Category Archives: Romance

A Happy Birthday!

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Today marks the birthday of a very special person…my Mani!

I’m ever so happy that God brought this wonderful man into the world all those years ago. It’s so funny to think that we grew up in different countries, but that our paths still crossed 8 years ago – a seemingly ordinary meeting that eventually developed into our very own romantic (and sometimes bureaucratically frustrating!) journey.

God really does create someone especially for you. I believe that now! Mani and I are evidence of that. Sure, our personalities differ like night and day…no, more like…honey and water…but we’re still perfect for one another. We balance one another out so well and our strengths and weaknesses, combined, are the perfect mixture!

He’s my best friend. My life partner. Someone I can sit and chat to until the early hours of the morning. Someone I can laugh with. Someone I can run to and cry with when things seem too much – but also, someone who always reminds me that He is actually the one I should always go to. How lovely is that? A husband who directs me to the One who has me in His hands, no matter what…the One who cared so much for me that He blessed me with the perfect partner. As I always say to Mani – we’re not perfect, but we’re perfect for each other…

So…happy birthday Mani! It sucks that we can’t be together to celebrate this day, but hopefully this will be the last time we’re apart on a birthday. Thank you for what you’ve meant to me and my family. You’ve been such a lovely example of someone who has a heart for many 🙂 You’re amazing! xxx

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You clever little Bishop you!

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So today is supposed to be the day that people intentionally remember that ‘someone special’ in their lives. I’m sure that for 86.87% of men, it’s the day that the reminder alarms on their phones go crazy – reminding them to go out and buy lovey-dovey stuff for that one special lady.

But who was the original Valentine? Well, waaaaaaay back in time, Claudius II was the Emperor of Rome and he was of the opinion that men who weren’t hitched made far better soldiers than their married counterparts. It was this opinion that led him to making a law that young, unmarried men were not allowed to take the leap of faith into marriage.

Then along came a Bishop Valentine. *Cue ‘saves the day’ music* He felt really sorry for these young men and decided he’d start conducting marriage ceremonies on the sly. But as with any story like this, his secret didn’t remain secret for too long and Emperor Claudius II sent him to jail. (In fact, not only was he jailed, but the Emperor also tried to get Valentine to start worshipping various Roman gods. Valentine’s response: he started trying to convert the Emperor to Christianity. The result: our hero was sentenced to be executed.)

Now in terms of the actual emergence of Valentine’s Day, there are numerous theories about how it came about. The most popular being that whilst in jail, Bishop Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter. Then, shortly before his death, he sent this lovely lady a note and ended it with “from your Valentine” (as any good man would do…). Those who knew about Valentine found this rather romantic and shared the story with others. He become rather popular and eventually was promoted from Bishop Valentine to Saint Valentine.

After his death, he then became a Patron Saint and was considered by many to be the spiritual figure who oversaw a festival that occurred annually on 14 February – one during which Romans would send out cards declaring their love to those they had their eyes on!

And there you have it – a brief history of Valentine’s Day. Now go out and buy heart-shaped chocolates! (Even if you keep them for yourself! 😀 )

14-2-12

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It’s that time of year again – every second ad on TV is about love and pictures of couples in loving embraces with hearts floating above their heads are popping up everywhere. Yip, it’s Valentine’s Day fever (and we haven’t even hit the 14th yet).

I never enjoyed V Day – probably because I spent the majority of them alone, doing one of two things: (a) contemplating sending chocolates and lovey-dovey gifts to myself, or (b) remaining defiant and swearing that “actually I don’t care…I’m totally unphased by Valentines’ Day! I’m happy for all the couples out there…”

Now you would think that since I have a significant other, I’d be looking forward to V Day – but really, it’s a little sucky because I’m in South Africa and he’s all the way in Germany. And you’d think that since we’re now legally married, we’d get to spend our first V Day together…apparently not.

So there won’t be any candlelight dinner, no popping of champagne, no cuddling on the couch with a DVD, and definitely no chocolates packaged in a heart-shaped container.

