March 7, 2011

Memory Lane Monday

Memory Lane Monday was a series I started a long time ago with high hopes of posting something every single week and chronicling our history as well as our present.  I'd still like to do that.  Maybe as time goes on I'll be more and more consistent about it.  Anyhow, I was flipping through old film photos of mine and found a bunch from when we were dating.  

For those of you who don't know our story, we met in Costa Rica.  I moved there for a year as a missionary to teach English to elementary school kids at a Christian school.  Alejandro grew up there.  I rented a room from his neighbor's house and walked past his bedroom window every day on the way to school.  He worked at the Internet Cafe around the corner where I went to write to my family.  And so our story began.  

Me in my classroom in San José, Costa Rica:

This is my first grade English class.

This is our first date.  Well, actually, not our first date.  But it was the first time we went out together. Alejandro invited me and another missionary friend of mine to go to the Cartago Cathedral.  

Early on in our dating relationship, he took me to one of the inactive volcanoes. Behind us is the crater left behind by the Irazú Volcano.  It's high enough up that temperatures drop down to 45°F, which is practically snowy weather in Costa Rica.   

About ten miles up the road from the house Alejandro grew up in is a bed and breakfast named Rancho Redondo.  It's absolutely enchanting.  We spent an afternoon there and dreamed of coming back there married one day.  

It rained and we got drenched, but as you can see, we didn't care too much.  We've been back there as a married couple several times now.  It's still just as enchanting.

In July of that year, my parents came to Costa Rica to spend 3 weeks seeing what I did, traveling, and meeting the young man they were pretty certain I'd marry.  We took our parents to a trout farm and we all fished.  We got poured on (again).  But we still didn't care.  We spent the entire day translating, since no one in our family is bilingual (at least they weren't then).  This was the one and only day ever that all four of our parents were together and it's the only photo with all four parents that we have.  

At the end of the school year (which in Costa Rica ends November 30), I got ready to go home.  We both desperately wanted to get married, but I left Costa Rica without truly knowing if any of our plans would come to fruition and if we'd ever see each other again.  When countries, cultures, languages, and international immigration laws stand between you, there's just no telling, no matter how much you trust each other.  This was one of our last days together before my return home.  

That was when Mark 11:23-25 became our verse.  We spent four miserable months apart and afterwards I never wanted to be apart again.  Here's a cheesy picture I sent to him four weeks after we'd said a teary goodbye in the airport.

Apparently, neither did he, because he spent six months in San Diego with me saving up money from side jobs and yard work in order to propose.  The day I left to go to Costa Rica for a year, I never dreamed that out of my obedience to His call on my life, God would give me this.  

(That's an engagement ring on my finger.)
Or this.

(This is the day we got married.)
Or this.


"My thoughts are higher than your thoughts and my ways are higher than your ways." (Isaiah 55:9 my paraphrase)  His plan for me was better than anything I could ever have dreamed up.

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