3 Feet from Gold

67 days and 21 hours…the sand in the hourglass is slowly descending…and the time is approaching for me to leave what I have known into an exciting unexplored adventure….

This week, I drove 4.5 hours to Chicago to try and submit my visa application for the second time…after about 10 breath holding minutes as a stranger perused our months of preparation…my application was accepted…I breathed and turned around and drove back another 4.5 hours…and now the wait truly begins…

That was the bright spot in the week…there has been such a swirl of differing emotions…excitement…sadness at leaving family and friends…happiness at leaving a job that has been extremely stressful…yet, a melancholy for leaving my friends with whom I have spent more time with than my family…and have truly become family…the enchantment of a new love…anticipation…fear…just about every emotion that one can experience in a lifetime…all within a relatively short period of time…

All par for the course…I would think…when making such a life changing choice…but the last week…it all imploded…situations all came together at the same time… like gale winds and hard rain in a tumultuous storm…beating me with continuous force until I didn’t think that I could not bend any more…that I would break…the devil’s blue funk descended…

I have been through some bleak and dismal places in my life…where I could not get up from where I had landed…but always in the midst of the immediate chaos…you feel it is the absolute worst…

When my girlfriend and I had a miserable night out and there were no relief in sight…we would always joke…”this too shall pass”…and ultimately it always does…

“Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not obsess. Just breathe and have faith that all will work out for the best.” …which ultimately it does…might take a minute…a day…a month…a year…or years…but it does..that I can promise…

“There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.” ~Paulo Coelho, ‘The Fifth Mountain

When I come to a difficult time and really feel like just chucking it…there is a story that Napoleon Hill wrote in his ‘Think and Grow Rich’ that always comes to mind… I cannot give any better illustration for the reason to keep getting up and trying again…

Three Feet From Gold

by Napoleon Hill

One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Every person is guilty of this mistake at one time or another.

An uncle of R. U. Darby was caught by the gold fever in the gold-rush days, and went west to DIG AND GROW RICH. He had never heard that more gold has been mined from the brains of men than has ever been taken from the earth. He staked a claim and went to work with pick and shovel. The going was hard, but his lust for gold was definite.

After weeks of labor, he was rewarded by the discovery of the shining ore. He needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface. Quietly, he covered up the mine, retraced his footsteps to his home in Williamsburg, Maryland, told his relatives and a few neighbors of the “strike.” They got together money for the needed machinery, had it shipped. The uncle and Darby went back to work the mine.

The first car of ore was mined, and shipped to a smelter. The returns proved they had one of the richest mines in Colorado! A few more cars of that ore would clear the debts. Then would come the big killing in profits.

Down went the drills!  Up went the hopes of Darby and Uncle!  Then something happened!  The vein of gold ore disappeared!  They had come to the end of the rainbow, and the pot of gold was no longer there! They drilled on, desperately trying to pick up the vein again— all to no avail.

Finally, they decided to QUIT.

They sold the machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars, and took the train back home. Some “junk” men are dumb, but not this one! He called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a little calculating. The engineer advised that the project had failed, because the owners were not familiar with “fault lines.” His calculations showed that the vein would be found just three feet from where the Darbys had stopped drilling! That is exactly where it was found!

The “Junk” man took millions of dollars in ore from the mine, because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up.

Most of the money which went into the machinery was procured through the efforts of R. U. Darby, who was then a very young man. The money came from his relatives and neighbors, because of their faith in him. He paid back every dollar of it, although he was years in doing so.

Long afterward, Mr. Darby recouped his loss many times over, when he made the discovery that desire can be transmuted into gold. The discovery came after he went into the business of selling life insurance.

Remembering that he lost a huge fortune, because he stopped three feet from gold, Darby profited by the experience in his chosen work, by the simple method of saying to himself, “I stopped three feet from gold, but I will never stop because men say ‘no’ when I ask them to buy insurance.”

Darby is one of a small group of fewer than fifty men who sell more than a million dollars in life insurance annually. He owes his stickability to the lesson he learned from his quitability in the gold mining business.

Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach.