And so I have to say, theoretically Valentine’s Day this year is on 14-2-12…but I say, mathematically, 14-2-12 = 0. Therefore, Valentine’s Day is cancelled!

(Though actually…Mani’s taken the night off from rehearsal in honour of said V Day…so I have to admit, I’m excited!!! YAY ME! :D)

 

 

My real-life rockstar

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A friend of mine pointed something out to me tonight: I’m living smack-bang in the middle of a dream girls normally have…I’m the wife of a real-life rockstar. I don’t think that ever occurred to me…perhaps because I’ve been so concerned with what that means for me – late nights without my husband at my side; dinners alone; Saturdays spent alone while he’s rehearsing…I’ve focussed completely on the unglamorous part of it all.

Tonight Mani has a gig and it completely infuriates me that I cannot be there (as his number one groupie!), cheering him on, watching his performance with starry eyes, feeling like the most important girl in the crowd of many. But what’s made it easy to get through not being there to share this with him, are the random sms’s I received tonight in which he reminded me that at some point, he’d sing a song for me 🙂 (Yes…romantic, I know!) Whilst many girls merely dream of having someone in their life who can write a song that’s all about them, I actually have that guy! And tonight, he’ll sing the song he wrote with me in mind:

 Long Distance

Verse 1:
Ten Thousand Miles from here
confusing mind that cannot rest

She’s got the strength to rise
The voices, in her head won’t stop

Her heart’s been dragged through the mud
Compassion fills the space inside

The world is between us
Love devours all of our shame

Our souls – groan – for
breakthrough – falling in dismay
It’s all – wrong – when
bureaucracy just takes her away

Verse 2:
3000 days apart
yet somehow we are of one heart

3000 lies will steal
a wounded soul takes time to heal

Chorus:
Long Distance, far apart
she’s left with a bleeding heart

Long distance, anxious mind
where truth is hard to find

Persistance in this trial
hold on for another while

Long distance, in this mess
When hope still carries rest

Bridge:
Oh she cries
When she’s alone
It’s just her and her weaknesses

Oh she’s crazy
My blue-eyed daisy
She will make it through

Verse 3
Her heart’s been dragged through the mud
Compassion fills the space inside

The world is between us
Love devours all of our shame

Our flame proclaims affections
haunting, it’s haunting me

Attachment, close affections and passion
haunting, haunting me.

Yip, indeed, I couldn’t have wished for a better partner in life…I guess I have to be someone’s crazy, blue-eyed daisy! 🙂

Spider-free bathrooms and a lack of morning Coffee

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I arrived back in Cape Town last Thursday – tired from two weeks in Namibia – becoming accustomed to a new type of life, a new world, new types of people. You’d think that after spending 3 months in Germany, I’d find it easy to ‘adjust’, but that’s not the case.

On 13th August it was my 1 year anniversary with Mani – so we both decided to have a two-week holiday in Windhoek. What bothered me, however, was that Mani thought it fit to organise a camping trip for our anniversary…with other people who I’d never met. Now anyone who knows me well, knows that I don’t do camping. Give me a hotel and a lovely, clean, spider-free bathroom, and I’m happy. But no…trust Mani to organise 2 days spent in a tent with the bare necessities 😦 Give me credit though…I grinned, nodded my head and said, “Awesome!”.

We’d been in Windhoek for a week and I noticed that he just wasnt’ saying much about the camping trip and every now and then I had to probe. “Soooo…liiiiike, what is actually going to happen on this trip? Are we going to get to spend at least an hour alone together on our anniversary…?” His reply, “Of course”. But I was still unsettled. Eventually I cornered him. “Right…ok Mister – you’ve made NO plans for our anniversary and you’re hauling me off to some dusty camping site. I demand that we go to the store now and buy some picnic-y type thingies, so that I know you’re planning to have a nice romantic picnic with me, OK!” 😦 And so we went to the store and got some picnic-y type things.

