Last Sunday Toku left on a jet plane, I do know when I’ll see her again…but it’s AGES away! She has returned home to St Lucia in the Caribbean to do some family ‘taking care of business’ before our pepi arrives. It has been 7 long years since she has been able to go home due to our financial situation and we paid for her mum to come out here for 5 months and her brother (Manaaki) to come here twice – plus covering all costs relating to their visits from Visa’s to tickets to living expenses whilst here. Then we’ve been putting her trip off while we TTC, then once I was pregnant waited till I was after 20 weeks in case something went wrong. However, we wanted her visit to be before baby arrives…So finally she got to return home and is there for 5 weeks. Argh! We are one of those couples who barely spend time apart. In our first 6 months of being together I went overseas on perked trips for 10-12 days twice. Since then, over the last 6.5 years, we have only spent 2-4 nights apart max, maybe once a year. So this is a real shock to both of our systems -especially me with the coursing pregnancy vulnerability hormones. It’s been a week now and I’m surviving, in fact we’ve decided that it’s currently a nice ache, with a few miserable bits if either of us is feeling sick – which we’ve both had.
She’s been sending me pics of what she is doing and we stay in a reasonable amount of contact with What’s App and Skype phone calls – but no video unfortunately.
The time differences suck – she’s 7 hours ahead in terms of time of the day, but a day behind in terms of the calendar. So we have times that match up when we are both awake during the day – but it will be 7am here and 1pm there. So by the time you factor in work for me and family commitments and projects for her, it’s her bedtime, or well past mine if she wakes at 5am and wants to Skype. So yeah – it’s challenging.
She’s struggling to get back into the groove of her family dynamic and how impossible everything there – e.g. no water in the pipes during the day as the water company cuts to off due to water shortages. A tank that has no water in it hardly, some rainwater barrels that are near empty as the house has practically no down pipes, stuffed guttering, a huge cost to replace it as it’s all imported from the US, not really any second hand or demo places are resources are so scarce, no tools to install it even if they could source it. Third world living is just such a constant struggle. Just washing the clothes by hand with no machine and then having to lug the water to where you are washing, after heating it first…It’s hard for me to fathom.
So that was the goodbye – now for the celebration…
Well we decided that on the way to the airport we would get married! We had a legal Civil Union in early 2012, but in 2013 same sex marriages were legalised here. Our wonderful celebrant (who is a good friend of mine), offered all same sex couple free wedding ceremonies as she thought that it wasn’t fair that we should have to pay again for our marriages as they should have been legal in the first place. I’d been holding out for another big day – with a wee one to carry our rings…but with her off home, with our baby arriving soon and me wanting us all to have the same name, with our (and others perception) that being married rather than CUP’d (Civil Union Partnership-d) was going to help us in the unwelcome circumstance that I went into premature labour and needed her travel insurance to get her home fast….well we decided to get legally hitched again.
Our friend Kim was available on the Sunday afternoon, my parents were driving us to the airport as it’s nearly 2 hrs form our home and I was worried I’d be an emotional wreck – so they could be witnesses, and the license was able to be made ready in 3 days… so we kind of eloped…with my parents and our baby in tow lol.
We were just going to sign the papers at her house and do the ‘upgrade’, but she suggested that we go to the nearby Cornwall Park (Maungakiekie), which is a special historic Maori site too. That way our boy can go there and know that’s where his mama’s were married – rather than just drive past her house.
Since we were doing that, I decided to make it a special day (in amongst my sooky-lala tears at Toku leaving for-ever-ish), so we asked her for a short and sweet ceremony that said all the words we were legally denied last time – like ‘wife’, ‘married’ ‘wed’ etc, and we repeated our vows too.
Her husband came along to take some photos, and Mum and Dad witnessed the paperwork for us.
We stood in a grove of sacred kauri trees, in dappled light, with bird song around us and she made us a circle of fallen kauri leaves and branches and got married all over again. It was really lovely.
And you know what – my parents cried before I did!
Then we went and had a delicious picnic lunch at the Band Rotunda whilst an Irish band played the Pogues! Our German friends and one set of their parents joined us thins they were off travelling before leaving NZ, so they came to farewell Doria as they won’t see her again this trip.
The airport was crazy with her bags being overweight due to my brother lending us dodgy scales, so urgent discarding and repacking was required, then she had to race off through Customs due to new entering the US transit visa stuff being required. So our plan to all have dinner together was set aside and we had about 2 mins to say goodbye.
I’m so thankful for our special interlude.