Never…never…never…quit…no matter how many times you get knocked down…knocked out…

Day 90…

Chicago-The Windy City
“I adore Chicago. It is the pulse of America” ~Sarah Bernhardt

It is amazing how often the image that we carry around about places and people does not match the reality…if we could remember that and be open..with no preconceptions…we would save ourselves a great deal of angst..example, in point…Chicago…very different that the way that I thought it would be…

Last week after work, I drove the 4.5 hours to Chicago to apply for the 2 year visa…the consulate is only open for 3 hours a day for visa applications…between 9am and 12pm…a very short window of time…

Checked into Hotel Cass…a Holiday Inn Express at Magnificent Mile….
The Magnificent Mile, sometimes referred to as The Mag Mile, is an upscale section of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, running from the Chicago River to Oak Street in the Near North Side…all I knew was that it was approximately .3 miles from the consulate…or so I thought…

I didn’t want to have to try and drive around downtown Chicago and try to find parking during the morning work day rush hours…especially with only a 3 hour window…I wanted to be one of the first in line at the consulate and try and beat the rush…well, the supposed rush…

A unique historic Mag Mile property, Hotel Cass combines a Beaux-Arts gem with the contemporary comforts travelers have come to expect including free internet access and breakfast with every rate.

The parking was right next door to the hotel…just around the corner…but for $48.00 per day…yes, I about passed out too…lol…really debating whether it was worth the money…and yes…it was worth the sense of security and not stressing about finding parking…although, I do think it should at least, had valet parking…:-)

Awake early the next morning…with a breakfast buffet…in the lobby…it was a really decent breakfast buffet…but also really busy…much busier than I thought for the middle of the week…a very diverse group of people…

After mapping the address of the Consulate…it turned out to be 27 blocks from the hotel…a beautiful spring day…it was off to find the Consulate…so many places that I would have loved to have stopped and visited…all within the streets that I walked…very clean streets…Museums…Lots of Shopping…Food of all varieties…parks…I was impressed.

200 South Michigan Avenue…another tall Chicago building…squeezed in between all the others…revolving door into a cool dark interior…greeted by a warm, smiling woman who directed me to the 6th floor for the consulate…here I thought that the consulate would have an entire building…but just a floor…all preconceptions were being slowly erased…what to expect…

Opening the door…I entered a small dark sitting area…dark wood paneling…with a woman seated behind bullet resistant glass…a couple of woman ahead of me…discussing what was needed for a visa application…after waiting a very short time…I approached the woman behind the glass…and she requested what I was there for….

I had read many bad reviews of the receptionist…that I was a little leery of how I would be received…but wanting to give a good impression…I smiled and stated that I wanted to apply for a visa…and was pointed to a door…no smile was returned…but she was not unpleasant…just very “to the point”…

So what was I going to find behind the door…just a short hallway into another room with a couple of couches and two bullet proof windows…only one was being used…just one person ahead of me…a very different reality to what I had imagined…long queues with lots of waiting…

Not long…a few minutes…it was my turn…taking my prepaid USPS envelope filled with all the prerequisite papers…trying to stuff it through the small opening in the window to the woman on the other side…bated breath…would it be accepted…

After reviewing…the infidel fingerprints…not the FBI approval…turned out…I had used a digital fingerprinting service that only send the request to the state…not the Federal data base…after the 3 tries and still wasn’t correct…my heart just sank into the floor…

But she was not done perusing the documents…one being the request for a waiver for the 2 year requirement for the visa that we were requesting…not accepted…but she was most helpful in letting me know what I needed…she said that I could come back that day…if I could get what I needed…

Leaving the office…I tried calling P. so he could try and get me the documents that I needed…but I forgot I could not use my phone…politely asked to leave…I left for the Lobby and gave P. the information…he was going to try and get me the documents that I needed…but it was an impossibility to get my fingerprints through the FBI that day…

Disappointing…but also…not a total loss…in that we now know what was still needed and a little closer to having an application that would be accepted…still a beautiful day…walking back to the hotel to check out…wanted to stay and visit the city…but not another day from work was not going to be possible…

Couldn’t leave Chicago without a piece of the famous Chicago Deep dish pizza…asked the employees at the hotel…where was the best pizza…and hands down it was the famous…

The day ended with a …..

