Today’s blog is probably way off the mark for anyone interested in reading about Dar es Salaam, Kigamboni, Zanzibar or my day-t0-day existence here, but I would not have been here if it was not for this “Love” thing.
I am sure some of you have heard, if not tried, dating via cyber space – or internet dating – you know, the thing where you need to write a lot about yourself and then some about that “ideal” match you hope to find, then close your eyes and hope you get some response, and then when you do, you sometimes wish you had not even started in the first place.
So it is then exactly because of me using this “thing”, towards the latter half of last year, that I did in fact find that one I had prayed for. I was heading for my third year of singledom, and my daughter and best friend, Nicki, decided to put fire under my bum, nagging me to do “something” to meet more eligible men. At this point in my life I had just settled so comfortably into just being me, myself and I, and had visions of tackling Europe, or Machu Pichu, or Norwegian Fjords, or riding Indian elephants whilst looking for the elusive tigers or even the Arctic on my own, so this shove from the two of them was just a nuisance. After all, I had just completed the Cape to Rio race aboard the winning cruise yacht earlier the same year, and celebrated turning 50 in Rio de Janeiro, atop Sugar Loaf Mountain and The Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio on the day!!
But, as with most things shoved our way, it eventually seemed interesting enough to try, and I started reading some eligible “matches” profiles. After some time agonizing about what to say in my profile, I penned it down, and asked for those reading it to just look for common grounds and then contact me. As I really was not that interested, I asked God to make the process as swift and pain-free as possible! I also made a deal with myself that I will be contacted first, and not do the contacting first. Much against my inner voice I also added a recent photo, and waited.
By the next switch-on of my computer, a few messages were waiting. And thus began the process of sifting. For the next month I chatted with about 20 men, all seemingly interesting and nice enough, until I felt comfortable to narrow them down to 10. These were now the ones I wanted to meet in person, and again, in order for the process to be swift and relatively pain-free, I decided to dedicate a fortnight to meeting them all in a row, them narrow it down to say 4, and then get to know those 4 much better and so the process of elimination seemed set.
Kobus was on this short list, and actually date number 2. (Date number one was at lunch the same day). Kobus wrote to me, asking me for my address so that he could collect me, but I declined firmly, citing that I would need my car for a quick getaway should we not like each other’s company, even though the date was arranged to be at “On The Rocks Restaurant”, Blouberg Beach – a world-famous view and excellent food. www.seascapecollection.co.za
The night arrived, without even a telephone chat between us until one hour before the arranged time, with me calling him to confirm that I was indeed on my way. Once I had parked my car and got out, I turned around to see this good-looking gentleman walking my way, with a huge bunch of fresh flowers in his hands!! That was a lovely surprise! The evening went by smoothly, with us chatting easily, and he was very complimentary, saying my profile was exactly what he found in real life – no bull….t there, and thankful that I did not bombard him with the “usual” questions, i.e. what do you do (I knew he was a farmer from his profile), how much do you earn, why are you divorced etc etc etc. Instead, we kept the conversation light-hearted and chatted about general topics of life – no big focus on ourselves. Walking me to my car at a decent hour, I gave no signal of wanting a good-night kiss, but merely told him that I had enjoyed the evening and will certainly go out with him again. He was a true gentleman, and waited until I was safely on my way before turning and walking to his car.
We then kept contact, but not soppy, silly, unnecessary mails all day long – one or so every second day, short and friendly. Two weeks later, he came to collect me to go and show me the farm, and so started a slow process of courting. I made a point of taking it slowly with regards to intimacy, as I certainly had no desire to make any mistakes after so painstakingly plotting this process. By Christmas Eve, he brought his two lovely sons to my house to spend the evening with my kids and I, and everyone seemed to get on well. He surprised me to say he would love to spend Christmas day with my family as well, and even though I thought it was a baptism of fire, it went down very well.
By this time, my kids had asked to spend some time on the farm between Christmas and New Year, and I went through a day before their arrival. That night Kobus and I sat on the stoep, talking about this new-found love, and the point of where to in making it a commitment. Before the night was out, we had decided to show our commitment by getting married – it just seemed the right thing to do!
And at this point I do not want to say that I am a pro at knowing what love is – quite the contrary – but I do want to say that when one reaches age 50, and you’ve kissed some frogs and not found your prince yet, one should have some fair idea of what you value in a relationship and what has not worked for you. And I felt that Kobus was that one person I’ve been waiting for all my life, to complement all that I hold dear, share my values and illustrate respect needed to make a relationship go from good to as close to perfect as can be.
Three weeks later we got married in front of our closest friends and family, in the garden of the restaurant where Kobus took me for lunch that first Sunday when he showed me the farm. We decorated our own arch with flowers and twigs taken from the guesthouse we had booked for our kids and ourselves for the weekend, we said our own vows and we glowed with happiness. Emotional tears were shed when my daughter sang Etta James‘s “At Last” for us, and the kids toasted us.
A few weeks before we set off on this adventure of having to start a dairy farm on Zanzibar, we asked the “dominee” (pastor), who married us, to meet us at the restaurant, same place in the garden, same time, exactly 3 months later, and he prayed with us for blessings and that we will stay committed and respect each other in love wherever we travel to follow a dream.
And after thus sharing my story with you, I would love to hear your stories and who knows, perhaps I can write some more around the topic in future, and somewhere, somehow, someone may benefit from it.
Let me have your questions as well, and I’ll attempt to answer as best as I can.
Till next time, hope you are loved.