t fall in love with their guide when on safari???? On my last birthday, he gave me a card which read, ‘When I saw you I fell in love and you smiled because you knew’. I love that card!
So yeah, that happened. And then there was the logistical mess which needed tending. We lived approximately 11,000 miles apart, so someone had to pack their crap. Living in South Africa really wasn’t an option, so my new husband agreed to adopt a new country and he was down for that adventure. Enter the Department of Homeland Security, The U.S. Department of State, The South African Embassy . . . I’m sure I’m leaving someone out. The act of immigrating is not for the faint of heart. Lots of paperwork, rules, legal jargon, fees and did I mention the paperwork? We got through it with the help of a lawyer and are currently waiting patiently for our first interview together as husband and wife. This interview is so my government can tell me that my relationship is real and he can stay in the U.S. so we can live happily ever after. It’s all so romantic! Not to mention the fact that he couldn’t work for about 6 months when he got here (paperwork) and had to leave his previous job about 3 months before he came here because there is only one place immigration interviews are held in all of South Africa and only a few doctors that can do the physical, none of which were anywhere near the game reserve where he worked. Reading that doesn’t even make sense to me, because it begs the question, why can’t he just make an appointment the week before he wants to leave and to that I’ll just say, South Africa. Good times.
So he finally gets here and then the culture shock of moving to America from the bush and living in South Florida with the heat and humidity and dare I say some of the rudest people on earth? (Okay, that may be pushing it, but South Africans are a well-mannered bunch and he did not find the tone here at all amusing.) I’d like to say it’s been a bliss filled year because we are together and nothing else matters, but I’m not gonna lie, we struggled. Not about the being together part, but about the, now that we are together, how do we make this great again (no pun intended current admin) part. And this is where I really feel like we are NOT like other couples. Because early on I knew that no matter how much we were MFEO (made for each other), the nonsense of life would always be heckling us from the back row. I also knew that the only way to survive all the set backs and not give up 5 seconds before the miracle was to focus on us and why we dreamed up this crazy scheme in the first place. The goal has always been to be as happy as we were when we first met, some sort of living vacation experiment.
This concept of a living vacation is not foreign to me, in fact, I could argue that it has been the backdrop to my entire life. So not surprising that when I did find the one, it was in some way his guiding principle, albeit unspoken and perhaps unconscious, as well. It used to play out in my life as a constant, wishing I was somewhere else, but now it has become a catalyst to something extraordinary. Time will tell.