The 8th Wonder of My World

It was on this very day 8 years ago that an improbable union was formed against all odds and in defiance of so many who “knew” better.

They said it was a bad idea. Too risky.

They said I knew nothing about her.

They wanted to know why I had to go “over there.” Why couldn’t she “come here?”

They said I was crazy.

Well…they may have been right about that last part.

Some tried to throw a wrench into the works up until the day of our marriage.

But it didn’t work.

We prevailed.

We married, and here we are today, sharing our lives with you.

So on this 8th marking of that glorious day, let’s rewind a bit, and see how this all went down.

Many of you know that we met on Facebook back in 2008, I living in San Francisco and she in Kazakhstan. If you’re not familiar with that part of the story, it’s summed up here.

Nearly two years later, I quit my job in San Francisco, sold all of my belongings and moved to Qatar to be with Handan. It was my first time seeing her in person. I had to pinch myself. How did this wondrous thing happen to me?

Our time in Qatar was brief, and then we traveled to America to be married. It was Handan’s first time in The States and her first step towards becoming an American citizen.

After a short stay in New England, we lit out for Turkey and parts unknown.

I met the other half of my family for the first time.

And then the Little Guy from Kazakhstan came for a visit.

My son. My son. I had to let that sink in.

I had a son!

Our time with our son was too short. He had to go back to Kazakhstan to start school.

And we had to fly into a war zone. It would be our home for the next year.

Afghanistan. It was an incredible adventure.

This was where we lived.

And it was perfect.

No matter where we went or where we go, we always seem to end up with little ones to care for.

This woman who was my wife became My Babes, and she was everything to me.

And she still is.

After Afghanistan, we spent some time unwinding along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. We could finally relax.

I went diving with my babes.

We swam with dolphins. Who could ever forget that experience?

The best part was that our boy was back with us, if only temporarily.

We said goodbye to the boy and moved to Vietnam. He’d be joining us soon, but it wouldn’t be soon enough for his mother. When he finally did join us a few months later, it was for good. We’d never be apart again.

Ah, Vietnam. We could have lived there forever!

But it wasn’t meant to be, and we were thrust into India – a land of unparalleled beauty and incomprehensible squalor.

After six months, we’d had enough of India, and we moved to America.

We started a new life here.

My dearest wife and son started down the path towards citizenship.

We began to explore this new land.

And we started to figure out how to live our lives here in America on our own terms, doing it ourselves, making it our way.

The Navage Patch was born, and it became more than a blog.

It became our way of life.

And I am the luckiest guy on the planet for it.

Because my wife, my Handan, my Babes is the 8th wonder of my world. She has no equal, and nothing compares.

I love her so much, and I look forward to marking 64 more years as her husband and her babes and her best friend.

Happy Anniversary, My Babes!

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  1. Aw i’m so glad you two met, it was your destiny to be soul mates .The perfect couple, funny clever, lovely people. Long may you reign in your king/queendom with your little prince and the fur balls (dogs) xx

  2. Awwwww! I love this post, so sweet, so heart touching, and tear jerking. As a wife, and mom, I could not stop crying for such expressions of love. I am happy for you and your cute family. I can see, (in your pictures to) the love you two have for each other. So cool! Although I know my hubby love me, as I him, but after reading and feeling your love for each other, I must tell my hubby we need to up our game. Keep loving and growing together as one. ??

  3. I never miss your emails, because of the delightful writing style and the content, but you outdid yourself today. Love and partnership and friendship all in one’s own “wonder” is truly a treasure and a blessing.

  4. It’s a fairy tale through and through. You and Handan were meant to be together and it didn’t matter how far apart you started off – or how loud the naysayers were; nothing was going to keep you apart πŸ™‚ I’m not sure if this is the anniversary of the day you met in person, or the day you married, but happy anniversary to you both. You two are the epitome of happily ever after!

  5. What a beautiful story and so sweet. Congratulations to all of you! Good luck with your American adventure.

  6. I never tire of your story. You touch every one you have contact with and leave them blessed. Happy, Happy Anniversary, Handan and Greg! I am so glad we met!

  7. If all men could express themselves like you do there would be almost no divorces, less wars and WAY more love in the world.
    Thanks for letting us into your world and hearts πŸ™‚

  8. Wait for me…add me to that growing list…here’s wishing you all “Happily Ever After!!!” p.s. My hubs and I saw one another less than a dozen times and we’re celebrating #47 in October!!! franki

  9. It is not easy to bring tears to my eyes, but this sure did!! Congratulations to you both! I love how much you love each other. Here’s to many, many many, more years of wedded bliss together!

