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OMG : ) 20 years married!

Feb 21, 2023

I married very young, to my understanding. If you would have told me that I’ll marry at the age of 25 I would have slapped you : ). Seriously. I wasn’t considering marriage at all. Then I met this guy underneath the cherry blossom trees on the company site of Kanebo food in Takatsuki, Osaka, Japan. He was in a relationship he didn’t take oh so seriously. I was in a relationship I took very seriously. First we started to hang out as friends. Long conversations even though I could barely speak Japanese and he didn’t speak any English…(best thing, so that my Japanese improved exponentially and when he came to Switzerland Swiss people had to speak German to him and couldn’t switch to English as soon as they see an asian man…so he could practice…) we played frisbee at the river and went out for dinner just as friends. But over time we realized, THIS could be something REALLY really good. I felt sooooo sorry for my boyfriend back home but I didn’t want to be reasonable. I knew. THIS could be IT. 

My then boyfriend who is one of the most amazing people on this planet was very calm on this phone and told me: “Do whatever you want over there and let’s check in when you are back.”

I knew: Maybe after this summer I have NO man in my life because this Japanese dream guy might say: “Byebye, was a lovely time with you, now go back to Switzerland, but I’m not coming” aaand my boyfriend in Switzerland would have all the reasons to say: “I don’t want you back in any means, have a great life.”

Well, you know the outcome of this story and I am SOOOO thankful that I chose the unreasonable path but the one which was feeling like the illuminated little side track into a glorious future.

In the Joy Academy we often do a meditation where you imagine you and your invisible team (yeah, they are GREAT and supporting you all day long) are creating a golden bubble with all the good intentions in it and together you let the bubble roll into the future like a bowling ball and it leaves a glittery golden track behind. So when you walk on your way into your future and you’re standing at a crossroad, you can always feel into this: “Which way did the golden bubble roll?”

My ex-boyfriend has 3 kids now and got together with his now wife shortly after we broke up for real when I came home from Japan. They knew each other for a long time already. During our relationship I always told my boyfriend: “She and you have a connection, I can feel it!” He always laughed. I liked her alot, her charisma was great.

So when we ran into each other in Zurich a few months after we broke up, he smirked and asked me: “Did you hear who’s my girlfriend now?” I knew immediately : ) : ) : ) it literally didn’t take me a second to connect the dots and I was soooo happy for him!

Destiny? The big plan hit? I think so. I believe so. And sometimes destiny needs you to take the uneasy road for a while. Our road was for sure not easy and the uncommon one with his generosity to let me start my relationship with Ken while I was actually not yet out of the one before… If he would have broken up with me on the phone, that would have been totally ok too! And he didn’t. We did it our way. Very, very grownuppy for our age back then…and now we are both with our partners for 22 years. WOW!

And your wedding Ronja? How was the proposal?

No such thing. We knew: We don’t want any more airport goodbyes, they break us. Do we want to stay together? YES! Ok, so let’s get married then.

When I came back from Japan in September 2001 (right after 9/11 and a week before Swiss Air grounded…my flight ticket would have been worth nothing after that) I went to my favorite and the only Japanese grocery store in Zurich and asked the owner who I really liked: How can my Japanese boyfriend immigrate to Switzerland?

He asked: “Is he working in an international company with a domicile in Switzerland?”

Me: “No.”

Him: “Is he a chef?”

Me: “No.”

Him: “Ok, then you have to marry or forget him.”

Oookeeeey… not the answers I was hoping for.

Organizing the visa for the wedding was a wild journey in itself. The three most impressive documents I had to hand in: 

  1. Proof of a contract for a living place rented by myself - I was living in a shared apartment and the contract was not on my name. My father wrote a letter to state that if we two would become homeless, he would provide shelter. 
  2. Proof of a regular income to provide for us two - I was still a student with no income besides a little gig at a bar which paid for my room. My father (oh how I love him) wrote a statement that he would pay for us so that we wouldn’t have to rely on welfare. 
  3. Again my father gave the guarantee over 20,000 Swiss Francs (about the same amount in USD) that if Ken would become a criminal and where to go underground, the funds to catch and deport him would be covered. 

