I do – again!
Another TIA J
Saturday, March 14
On Saturday, we spent nearly the whole day celebrating the 10th anniversary of when I proposed marriage to Le. Before we could begin, however, I needed to find a taxi that would pick us up at Eddy’s (we had lots of ceremonial supplies to carry). Eddy told me not to pay more than 3500 Rwandan Francs, the equivalent of about $6.30. I walked the half-mile to the taxi area and found one taxi waiting. I stepped into his car to negotiate. He started at 10,000! I eventually got him down to 8,000, but he was not going to budge. I think taxi drivers are the same worldwide. About that time, the clouds began shedding all their weight and fury. I felt stuck. I was in the taxicar, the rain was falling down hard. There were no other taxis nearby. And this driver was asking more than double what I wanted to spend. So I called Eddy.
Eddy told me to get out of the car and walk away. I told him he was crazy. The rain was pouring down, I needed a taxi immediately, and there were no others to be seen. So he negotiated with the driver by phone. The driver agreed to $5,000. Eddy told me I should still get out of the vehicle. However, I knew I had a very nervous bride waiting for me to pick her up in a taxi and time was running out. “$5,000 it is.”
We started off with a renewal of vows ceremony at a restaurant, Chez John. The setting was perfect. There were 15 people in attendance, most of them Rwandese. Afterward, we had a buffet lunch with servers standing around, pouring water, soda, or wine. What a joy it was to tell my lovely wife how much I love her!
We had sent our friends numerous notices by text message and by email that we were planning to start promptly at 11:00am. I wanted them to understand that we actually intended to start at 11:00, not 11:30, not 12:00. 11:00. Except for the few people who arrived early to help us set up, guests did not start arriving until about 11:10am. All the time, our friends, including our Rwandese friends who know us well, kept saying, “TIA.” (This is Africa.)
The ceremony was perfect. Beautiful flowers, touching message of blending families, blending cultures. Eddy stood up for me. Nadja stood up for Le. And Catherine, our friend at whose home we held our wedding nearly 10 years ago, officiated the ceremony. Pam Silverstein played the mandolin. Trip and Sara were the camera team. Upon return to the USA, I hope to put portions of the ceremony up on my MySpace site.
One of our friends paid for us to stay at the hotel, Beausejour. It is the same hotel at which our friends are staying and the same one at which we stayed last year. Great place. My lovely wife said all she wanted was a warm bath and a good nap. Our room did not have a tub. Nor did it have hot water in the shower because the hot water knob was broken. I tried to convince the hotel manager to allow us to switch rooms, but he was adamant that we keep the room. He sent the mechanic to our room to fix the shower. That was fine. Of course, it took two hours. They had to go into town to buy parts first. Then, when they were done, they insisted that a cleaning person come in and mop up the bathroom. So, we used the bathtub in our friends’ room. Not very romantic, but then again, TIA.
My lovely bride and I had a few minutes to nap, get dressed, and then we went out on the town with our friends. Very nice. We were so tired, we slept until 9am the next day.
The only thing that would have made it better is if our loved ones could have been there: our kids, our friends Adie and Robb, our families. We lit candles during the ceremony to honor them and symbolize their presence.