Ana and Stephen

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Ana and Stephen

Ana & Stephen

[dropcap color=”rosy”]A[/dropcap]lthough every couple wants to remember how they met as special and unique, for Ana and I it truly was –

After a long time of being lonely and unfulfilled, I met my Ana through a dating website, and connected immediately; we shared our love of jazz, literature, nature, and a pining for the old 20’s vintage carefree times, among countless other things. We talked for hours every day, sharing our ups-and-downs, and grew more and more in love. Even at a distance separating us by 7000 kilometers, we felt intimately close; I became certain we should be together, and live our lives together because we were meant for each other. BUT…

The problem was that Ana (who is Brazilian) was living in Rio de Janeiro, and I was in South Africa, soon to go back to my job in South Korea! So there was a big decision to make – HOW and WHEN we could unite.

Because I knew this was the woman I wanted to spend my life with, I decided to quit my job and move to Brazil, to meet and be with Ana. And despite many people telling me I was crazy, and that you can’t find true love online, I followed my heart and took that flight. After months of waiting, sharing our deepest thoughts, fears and aspirations, we were finally in each other’s arms. Holding Ana for the first time was more of a relief than anything else, and I at last felt complete.

We spent every moment glued to each other, and did the ubiquitous courting around Rio. What was strange was how, although knowing each other’s thoughts intimately, as if we had known the other for years – being physically near was still a new experience! But I wouldn’t have changed that experience even if the world was ending around us.

I decided to propose to Ana on her birthday, the same month I arrived in Rio, and even though I knew very little of the city – where to go, or how to go about organising something – there was really nothing to worry about, because on that evening the sky was very clear and the moon was fortuitously full, and while walking on the same beach that Ana frequented years before as a child with her father, I knew that this was the perfect setting to bury one knee in the sand and ask her to marry me. “Quer casar comigo?” I asked in what little Portuguese I had memorized, and followed up with the English, just in case. Well, luckily her answer was ‘yes’, and we were the happiest we had ever been in our lives.

And then disaster struck – Ana’s family, her mother in particular, did not accept our relationship and did her best over the next couple of months to separate us. We had already registered to be married, and were looking at wedding venues, decorations and even tasting cakes. All the while Alba (Ana’s mother) was falsely spreading rumours about me to her church, and essentially defaming me to all who wanted to hear. She managed to get us kicked out of three apartments, and was happy that we were living in a hostel for many days; anything to make life as impossible for us as she could.

Ana could not take the abuse and pressure mounted on her or me, and after many other traumatic incidences, we decided to escape back to South Africa. Although our dreams of having a special wedding and making a life in Rio de Janeiro are now in the past, we are stronger than we have ever been. Even those people who were supposed to be closest to us nearly succeeded in breaking Ana and I apart, they failed, and our love has only become more unyielding.

And now, as veterans of our own love war, we have an opportunity to make a new start – we both feel it makes sense then to be married on African soil, no matter what happens. It is still our dream to have a special wedding, and finally get the happy ending that we deserve!


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