My friends met Ken, when he came over for 3 months in 2002 to check out “this Switzerland” and to find out if he really could imagine living here. He had to quit his safe job at the chewing gum factory for that. His father was NOT amused. His mother was very supportive. I knew… this man is giving up his job over here, we’re basically married already. We already exchanged rings (50 bucks supermarket rings) at the frisbee playing spot at the river, soooo it wasn’t a “let’s see what happens” decision. It was just a possibility to back out if he would hate everything and everyone in my life.

You can tell. He didn’t. All of my friends fell in love with him too. Even though they couldn’t have a conversation, because Ken couldn’t speak English and not German yet. But you know when you know that you like somebody, right?

Our wedding was taking place one year later. Ken went back home after 3 wonderful months in Switzerland where he really liked the shared apartment fun with the 3 guys I was living with. May I mention drinking games with blowing on a deck of cards on top of a liquor bottle in turns and as soon as the rest of the deck falls down you have to drink? The common opinion is that Japanese are weak drinkers. Well, they mostly are but Ken’s family is an exception. When I was coming home from my bar-gig one night, I was finding a very tipsy Ken in a very good mood and 3 super drunken flatmates laying around moaning: “What kind of monster is THIS!??” Hahaaaa… one of my favorite memories.

Ken went back and got 3 part time jobs at once to bring in money for our start together and I was studying process engineering, food technology, microbiology, human nutrition, wine- & beer-production and cheese-production for my graduation as a food engineer. After the last test was finally over, I flew to Takatsuki to “pick Ken up” with my empty backpack so that he could fit in his belongings for this “overseas move”.

Twenty minutes before our wedding appointment Ken was still in his apron making sushi (he’s laughing at these sushis so hard now as he became a sushi chef in Switzerland at his first job). We married at the civil registries office in the parish hall, next to my childhood library where I basically lived all of my school years. The dining room of my parents was our venue. 20 seats. Not that many for our favorite people. There were a few angry reactions from partners who were not invited, because they are partners of my friends but not MY close friend. And then there were our two chefs, a couple who didn’t get an invitation and their reaction was: “Oh, can we cook your wedding dinner then?” We are still so thankful for this great gesture and they are GREAT chefs.

We never should feel forced to “should invite” anybody to ANY party. Of course if our budget and venue would have been five times as big, I wouldn’t be a jerk and not include partners of my friends… BUT with 20 seats…I don’t even ask for your understanding.

We had a GREAT evening with great food and great wine and great fun… February 21, 2003. 

Time flew by and I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that it’s really 20 years ago…that little, wonderful wedding party.

Ski vacations are our favorite and when Mika was little I decided that I really want a time out as a family without any cooking or dishwashing duties but with awesome ski teachers and kids club so that Ken & I have time together on the slopes ALONE : ).

On top of that every year at our wedding anniversary I get a decorated table with rose petals and candles (Ken couldn’t care less ;) :) even though he was totally the designer of our wedding table-pattern) in the gorgeous dining hall of Hotel Castell in the Swiss mountains. I love, love, love that so much, you can see how I glow on these pics.

That’s it. Now you know EVERYTHING. : ) I don’t write The END because this is only the beginning. I knew back then in Japan: “I can see myself sitting next to this guy at 80 years old and feel so good.” There is no guarantee for any relationship and certainly not at all for an international relationship with the culture shock included. BUT Japanese and Swiss people match big time in general and Ken and I match in particular.

Do you want relationship advice? Do you have questions? Let me know. I happily answer them in another email AND I’m not an expert : ). The biggest advice I have for anyone is to love yourself the MOST and become your fullest self so that you don’t need “a better half” at all, you are whole on your own. If nobody else NEEDS to make you happy, but you take full responsibility for your happiness, THEN all relationships become sooo easy.

You know where you can learn about and build that relationship with yourself, to create self-trust, self-love, self-confidence and JOY for yourself so that you can share it abundantly with others… that’s right: Book the Joy Academy. If you have any questions about this one year long journey where you are guided to find what’s “missing” from your already pretty good life so that you can experience more joy and lightness every single day - LET me know. Or book a discovery call her.

Have a great day and start into your new week ahead

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