But it kind of gets worse…

We arrive at the campsite on Friday, early evening. I accept my fate and decide that it’s not that bad, because at least there’s a nice looking shower and toilet block. Ok. So that’s a good sign. But then I get the news that all of us (6 people in total) are expected to wake up at 4 the next morning, because we’re going to watch the sun rise from some sand dunes in Sossusvlei. Again, for those who know me…walking up some sand dunes before the sun’s made its appearance…nope! But again, I grin, nod and say, “Awesome!” (Because you have to be a positive person, right?!)

So we head off to bed early – little sarmies packed for the early morning trip. Mani’s restless the entire night and blames it on the full moon – I’m just trying to sleep so that I can wake up at 4am – and I’m getting annoyed because Mani’s restlessness means he’s walking around the campsite and I’m scared he’s going to wake the others up, and annoy them. I manage to fall asleep and then I hear Guido (Mani’s school friend) announce that it’s time to wake up. 😦 Nope, not happy at this point. I’m in a huff as I get my toiletries together and my clothes. I manage to make it to the bathroom and ask Mani to inspect it – to make sure it’s creepy-crawly free – only then will I use it….

Once I’m showered and dressed, I head off to the campsite, thinking there’ll be some pot of coffee waiting. No such luck. And apparently we need to hurry…so there’s not time to make a quick cup. It’s at this point that I sit myself down in my tent and start to feel sorry for myself. I haven’t slept a lot, I’ve been woken up way too early, there’s no coffee and now I have to climb some sand dunes and watch the sun rise – on my darn anniversary!!!!! Mani tries to calm me down, but I’m allowing myself to turn into a brat. He tells me to get my jacket and it takes a bit of arguing before I finally give in and get the darn thing. Soon we’re all on the dirt road – like true sun chasers – trying to make our destination without missing the sunrise.

We turn into the Sossusvlei Lodge parking area and it’s still dark. I get out of the car, yawn, and look around. There’s a minivan standing next to us with three people inside. Other than that, it’s dark and deserted. But obviously…who else would be awake at this time?! 😦 And then Mani says, “Surprise time!!” to which I reply, “Huh?”…and to which he replies, “It’s surprise time” – and then I realise…he’s got me! He’s organised a surprise and for the first time ever, I didn’t have a clue!!! My smile starts widening as I realise something’s about to happen – his friends are finding it funny and I’m just like a deer springbok caught in the headlights. Then he announces, “I need to go to the loo” but I still have no idea what’s going on. Guido must have realised this, because he walks up to me and says, “Do you know what it is?” and I say, “Urm, no!” So he tells me to look on the side of the minivan – and there I see the following written: Balloon flights.

Nooooooooooooo way! It dawns on me – there’s going to be no walking up the sand dunes, watching the sun rise!!! No! I’m going up into the sky in a hot air balloon!!!!! Mani gets back from the loo and I can’t contain myself – so much so, that I slap him through the face. But it’s a love slap…one done out of excitement. And he knows me well enough by now that he just laughs. Anyway – the story goes on, and I realise this post is getting a little long-winded, but how this unfolds is important and has to be told – so stick with me!

Mani and I head off with the minivan and 3 french tourists along some dusty dirt road – leaving our friends alone to enjoy their hike up the dunes (hahahahaha!). We eventually reach the hot air balloon and I’m so excited, but still can’t believe it’s happening. But it was all real and I have a photo to prove it:

Before I know it, we’re in our little compartment in the balloon and we’re heading over some mountains. I’m trying to take in as much of the view as I can, but somehow it’s impossible. It’s truly magnificent and just cannot be compared to looking out of the window of an aeroplane. Mani seems to be hugging me a lot and kissing my forehead – or just wanting to hold my hand, and I keep thinking, “What’s up with this man?! I’m trying to see the scenery for crying out loud!”

Next thing I know, Mani starts uttering these words, “Carmen, I wanted to come here today because I’ve been told this is the most beautiful place on earth” – and it’s at this stage that I realise what’s about to happen, but I keep my mouth shut, so he continues, “And there’s something I want to ask you *reaches into his pocket and takes out a red box*. Will you marry me?”

