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 (or poorer, rural area's). So here was the epitome of a CityGirl, shiny earrings, nail polish that matched my scarf, and my makeup perfectly done, all ready and eager to get involved in something meaningful. And there he was, all unshaven, barefoot, plaid wearing Farm like, ready to make the world a better place. Just a few photo's to help you set the scene:
One friday evening, after a long meeting about how we were going to manage to get funding for our next water tank, it was time for the committee to get ready and 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-shirst needed for the boerie roll (a South African take on the American hot dog) sale. I had no worries about going over to Dale's place, I did have a boyfriend at the time of nearly 5 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 too much time with him while having a boyfriend, and I flew home that Sunday (2 days after making t-shirts) to do one of the hardest things imaginable, break up with my boyfriend.
I flew back the following day and began a whirlwind of a romance with Dale. In the beginning nothing mattered, it was all butterlies and goosebumps. 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 held. 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 friendship rather. With me feeling more like I was hanging out with my brother, than a boyfriend. 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 you and cherished 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. 9 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 so 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.
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We touched back down on South African soil in March this year. Dale is working in a small town about 5 hours from my home city of Joannesburg. I am moving down there to be closer to him, so that we can focus on our future together. A future that involves milking cows and driving two hours to get to the nearest shopping centre. Will we manage? With God on our side, absolutely!