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"The Accidental Tourist" or "Pie And Tacos"

"Have a great workout, ... Anna" were the first words I ever uttered to my very soon to be wife. I said them as I handed her membership card back to her, after I had scanned it in. As you might have guessed, I was a receptionist at a health club in a lofty part of San Diego, California.

But we might as well have been on passing airplanes, one on its way to Paris and the other, to Flatbush. I am Mexican, from Mexico. There is a difference. Anna, Oh boy. Anna is every prom queen from every High School in history. Tall, blonde and beautiful. And not only that, she is highly educated. A masters in deaf education and a teacher that works with deaf-special needs children. Lutheran? Yes. German-American? You bet! In short, a demi goddess. Athena in bike shorts and a scrunchie. Every "Brett's" and "Chad's" equal and mate on Noah's ark.

Me? an emigrant that had at that point, been in the country less than five years. A meager education, a humble family, poor professional prospects and a bum knee. Oh, and broke.

Our love began as friendship. But one day, when I learned that she would be traveling to Japan, and the far east for a month, I decided to Carpe all over her Diem and ask her out. Now, my self confidence must have been on acid but I did. Other than our mutual like of French films and maybe a zip code, we had nothing at all in common.

And so, we began to date when she came back. I met her mother the day of our first date and like Anna, a halo hovered inches above her scalp. A truly lovely woman. The only thing me and this lovely woman ever were at odds with was the question of my citizenship. I am not one. She thought I should be. Why? She never was able to articulate it so I had to assume it was an emotional issue with her. What possible good emotion can be linked with Xenophobia, I thought? But the jury is still out on that.

The biggest conflict we have had over the years has been me and God. Although in childhood I had been devoutly Catholic, I was a confused agnostic when we met. Anna grew up Lutheran and could trace her roots back to Germany and has had every inch of her life in that church. So one of the first and strongest disclaimers Anna ever presented me with was "my husband will sit with me in church." Every other difference was smoothed out in time but the one that was as firm as diamonds was "my husband will sit with me in church".....

I began going to church with her about two years into the relationship. By that point I had been promoted from a receptionist to head receptionist. And from head receptionist to Service Manager. I was all of a sudden "Mr." whatever. But me and God were like distant relatives and we had not been on speaking terms for years. Beginning a dialog with Him was like picking up the phone and talking to your estranged parent. It was too humbling and difficult a prospect to take for a very proud man such as me. Another year and a half went by and we got engaged. By then, I was very strong in my career and was being groomed for a district position. Things that I had never dared dream about were all of a sudden within my scope of possibility: financial security, a house, a decent family, respectability.

But me and God were still not speaking and Anna stood very firm to her principle. And it was out of love too. How would you like to meet the person of your dreams and not know if they are going to BE with you forever -- because of pride? I realized I would have to take a step towards God and find out for myself if I indeed was as sure of my shaky belief as Anna was of her faith in Christ. I was fortunate enough to go to a class given by an ex-Muslim that gave me the Doubting Thomas point of view on God, Christ and salvation. It made a lot of sense. But a decision like your faith, in whatever it is, is an emotional one, not logical. I needed a sign. A point of decision that would need to be spontaneous and unsolicited from me.

I had one night what can only be described as an epiphany. It was a dream. And before all you pseudo shrinks get Freudian on me, hear me out. I was in a police station. Outside, posters of a new messiah were everywhere like Big Brother. A policeman asked me under hot lights "who is your Lord?" I stammered and said "Jesus Christ is, Jesus Christ is my Lord." I woke up and cried.

Two or three days later, I was promoted to a district position. Career, country, our very different cultures and sometimes even language. All these obstacles were manageable. But God was the one thing that I most needed as a person and needed in Anna's and my life.

Our wedding is in exactly two weeks. The wedding itself is going to be a mish mash of correctness and naughty fun. We are having tacos for the main course and apple pie for dessert.





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