Ten years ago, the Good Friday tornado smashed houses, uprooted trees, and disrupted our lives.
It’s been 10 years of wedded bliss for Yoli and me!
we wrote letters and raked leaves we pleaded and prayed we vowed in Santa Cruz and signed in Coral Gables we made babies and bunuelos we gained family and friends and facebook we lost tios and tias and little Jubilee we endured tornados and tantrums surazos and suegros we watched Petra and parades we explored D.C. and Del Rio Copacabana, Cotoca San Antonio, Samaipata we saved and we spent we loved and we left we gave and we grew from just me and you to those four and us two vows and visas looks and laughs tea and tears ten times ten let us love again and again
This year, the final day of our anniversary falls on the same day as Thanksgiving. There is much to be thankful for, so much of it obviously connected with the tornado that wrecked our house in April.
We are thankful:
- To the creators of Wheel of Fortune, for a show the family enjoys watching, which ensured they saw the tornado warning on TV in plenty of time to go downstairs.
- To our neighbors who checked helped Yoli and the kids get out of the basement through a window and let them stay in their house until I got there.
- To my brother Justin for connecting us with a contractor who did above and beyond what we hoped might be possible in rebuilding our house.
- To my dad who was there the morning after the tornado, and on many other days afterward, to offer help and advice as we figured out what to do.
- To my mom for, among many other things, finding a notice about a house for rent and passing it on to us. We spent a good 6-7 months in that house.
- To State Farm for ponying up quickly and often. (However I am not thankful for all the paperwork, but what can you do?)
- To all our friends and family who helped after the tornado with gifts, with time, with advice, with words of comfort.
- To the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for continuing to give me a job that I enjoy doing.
- To my coworkers, who sent us a gift of help after the tornado, and who nominated us for an obscure Lee Foundation grant that our family was eligible for.
- To God for our home, for supplying our needs, for love, for everything; but mostly for our lives. If Yoli or one of the kids had perished in the tornado, this year would have been inconceivably different.
- To that darn tree: I loved you for your tallness, for the cool shade you provided. You have given us a year of work and waiting, a new house — and fewer leaves to rake.
Yoli made a top notch chocolate cake for our eighth anniversary. It had layers of hazelnut creme between chocolate crepes, and was covered with a chocolate glaze. To top it off, she made candied hazelnuts.
Some of you may not know that Yoli and I sort of have two anniversaries.
Being from two different countries, it was necessary for us to obtain a visa so that Yoli could join me here in the U.S. After we got engaged the question we faced was which visa? Marriage visa or fianceé visa?
This weekend Yoli and I celebrated our fifth anniversary. Ours is a little atypical … the celebration spreads out over 3 days since that’s how we got married. Day One, the wedding ceremony in Bolivia; Day Two, the flight back to the U.S.; Day Three, the actual legal marriage in Coral Gables, Fla. and the start of our honeymoon.
It’s always fun to remember those times and laugh about all the visa paperwork, the way I massively sunburned my legs the day before the Bolivian ceremony, and how cold it was during our honeymoon at Clearwater Lake in Piedmont, Mo.
Five years later we’ve got our own house, two beautiful girls and another baby on the way, good jobs that we enjoy, and family and friends we love.
It’s probably appropriate that our anniversary is always so close to Thanksgiving. Indeed we have so much to be thankful for.