Scary stories from a lovely place
The last few days have been rather massive around here.
Late last week I visited with some lovely South African friends who were in Australia (sadly, they go home today). One of the visitors, Vicky, packed something rather precious in her luggage for Stephen and I – our marriage certificate.
I’ve written before about the dramas we had while in South Africa in dealing with different beuaracracies. Any contact with the Department of Home Affairs was always lengthy and laborious. Now that I live in Australia and have to listen to people whingeing about Centrelink I want to send them to the Home Affairs office on Jorissen St in downton Jozi or the Traffic Department at Langlaagte. There isn’t really any comparison.
I applied for our marriage certificate at the same time as Silas’ birth certificate, in late 2010, but it wasn’t ready until a few months ago. We had to wait to leave South Africa until we had Silas’ birth certificate. Without it we couldn’t get him into Australia. But we didn’t wait for our marriage certificate. We hoped the rings on our fingers and the children holding our hands would be proof enough of our commitment.
But we did still hope to get our marriage certificate somehow. It’s an important piece of paper – two lives coming together, in a foreign country. It spoke of friendship forged and good memories in a place now far, far away.
To be fair, South African bureacracy doesn’t deserve all the blame for it taking so long. We could have applied for it long before we did.
So it was lovely on Friday to hold our marriage certificate in our hands. Interestingly two of the people who organised and orchestrated much of our wedding day, our friends Vicky and Jelvin, were also the people who made sure our marriage certificate arrived safely. Jelvin collected it under the guise of being Stephen and dropped it into Vicky who brought it with her to Australia. That was Friday.
On Saturday we went to a brilliant wedding which I found deeply emotional and delightful. In her speech the bride aptly described the day as ‘a triumph’.
On Sunday we had a leisurely lunch with Vicky and the rest of the South African visitors. It’s special to be with people who know Stephen from years ago and who have only ever shown me utter kindness. And then to see this love and hospitality overflowing into our children makes it all complete.
It is only so sad that these people have to go home. Indeed that we have to live oceans apart from so many beloved people. But as I wrote in this post about distant friendship, it makes the coming together all the more special.