Sierra Leone Weddings: Fredanna and Mike

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In April 2012, Mike was looking at profiles on an online dating site (Match.com) when he happend upon Fredanna’s detailed site. Mike read the entire profile, that included her love for God, her desire to travel, her need to try new things and a litany of her likes and dislikes.

Mike, enamored by her pictures and thankfully undaunted by her lengthy profile, he decided to take the initiative and sent Fredanna a quick message. Mesmerized by Mike’s blue-green eyes that were framed by the longest lashes she had ever seen, she continued to read the rest of Mike’s profile and was happy to note that he loved pooches, enjoyed traveling and most importantly, he was looking for a spiritual woman. They started communicating regularly, which led to long conversations over the phone.

The two finally decided to go out on a date. The conversation was easy and fluid. Fredanna found Mike to be attentive and witty and it appeared that the two were on track for a second date. However, when true to form, Fredanna decided to take a sample of food from Mike’s plate, it was possible that Mike may have had second thoughts because it was a definite no-no in his book. Unaware of Milke’s peculiarities but cognizant that Mike enjoyed her company, Fredanna agreed to go out on a second date with Mike. They had frozen yogurt, where once again, Fredanna insisted on sampling Mike’s flavor. At that point Mike realized that sharing and Fredanna were a package deal, something he has since learned to accept.

Throughout their journey together, Fredanna has understood that Mike likes simple, straightforward things in life, while Mike understands that Fredanna is part of a boisterous Sierra Leone family. They have learned about each others’ culture, traveled to new places and sampled interesting cuisines. Mike even eats hummus, Indian food and groundnut soup! Fredanna still refuses to eat meat though but she compromises in other ways; she has learned that foods do not always need a lot of pepper for them to taste good. Seasonings make the spice.

They have enjoyed meeting and hanging out with each others’ families. When Mike decided to make his intentions official, Mike and Fredanna traveled to North Carolina, where he found out the Sierra Leone protocol (thank you Aunty Cleo and Uncle Henry). Mike wrote a letter to Fredanna’s father to ask for her hand in marriage. Fredanna’s father gave his blessing four months later. Fredanna’s father made Mike wait even after spending one week with Mike on a cruise (where Mike had no other place to go) and an additional week at Disney World. Well, there must be magic at Magic Kingdom because a mere three weeks after Orlando, Fredanna’s father gave Mike the go ahead to “proceed accordingly.”

So, after a year and a half of dating, Mike invited Fredanna to walk Guinness at the beach. With her newly washed mane and not at all prepared for the midmorning walk, Fredanna agreed to the walk and they bundled up Guinness and headed to Huntington Beach State Park. They spent the morning collecting shells and watching Guinness running down the beach, trying to outrun the waves but to no avail. As they were about to leave and Fredanna finally got Guinness by her side, Mike handed her a dog tag and asked if she could put it on Guinness’ collar. When Fredanna looked down, she noticed her name on the tag. Well, in Mike’s romantic manner, the tag read “Fredanna, Will You Marry Me?” Before Mike had time to get down on one knee, Fredanna was already hugging him with excitement. Mike pulled out a beautiful Irish Claddagh ring, and asked Fredanna to marry him. Of course, she said yes! The ring symbolizes love (heart); friendship (hands holding heart) and loyalty (crown), which epitomizes their journey.