My Whirlwind Romance part one ( What wasn’t said)

As I am sure you all have guessed since my last post, there has been a bit that has gone unsaid, so Its time I said it.
I am going to share with you my whirlwind romance. Or at least parts of it.
If you read my post

https://acowintheocean.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/serving-in-the-church/

You know that on one of the most difficult days that I had adjusting to life in Uganda I went to Jinja for a primary program. That day as I sat at the piano in the front of the room, I was looking out over the congregation and I saw, seated on the back row, a man with the biggest brightest smile and eyes that shone with kindness. I remember thinking, “I want to talk to him, I want to know how he feels about things, and what his life experiences have been.” When the meeting was over I did talk to him for a few minutes and then I went home. What I didn’t know was that he was watching me also. He was watching me play and look around the room and he thought ” Wow she must be really good, she isn’t even paying attention to what she is playing!” Then later when I was singing with the children from Lugazi, he turned to Elder Van who was seated next to him and said, I want to take her out on a date. Elder Van informed him that I was only in Uganda a short time.

Me doing a little presentation with the children from Lugazi. This was the day I met Joseph for the first time.

Me doing a little presentation with the children from Lugazi. This was the day I met Joseph for the first time.

That day as I was leaving Joseph (that is his name) watched, resisting the urge to run after me and get my number.
Later he wished that he had gotten it. But he knew that district conference was coming up soon and he figured he would see me and get it then. On the first day of the conference I was sick so I didn’t attend and Joseph disappointed and worried that we wouldn’t get another chance to see each other, prayed that if I would come the next day he wouldn’t let fear keep him from asking me on a date.
The next day, our new interns had arrived and we were scheduled to go spend the day in Jinja at the Source of the Nile. I had really wanted to see it but I also really felt like I should go to district conference. I went and arrived just in time to grab a seat in the back and wait for the conference to start. Joseph was seated on the stand as he is in the district presidency and he was getting worried that I wouldn’t come. Finally he saw me enter and sit at the back. When the conference was over, he was one of the first people to approach me. “Do you remember me?” he asked. I knew I had seen that smile before but I couldn’t remember where and all black people were still looking the same to me. “I’m Joseph, I met you at the primary activity” he reminded me. He asked for my number and I gave it thinking that he probably just wanted it for church purposes, if they needed me to play the piano for something or something like that. But I also hoped that it would be more than that. I wanted to have a chance to get to know him. Not necessarily to date, Just to talk. I just wanted to know what was going on in his head; I wanted to know how he felt about life.
One day he called and told me, “I have a request, but I am going to be busy for the next three days doing exams, would you like to hear my request now, or later” I laughed because I had a pretty good idea what his request was, so I told him to ask me later. He called a few days later and asked me if I would go on a date with him. I told him yes and he told me that he wanted to take me to the Source of the Nile. I was excited that I was going to get to see it after all and I was excited that I was going to finally get to know this guy. As I prepared for our date I decided that it might be the only real date that I would get to go on here so I might as well have some fun with it. I went and bought a new skirt, took an afternoon shower and did my hair and makeup. Then I headed to Jinja to meet him at Two Friends corner. As I rode in the crowded bus to get there, I worried that by the time I arrived I would be sweaty and gross again. Finally I arrived at the corner next to the Two Friends Resort. I stood on the street corner waiting for him to arrive and as I waited I watched the pedestrians as each man would approach me I would think is this him? I wondered if I would even recognize him when I saw him. I saw a man in a dirty brown shirt to match his dirty brown pants, his flip flops flapping all over the sidewalk as he walked. (All of which is a common sight here). And I thought, what did I do, agreeing to go on a date with someone from here? What was I thinking? Just then I saw the cleanest, most put together guy on the street approaching me. When he got close enough that I could see his smile I recognized him right away. He told me we would need to take a boda boda to The Source and asked if I was comfortable getting on one with him or if I would like to ride separately. I told him I was ok sharing. If you read this post

https://acowintheocean.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/and-life-goes-on/

I talked a little about that trip to the Nile. I even posted this picture of the two of us.DSC00420 What I didn’t say was that it was probably the best first date of my life. We talked and talked with no realization that time was going by. He told me of his conversion to the gospel, of the passing of his father, and of his hopes and dreams. I felt like I was reconnecting with an old friend that I hadn’t seen in years. I felt comfortable and at home, I felt like I wanted the night to go on forever. As we sat eating chicken sandwiches and drinking strawberry milkshakes at the restaurant at the edge of Lake Victoria, the sun was setting, we had the whole place to ourselves and the quietness of the evening lent itself to romance.DSC00425 I wasn’t even remotely surprised, when as we stood to leave he took my hand and our fingers naturally entwined together as we started walking through the gardens. When he left me at the gate that night (I was spending the night with a sister in Jinja) I didn’t want to let him go.DSC00424

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Monopoly or Love…what’s the difference?

