This week, Reggie and I reached seven years and seven months of marriage. We married in 2007. I like numbers. I love challenges. And while I realize that several of my friends have the fortitude to blog for 31 days straight, I know my limits. One day, I will be like them :D. But today, on October 7, I will aspire to begin by posting for seven days. Our Top Seven…
This past March we celebrated 7 years of marriage. Well, we acknowledged we reached seven years. We can both be a bit stubborn, and the day of our anniversary we were at odds with one another, so instead of faking it (or getting over it) we celebrated later. Sad. I know. But honest.
Nevertheless, we’ve been thinking and talking about lessons we’ve learned and memories we’ve made, and thought how several of these moments fall under the category of things I thought I’d never do, say, think, etc. So, over the next seven days, I will share a few of my top memories from our relationship. Here we go…
Six months after we met, Reggie moved to Cape Town, South Africa to serve as a missionary on a one year STINT (Short Term INternational Trip). Halfway through his year, I had the opportunity to go visit, during Christmas time. The day after Christmas (Boxing Day), we decided to accept an invitation from a couple of English South African locals to go on a hike. We were told, “It is an easy hike.” “It will be fun.” And, “It will be worth it once you see the beautiful waterfall at the end.”
Lies. Alllll lies.
We began the hike walking thru thick brush. As plants kept slapping me in the face, I thought to ask if they had poisonous plants, like poison ivy, etc. One of the hikers replied with her British accent, “Oh no, no, no. No poisonous plants…what you do have to watch out for are poisonous snakes and scorpions, so don’t turn over any rocks.” Strike one. Then, her boyfriend added, “And baboons. They have teeth like, uh, what do you say? Canines. Canine teeth and they can come after you. They want your food. If one comes after you, drop your bag. Let them have it and run.” (My mind scans back to the baboons we passed as we parked.) Strike two. I can assure you there will be many, many more strikes in this story, so I will stop counting now.
More walking and I notice we are at a place where the path is about 18 inches wide, with a wall of mountain on the right side, and drop off of at least 20 feet on the left. I think “My grandmother would kill me if she knew I was here.” Then, I thought. “If I live, I won’t tell her and, God, I promise I will never do this again.” Suddenly, one of our friends steps on a weak spot, her foot slips thru, and she slides several feet down the embankment. Unbelievable panic set in. But, her fall was broken and she was able to climb up. After getting her back onto the path, and insuring she was fine (with the exception of a bit of soreness, heart palpations, and jeans ripped on the inseam from ankle to thigh), we press forward.
If you are thinking “Why in the world did they continue after she fell?” I had the same question. First, she wanted to. I was done. She was not. Secondly, they wanted to. They were our guides and our ride, and we were in a foreign country, on a foreign mountain range. Finally, I was not interested in meeting baboons alone. So, on we went.
Several hours (yes, several hours) in, it all became clearer as to why they said this was an “easy hike”. One hiker made a comment like “We need to do this hike with our hiking group.” Another said, “Oh I’ve done this hike several times times with my friends. ” And, the final hiker noticed the way I was walking and recommended a better way, saying she learned the technique while she was hiking the Himalayas. THE DANG HIMALAYAS??!!!! They were experienced hikers – in hiking groups, on the Himalayas, and whatever – of course this was “easy” for them!!!
I was heated. I was physically hot. Angry. Thirsty (I only brought enough water for a “quick easy hike”). Tired. Scared. Angry. Hungry and stuck.
But we continued, completed the hike and I learned quite a bit about myself and Reggie.
- I learned that when it is hot and I am thirsty, dehydrated and feeling faint on a hike in South Africa, I am willing to drink orange juice from a stranger, and water from a flowing stream (best water ever!) with little to no thought of germs. Germaphobia cured (or at least temporarily suspended)
- I learned that I am able to push my body beyond what I think is possible. On this hike there was rock climbing, jumping across wet boulders in a stream, balancing and serious hiking.
- I learned that I don’t like pushing my body beyond what I think is possible. I don’t like rock climbing, jumping across wet boulders in a stream, balancing or serious hiking.
- I learned that like this hike, life has challenges and difficulties, but if I am willing to stop, breathe, take a look around, and press on, there are things to be grateful for along the way.
- I learned that when the option is to jump 9-10 feet down an embankment, or allow a man (who is not my husband) to make a seat with his hands so he can lower me down safely, self-perseveration wins over him potentially “copping a feel”.
- I learned that I could marry Reggie. Reggie encouraged me, pushed me, sat with me while I fumed, supported me, checked on me and served me the entire time (he also apologized profusely and regularly). That’s the kind of man you marry.
- I learned I will not ever be on Survivor or Amazing Race or Fear Factor or any other foolishness like that. And. I am totally OK with that. Totally.
Fifteen miles and 8 hours later our “easy” hike was over. I was sore, exhausted, hungry, relieved, and adamantly determined to never, ever, ever, do anything like that again.