  10. I knew I was going to cry when I read the title,this old widow misses the bond between husband and wife and you and handan have one of the closest I have ever seen, much love to you both, I have to go blow my nose now xx

  11. Congratulations on your Anniversary. Wishing you three many more happy years. Love getting to get a glimpse of your lives in your blog. Keep up the good times.

  12. What a sweet post. The photos say it all, really, the happiness and love between all 2 of you is evident. Happy anniversary!

  13. So sweet is your story. You two are a great couple and I do hope you have 64+ years left to be together. You have a great looking family also. Happy Anniversary!

  14. Love your post. Since we will be celebrating our 50th this year, I hope my husband feels the same about me! Happy Anniversary,

  15. Destiny, Kismet, Fate, Global Warming! Whatever forces drew the two of you together never stood a chance against what you both have accomplished and achieved for yourselves. In addition, you both strive to make the world a better place – one project – one post – one conversation at a time. It is a fun to share a small corner of your world. In friendship – we offer our heartfelt congratuations!

  16. Happy Anniversary! You have had such a wonderful, full, and adventurous 8 years! Congratulations to Handan and son for their citizenship! I came here at age 2 and didn’t get my citizenship until I was 38!
    I will need to read further about why you lived in so many wonderful places.
    You are proof that a lasting love CAN be found on the internet! πŸ™‚

  17. Happy Anniversary to you both! Thank you for sharing your lives with us through your amazing blog. By the way, my husband and I also had naysayers, 34 years later, still going strong! Keep on going guys! P.S. I may have cried a little reading this post. ?

  18. What a blessing and amazing match! Happy Belated Anniversary! So happy God blessed you with a great woman and a son. I can tell you from my own experience that a child born of the heart is loved exactly like having your own….the love is no different and is an unbeatable!
    I’ve just became a reader of the Navage Patch blog a couple weeks ago, after reading a couple of your stories I was hooked. I love the way I feel like I’m transported through the blog as if you were standing there talking to y’all! Your travels are definitely dream worthy!!! Hope you have many many many years together and the blog grows by leaps and bounds!!!

    *Blessings to y’all*
    Erica Smith

    1. Thank you so much, Erica! You’re right – I am very blessed to have Handan and Barish in my life. Welcome to The Navage Patch – we hope to hear more from you!

  19. Congratulations, wish you many, many years. 48 yrs for my husband and I this year. I enjoy your blog so much.

  20. Love your story! You are a beautiful couple. What I love the most about the story is that you didn’t listen to the ‘Nay Sayers’ and followed your gut! I hope that what people take away from this beautiful love story that they should always listen to their intuition even if no one else ‘gets it’. Happy for you guys! Wishing you a LIFETIME of Joy, Happiness, Love, Health and prosperity!

    1. That is so true, Revital! The world would be a happier place if people learned to trust their intuitions instead of following along with “group think.”

  21. So today I’m crying instead of laughing! How wonderful to be loved so much and to have it expressed so beautifully. It makes my heart sing!

  22. You are both beautiful inside and out. The smiles and stars in your eyes in the photos say it all. Wishing you an eternity of love, laughs and little things to take care of. Sending so much love from the tips of Africa.

  23. Wow, you received a lot of responses on this post! And let me add mine. πŸ™‚

    Keep up the good work – marriage is work, isn’t it? But SO worth it! I have a “my babes” too although I call him babydoll. Not sure that is appropriate for me to call him, but I do it anyway. It kind of morphed from doll, which I would say to him in the same way the character on the Andy Griffith show said to Barney – “Oh Barney, you’re a doll!”

    We had naysayers too, we married young and people thought it was kind of ridiculous, but here we are over 30 years later. I can’t imagine anyone else, through thick and thin, through speaking and not speaking, he is all I want.

    Blessings to you for many more years, for courage, strength, for love and respect. Love the smiles and the twinkles in your eyes!

    1. Thank you, Kathy. This is an excellent comment, and you are so right. It takes work. It takes compromise. It takes growth and change. But in the end, it is so worth it!

  24. And they say there is no faith in life… There is a Romanian saying: “Munte cu munte se intilnesc, daramite om cu om”; translated: mountain with mountain meet, let alone man and man.
    You were lucky to meet each other and form a wonder! Wishing you happiness and health!