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After collecting my passport from HA on Tuesday, I then made copies of everything, got them certified (at the police station – pretty sure those guys are starting to recognise me…) and took them to Postnet to send off via DHL.
They said 2 to 3 working days – so most likely there on Wednesday the next week.
Super!
They said sometimes the Germans like to open document packages and “query” them… which takes about 2 weeks extra.
I blanched. The lady said “but that’s VERY seldom!” when she saw my face.

So, that was done.

And, thankfully, it arrived on Wednesday afternoon.
I *heart* DHL. I tracked it ALL the way to courier and delivery. I even know which one of my husband’s fellows signed for it.
Thank you Diaz!

The man could do nothing, as it is (yet another) 4 day weekend for them, and he was driving all day Thursday.
So he will begin all the processes to enroll me, on Tuesday this week coming.

It was a weight off my mind when I got the mail to say the documents had arrived.
It’s all a waiting game, but at last this one thing is done. One more step closer to my man. One more check list item with a tick next to it.
Ball is in his court now, and hopefully all the help he was offered by work will actually come through.
This part CAN take months – I hope it doesn’t, if his bosses step up and help, it shouldn’t.
Then I start the German process.
Not sure I can do that without my originals. They do require copies of everything, but they need my original passport etc.
I guess I can fill in the forms so long.

And get my international drivers license? Will that work with a certified copy of my new passport?
They only need verification – they don’t put the license in my passport or anything.
I’ll research that a bit more.

Will also do what my friend K did (the Princess) for the green card interviews.
She got hers recently – nice and smooth.
She said she read everything about it and had everything ready.
I want to be ready too.
I want everything to go smoothly and easily.
I’m tired of hitches and issues.
And “you can’t do this if you don’t do this”

It’s mentally draining. Emotionally tiring.

SO anyway… everything has begun… or.. _will_ begin on Tuesday next week!
I’m excited.
But also wary – I don’t want to get my hopes up.

But the Universe is behind me, I know this.
Just have to be positive. And believe that it will all be ok.

At least I can hear out my right ear again – thanks to Megs for the Waxsol suggestion.
Waxsol! Waxoff!

But I think it’s now infected my throat. Cos it is SORE.

Anyhoo.
Life goes on

and I love my husband so much.

Can’t wait to be with him.

Ok so at some point in October, my amazing man decided that we needed to stop this long distance hogwash, and Be Together.

He asked me to marry him – it was a mutual decision after much discussion – not so much an “OH WOW!” proposal as an “I think it would be awesome, what do you think?” kind of thing. We both agreed – it would be sheer brilliance.

I said it would NOT be Official until he got there in December and got down on one knee and did the whole asking thing. I wanted that. It was actually my only condition in this whole thing. He agreed.

So unofficially we were engaged.

It was surreal.

And so I started planning things and getting quotes and looking for a dress.

This was going to be the most totally awesome laid back relaxed Saffy wedding we could possibly want/afford/organise in such a short time.

Luckily I had the help of my amazing friends, and my steady and full-of-ideas mother.  I wasn’t panicked – EVER. I wasn’t stressed – EVER. No seriously. The number of shop assistants and people who said “OMG! THIS Saturday?! Why are you so freakishly calm!?” led me to believe that I am some sort of wedding mutant. But I’m totally cool with that. Oh and the comments about my bizarrely skinny and long fingers added to that.

Only time I felt any anxiety of any sort, was the few steps I took down the stairs (I didn’t fall! Much to my future husbands pride) (to have my arm grabbed by my socially shy brother who went WAY out of his comfort zone, to give me away – his offer) and down the (very short) aisle (with the soothing sounds of Bob Marley’s 3 Little Birds as my wedding anthem) towards my future husband. He looked calm. But that was a facade, as his voice gave a warble a few times when we spoke our vows. It was adorable. And it made me feel so much better. He always makes me feel better. About so many things. But I digress….

This moment of panic was brief – my heart pounded its way up my throat for a few moments and then slowed to a normal speed after that. My hands had also stopped shaking by the time I had to put the ring on his finger. Luckily the ceremony was short (and very sweet) and before we knew it we were signing the register. Slightly dazed looking.

It was done. I was Mrs V. Then the party started!

I’m still pretty much wafting on a cloud – of happiness and sheer disbelief. I’m a married woman.

I have a husband.

I’ve introduced him now to a few people and paused… strangely.. “And this is my … <breath>  husband.”

It’s both weird and wonderful.

I love it.

I love him. He loves me.

Now we can move FORWARD together. Looking in the same direction – but never losing what makes us each special – our individuality.

Now also comes the extraordinarily fun bit – lots of paperwork and red tape and changing names and changing details. (That was sarcasm, in case you missed it)

And the waiting.

Lots of waiting.

I forgot to mention the hat. I was also carrying one of my fedoras with me – well, wearing it, not carrying it, as i didn't want to scrunch it in my bag. My man asked me to bring it – he looks so damn good in it – so of course i complied.

