Today is our 8th wedding anniversary!
We haven’t done a very good job celebrating it the last couple of years. Last year we weren’t even together- I was in North Carolina (remember this post?). On our anniversary in 2010 I think may have been the day I flew to Africa from Germany to join Rijen on Safari…
…so I guess I can’t complain about that year, however we still weren’t together officially on the day. The year before we were in the midst of moving to Germany…..
And here we are, again in another country. Looking back, I feel that our engagement abroad foreshadowed eight years of different places and experiences overseas.
It was a lifestyle I was hoping for when we got engaged and one I have cherished as we have enjoyed so many interesting times together. I have never felt lonely or stressed about being far away from family and friends because our friendship and love has always been so solid. We’ve successfully navigated different jobs, buying a home together, many major moves, personal losses, the LOST finale, having children, many different hair colors (me) and even the infamous (but thankfully not recurrent) “thrown shoe” incident. I’m excited for this next destination and what we have ahead of us this year.
I’m not one to deliver personal messages to my husband via a blog post, but I will say this:
Rijen, I am putting my foot down about these couches. I don’t like them, and I don’t want to keep either of them. We are getting our own couch soon, and that is the ONLY one I want in this living room, otherwise you’re going to have a bigger problem on your hands than me chewing ice in your ear. And I love you, Happy Eighth Anniversary!
If the house wasn’t clean when you got home, it’s because I was writing this! (I got to it).
Since I am on the topic of engagements, I’m going to use this opportunity for a little flashback from last summer. It was our last day in Germany, and Rijen had to go to Frankfurt to figure out newborn Leif’s passport documents. Fiona and I (and Leif in the frontpack) had gone downtown like we had done every day to spend the day walking around the city.
Right in the heart of downtown Stuttgart, there is a beautiful fountain right in front of the Schlossplatz. It was a hot day, and since it was in Europe, this..
…quickly turned into this:
Fiona was the first one to get in the fountain, but soon after, another little German boy got in and stripped down. Then a young couple stepped in, and I kind of noticed them out of the corner of my eye as I was taking pictures of Fiona, mostly because I was trying to avoid having all the other people in my shot.
It looked like they were having some sort of conversation, and as soon as I saw a stuffed animal come out, I knew it was something serious. After the “Teddy” was put into play, I had a suspicion that a ring might be next, so I did a reversal and then PRETENDED like I was still taking pictures of Fiona, so that I could hopefully get a shot of the engagement.
At this point, I knew it- he had something in his hand. The fountain was really loud, so I couldn’t hear anything, but then a second later,
So he is reaching for her hand to put the ring on, but I wasn’t totally sure of the outcome until I saw this:
I thought it was pretty romantic. (aside from the half-naked children and me with my camera just a few feet away).
After giving them some time to themselves, I decided I just had to know for sure if it was truly a proposal, so I went over to them and asked. It was a real proposal, they talked a little bit about “their story,” and I asked them if I could take their picture, thus beginning and ending my successful run as an engagement photographer.
A gorgeous couple, right? It was a really sweet moment to witness. I love this picture, just like the one of Rijen and I in front of Westminster. It just all seems so simple and so happy- with the future all stretched out in front of you. I have no idea how this couple is doing now–I know I have his email in a notebook which is part of our second shipment, so I could probably email him an ask. In some ways though, I’d rather just think of them in that moment on that beautiful German day.
Somehow, Rijen’s very first (and THE first) iPod was in a bag of kids toys that were put in with our first shipment. It was lying on the table today and my first thought was, “Wow, that iPod looks SO outmoded- no touch screen, no color display, no camera or phone capabilities. My second thought was remembering that I bought that very iPod at the BYU bookstore and gave it to Rijen when I flew to visit him in London the week that he proposed to me.
We’ve often joked about how we weren’t sure which gift was more priceless, the iPod or my engagement ring. My ring is still the “classic” model and hasn’t been updated six times like its counterpart. (Don’t worry, Rijen, that was NOT a hint). I like my classic model.
I do hope though, that WE are not as outdated as the original iPod above, since I realize that our marriage IS as old as that thing looks! In comparing the two London pictures, we don’t look quite as fresh and young, but I still feel like we have the same excitement about being together, especially during this time of transition where we are starting our life over again in a new country.
Maybe that is what “updates” us and helps us have such a strong marriage- the constantly starting over and needing to rely on each other when everything else around us is different. Perhaps that is our little secret.
Who knows! It does bring to mind a lyric from one of our favorite songs “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros– “Home is wherever I’m with you.” It rings true for us, and I hope it continues to from year 8 to ∞.
Rijen & I in the meadow May 2012 – Kristen Duke Photography, Austin, TX