Pete always wanted to tell people that we fell in love under the Kenyan skies. I told that sounds beautiful and romantic but we fell in love in Middlesex, NJ.
When Pete and I were dating, we went on a mission trip to Nairobi, Kenya. We were two people on the worship team for a pastors conference. Our team was comprised of members of Middlesex Presbyterian Church. Pete on bass guitar and I was on vocals. The guitar player, Don played for Pete's memorial. His wife, Pam came over to walk and talk just days after Pete died. The leader of the team and pianist, Ted was the best man at our wedding. Ted's wife was in my wedding party and has written a beautiful book filled with her photographs coupled with scripture called These Greatest Gifts. These folks, along with Laura (my roommate at the time), John who wrote a beautiful ode to Pete in his death, Danny (who was an 8th grader in my youth group), Al (whom Pete called "Cous" as in Cousin), Al's wife Linda and Vicki (tambourine player extraordinaire).
Pete likes to tell this story about how we were deciding whether or not we were really dating. Was this really a thing? I mean from my perspective, "who just dates a single dad?" You don't. Well, I don't. This whole "I'm falling in love with Pete Scibienski, who has a 13 year old and an 18 year old" wasn't something to be uncertain about. And so as we were headed to Kenya, we decided we would be serious about the mission trip, cool it a little on our relationship and see where we were on the other side of Kenya.
But a funny thing happened in Kenya. I fell in love. And so did he.
We drank coffee each evening on the veranda outside of the Nairobi Hotel. And we talked and talked the way you do when you're falling in love. Stories after stories of childhood and embarrassing truths you save for the one you hope will hold those stories in trust for you.
On one of our days away from the conference, we visited a giraffe respite, a hospital of sorts. Folks collect hurt giraffes and mend them back to health. And we got to see them up close and personal.
And on the last night, we stood under the Kenyan sky, he took me in his arms and kissed me. And that was when I decided I would marry him and commit to his sons, my stepsons Dan and Joe. It was in Kenya that I fell in love.