Where do I start? I don't really know. As I am waiting for my flight at Kigali airport, with tears in my eyes, I am thinking about the last few days. There are no words that can explain what I have experienced in this month of December 2010. As Phil Collins said, it's another day in paradise.
The person who said that words are powerful was so right. It took a few words from my then girlfriend, now wife (are you kidding me!!!!), to start a series of events that led me to this moment. She just said: “Honey, this long distance thing is killing me”. Having been in a couple of long distance relationships, I knew what she meant. This time, it was different. I had to do something, otherwise, this relationship would end up like the other ones. I had promised myself to do whatever it took to make this one work.
As I hung up the phone, I thought I had to move mountains. I had to find a way to meet her. Originally, my intention was to visit her in July 2011, however, this felt like a century away. I picked up the phone and called her to let her know that I was going to come visit her in the month of May instead of July (now, there was progress).
As I was sharing this story with Paul, my business partner (who knows a thing or two about long distance relationships), he just said to me: Why wait for May? Why not this Christmas? I was like, are you out of your mind? There is no way I can go because it was not something for which I had planned. It was out of the question or so I thought).
As Paul left, I thought: why not? I have learned that with God all things are possible. Why not put this project in His hands and let Him do His thing? Did he deliver? Big time!!! Things went so fast that I did not even have time to call close friends of mine. I hope they will understand.
I learned from Napoleon Hill that if we want to succeed in anything, we have to burn the bridges behind us. By so doing, the only way to go is forward. There is no turning back. How did I do it? I told my girlfriend that I was coming for Christmas. Now there was no way for me not to go. I gave her my word and I did not want to look bad. Did I mention that I had previously booked my flight to New York? The plan was to fly to New York, spend three days there, then return to Toronto to take my flight to Kigali to see my girlfriend. What about the means to do all of this? I will let you figure it out, but you need to know that even then I had no idea how all of this would play itself out.
The first thing I did was to request some time off at work. I got them right away. Not too long after a friend of mine suggested that I should use this opportunity to get married? I thought he was from another planet. Are you serious? No way. The flight alone is crazy enough, now you are talking about getting married? You must be out of your mind. As my friend was leaving, I thought: why not? I have nothing to lose. A quick phone call to my girlfriend and the deal was sealed (crazy, eh?). In fact, both her parents and mine were also on board with the idea.
With all the minute by minute developments I needed a place to stay. I am happy to tell you that my best friend in Montreal was of tremendous support. His sister, who lived in Kigali, was willing to host me (what a house! I thought I was in a palace). Also, by just spending a few minutes online I was able to figure out how to get a visa to Rwanda.
I called another friend who told me he could get me a good deal for the flight and needless to say I purchased the ticket. All these things I have told you happened in the space of two days after my decision to fly to Kigali. TWO days!!!! And I was not done yet.
I made a quick phone call to a great friend of mine in Calgary to let her know about the news. She was very excited and told me that she was sending me a package by Fedex and that it should arrive the next day at noon. Of course, I was home at noon. I opened the package. Guess what? She sent me, as a gift, the engagement and wedding rings, as well as my girlfriend shoes for the ceremony. Are you serious!!!! The surprises did not stop there. When I called to thank her, she said: My aunt has a business back home where she sells wedding dresses. I called her and there is one, already paid for, when you get there. She also sent me some cash as well. Yes, I know that this time you are all thinking that I am making this all up. She paid for everything!!!!
I made a quick phone call to my friend Richard, who had all the necessary connections to make the wedding happen. I told him that it would be a simple ceremony because this wedding was not initially planned. He told me not to worry about anything.
Check this out. Before flying to Kigali, I met on Facebook a longtime friend of mine who happened to be living in Kigali. What are the odds? He told me that he was on vacation and was more than willing to give me all of his time and to drive me everywhere.
After two amazing days in Kigali where I met my future family in law (these people are out of this world!!! Talk about a divine connection. I am simply blessed to have them in my life now), I took the bus with my fiancé (we were now engaged) to Burundi where both my mom and my friend Richard were waiting for us. Richard had found a hotel room for us. As we were checking in, Richard told me the name of the owner of the hotel. He was a close friend of our family.
On the day of the wedding, I woke up early, as I had to go out with Richard. At the hotel lobby, I met with the hotel owner who was so glad to see me after so many years. I told him I was getting married and he was happy for me.
The wedding? That is another blog
As I was returning to my hotel room after the wedding, the receptionist told me that the hotel owner wanted to talk to me. He left his phone number. Guess what? He told me that my stay at the hotel was free. No charge at all (at the expense of the Boss). I was speechless! Leaving the whole thing in God's hands was the best idea I had ever had. This was too much!!!
Do you want me to continue? The blessings did not stop there. Stay tuned.
Moral of the story? Do you want to get married? Start a long distance relationship and you will fly to Kigali.
Always a pleasure