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT?! Yip – that’s what he asked – high up there, in the air over Sossusvlei. I had no doubt and took the ring out of the box, placing it on my finger, not even caring that it’s a little too big and I run the risk of it falling off my finger and into the desert below. And so it is that I got engaged! I can’t really remember the rest of the balloon flight – I just remember it being pretty – but I was far too distracted. I just couldn’t believe what had happened. What I’d secretly been praying for and hoping for had actually come to pass! When the balloon landed, all passengers were treated to a champagne breakfast, in the middle of nowhere (literally). What a wonderful memory – even if I didn’t get my coffee when I’d first woken up!!

It’s a huge adjustment, I must admit. At times I just think, “What am I doing?!?!?” and as someone who’s learning how to function from positivity rather than negativity, it’s been quite overwhelming sometimes. Luckily, though, I have the most supportive mom and dad; the most wonderful friend (La!!); and the awesomestestest fiancé – and with these people, and God, in my life – nothing is impossible!

Decision-making

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It’s never easy to make decisions – but when it comes to relationships, decision-making is even harder. In particular, Mani and I struggle to decide on what movie to watch when we head down to the local video* store to pick up a DVD. He has this insatiable urge to always choose alien movies – if it’s got an alien, 5 people who all die, and lots of laser guns shooting blue rays everywhere, then Mani’s bound to absolutely love it. Me on the other hand…I prefer thrillers – movies that play psychological games with you – or movies that scare you to the point of having to revert back to your tendency as a 2 year old to want to sleep with the light on, snuggled in the arms of your favourite teddy bear.

At first – in the early days of our relationship – there’d be a tug-of-war involving frustrated exclamations such as, “But yoooou got to choose the last one!”, or “Why do I never get to choose a movie! I don’t want to watch one anymore!” Ah – but our relationship has evolved (thank heavens!) and we’ve found a way to settle almost any argument, and it can be summed up in three simple, but very profound, words: Rock. Paper. Scissors.

Yip indeed, we use Rock-Paper-Scissors to settle our disputes. In fact, when Mani bought a new cellphone while I was in Berlin, I loved it so much that I begged him to hand it over to me. (I foolishly thought that his love for me was so great that he’d look into my eyes and say, “Yes of course. Take it. And here, have this piece of cake I bought for myself too…and this really awesome coffee machine…it’s all yours!) But he never handed it over and eventually we settled on a round of Rock-Paper-Scissors to determine who would walk off with the phone. Sooooo yeah…Mani has the phone, but I really don’t care, because its proven to be rather crappy :P. Ok granted, when we first played the game, I sucked – I never won, so I had to endure countless alien movies – but I’ve caught on to the logic behind the game, and I’ve won a few rounds, much to the dismay of Mani. Muahahahahaha! 😀

So let it be known – decision-making isn’t easy and there are courses you can take on “How to make decisions,” but honestly, if you want to follow my advice, use some Rock-Paper-Scissors magic because it does wonders – especially for relationships. And just another pointer, rather than attending a course on how to make decisions, try to find one that teaches you how to win Rock-Paper-Scissors – it’s far better and much more enjoyable 😉

*Isn’t it odd how video stores are still referred to as ‘video’ stores, even though videos have been taken over by DVDs?

Please note that the views expressed in this post are my own views and I cannot be held accountable if you decide to take any advice I give. Honestly now…a course on Rock-Paper-Scissors…phhht!

Men vs. Women

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Relationships throw you slap-bang in the middle of the Men vs. Women War. You start to realise just how different these two forms of the human species are, and you’re sometimes confronted with things that make your jaw drop.

But I’m learning to have fun with the differences and not to (ever) expect that men and women are the same in every regard.

Today Mani and I were emailing back and forth about some stuff, and true to my womanly nature, my emotions littered some of the emails. The result – he sent me a graph indicating what my emotions are like. I reacted by creating and sending him a graph too. And so I present to you two graphs that indicate the differences in the emotions on men and women 🙂 :

The Emotions of Women

 

The Emotions of Men

Back on African soil

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I can hear the pitter-patter of the rain’s feet outside my window. My surroundings seem so familiar to me, but at the same time, so unfamiliar. I’m back in South Africa and I’ve just slipped into the welcoming arms of my warm bed – the last time I slept was on Tuesday night, but I’m on a high at the moment – so much so, I’ve even tackled some work for tomorrow.

