Remember that day, seven years ago now, when you and I went off to Bei Hai, the lake in the heart of Beijing? It had been, what, six weeks since our arrival? Six weeks of training, and meetings, and learning to eat, and kidney stones, and what-the-heck-have-we-done. We went out for the day, all by ourselves in great big China. Remember how we wandered around, taking it all in, the wide-eyed clueless kids that we were?
I remember the clear blueness of the sky, the willow branches gracefully sweeping the water’s edge, the boiled corncobs that smelled deceivingly good. We stumbled upon sculptures older than America, while fresh baby bums peered out of trousers nearby. Old people stretched their limbs. Dancers danced. Musicians strummed. Children frolicked.
I remember on that day feeling, for the very first time, a few sparks of love for this place. You felt it that day too. We grasped on tightly to those bits of love, those whispers of hope, thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, we might make it here. We marked that day in our hearts and in our China journey.
Now seven years and three babies later, we’re back at the lake. Back to celebrate nine years of married love. We’re not the same kids that walked round the water that day. Lines have begun to peer out around my eyes. You’ve got hints of grey in your whiskers now. And I think how we grew up in this place.
Back then we meandered round the edge of the lake, quite unsure of ourselves, our lives. But today we boat. Today we’re out in deep waters, living out our dreams.
In the midst of this dream-building, the child-rearing, the globe-trekking, the always busy, always tired, we sometimes lose each other, don’t we? Funny how sometimes you can’t find the one who’s in the boat with you.
But today we found each other, just like we always eventually do. Sometimes it’s over late night chocolate waffle dates. Sometimes it’s catching each other’s eye, smiling proud over a child of ours. Sometimes it’s squeezing past each other in our tiny box kitchen. But we find each other again, and when we do, we’re back at the altar, crazy in love.