Dedicated to My Husband
Having ended a five-year relationship, I joined two friends and on a backpacking trip throughout Asia. We arrived in Beijing on October 28, 1994, and after dropping off our backpacks at our hotel, we went to a local restaurant for a bite to eat. Moments after sitting down, a tall, handsome young man walked into the room.
As he passed our table in search of a seat, I hastily asked if he’d like to join us. We exchanged names, and Arend told us he was supposed to have left China that day to return home (to Germany). He had been robbed moments before boarding his train and lost his passport, travel checks and train ticket. Arend contacted his family and had to wait two days before he received a temporary passport to return home.
Arend and I had a whirlwind two-day romance. The day Arend returned home I wrote in my travel diary, “I have met the man I have always wanted to marry.” I had spent five years with someone to figure out I did not want to spend my life with him, yet in two days I knew I could awake next to Arend forever.
We wrote to each other faithfully for one year. At the time I was working in Australia. I was the last to write (or so I thought) when we lost contact. In my last letter I forgot to give my new address. Arend replied, but the letter was “returned to sender.” We still have this letter.
Time passed and I assumed Arend had ‘moved on.’ Then one day, almost three years after our meeting, addressed to my mother’s address, I received a letter. Instantly, I recognized Arend’s handwriting. He wrote he would be in the United States on a business trip and also sent his telephone number. I called him immediately, and we decided to meet.
He flew to my northern Canadian community for one week. We decided then we had to be together. Arend applied for Canadian jobs from Germany and that spring we moved to Toronto. We married one year later and this past August we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary.
My wonderful husband left his family, friends, job and country for me. Besides that, he gave me a gift I can never repay. I did not complete high school, but Arend taught me to believe in myself and to conquer my fears. Due to his encouragement and belief in my abilities, I am fulfilling my life long dream of completing a university degree. This April I will graduate with an Honors degree in Psychology and Humanities.
Words cannot express how much love and appreciation I have for Arend. We have dreamt of going to Hawaii together. I would love to show him my gratitude for his patience and selflessness and his emotional and financial support throughout my studies by surprising him with this Hawaiian trip.