In October of 2004, I was in need of a refuge, a place to recover from a broken heart and a place to forget old haunts of romance.
I came to Latvia for one month to see old friends (another story) and teach English to the youth in one church.
During that month the youth leader drove me home some evenings and we chatted in our broken English and Latvian.
I went home and he stayed in my memory- he had struck me as handsome.
A year later (in August) I returned to Latvia to continue teaching English to the youth and adults of Ogre.
That same youth leader signed up for private English lessons. He contined to drive me home some evenings and invite me to do things with the youth.
In October he invited me to go on a walk. It was a cold, wet day. We walked for about 4 hours- all over Ogre. Towards the end of our walk when we were in the only park in Ogre he told me he wanted to date me with the goal that someday we would be a family.
I know some girls may have been scared away by his frankness. But I had liked him for some time. We were not young and reckless. I was 24 and he was 31. We prayed about this together. I told him he had to ask my Dad. (Weird Americans, right?)
Of course my Dad agreed. Though my Mom was NOT happy. I had promised not to fall in love during that year in Latvia. Now that was stupid wasn't it?!
Many walks and talks later in June or July- I don't remember which now, we were back in that same park. It was a lovely evening- we were sitting by the pond. I knew the path over to the island because the gardener had told me once where the water was shallower. I told Janis and he carried me over to the island.
My back was turned to him and when I turned around he was giving me a water lily with a ring on the stem. Of course I wanted to say "yes" but I didn't. I wore his ring while I "thought about it".
I was in confusion. Mom said, "No way." Dad said, "Ok."What did my heart say?
I have always been compliant.
About a week later we were together and he was expecting my answer.
I told him, "I can't marry you now. Maybe later."
He started to leave, walking away from me with bent shoulders. I couldn't bear it! It was then I knew my heart!
"Come back, come back" I called after him.
"That was not my answer" I told him. "I want to marry you."
And so we were engaged.