So maybe i looked European, i don't know – but i was treated really politely by the German airport staff and security people – and they all immediately spoke German to me. Thankfully it was simple enough German that I usually understood what they were saying! So i nodded or shook my head – didn't say anything except Danke or Bitte. Compared to last time where they mostly ignored me, or pretended they didn't understand English, even on the plane, it was pretty cool. Maybe this time i was just not nervous (about meeting my man) so i paid more attention and looked more relaxed?
I guess i'm also more "well traveled" now. i'm still pretty OCD about things, but i'm not panicked or wide eyed and confused.

So i wore my hat, carried my big soft jacket, a plastic bag with the vuvuzela sticking up out of it (THAT got some weird looks from people, including security!) and my backpack. i trundled slowly to the departure gate. stood in the line to get my boarding pass there. got asked a lot of security questions by the Delta people. but they let me through and put the little red tags everywhere (including the plastic bag with the vuvuzela – after i explained what it was). i found a spot on a chair so i could watch the entry point to see when my man arrived. plonked my stuff down and tried to stay awake and aware. i hadn't slept on the plane, and i didn't sleep much the Tuesday night before either. i was tired. very tired.

about 40 minutes before boarding, i started to worry that he wasn't going to make it in time. but it seems Delta only board 20 minutes before. my heart sank as i thought i would have to face the flight to the US without him. and what would i do when i got to Atlanta? Would i have to rush to the next flight without him too?

but then i saw him being let through (with no fuss of course, if he flashed his military pass)  and my heart leapt and a stupid smile appeared on my face. nice jacket. wow. his belt in his hand as he'd just cleared security. he looked at me, but didn't see me and he made his way to a block of seats a few rows ahead of me.  i waited to see if he'd seen me, but he clearly hadn't. so i gathered all my crap up and carried it over to where he was.  a lady a few seats down watched us and i saw her smile when we hugged our hello.
i even got a kiss this time. my heart was pounding. i sometimes wonder if he notices that.
i got very warm too. when i'm with him – instant ignition of the inner furnace. he just has that effect on me.

he put his belt on and settled himself next to me. was so good to hold his hand and just _smell_ him and feel him near. everything was ok again.
he had lots of extra bits and pieces (a garment bag with his dress blues. *swoon*) and his backpack.
finally we boarded and settled ourselves in our seats – he let me have the window seat. such a gentleman.
it was a shorter flight than the one to Frankfurt – and made easier by having him there as company. We watched movies and he slept and i watched over him. I tried to sleep a bit too. but my neck got sore pretty fast. i'm not made for economy class! my lot in life.

We landed at Atlanta (with rumours of delays and a major storm coming in – but we didn't pay too much attention) and dashed off to get our luggage and recheck it. found my ERS, handed it over to the dude at the conveyer belts, made our way through the next security line (took about 20 minutes) and then on to the next flight (after finding our new gate) to Newark NJ. We walked to the other terminal just for fun and a chance to stretch our legs.

We boarded for the 5 hour flight to Newark and squished into the tiny seats, next to a large business man who overflowed into my seat. We were incredibly tired and stressed and we both tried to sleep. my legs were cramping and my back was aching, and my mans knees were killing him from being so folded up all the time.
And then we landed in Newark, and went down to get our baggage.
It was ICY cold in the airport and we stood there waiting. Out came my mans baggage, almost first on the carousel.
My ERS nowhere to be seen.
We waited and watched the luggage go around a few times. Checked the OTHER carousel. No luck.
So i went and stood in the long line at the baggage claim office.
Took me about 25 minutes to get to the front of the queue (bear in mind i have not slept in 2 days and i am now severely PISSED OFF) and i explained my situation, where the luggage came from, when i last saw it, described it in detail. Lady could not help much but said hang around a few more minutes (she meant 30.) for the final plane from Atlanta to come in and see if my luggage was not perhaps on that one.
We waited. We looked at the luggage that came in. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero.
So I went back to her. I explained that everything was in there including wedding clothes and gifts. She was sympathetic. she gave me a voucher for $14 for breakfast.
i was underwhelmed. another trend.

By this time i was on the point of tears i was so unbelievably tired, and incredibly angry. i don't like people seeing me cry, so i bit down on my savage words and took my claim number and left. My man was reeling where he was standing, he was also very tired. so we decided to check in to a local hotel for the night before embarking on our trip to Princeton as we could hardly keep our eyes open.
We called around and finally found a reasonably priced room at the Holiday Inn Express just down the road. (I like Holiday Inn Express)
We waited in the freezing cold (the icy air helped me cool my temper a bit) for the hotel shuttle and then packed in and drove to the hotel with everyone else.
Checking in took a few minutes and we went up to our room. threw down our stuff.
i'd been in the same clothes for 2 days and i felt really shitty.
we showered, felt better.

 and then we just fell on each other.
can't put it any other way.

i had waited and waited and i couldn't wait any more.

