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Don't Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Don Miguel Ruiz

My girlfriend and I are getting married

Sept 22, 2016

My landlady/student go me a book of Spanish stories/songs for children to help me learn more Spanish. A couple days ago I was reading one of the stories with my girlfriend Sandra, and I mispronounced one word and she started laughing, a lot. I didn't know why it was so funny. She started to explain it to me but she doesn't speak English so she just pointed to a particular body part on me and said the word I mispronounced and then I realized why it was so funny, in the context of the story (about a cardboard doll). She kept teasing me about it. We laughed so much I had tears in my eyes.

Sandra, and I went to Santa Marta on a recent weekend. Santa Marta is a small coastal town a couple hours drive from Barranquilla. It has some very nice beaches, many tall apartment/condo buildings, and a surprisingly large mall, which is very new. I was surprised by the size of it considering the size of the town. Before we left Barranquilla I expected that Sandra would be more familiar with Santa Marta than I am (I've been there twice, and once to Rodadero, nearby). As it turned out we discovered I am more familiar with the town than she is. When the bus arrived in the city and stopped to let people off I didn't recognize the location, it was under construction, and Sandra also didn't recognize it. So we stayed on the bus. When it arrived at the opposite end of the town the bus guy said we should get off if we were going into Santa Marta. We did, but neither of us recognized the location. I new which direction we had to go to get back to the downtown area and then to the beaches, but it was quite a walk. We got to see an area of the town neither of us had seen before. We eventually made it to the beach, after well over an hour of walking. And of course, being a weekend, and late morning, the beaches were quite full of people. So we walked to the far end of the beaches until we couldn't go any further, still many people. Then we walked up to the street and looked for a restaurant for lunch. That was more work than expected as well. We were wanting a particular type of fish, Roballo, but the restaurants, it turns out, in Santa Marta, don't serve it. After much more walking we eventually settled for a typical lunch - rice, chicken, salad. We explored the new mall and eventually headed back home around dinner time.

Sandra is wonderful. We passed each other in the street a couple times and simply said "buenos dias" and kept walking. Then one day I was walking along the street and passing a clothing boutique and after I past it I heard someone behind me calling out "senior, senior!" so I turned to see who it was and if it was directed at me. The sun was in my eyes so it was difficult to make out who it was, so I walked back to the person. It was a woman, the one I had passed on the street a couple times. She invited me into the boutique and we talked, if you can call it that, and laughed a lot, as my Spanish is still basic, though improving. I think I was there at least a half hour, maybe longer. We became instant friends. And since then we have grown in our love for each other and are getting married. We will be doing a civil union marriage. Here in Colombia a civil union is equal to a church marriage, the only difference is the location of the ceremony. We don't have a date set yet because we are waiting for my papers to be completed so I can get married. She has two adult sons, ages 22 and 21, and she is a widow. I have two adult sons and am a widower. Sandra and I fit together like two pieces in a puzzle, it's been quite surprising to find someone that fits with me so well and so easily. She enjoys exercising with me, watching various types of motor racing, going for walks, and when we can get bikes - bicycling. Her sense of humor complements mine. It must be God's directing us together. She is a christian, as am I, and we pray together every day. I love her very much. In my 3+ years here in Colombia I have dated, at least a couple times, at least half a dozen women, and met and talked to many others. Now I can put all that dating balogny behind me and dedicate my life to the one I have been given to share my life - Sandra Milena Cabrera.

Getting myself legal is not an easy process because of the fact that my visa is expired. And it is complicated by the office manager at the immigrations office - she wants to follow the letter of the law, with no regard to anything else (such as my pending marriage). If she gets her way, she will deport me. The other guys in the office are doing everything possible to prevent that from happening. They are trying to get me legal without me having to leave the country. I, and my landlady/student Yanet, have spent many hours at the immigrations office this past couple weeks, and it appeard all was going well, except for the final piece, the manager, and the words she wrote on one form. So we have to go back and spend more time there trying to iron things out.

So, on that note I need to ask my friends for some help, financial help. In getting legal to get married I have to pay fees and penalties fees (for the expired visa). If anyone can help in any amount we would greatly appreciate it. Just send me a message at the contact link on this page, and I will provide the details for sending money. There is also a Western Union link on this page with the necessary info. To cover all the fees involved I will need about $750. That will cover the various fees for getting legal, getting married, and the penalties for the expired visa.

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