Perhaps I did not make it clear enough - this story happened long time ago, around 2009/2010. Not really sure as in my age and with my load of memories this all gets blurred and fades way too quickly.
This very dramatic relationship did not survive the test of time. All I am left with is those memories which I can share here (plus the missing cows, dammit)
I was very much in love with Alison. We have lived together for some time in Nairobi, then I proposed, she accepted. Got a white gold ring with a diamond... You know - everything by the book. We were happy (well, I was - can't speak for Ally).
Then there was the issue of family and African tradition of dowry, but this is a story for another day.
What I want to tell about is the engagement party.
See, Alison decided it was time for me to meet family. So with help of her sisters she organized a party on our rooftop. There were 80-odd people, some of her family, some friends.
The (then) happy couple:
June cooked, Shanice spread her charm, eldest sis, Lynne, took care of music and entertained everyone (she's a party animal)... Since I had nothing better to do - I just slowly got more and more mellow on Tusker Malts. And thank gods for that for this is when the speeches started. I might have mentioned this before, but Kenyans have something about speeches. OMG, that was long, boring and quite uneventful. Perhaps had I known the people being mentioned or known why this uncle does not like this auntie... well, still this was excessive.
Here uncle Raila does his speech:
It was all going its own course till at one point all the aunties got up and started singing. I though to myself - another of those African traditions I would never understand... The aunties made a ring around Alison and started dressing her in this garment, also put this bead bands on her neck and her head... At the same time Ally's father - Sam - got me dressed in the Masai blanket and gave me a bow and a quiver with arrows.
I think we both were shocked, though I think Alison might have suspected something...
All the while the party was going on, you know - the usual: food (delicious, thanks to June), drinks, music, small and big talk, stupid jokes, smokes and all.
The newly (now officially) engaged couple:
Now, here's the kicker.
Some time later I was driving around with my friend from office, Erik, and he asked me if we can go out for a beer later that evening. I calculated I did not have Aikido classes to teach this day so I said:
- Let me discuss with my fiancee
The he goes:
- You mean your wife?
And I go consistently:
- No, I mean my fiancee...
For which he says:
- Dude, you got the bow and arrows? - I nodded - Then you are married.
I laughed and dismissed the issue, but later that day I asked Alison:
- Are we engaged (as in fiancees) or are we married (as in - wife and husband)?
She thought for a while and said:
- Yup, we're pretty much done...
And then I exploded. It's not that I did mind, but perhaps someone would care to notify me? So that I do not find out that I am married from a friend in the office while discussing the beer plans?
It was funny as hell.