Love is a verb.
It is about giving, and about letting go and sacrifice. This is what I have learned from my family and what I would like to share with you. This is from my heart and quite an emotional topic for me. My sister Andrea got married in Uganda last Sunday to a beautiful Ugandan man named Haril Kazindra. It was spectacular… and an opportunity for our entire family to unite under the guiding principals of Love. My gorgeous sisters wedding and her relationship with Haril provides the backdrop for this love story of family, of the Pauline family.
I am the oldest of four girls. My parents Geno and Pat Pauline are incredible people in their own ways. My mother is vibrant, energetic (an understatement), kind, and witty while my father is a soft-spoken, humble, generous teddy bear. Together they raised four incredibly different ladies. Jenna, Leah, Andrea, and myself.
After I graduated from college and moved to China in 2007, HUGE geographical barriers have divided our family. I was only in China for a year when Andrea and Leah (who have always been best friends) went Uganda together, spreading our family among three continents. The US, Asia, and Africa. Since that time, getting all six of us together has been a rarity. When it does happen we do our best to fill it with quality time because when you live so far away, every minute counts.
Leah, Andrea and Haril have been together in Uganda for nearly five years working on developing and growing Musana, a miraculous community development organization. This summer their relationships will reach a crescendo. Andrea and Haril have been married. Leah will soon be leaving to pursue her masters degree. Musana continues to grow leaps and bounds.
Change is abundant.
People always ask us girls what our parents did to raise us so “international” or why we all “escaped” abroad. We were given a balance of freedom and love. I know it hasn’t been easy for our parents and yet, they would never say so. They have always trusted our judgment, our hearts, and above anything they have wanted to see us happy, regardless of what the consequences are for themselves. This is love. Andrea and Haril’s wedding in Uganda was an example of this. Let me explain…
My dad is nearly seventy and had only been outside of the US to Mexico before his daughters started migrating away. In the last three years he has seen China, Italy, and recently made it to Uganda. He made this trip so he could walk Andrea down the isle.
My dad, having never been to Musana (due to health issues and some reasonable fears) finally made the trip 8,600 miles away from home. I know that this was one of the hardest things for him to do in his life. For my mom, who is full of energy and is constantly trotting around the globe, the ceremony wasn’t so difficult, but for my dad… I know it was hard. We are all aware of what this marriage means for our family. In order to see our Andrea, her husband (and their destined to be beautiful babies) we must travel the distance, and this will not always be easy. However, we are thrilled to see Andrea happy and to have gained Haril, an amazing man, along with his large, wonderful Ugandan family.
With the Pauline’s and the Kazindra’s uniting we have become a part Ugandan and them a part American. It is marvelous.
We all welcome the change because of love. We are certain that God has a fantastical plan for Andrea and Haril in Uganda.
I have seen my parents act with the ultimate form of love by letting Andrea go with a genuine smile knowing that she is in good hands. Our family continues to operate in this way, loving from a far. It has been hard to accept that the natural state of the Pauline family is to exist thousands of miles apart… however, we have been taught so many valuable lessons about what love really is from the experiences we have had.
To end this love story on a superbly cheesy note… I love you family… and welcome into it Haril! 😉