 

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Where to start? Um. the beginning I guess.
Worked Monday and Tuesday and woke early on Wednesday (a public holiday here in .za) to finish packing (I had actually done most of the present packing, and stuff for my man) my enormous red suitcase. it's enormous. seriously.
I was under the impression my weight limit for the flights would be 23kg. my enormous red suitcase (hereafter called ERS) managed to swallow everything with ease, but when I managed to wheel it over to the scale… it was 26kgs. bugger.
so i opened it up and made agonised decisions about what could stay and what could go. out went the (rather heavy) extra bits and bobs i got my man – i could mail those to him, they were not "gifts" per say, just added extras that i thought he would like. I was sad about that. Out went my other pair of jeans, and some tshirts. a jersey. socks. (and i love my socks.) and some underwear. (including the promised corset and matching underwear that i was meant to wear for my man… but oh well, another time) and some shoes.

weighed again… 24kgs. i said so what, i'll pay the extra. i couldn't justify taking anything else out. yes, his stuff took up most of the space, but he's worth it. every cent.

i put one of the weddings gifts in my backpack, along with my toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush and some facecream. and Bertha, of course. and a jersey, because apparently it was a bit chilly in the north 🙂
so we gathered all my bits and pieces up (i actually traveled pretty light this time, especially my backpack. it was great) and piled into the car (even my brother came along… *wide eyes*) and drove the 40 minutes to the airport.
I went straight away to the sign in desks – i didn't want to wait in line and i wasn't sure what would happen with my suitcase being overweight and all that.
Only one person in front of me and then i rolled up to the desk. A trainee on duty with her mentor watching carefully, i got told my bag would go all the way through to Atlanta, but I would have to recheck it there, as domestic luggage for the flight to Newark. I said that was great – not having to collect it in Germany would be a huge weight off my mind (no security checks or customs lines at least! even though i got the damn visa… grrr)
They also then said that my international flight allowance was 50kgs!! and TWO bags!! Arg! I was annoyed, but it was ok because i knew i could then at least buy stuff in the States and not worry about it being too much.
So all checked in, i grabbed my boarding pass and went to join my mum and brother.

We had our traditional farewell milkshake at the (newly opened) mugg&bean at the (newly redone) international departures terminal. Then they left and I went to through the customs lines and security checks. Good thing i went through early – while i was standing at my gate, i saw the loooooooooooong lines of impatient people zigzagging towards the departures area.

I bought my man a vuvuzela (he has asked me for one ever since reading about them in a soccer article) at the sports shop, and myself one of those travel pillows that wrap around your neck for inflight sleeping. that was the hope anyway – i struggle to sleep on planes.
I tried to read one of the books i brought with, but i guess the excitement finally sunk in… i paced and browsed the duty free – always looking for things to get my man and his family. chocolate? no, would melt before i got to him. another book? my backpack was getting pretty heavy and i had a long way to go… i had magazines and books for him. so just the vuvuzela then.

Finally, time to board. I was at the front of the line, with some German people on their way home from holidays in the beautiful Cape. They yammered away in German and i managed to catch _some_ of what they were saying.  The one lady must have thought i was German because she started talking to me and i let her finish and then said i only understood a little. she asked where i was going and why and i told her a little bit – meeting my boyfriend in Frankfurt and then flying to the USA. she said it was very cold in Germany right now. she said she'd never been to the US and wished me a wonderful holiday.
We boarded and i was pleased to find that Lufthansa fly Airbuses with two seats on either side and 4 in the middle. I got a window seat – first time ever, i think. i am over the panics that i used to get, so i thought i'd try the window out for a change and see if it made it easier to sleep.
a young blonde boy was my neighbour – he had that strange accent of a young German – i thought he was American at first. his name was Nicolas. we didn't speak much, but he fell asleep on my shoulder later on in the flight and while i desperately needed the loo, i didn't have the heart to wake him.
I was very annoyed – my tv monitor didn't work. no music, no movies, nothing. they reset it 3 times, with no luck. so i got a voucher from Lufthansa for duty free. woo.
it was the start of a trend.

flight was pretty boring. i read a bit (new Neil Gaiman book i got in the bookstore) and listened to my Zune. which made me think of my beautiful man. *sigh*
got restless. wiggled. tried to sleep.

some turbulence coming in to Germany, and a rather bumpy landing, but otherwise fine.

I waited till 99% of the people got off the plane before disembarking – couldn't be bothered to fight through the crowds and i knew i didn't have to go through customs, so i had time to get to my Delta flight. i also knew that my man wouldn't be there for at least an hour or more.

It was nice and cold walking to the terminal, but warm inside. i got some Dollars at the forex place. i still had Euros from the last trip, so i bought some tea and started the rather long walk to the departure area.

 

 
 

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