Have you ever played a board game with a little kid? It can be rather confusing. There is no rhyme or reason to the rules. If you pass go and collect $200 they just out of the blue decide that actually passing go means you pay them $200. You only get three rolls in yahtzemr_monopolye but if they don’t get the dice they want somehow they get 5 or 6. It means that you carry them around on your shoulders when ever they want, clap and cheer for them when they win or when they lose, and basically do whatever they want. It’s a total guessing game as to what the rules are and somehow they just expect you to know.
I’ve always known that guys are really just little boys in grown up bodies so it shouldn’t surprise me that they play with the same kind of rules but it doesn’t make it any less confusing.
When I first joined the LDS church I thought I understood how dating worked (based of course on the TV shows I had seen and the books I had read.) Basically boy meets girl, they both just somehow know they like each other, they fall in love, things don’t work out quite as planned, they have a tearful but mutual goodbye, hearts are broken and it is sad, you shed a few tears it’s a little romantic and then they get over it and meet someone wonderful who makes up for everything and makes you realize that of course this is how things were meant to be all along. Then you get married and live happily ever after. Those were the rules. Or at least I thought.
My experience has been something more along these lines.
You spend way too long wondering when MR. Wonderful is going to come along, and then you meet someone and they are great, and you wonder, could this be it? But he never says the word date even though you are spending a lot of time together. There is not a magical “knowing” and so you assume that there is nothing there. You continue, thinking you are just friends until one day he gives too much of his heart and you break it without ever realizing that it was on the line. You feel horrible, but move on wondering how you missed the signals, you thought you were following the rules.
So, you meet someone else, he is exhibiting the same behavior, spending lots of time with you, telling you all the things you want to hear, buying you things and becoming your best friend. You recognize that you have seen this behavior before and you think “Ok, I know what this means. Now could I like this guy?”
It feels a little weird to consider it, he feels like just a friend but, hey we don’t want a repeat of last time and you want to be sure. So you give it a shot. And about the time you have put your heart on the line he tells you how beautiful he thinks your room-mate is and asks you if you think he ought to ask her out. Totally confused you get angry and wonder how you missed the signs, how you hadn’t followed the rules yet again. But you adjust move on and figure you learned something for next time.
This time you meet a guy that you can’t keep your eyes off of and you can only cross your fingers and hope. He notices you just enough to keep you guessing, spends just enough time with you to keep you confused, then just when you are about to give up on him as a lost cause he tells you he likes you, spends the next year or more making you feel like your world revolves around him and just at the moment when you can vividly see your future with him as the central character, he tells you he just doesn’t feel it after all.
The hurt that you thought was supposed to last a short time, lingers and months later just the thought of him makes you feel like you swallowed an elephant and it got stuck in your throat. He on the other hand has moved on and is happily engaged to be married to someone he just met.
I don’t know what the rules are anymore, in fact I’m not even sure which game we are playing anymore. Nothing has worked out the way I thought it would. And so when the nicest guy I’ve met comes along and starts spending time with me, I’m not going to assume we are just friends, I am not going to assume he is interested, I am not going to follow the rules I set for myself, in fact I am going to pretend like none of it is happening at all. Because that’s the only option left. I don’t want to love someone right now, I don’t know if I could, or if I would if things had been different. I know I enjoy spending time with him, so as long as he wants to I am going to. I know that he makes me feel comfortable and happy, so I don’t want to hurt him. Maybe he will read this and know where I stand, how I feel, and have a better idea of how to play this game than I do. I believe that he is one of the best men I have met. Beyond that all I know is that I don’t know enough to know what to think.

So, if i’ve managed to confuse you…GOOD. We are even.

