Hello everyone! If you haven’t figured it out yet, we have a rather unique story and would love to share it with you.
We’ll talk a little bit about our early years before we met but most of this will be about “our” story. Let’s be honest, that’s what you most want to know anyways, right?
How in the world did some red-headed kid from South Dakota end up marrying a beautiful girl from South Africa?!? It’s pretty crazy how it all happened but in order to find out, you must continue reading!
Don’t worry, we’ll let you in on our current lives and the future as well!
As an important note, we are unashamed followers of Jesus Christ and his orchestration of our lives is an integral part of our story. If you’d like to ask us good-natured, well-intentioned questions about our faith, even if you disagree with our beliefs, we’d love to engage with you over on this page.
The Early Years
Hezel: For most of my childhood I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. I was the fourth child out of five girls and one boy.
That is a beautiful city and I really do miss it. The weather is just about perfect year round and the ocean is always a short walk away and the sushi is amazing!
I started college in Cape Town studying law but put that on hold for a variety of reasons. Now that I’m in America I am studying part-time to be an elementary teacher.
Dustin: I grew up in a small town in South Dakota. I had a high school graduating class of 27.
I grew up with two younger sisters who are all grown up now…weird.
I went to college at Washington University in St. Louis where I got a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and a Masters of Social Work.
I love to travel and it was a trip to South Africa that cause Hezel and my paths to cross!
How We Met
This is where our story gets really interesting! Dustin is usually the one who ends up telling the story when people ask, so we’ll tell it from his perspective.
D: I had just graduated from grad school and had a two-week vacation planned to South Africa. Fortunately for me, my plans fell through and I had to improvise my agenda while I was there.
I was acquaintances with one person from South Africa so I reached out to her for help. She hooked me up with some friends to stay with in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
While in Cape Town the person I was staying with couldn’t really do anything with me. To keep me busy and show me around she recruited one of her best friends to keep me busy and show me around their beautiful city.
You guessed it! This “best friend” was the girl I knew I was going to marry as soon as I met her. The next week and a half was basically the best “blind date” a man could ask for!
H: I guess I’d have to admit…I kind of liked him too
D: Long story short, I went back home after my two weeks with every intention of sorting some stuff out so I could get myself into a good enough place to ask her to be my girlfriend and, eventually, my wife.
The Move (x2)
Why is there a “x2” in this heading? Well, it’s because we had two big moves to be together.
H: Our initial plan was for Dustin to move to Cape Town semi-permanently. That fell through when he was unable to work out the visa situation. After only three months of us being together, he had to return to the United States. 🙁
D: This three months was good though. It allowed me to get to know her family, ask her dad for permission to marry her (scary), and pop the question! (We’ll have more on this in a later post maybe…let us know in the comments if you’d like us to share our engagement story!)
H: Since South Africa wasn’t going to work out for us to be together, the next step was for me to come to the United States…to good old, flat, cold South Dakota!
It took a few months for us to get the paperwork sorted out and applications in and approved by USCIS.
D: I think this was probably one of the most stressful points in my life. I didn’t want to mess anything up with the VISA process. I was super nervous and very thorough in my paperwork.
My mother was also very sick with cancer (Stage IV breast cancer that had metastasized into her brain) and, more than anything, I wanted her to be able to see me get married before she was too sick to know what was going on.
H: We were blessed to have our application process and approval go faster than normal. I was on a flight to South Dakota within a couple months.