An (un)romantic anniversary

11 Jul

On Thursday we celebrated our wedding anniversary. Our anniversaries are becoming notorious for not being celebrated the ‘typical’ way (if there should be such a thing). I would assume that they should be characterized by romance, candle-lit dinner, cuddles…

However, here is how we celebrated our 10th year anniversary.

The american book version:

We are already on a family holiday in Klein Kariba. Imagine nature, horse-riding, quad-biking, warm pools, little chalets, wild animals in the bushes outside your window. What more could we want for our anniversary? An afternoon without the children maybe??!! So we left our three children with Oupa and Ouma and left the resort early afternoon. We took a little drive to a place called Carousel Casino. It’s an old Casino that was already opened long before gambling was allowed in South Africa. We first sat down at the coffee shop and enjoyed a lovely Cafe Mocha. We then tempted fate and gambled (**shocked face**) a small amount of money. After losing everything ( all our R80), we decided to go for a drive towards Pretoria to try and find a nice(r) restaurant. The sun was setting by then and the sky was stunningly orange. How romantic! We however decided to  come back to the Carousel Casino when we realised that the drive back would be too long and too dangerous at night. We gambled another small amount of money. Kchin Kchin!!!! I nearly made back everything I had lost but bitten by the bug, I carried on and lost everything (**shocked face, again**). We then went for dinner at the italian restaurant in the Carousel and enjoyed a long chat over pizzas, thinking about the few couples that had played a significant role in our marriage. God has really blessed us in our marriage in many different ways. Reflecting on these years, we really thank the Lord for bringing in the right people at the right time. We finally made our way back home and found our offspring fast asleep.

 The french movie version:

We are already in Klein Kariba. The nature reserve is absolutely beautiful and the days are lovely and warm. The nights, on the other hand, are freezing cold. I miss my fireplace!! On thursday, we celebrated our anniversary. 10 years, a roller coster of a decade together!! Now what does one do to celebrate a wedding anniversary when you are in the middle of nowhere and you don’t have enough money to spend for a night in one of those luxurious spa resorts? The closest place we could find was, wait for it, Carousel Casino! You might not know it but Carousel Casino used to be very popular, … 15 years ago when gambling was still forbidden in South Africa. Nowadays, no one drives to Carousel Casino from Pretoria to have a gambling experience. It’s deserted and only frequented by, sadly, people that should not spend any money on gambling. As we arrived, middle of the week, middle of the afternoon, it was Phillip, myself and the staff.

There is something to say about a place that looked abandoned but that still

requires a metal detector and a sign that says “Please hand in your firearm here”. We sat down at the ONLY coffee shop and had something to warm us up and help us recover from the shock of how disastrous this place was. Do you also like the pink?? We decided that we couldn’t stay there for the evening. There was one restaurant only, an italian restaurant which looked reasonable but was still closed. Before we left for greener pasture, we took our chances with the slot machines. There’s a system with a card and points to decipher. After looking like total morons in front of the machine and almost asking for help to the old lady next to us, we eventually managed to lose our whole R80 in barely 20 minutes! We then left and decided to push through to Pretoria. The sun was setting and spoiled us with a magnificent sunset like you only see in the bushvelt. But sure enough, after the sunset comes the DARK. Really really dark. There is no light on the N1, apart from the light of the other crazy drivers. Phillip – who is usually not easily scared – started to feel really uncomfortable at the idea of coming back on this road late at night. And me – who is usually easily petrified – didn’t take long to say “Turn around, we’re not going”. Turn around we did and our only option was then to try that amazing-looking italian restaurant which, sigh of relief, was opened. By then, we spent more money on tolls and parking that I ever did on any given day! We came back to the same desolated Carousel. We felt sorry-for-ourselves enough to gamble another few rands. I had an great experience with light, loud music and wheel of fortune moment and made all my money back… if only the bug had not bitten and if I had stopped playing. Sadly, I carried on and lost all my money! The restaurant was italian by name only. It is also on its way out, the manager assured us. The pizza was average but at least better that the decaf cappucino (which I can only imagine to be ‘milk without coffee’). We then headed home, relieved that we were ‘home’ safe, and almost sane.


The honest version:

These two versions are both true and not true. It’s all about how you experience it, I guess. For us, our anniversaries have become a bit of a joke. For the past 4 years, this celebration usually starts with a mini fight over where to go for dinner and somehow always end up with either a deserted restaurant, or a bad culinary experience. Last year we went to Simon restaurant in Constantia. Lovely place, lovely food. It was us, the bad waiter and a table of half drunk girl-night-out . The year before, in France, moroccan restaurant. Lovely setting, lovely food. The only people there. Previous year in France. Popular restaurant on the harbour shore. Fully crowded with smoking people. Average food and terrible service…

On thursday we really hit a new low. We managed to find a horrible place that was deserted AND have an unsatisfying food moment. We however let go of the fight ( we had the fight over what to do before the actual date) and took it on the comic side of life. This is the kind of memory that I will remember – and treasure – more than any good culinary moment. The Carousel Casino is a horrible place. It’s sad, semi-abandoned, kitch and feels dirty. BUT I really enjoyed my gambling experience and wished I had more money to play waste. We did have a lovely time over dinner reflecting back on these 10 years we spent together and felt so grateful for the work that the Lord has done in our marriage.  Fortunately, the way we celebrate our anniversaries is not a reflection of what our marriage is like. Pfew, that’s a relief! I’ll keep on taking bad ‘7th of July’ if the Lord grants us many more happily married years.

…but, just in case he reads it, a mediterranean cruise would go down well too 🙂


2 Responses to “An (un)romantic anniversary”

  1. samestoy July 13, 2011 at 2:25 am #

    I am writing a book called “So…How Did You Meet Anyway?” It is a collection of people’s “how we met” stories.
    I have posted the stories which have been sent in on;
    So…How Did You Meet Anyway?
    I am always shopping for stories and I would like to add yours. Please check out the site, and if you would like to contribute your “how we met” story contact me at;
    And if you would like any more information about the upcoming book, here is a link to a television interview I did in May.

    Take care and…congratulations!

  2. Cindy July 11, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    I loved this post!! Well done on 10 long years, you guys are a true example to us. At least the next celebration can only get better! xox

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