Love without borders

Their story might be the script for romantic movie but it’s even better because it’s real.

Her name is Lenedge. His name is Jani. She is from Republic of South Africa. He is from Macedonia. Already sounds interesting? Read further…

They met for the first time on 29th January 2013 on the cruise ship where Jani worked as a casino manager. From the very first moment Jani wanted to get to know more this mystery lady who captured his attention so intensely. Like in many romantic stories their first talk was a bit nasty. But they had a chance to meet once again on the stairs, on the last day of cruise. This time the chat was more friendly and pleasant. At the end of conversation Lenedge gave Jani her e-mail address to keep the contact. Jani didn’t hesitate too long to write to the women that he just saw. The reply came after three days, just when Lenedge got back to her home in Johannesburg.And then machine just started… Writing e-mails every day, getting know each other, becoming friends and finally falling in love.


“Is it the real love? We say I love you by e-mail but we just met once…”- they wondered. The couple sent to each other 360 mails,they remember the exact number till now. Both got used to daily messages, they couldn’t start and finish day without reading the mail from the beloved person. The next opportunity to meet was at the beginning of March in Durban, South Africa. And then once more, in Cape Town.After two months of separation they finally met in Europe again.On the way to holiday both faced some problems but happily they found themselves. Together traveled around the Europe, they visited Spain, France, Italy, enjoying every day and the beauty of places. This short vacation just ensured them how big the power of their love is and they can count on each other even in difficult situations. However, the couple had to wait for another meeting, this time almost 3 months. In the meantime Jani already bought the ring and planned everything. He proposed to Lenedge in the place where they kissed for the first time. Having support from other guests who were calling “say yes!”, Lenedge couldn’t give other answer than yes.


It passed only a few weeks since engagement when they got married. Except love the thing that pushed them to hurry up with wedding was expiry date of Jani’s visa. Being separated again? At last they wanted to be freely together. The day of the wedding was crazy, no time for hair dresser, for informing the family, buying bands. Only them and close friends who were their witnesses. Without all this glory party that they do not even like so much. Lenedge took the first, navy blue dress that came to her hands. What was a surprise to her was when it turned out that Jani had a suit in the same colour. It made this day even more special. It was September 2013, a few months after they found each other on the ship.

Both families accepted the mixed marriage without any problems. For 4 years they lived together with her sons in Republic of South Africa. Due to some reasons they decided to come to Macedonia this year. Initially just to try but already 7 months lapsed since they arrived in Skopje. When they compare the living in both countries, one of the most important things is safety. Unfortunately, South Africa is famous for high crime rate and you need watch out on the streets every time. Jani didn’t find it easy but with time he adjusted to the specific character of the country.

Living in Macedonia is surely a challenge for the family, especially to Lenedge who has never been here before. First thing that she observed and surprised the most is the low economical development of the country.What is more, as an English native speaker she noticed that the level of language skills of local people is still average which sometimes makes things a bit difficult but in general it’s nothing more than challenge.Macedonian language is still problematic issue but the lady has an ambitious to take part in course and speak better in native language of her husband.

On the other hand, the thing that entranced Lenedge is the hospitality and kindness of people here, their willingness to help and respect. Process of adaptation is still on but the family is eager to learn and having loved people around only make this process much easier.

At last, when I asked about the secret of happy marriage they looked themselves in the eyes and both agreed that essential features are patience and compromise. Even if the times are hard, you should not forget about the love to the person you chose and foster the feelings you have every day. Jani and Lenedge said once that they feel like their marriage last already for 30 years because they know everything about themselves. Nothing else remains than to wish them another happy 30 years together.

Paulina Gołębiowska

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