My emotions got the better of me at the airport when I caught a glimpse of my parents waiting for me. I was prepared though and had a tissue at hand. As I lugged my heavy suitcase through the security checkpoints, I eventually made it out to the arrivals waiting area and could do nothing but bow my head and let the tears stream down as I walked towards my parents.

It was a mixture of so many emotions that all came tumbling out of me – it was like a domino effect – one emotion knocking the next, which knocked the next – and soon they all just poured forth. But isn’t that the lovely thing about parents – how you can just lay yourself completely bare, without any inhibitions? What I received as I reached them was two warm, loving embraces. My parents know me so well – so they know about the personal journey I’ve been on for the last couple of years – and the stage I’m at now is sort of like the peak of it all. And they’ve been amazing – so encouraging.

And so I meet up with an old friend of mine – Mr Long Distance Relationship. Him and I have come to know each other well over the last 10 months. We’re not so fond of one another – in fact, he’s probably more tolerating of me than I am of him – but we get along for now – only because we’re forced to. I don’t plan to stay friends with him for too long though and I’m doing all I possibly can to get rid of him.

So back to emails and late night chats with Mani; waiting for my phone to ring, signalling that he’s online; sitting on the other side of the world wondering what he’s up to; what he’s wearing; what he had for breakfast and how messed up his hair looks…

It’s just a season…

Leaving on a Jetplane

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I had a plan for how things were going to happen this morning. I was going to wake up, place the last of my things in my suitcase, hug Mani as many times as I could and then board a plane headed to South Africa without crying.

None of my plan actually worked out. I was too busy with the last-minute things to remember to hug Mani as much as possible – but also, I knew that if I hugged him too much, the tears would start. Which is silly, because they started early in the morning…and still haven’t stopped. I sat, in the middle of Starbucks, trying to enjoy my Chocolate Mocha coffee, but my lip was quivering too much and a few times I nearly choked on my Chocolate Mocha coffee mixed tears.

It never gets easier…saying good bye….it just never gets easier. Each time it feels as if my heart’s being ripped out of my chest – looking at him, not wanting to turn the corner because I know that if I do, I won’t see his handsome face for a long time again.

Anyway – I’m sitting in Doha airport, waiting for my flight back to Cape Town – I’ll be boarding in 11 hours from now….yes, that’s right…11 hours. And all this time waiting just gives me a lot of time to think – think about the journey that I’m on and the steps I’ve taken thus far. I’ve been stretched beyond what I’m used to, but I’m believing that it’s all for my good in the long run. I’m going to be a better person after all of this – that’s for sure.

But in the meantime, I miss Mani, I miss the people I met in Berlin…I just miss everything I had there – everything that I wanted to claim for myself. And I’m reminded about what Mani said to me a few nights ago, when I was packing my things and trying to hide my tears, “It’s just not right that people are kept apart”. And that’s the truth of it – it really is just not right – especially when it’s something as silly as bureaucracy that keeps people separated. But I will roundhouse kick bureaucracy in his face when he least expects it, so just watch this space!

Girlfriend extraordinaire

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I reckon I’m a good girlfriend – in fact, if I were a guy, I’d want to date me 🙂 Yeah sure, I’ve got my issues – nobody is perfect, but I think I’d get a good rating on the “Are you a good girlfriend” scale. Mani had to go to the dentist this morning to have a filling done and he was a little nervous – and being the ever-dutiful girlfriend, I was sensitive to his needs and decided to go with him – even though it meant I had to wake up about 3 hours earlier than I normally do.

But it was worth it – not because I got to scare Mani just before he went in, saying, “I lied…it’s going to hurt!”, but because this is what I enjoyed this morning:

My Morning Cuppa!

Yeah ok…it’s the small things that make me happy 🙂