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Last summer, I traveled to Tanzania to volunteer in an orphanage teaching
Math and English to young children. It was the opportunity of a lifetime and I was
so excited to embark on a new adventure in my life, the only problem standing in
my way was leaving my boyfriend behind for a whole summer. It was difficult to say
goodbye at the airport but we both new it was for the best and besides it was only a
couple of months apart.
Three days into the trip, I finally was able to talk to him and it was unlike any
other phone conversation I’ve had before. Throughout the first month we talked as
much as our phone bills could handle and then one day I was at an Internet café
when I received an email message from Bret. He told me that he just booked a flight
to Africa and would be joining me in Tanzania for my last week of travels. I literally
jumped for joy in the café and everyone started clapping, including the locals who
had no idea what this American girl was doing.
On August 19th Bret arrived in the Kilimanjaro Airport and ran into my arms
as we met in the lobby. I think we both had tears of happiness in our eyes but could
barely speak a word to each other. We then boarded a plane an hour later to
Zanzibar, which is off the coast of Tanzania on the Indian Ocean. It’s a gorgeous
island with white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue water. It is a predominately
Muslim island and they were in mid celebration of the Ramadan holiday. We had a
difficult time finding a taxi driver since it was close to sun down and the locals take
a rest to finally eat a meal for the day. Almost everything on the island shuts down
for an hour and we found ourselves doing the same thing at a gas station. What we
didn’t know was that we were about to experience the scariest taxi ride of our lives.
Our driver was an elderly man who couldn’t see well at night and almost hit ten
pedestrians, while also pulling off the road because his directions were sketchy.
After three hours of heart-pounding driving we made it to our bungalow and I
looked over at Bret who was completely horrified on his first night in an unfamiliar
The next day, we spent our afternoon lounging on the beach and then Bret
asked if we could get dressed up for a fancy dinner overlooking the ocean. After we
got all ready we made our way to the restaurant and had a beautiful table with the
sun setting right in front of us. It was magical. We then decided to take a walk down
to the water after dinner but the tide had risen and there was nowhere to walk.
Instead we headed back to our bungalow, which was ironically room 24(our favorite
number) and I could tell Bret was a little shaky. I thought maybe he was annoyed
with me because I wanted to lie down and go to bed even though it was only
7:30pm. He kept trying to pull me in for a kiss underneath the beautifully starlight
sky but I was more focused on getting back to the room so I could get some sleep.
When we got back to the room he stood by the doorway and asked if I would stand
up but I said “why don’t you just lie down and we can talk”. When I started to realize
what was going on I abruptly stood up and he got down on one knee. He reached
into his pocket and pulled out a ring box with a letter and asked for my hand in
marriage. The moment was perfect in every way. I later found out that he had the
ring in his pocket all day but I kept ruining the perfect moment, which is typical for
me. We spent the rest of the vacation enjoying the scenery, culture, and company of
one another. Bret also got the chance to meet the kids at my orphanage and we hope
to go back and teach together someday.