Last Sunday (October 19th) marked our first full year of marriage, and it was better than I ever could have imagined.
The beauty of simplicity
Before I divulge the details, let me give some quick background info.
Ray and I spent this first year of marriage pursuing a life of simplicity, a lifestyle I tried to pursue in the States but not to this degree. It wasn’t until it came time to move and I had to fit my most prized belongings into a few suitcases and either sell, give away, or trash the rest that I was truly able to let go of possessions I once thought I couldn’t live without.
Starting over in Kenya was the perfect opportunity for Ray and me both to really learn what it’s like to live simply. With only two sufurias (cooking pots) and a skillet, a propane tank for cooking, just enough furniture and dinnerware to host four people, enough clothes to last us two weeks, no television, and no refrigerator, I’d say we’ve got this simplicity thing down fairly well.
It truly has shown me how much I really can do without and has encouraged me to spend less time chasing after possessions, though Lord knows I still have my moments of looking longingly at some of the dresses in the shops around town.
A pleasant, unexpected surprise
Ray and I had agreed that because we were pursuing a life of simplicity, we wouldn’t make holidays a big deal. Of course I secretly wanted him to make a big deal about our anniversary, but quality time is one of my love languages, so I was fine with something small as long as Ray and I were able to do something together. I thought we were just going to go to a fancy restaurant or something. I honestly had no idea what Ray had been saving up for or what he had planned.
A few days before our anniversary he told me that I would need to pack for a four day vacation and that *gasp* I could bring my shorts. If you’ve followed our blog for a while, you know how exhilarating of a statement that was for me.
Then the night that we were to leave he handed me the bus tickets to keep in my purse, and like an idiot I just put them away and went about my business. He had to prod me, “Look at where they say we’re going.” Once I saw Mombasa, I inhaled with elation and exhaled a bit of terror, which continued for the next ten minutes or so.
I had been begging Ray to take me to Mombasa since we arrived in Kenya, so I couldn’t believe he had actually made it happen, but several months ago the embassy placed a ban on the island for Americans because Al Shabbab had been going on killing sprees and Americans are obvious targets. It’s a good thing I’m a Black American though. I blend in. Anyway, it’s been quiet there for quite some time now, we weren’t anywhere near where the other incidents had occurred, and it’s off peak season, so there aren’t many tourists in the area at all. Ray assured me that everything would be all right, and once I calmed my nerves I let the excitement overtake me again.
Okay, so enough talk. Let me just share some highlights from the extended weekend. If you want to check out more, we’ve uploaded an album of photos to our Facebook page, From Kansas to Kenya with Love.
First, Ray had booked us into the Cowrie Shell Beach Apartments for three nights.
The beach was right in our backyard.
Our room was pretty cool too.
I think I contained my excitement pretty well.
Until I realized we had use of a full sized fridge which meant I could actually have cold milk with cereal and hoard a stash of yogurt.
Even though we had gotten on the bus at 10pm and got off at 9am with the typical quality of sleep one can get on such modes of transportation, we were too excited to sleep, so we went straight out to the beach to play.
After a few hours we went to the supermarket, stocked the fridge, and Ray cooked dinner while I napped (he cooked every day we were there, by the way. He wouldn’t let me do anything.)
The next morning, the day of our anniversary, we swam in the ocean and then set out for go kart racing (I lost, badly).
And then he took me to a floating, yeah I said floating, restaurant called The Moorings.
Monday, we got to visit with a friend I haven’t seen since 2006. She and I had met on a Teen Mania mission trip to South Africa, and then almost ten years later we discover that we’re both living in Kenya married to African men. We had a great time with Laura and Abdi and we’re looking forward to seeing them again in the near future.
The last morning of our stay we woke up early to catch the sunrise.
It was sad to bid Mombasa goodbye, but I am so grateful for the time we were able to spend there. Ray and I never got a real honeymoon, so this surprise was above and beyond anything I could have imagined.
Guess this puts the pressure on since his birthday is in less than two weeks!