In October, 2016, I met my soul mate on Prior to this, I tried a couple of local dating sites with disappointing results. I stumbled upon while looking for dating sites and signed up.

I wanted to fall in love with and share the next chapter of my life. I was looking for someone near my own stage of life that I could relate to—someone honest and willing to do and see new things—someone I could trust with my heart.

I looked at a many profiles and replied to Christina’s. I liked that our religious and work experience were the same. She was an editor in chief of a magazine and I was a magazine art director. However, it wasn’t until after I pushed the “Hello” button that I realized she lived on the other side of the planet—Indonesia. In my search criteria, I listed South or Central America, age 50 to 70. After bad experiences on local sites, I decided I wanted to meet someone from a different culture. but I had not planned on somewhere as far away as Jakarta. Our communication started with email and soon switched to Google Hangouts. I was attracted to Christina almost immediately and fell in love soon after. The more we communicated, the deeper I fell in love.

Bali Bound

We decided to meet in December. Over Christmas, I met Christina’s family and vacationed in Bali. The trip to Indonesia was fantastic—but it didn’t start that way. Halfway to the airport, I realized I left my cellphone at home. I thank God for my brother Jeff. I was able to call him from a pay phone and have him contact Christina with Google Hangouts—good thing too. I missed the plane from Tokyo to Jakarta by 10 minutes because my flight was delayed in Chicago. I spent the next 18 hours in Tokyo with no way of communicating flight times with Christina. By the time I arrived in Jakarta, I was completely fried and a nervous wreck.

After finally meeting Christina, everything went perfectly. Bali was magical and we got married in a traditional Dayak ceremony. Her heritage is one of the many Dayak of Borneo.  The marriage was not legal because it had not been registered with the Indonesian government. In Indonesia, you must get married in an accepted religion then apply for a certificate. That was ok because if we got legally married it would complicate bringing Christina to America.

Bitter disappointment

The next step was to bring Christina to America on a visitor visa. If we still felt the same , we would apply for a 90 day fiancée visa. A 90 day fiancee visa would allow Christina to stay for 90 days before either getting married or returning to Indonesia. Our plan was to work another year and retire in Bali. Well, that wasn’t to be—the visitor visa was turned down. We were both heart-sick. Christina was in tears. On to plan B.

I hired a lawyer and started the application for a fiancée visa. After a month and $1,500, we learned it would take another 8 months, optimistically. After a discussion with Christina, I decided to move to Indonesia. I did not want to wait and I was certain it was the right decision. I have never doubted this relationship—I still don’t.

So what did everyone think of this? My daughter wanted me to see a psychologist. She was probably right. It was only 10 months since my wife Shea was taken from me by an unexpected heart attack. A shrink wouldn’t have mattered—I had made up my mind. For the most part, friends and family didn’t think it was a good idea. Some thought I was being taken advantage of and others thought it was a scam. Some thought I was rushing blindly. I knew better. Kelley and Theresa, my co-workers were very supportive and I will never forget their encouragement. Everyone wanted what was best for me, but most thought it was too risky.

Love in a suitcase

I gave 6 weeks notice. That was just enough time to take care of business—and there was a lot of business to take care of. The way things fell into place further confirmed my decision. The house sold in two weeks for a great price. The scamp travel trailer sold in three weeks and the Yamaha sold in two weeks. My brother bought my truck, helped me pack and drove with me to Chicago to say good by to my daughter. They lady who purchased the house also purchased all the furniture and lawn equipment.

So, six weeks after making the decision, I put my entire life into two suitcases, headed for Indonesia and never looked back. Do I have any regrets? Not even one. I am convinced of God’s hand in this. Of all the people we could have met, Christina and I found each other from opposite sides of the globe. I simply don’t believe this is all by chance.

This is the place a monkey stole my hat. It took a bribe to get it back—Monkey see, monkey do. (I wonder how that translates)
Christina is better with a camera than I.

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