Bubbles for the Day

…and off to return another day…

88 Days…Misunderstandings

The Atonement

I often feel like Marcel Duchamp who said… “As soon as we start putting our thoughts into words and sentences everything gets distorted, language is just no damn good—I use it because I have to, but I don’t put any trust in it. We never understand each other.” ….and being 8,000 miles apart creates it own barrier to understanding…

This past weekend…the distance conspired to create a sleepless night and hurt feelings on my part…after all I was just trying to explain and discuss my concerns about a possible issue with the visa…P. responded by saying he felt like he felt that he was having to “defending himself all the time” among other things…I could tell from his voice memo that he was defensive and hurt…

Being extremely sensitive, I cried…worried and fretted all night…because I had only wanted to discuss what I thought might be a possible issue and then he took it all wrong…being 6 hours ahead…he had already fallen asleep…

It carried over into the next day…when he hadn’t been able to listen to my voice memo until later in the day…so there was an unusual silence…for me it seemed like forever…after apologies and communication the next day…it was “all better”…but it would probably not been an issue, if we were in close proximity and I could have physically been able to talk and discuss the misunderstanding when it happened…one issue with a LDR (long distance relationship)

In atonement, he planted beets and spring onions for our anticipated first borscht …I have never had the reddish purple sour soup of Russian origin…whose main ingredient is beets…I do not really yet know if it will be an atonement or a punishment…LOL…my only remembrance of eating beets was my great grandmother’s pickled beets and it really was not enjoyable to my palate…

Whether I enjoy the dish or not…will be a mute point…because the enjoyment will come from the cooking together…just one of the many things that we are looking forward to enjoying in our future life together…I love to cook and he enjoys cooking…so who knows the dishes that we will stir up…

Our tastes are quite different and what our normal daily cuisine tends to encompasses cross the spectrum…Caribbean flavors are my main stay with the flavorful cilantro, garlic, onion and pepper sofritos…his tastes tend to be more European in origin…he likes things like anchovies and other “nasty” culinary items…Lol

But still, I am looking forward to exploring new flavors and sharing my culinary expertise…who knows…we may come up with a new flavor meld between South African/European and the Caribbean mixture…throw a little love in…it will be fun and exciting…another adventure that makes me warm at night when I am lying alone…dreaming of our future lives…

“We cannot control the way people interpret our ideas or thoughts, but we can control the words and tones we choose to convey them. Peace is built on understanding, and wars are built on misunderstandings. Never underestimate the power of a single word, and never recklessly throw around words. One wrong word, or misinterpreted word, can change the meaning of an entire sentence and start a war. And one right word, or one kind word, can grant you the heavens and open doors.” 
― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

92 Days…and Counting Still

It’s Saturday…and I was still in my warm cozy place under the blankets…hearing the melodious music of the morning songs of the winged creatures outside of my window…reviewing the week that has been and gone…

Morning Song

It felt very frantic…with working a intensely time constrictive job and making appointments…waiting…I always seemed like I was waiting somewhere for someone…a test in patience…sometimes failing and sometimes passing…LOL…I do wish life would let me know when a test was coming…I might pass a few more times and not have to take so many over…:-)

But when your morning starts like this…P:“Good morning my sweetheart, have a wonderful day off Saturday, hopefully you are still warm in bed thinking of me 🐼” R: Yes, I am..and wanting and needing sooo much more…💋 P:”I know my darling and I am too, not long to go, it’s a perfect autumn day here, crazy that you are not here” …it is messages such as this that erase all of the stress of the week…and make it all worthwhile…

There were many accomplishments…the doctor’s and radiologist’s were completed and signed…I did received my second notice that my fingerprints were not readable…but a friend told me about an electronic service available…so that should fix that…I have an appointment for Tuesday of next week…just a few more tasks…visa photos and a notarized copy of the first two pages of my passport…

And then off to Chicago…our goal is no later than the second week in April…that will give the Consulate approximately 10 weeks to respond to our request…the Consulate will send the paperwork to the Home Office in South Africa…which according to the website should take 4 to 6 weeks…

In all midst of the exquisite joy and happiness…there is a grief of leaving my life here…with my friends and family…the every day life that we take for granted so very often…and to be honest…and we often complain about…

From experience, I know that we promise to keep in touch with friends and those we love…in reality…that doesn’t usually occur…people move on and are busy in their own day-to-day lives…it is just the reality of life…

P: My sweetheart beautiful wonderful Renee’ you will have all that and more. I know what is here for you and it will be what you want and more, I promise
R: I know…I feel it🦋 as I release what was and is… And reach out for an amazing future with you and our God
P It’s all there for us, and what a wonderful crazy adventure it is

I currently in this in-between space…living here with my family and friends…yet, there is the bittersweet knowledge that my time here is ending..yet the future beckons with glittering promise of adventures and love that I have yet to experience…it is but a page in this story…and yet there are many characters who will be woven into the pages of this story many more times…and some whose threads will not be interwoven in my life tapestry again…colorful, sparkly memories…

95 Days…

“Life is magical when you are drunk with love”

Today was one of those magical days when everything just seems like it fails into place…and you have to try and keep your feet on the ground, even when you feel so light and your head is touching the clouds.

