So, although we've been working on getting married legally, we were just "pre-engaged".
This Sunday, the 15th is when we were to be presented at church. It's not much different than presenting a new baby or something, but it's mandatory and rather official.
So, I made a four slide PowerPoint and sent it to the church. We had to be presented at every service, in this case, three services. After such an exciting and LONG night, I was not looking forward to waking up early and then at church for 10 hours.
We had to grab the bus at 8:20 to give us time to get there early to talk to the pastor about logistics. We ended up arrive at 9:15 which gave us half an hour before we needed to walk the final block. Perfect amount of time to go to a cafe for some tea.
After recharging our batteries, we went to church. Our presentation would be at the end of the service. We sat right in front of the speakers. My ears are sensitive and I was bursting with pain and couldn't enjoy service at all. Every other time I've been there I've sat in the perfect location - before the speakers They are at the mid-way point which means just before the speakers in the quietest place. I still have had to plug my ears for all the music, but its tolerable. But, today... Ouch. It was horrible. At least the distraction kept me from getting stage fright. ;)
So, I realized I would NOT be attending the music of the next two sessions. Thankfully, the pastor gave us the time to return for the second service so we didn't need to be there for the whole service. Then, we went to lunch at his favorite chinese restaurant and had two hours to relax.
It was hard to relax knowing I had two more presentations to do, but lunch should help me prepare for the next two, or so I thought. Instead, I was left thinking we might end up going back to church to cancel the announcements because we called it off.
The fiancé started going all fundamentalist - men lead, women please and other crap like that. But, before I started to argue, I remembered our prior conversations about this were because he was afraid that I'd turn into a controlling nag after the wedding. So, I just said that I knew he was afraid. He said yes, but he wasn't afraid of me, it's just he's seen too many angry bitter wives who have terrorized their husbands to completely let go and the presentation triggered him.
Then he relaxed and we enjoyed the rest of our lunch. But, before we moved on, I made sure he understood that, with me, he could never have a fundamentalist complementation marriage. That I will not "obey" him. Thankfully, he does want an equal relationship and he explained that he wants his wife to please him but, in the same way, he also wants to please his wife. He wants my involvement. I know this is very true as he has always, not only listened to me, but he has also sought out my opinions. We have functioned as an equal team and he does want that to continue.
I know he was just triggered, so it really wasn't important to go into all of that, but this is too important an area for me, so I have to review it any time it comes up. If he tries to control me, it will backfire and I don't want that to happen. Thankfully, he isn't a controlling person either, its just dogma that he's heard. He isn't a fundy, but he did listen to a fundy church service from the states last week. I asked him to turn it off once I realized that it was a fear based church instead of a Jesus focused one and he did.
Anyway, we left to go to the church 30 minutes early because there was a break in the rain. This meant we sat through half the sermon again. Being in french, that was quite fun for me.
After this service, I met another one of his cousins. Her husband had filmed the presentation on his phone and says he'll send it to us. We hung out with them for a bit and then went to another cafe for some more tea. This time, the presentation was going to be after the music, so we only had to wait an hour. When we went back, I sat in the lobby for the duration of the music. It was awesome. I could hear the music without being in pain and really enjoyed it. Now, I just have to figure out how to make it socially acceptable for me to sit in the lobby during the music... The fiancé knows all about my injuries caused my my daughter repeatedly screaming in my ear, but I'm not going to explain it to anyone else. hmm, I'll have to figure out how to make this work.
Thankfully, a friend attended this service so each time I got nervous during the presentation, I just looked at her. Because of that I was quite able to enjoy myself. :)
As we left the church though, I realized how stressful the three presentations had been because I just felt an insane amount of relief. The stress just fell off me. He also completely relaxed. Then he told me that now that it's announced, he can't back out. This makes it official and permanent. Interesting. Made him happy though.
It's already early evening and he has to work early in the morning so I was surprised when he said he needed to go to his sister's house and his mom would be there too. When we transferred metros to go the wrong direction, I realized I'd misunderstood which sister. I thought it was the one in town. Instead we were going to the one that was an hour south. I double-checked with him as this would mean a very late night, but I was happy as it also meant we were going to the sister that I haven't seen yet this summer and she's the one I'm closest to.
When we got there, Big sis ran to me and hugged me, swung me around and wouldn't let go of my hand. She told me she was SO happy. Last year when we met (on our fourth date), she said "hi, sister-in-law." I asked her how she knew, why had she had called me sis-in-law last year when he'd only just met me. She told me it's because she knows her brother. That he's a one-woman man and she knew immediately that he'd found the one woman for him. She said he's a good man, very giving, always helping others, that more than anyone in the world, even more than her parents, he'd taken care of her and as they are the oldest two in the family, they are the closest. She knows him better than anyone in the world and since she knows her brother, she knew immediately that I was the one and that we would make it.
The moment she called me her sis-in-law is the moment I knew this was a real relationship. Just because I am a sister of a brother so I knew exactly what she meant when she said that last year. But it was awesome to hear her confirm that tonight.
I got to meet his brother, sis-in-law and kids. They just moved here from Guadalupe. The fiancé was so happy that we got to meet. It was interesting. Their creole is more frenchified than haitian creole so I could understand the creole that the family spoke when they were part of the conversation.
Then, big sis's hubby pulled out a bottle of champagne. We got to have a mini- engagement party! The mama called me her daughter and Madame D. They walked us back to the RER and we caught a train at nearly 10pm. This would make for a 17 hour day. But, it was oh, so worth it!
Yesterday was just us, today La France, tomorrow the world!