Its not me…its you

So far most of my dating stories that I have shared, the date has been bad because of me. I hate to say it but its true. My lack of experience and my background kind of set me up for failure on that one. This next story…well lets just say it wasnt me. In fact I was impressed with how my own abilities had grown and that I was able to handle this date as well as I did. Here is my version of what happened.

For this story lets call him Brian.

So I got a home from work one evening and had a voice mail from a guy in my ward. His name was Brian. It was a rather corny message asking me if I wanted to go on a date with him. Kudos to him for calling out of the blue and asking like that. I have to admire that kind of proactive dating behavior whenever I see it. So of course I said yes, I didnt know him well, I had seen him and talked with him a couple of times so I thought it would be interesting to get to know him better.

On the phone he told me he didnt want to tell me what we were doing as it was a surprise but to dress as if I were going to a barn…but a nice barn. How does one dress when going to a “nice barn?”

So I picked out my favorite pair of jeans and a nice sweater, since it was october and I was ready for him when he arrived to pick me up. We drove and talked for awhile and it wasnt too bad. Turns out his plan was to go to Thanksgiving Point to the animal farm. Really not too bad of an idea for a date. Except that it was october and all the animals were inside…staying warm…while we walked around in a drizzling rain. We went on a rather wet hay ride and he told me all about his family. Finally it was time to go and I was feeling pretty decent about this date. It hadnt been too bad.

When we got in the car he announced that for the “second part of the date” we would be going to his mission reunion.

I had never been to a mission reunion before, had no idea really what to expect, but it seemed like an odd thing to do on a date.

But we went. I didnt feel awkward until we walked in the door and was greeted by the wife of his mission president. “Brian, how nice to see you,” she said, is this your wife?

This was a scene that repeated itself quite a few times in the next two hours or so. Finally I settled myself on a couch in the living room and entertained myself by playing with a baby of one of the other men and talking to the babies mother. Brian had disappeared, off talking with his friends or something.

“How long have you and Brian been dating?” the mother asked.

“We aren’t” I said. “This is a first date.” And a last…I muttered under my breathe. The woman gave me a kind smile that said oh gosh one of those… Im sorry.

After awhile Brian returned and we left. It was about 10:30 PM when we got in the car. Since we were up little cottonwood canyon i figured it would take us about an hour to get back home. I could make it, I was on the home stretch.

“For the final portion of the date I thought we could drop by and see my parents, since they are in town” Brian announced.

What is this a marathon date of awkwardness? I wondered. So off we headed to the other end of the valley to the hotel near the Salt Lake airport to see his parents. Now I know what you are thinking…why didn’t you just tell him that you would rather go home? Well, you see that kind of thing takes, experience and practice, and confidence in dating. I had none of those, just a somewhat shaky, infantile exposure to the world of dating and I was simply pleased to be surviving the date without some major foux pas.

So when we walked in the hotel room door and saw his parents laying in bed, I tryed to pretend that every part of me was not shrinking with the awkwardness of it all and just went with the flow. In reality it wasnt that awful. His parents were nice and his little sister was funny. We visited with them for an hour or so and then we were finally and truly on our way home.

I tried my best to stay awake on the drive back, but it was so late and I was so tired, I know I nodded off at least a little and I just focused on trying to give an acknowledging uh huh every so often to hold up my end of the conversation.

When we got the the house Brian was still talking to me about something. I didnt know how to get rid of him so I allowed him to follow me into the house. We sat on the couch with him talking and me trying not to sound interested enough to encourage him to continue, without being rude. Finally I had a brillant Idea. We were sitting on the couch and I was kind of laying with my head on the arm of the couch. I just closed my eyes and decided to allow him to think I feel asleep.

After a few minutes he paused in his story long enough to say “you know what I mean?”

It was time to see if I could commit to my act. I lay there quietly focusing on breathing deeply and said nothing. He waited and still I said nothing. I was surprised by how long he sat there. Finally he stood and reached for the throw lying across the back of the couch. He covered me with it, turned out the light and left. I waited just long enough to be sure he was really gone and then I jumped up and ran to my room.

It felt like a successful date. Not marriage material thats for sure, in fact i knew that I wouldnt be going on another date with him. But I was so proud of how I had handled myself, and other than pretending to fall asleep I felt that I had acted like an old pro at the dating game. I went to bed happy.