Love makes the world go ’round

After two long and frustrating years, wedding celebrations have returned! Despite the need to be thoughtful about how we gather, it is great to see families and friends coming together to cheer on newlyweds.

I just got back from witnessing the marriage of a close family friend. It was a remarkable ceremony in a very special place, and I want to share some highlights with you.

Granted, it’s not every day you are invited to a wedding half a world away but when the bride is from Zambia, of course I RSVP’d “yes!”

The adventure began long before my wife, Lauren, and I got on the plane. It started with a trip to the “travel clinic” where we received immunizations, prescriptions for malaria pills and other “travelers’” medications. Three airline flights later – including two “red-eyes” and an unplanned layover in Johannesburg – we were in beautiful Zambia.

We stepped off the plane and felt like we had stepped onto a movie set.  Victoria Falls and surrounding scenery were stunning, and beautiful, wild (and less than fully wild) animals surrounded us wherever we went.

Seeing such magnificent creatures up close was incredible, and the sunsets were spectacular. The photo below is untouched and unfiltered – unbelievable!

One of the most amazing sights was seeing the rare and endangered white rhinos in the wild! The Zambians take protecting their wildlife very seriously and this crash (yes, that is what a group of rhinos is called!) of ten white rhinoceroses were guarded by eight heavily armed rangers 24 hours a day.  They are committed to helping the white rhinos recover, and this crash population has doubled since 2014.

Besides the beauty, there were many humorous moments.  Not the least of which was the warthog we nicknamed Pumba. He came close enough to our truck to say hello, and then relieved himself as if to mark his territory!

Beyond the wildlife, Muki and Daniel’s wedding brought together people from many countries – the U.S., Germany, Norway, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.  It was fun and insightful to talk with everyone – and the music and dancing at the reception reflected the many different cultures.

I’ll close with one of my favorite photos from the wedding. How many people can say they were photobombed by a giraffe?

It was an incredible adventure but I’m happy to be back in Pierce County. Time away is good for your psyche and health, and I hope you enjoy making some wonderful summer memories.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to use your sunscreen this weekend!