Today I was able to obtain my signed medical form without going through a million hoops…when yesterday I was so incredibly frustrated because I was told that it might take up to a month just to get the paperwork I needed to have the medical form signed…I waited for over an hour in the office…but it wasn’t important when I walked out of there with one of the forms I needed…signed, sealed and delivered to me…

Patrick did more than his part today…taking time to visit the VFC office and by the time he left…he felt at lot more comfortable and really positive with what we needed to do…he said that he felt like it was like “a breakthrough” it appears that we have a plan…a more definitive plan which up until now…appeared very fuzzy and undefined…

Remember when I told you of my daughter’s dream over 20 years ago?…another magical…goosebumps kind of even happened today…he went home after visiting the VFC office in the morning…it had been closed due to a power outage…and started cleaning up some things…while he was clearing up and he found the keys to his wall safe that he hadn’t opened for a long time…

He really didn’t think that there would be anything in it…when he went to open the safe…there were two little boxes…in one box there was a Tourmaline, it was a gemstone he had bought 25 or so years and hadn’t seen since…through the years he remembers thinking about making it into a pendant for his wife at the time…but never did…

He told me today that it was meant for me…somewhere…somehow in a funny way…it was meant for me…long before we knew of each other…many miles away…our lives were intertwined…in all of these magical ways that are unexplainable…

He said, “that it gave me such a warm kind of feeling that I could give you something other than going into a shop and buying (he had talked of wanting to buy me jewelry of Tourmaline when we were together here in the US)…but something I had bought so long ago and not knowing really who it was for…it was a day filled with you in my life…just a very strong you with me…you are always with me, but today it was very poignant…it was very personal and deep feeling…”

I had always known that this part of my life would be the best years…that the pain and loneliness that I had traveled with most of my life would be gone and I would be given many blessings of favor…I had no idea that God had such unbelievable gifts in store…every day I am overwhelmed with the exquisite wonderful life that I am being offered…

“Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.” 
― Nora Roberts

96 Days…

“Beautiful things come together one stitch at a time.” 
― Donna Goddard, Circles of Separation

When one wakes up in the middle of the night and reaches for your love and all you feel is a cold pillow…your heart drops a beat or two…and often a tear …not being in close proximity to your partner is difficult to say the least…

Even with the instant communication that our technology allows us and sometimes even demands…one would think that it would make long distant relationships so much easier….What’sApp/Internet has been a lifesaver…no longer $300.00 and $400.00 monthly phone calls…or a monthly snail mail…one wonders how anyone ever maintained love at a distance…

We communicate a lot..maybe even more than if we were in close physical proximity…it helps me to feel close when I we talk about our day and I can support him and feel supported..it is not the same as a physical hug…but it reminds us that we are there for each other

His day is over about my lunchtime…so often we eat together…his supper…my lunch…even sending pictures of our meals…we create as much “togetherness” and interdependence as possible…I experienced a bad night not too long ago…upset and frustrated that it didn’t feel that we were making progress to our end goal of being together…

It was very late and I couldn’t sleep…I texted him and he was awake.. he held me with his words and soothed my anxious heart until I was able to calm down and sleep…although he was physically 8,000 miles away…he still wrapped himself around me…I fell a little deeper in love for this hero of mine.

