Farmboy and I have been married for just over a year now, so I thought I'd take a little time to tell you how we met and how our love story began. It's quite a long post, so grab a cup of tea before settling in.
I was in my third and final year of University, having decided that I was going to make the most of the short time I had left, I joined a campus based NGO called Galela Amanzi (which means 'pour the water' in one of South Africa's many languages). Galela Amanzi had been voted the Campus project for the year, and was aimed at setting up water tanks to collect rainfall for the local townships. So here I was; the epitome of a city girl, sparkling earrings, nail polish that matched my scarf, and perfectly done makeup...all ready and eager to get involved in something meaningful. And there he was, unshaven, barefoot, plaid wearing...ready to make the world a better place.
Here are a few photographs to help you set the scene:
One Friday evening, after a long meeting about how we were going to manage to secure funding for our next water tank, it was time for the committee set up for the fundraiser we were having the next day. It just so happened that Dale and I were the only two available to make the t-shirts needed for the boerie roll (a South African take on the American hot dog) sale. I had no problem meeting Dale alone at his house, I did have a boyfriend at the time of nearly five years, and thought it would be absolutely fine to hang out with a rugged but all too intriguing (don't forget the barefoot part!) farm boy.
Something happened that evening, something that I could not even begin to explain. Maybe it was listening to a young man open up about the huge part that God played in his life, or listening to tales of real farm life, or maybe it was just the intensity of hearing someone not afraid to speak their mind and being open about their faith that did it, I'm not sure. Having been brought up Catholic, having a Jewish Dad, not really ever being interested in going to church, and having gone through the disintegration of my parents marriage, something happened to me that evening. I realised that I was far too attracted to Dale to spend any more time with him while having a boyfriend, and I flew home that Sunday (two days after making t-shirts) to do one of the hardest things imaginable... break up with my boyfriend. It was not an easy decision to make, I hod to break someones heart, to break something that was over five years in the making. But, although it was difficulty and there are a million different ways it could have been done, it was the right thing to do.
I flew back the following day and began a whirlwind of a romance with Dale. In the beginning nothing mattered, it was all butteries and fairytales. But slowly, reality hit when Dale had to fly to Botswana for a research assignment, and I was left in my small University town, all alone, to think about what the last few months had meant. Had I jumped into this relationship too soon? Was I missing my ex? What did the future hold for Dale and myself? Did I need to be single to find out more about myself? Was I crazy? The only thing I never questioned, was whether I has made the right decision in ending things with my ex. Even though I missed him terribly in the beginning, our relationship had become one of deep friendship rather than romance.. I had peace about that decision, even if it was the only thing I had peace about at that stage.
A few months later I started going to church with Dale, and my eyes and heart were opened to the wonders of a living God. A god who loves and cherishes his children no matter what. All the terrible things I had done had been forgiven, I was washed cleaned of all I had been, and I was finally excited for the future and what it held for me, and my relationship with Dale. Nine months into our relationship, and Dale and I decided to move to South Korea to teach English. What an adventure. Living in a foreign country, having to adjust to a completely different culture and way of life was made all the easier by having someone special to share it with. The adventures in Cambodia and the Philippines, while managing to still find a good church to keep us grounded, was just a glimpse into life as a Foreigner in Korea.
We touched back down on South African soil in March 2011, to the reality of life in South Africa. Dale spent six long months looking for a job, I decided to return to studying my life long dream of becoming a a teacher and we both moved to Pietermaritzburg (Dale first to live with his Grandparents) and me following later on once my University year began.
Dale propsed a year later (you can read and see all the photographs of that very special day here) and we were married six months later on Dales family dairy farm in Kwazulu Natal (click here to see more wedding photographs).
At the beginning of this year, after much discussion, Dale left his job and we arrived in South Korea for our second adventure of teaching English here. We are in a very small town in the South West corner of Korea. Our plan is to spend the next few years here, traveling the world and saving enough money to buy a house back home.
Adventures lie await for us, some disguised as difficult circumstances, others as interesting and new friends.
Life is what you make of it, it's time to stop worrying about what the future will bring and whether all your ducks are in a row. Enjoy every moment of every day. If you don't like what you're doing, stop. Take a break. Go on holiday. Tell that special person how you really feel. Smile at everyone. Thank God for the small, as well as the big things in your life.
And most importantly, take lots and lots of photographs as you go along.