Nelspruit was a week I’ll never forget. I was in my sweet spot—hosting young adults who are hungry for life and adventure. And my love for the outdoors and nature was continuously being filled.
While in the park, my small Kia Picanto was mock charged by a male lion. I watched a baboon rip a small, black faced, vervet monkey into two pieces as I told my tour group, “Baboons are herbivores.” I removed a spider the size of my face from our bathroom. I saw the “Big Five,” and to top it all, I saw six cheetahs feeding on an impala just a few feet from my vehicle. The trip was unforgettable.
There’s one thing that dwarfed everything mentioned above. You guessed it.. the bits of quality time I got to spend with Julie. We were able to continue exploring the depths, and our time together was priceless. I didn’t want the week in paradise to end.
When I finally asked Julie if we could talk, I honestly didn’t know what the beginning, let alone the outcome, was going to look like. But I was slow with my words and deep in thought, rather pensive really. (These were not commonly exercised traits of mine.)
I went to bed that night with peace and thankfulness in my heart. The same peace and thankfulness that I still fall asleep to, confidently knowing only God could’ve brought us together. It wasn’t out of my own strength that our relationship was birthed and matured.
After a week in Nelspruit, I said goodbye to Julie at 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Raymond and I were taking one last trip into Kruger, so she woke up early to bid me farewell. We gave each other another generic hug, then held the other’s right hand like we were playing thumb war. I pressed tightly down on her thumb and lingered there. It was our way of saying, “I’m going to miss you.”
During our journey back to Cape Town, I revealed to Raymond that Julie and I intended on pursuing a relationship. Other than him, I didn’t talk to anyone about our feelings for each other.
This is when things got exciting.
Julie and I embarked on a whole new level of relationship. We couldn’t see beyond “tomorrow,” and truly had to take things day-by-day. We didn’t know where we were headed, or our how we’d get there. It was a picture of faith, taking leaps even when we couldn’t see where we’d eventually land.
Julie was heading off to Mozambique and Swaziland, then to Southeast Asia, and I was working up the coast, unsure of the direction my life would be moving in. I knew one thing though... It was going to be ok.
For five months, our means of communication were email and Skype—when Julie had internet access, of course—and since I’m a very physical being, I learnt to express myself in ways I never had before.
Our time apart played a vital and significant role in laying the foundation for our future together. But like an athlete training to win the race, we’d have to embrace the pain that would lead to our victory.
To read our full story, please visit our Love Story page.