And then there is all the teasing and flirty innuendos to keep the flames burning…the sexual tension is important to keep alive…it is an important glue in the Long Distant Relationship…

Fun, jokes and laughter are also essential…just as in any relationship…the text I sent for his wake up message was “Were you a coffee bean in your past life? Must be, because I can’t start my day without you…😁”…rather corny, I know…he said that it made him smile…

My fellow love traveler has completed all of the paperwork that he needs to send for me to take to the consulate when I apply for my visa…my duties for the day were to take my medical report to be signed to the doctor…I also need an x-ray and a sign off from a radiologist that I do not have TB…the doctor is making an appointment for that…

I also had to send in my fingerprints to the FBI to make sure that I am not a criminal…I am on my second round with that…after $23.00 I was sent a letter that they were not excepted because the Sheriff’s Department were I had them taken missed some swirls and such…I paid another $23.00 and a new set of prints…and I am waiting to see if they were accepted…

Another step closer toward being in my baby’s arms…

“Whatever you did today is enough. Whatever you felt today is valid. Whatever you thought today isn’t to be judged. Repeat the above each day.” 
― Brittany Burgunder

97 Days…The Love Travelers

“And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like love affairs, never really end” ~Pico Iyer

It is as if invisible threads have connected us through time and space…but, then, invisible threads are often the strongest…soulmates or twin souls…I don’t know…yet a dream foretold our love over 26 years ago…

Yes…26 years ago…I had been divorced a couple of years…and my daughter and I were sitting in the car…talking of my hurt and loneliness…she started telling me of a dream that she had had of someone from across the world coming for me…and she saw details (although at the time she did not share them with me)… our forms, the house, and felt my happiness…we never really discussed it again…

Sporadically, throughout the following years it would come to mind, although I didn’t put much stock in it…I had tried several relationships that ended with a great deal of pain and sorrow…I had never given up on finding the love that I sought…but the flame of hope flickered out…

The embers would not go out…there was still the niggling thought that there just might be someone somewhere that was meant be THE ONE..I kept the embers alive by visiting dating sites…being accessible..and doing all the things that the current media experts say you should do…

I met many men…some jerks, a lot of scammers and users, but many that were normal and nice…yet I was not willing to settle with anyone just for the sake of keeping loneliness from sleeping with me every night…my heart seemed to have a unique shape for love to fill..and no one fit..what was a girl to do?….

I had joined a PenPal site to try and find a person to correspond with so that I might practice my Spanish skills with…in March 2018…I received a message…
Hi I’m Patrick from South Africa, I visit the US pretty much every year and am a fan. I see you are sideways, I can maybe help with that 🙂 …being technically computer challenged sometimes…I had inadvertently set up my photo so that I was sideways…

A knight on his steed coming to a damsel in distress… how could one not respond…there was not this instantaneous recognition of how well he would fit into the unique love shape of my heart…he started by sharing beautiful photographs of his world…places I had never seen…

And even though I desired to experience the love…having experienced the many shades of deceit and hurts…my heart was closed, like the bud of a flower…only with time and the warmth of his care and the watering from our shared tears did my heart start to slowly open…

He has told me that he loved me long before I would even admit to caring in any form, other than a long distant friendship…our conversations grow deeper…we started sharing joys, pain and scars, adventures and misadventures, our similarities and our differences, we laughed and cried togather…our emails grew from a few times a week…to daily…to texing multiple times a day on what’s app…to voice memo’s at the end of our day (he is 6 hours ahead of me)…and phone calls…

He wanted to meet…but various reasons, I kept putting him off…until I couldn’t imagine my life without him in it…and I wan’t more…so much more…even though everything about him felt right and perfect for me…no glaring red flags…I have experienced feeling a connection with someone and meeting that person and there just not being any physical connection…and I wanted it all…and would settle for no less..

The only way to know for sure was to meet…physically touch…I knew that we had connected on an intellectual and spiritual level…but would the physical energy be compatible…or would we just be fiends that shared a few pleasurable moments in time…

In February of this year…we decided to take a bold leap of faith and meet…

…I opened the door and fell into his arms…I was home for the first time in my life…

There are many stories to tell…but the next 97 days are about journey of trying to obtain an extended visitors visa, so that we can be together enough time to apply for a life partner’s visa…

It has taken time to just sort through the regulations and find best route to being together…we have already experienced some setbacks…yet there is the knowledge…that we were meant to be…

…after I returned from adventuring together… traveling from Atlanta, GA to Louisville, KY…my daughter asked me what we had decided to do…when I told her that I would be moving to South Africa to be with Patrick…she told me that she already knew that I wold be leaving…because before I had left to meet him, I had shown her a video that he had sent me of his home…and what she saw in the video were the same images that she had seen in her dream 26 years prior…

I would love to hear from anyone else that has shared the journey of meeting and falling in love with someone from another country and your own unique experiences…remember always and forever…you are loved

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment…” ~Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Sending Love