Clara Tait, 29, a teacher living in the UK, met Nkosi Kerr, 31, on holiday in Tobago. They got married this year

When Claras family were planning a holiday to celebrate a series of milestones and anniversaries, they each put their dream destination into a hat and her mother pulled out Tobago. And so, in April 2014, Clara spent two weeks on the Caribbean island with her parents and sister. Clara and her mother decided to stay on for a bit longer, moving out of the resort and into a guesthouse in a village. One day, they visited the rainforest and met Nkosi, who had just started a new job as a tour guide there. He offered to take them into the forest but Claras mother didnt want to do a tour. When they came out, Nkosi was still there, and Claras mother offered him a lift.

What should have been a 20-minute drive turned into an all-day trip, with Nkosi showing them around the island. What did they talk about? I would have just shown off about Tobago, says Nkosi, with a laugh. Clara says: I was feeling really shy. I think my mum was doing most of the talking.

They had all got on so well that Nkosi invited Clara and her mother for breakfast the next morning at the house he had built. That, for me, was like: Wow, this persons really cool, says Clara. I felt drawn to you then. My mum must have picked up on it because she was like: Well, Id better take her home now before I leave her here for ever.

What did Clara like about him? I wasnt used to someone being so genuine, she says. Boyfriends in the past always had an image of themselves they wanted to portray and Nkosi seemed so open and honest, and it was quite disarming to meet such a pure heart. He wasnt flirty at all, just warm to me and my mum. Was he keen on Clara? He says he didnt want to seem too forward, but I thought: I like this girl.

Clara
Clara and Nkosi got married in Tobago, and hope to live together in the UK. Photograph: Naomi Quan

The next day, Nkosi took them out on a boat trip with his friend. I could feel that Nkosi, just the way he helped me on to the boat, was just a bit more tactile, Clara remembers. He laughs. What do you mean? You gave me your hand to help me on to the boat and I was like: Thats not really necessary. Back at the harbour, they got a beer and sat down together alone for the first time. We had this nice talk about what we think about the world and whats important to us, says Clara. Nkosi says: There was a connection.

He took Clara and her mother to the airport the following day, having exchanged numbers and email addresses but not sure if they would ever see each other again. I didnt worry, says Nkosi. Because I think everything is going to happen as its meant to.

For two years they talked on the phone, online and, towards the end of that period, by video calls. By then they were talking every day. Around then, says Clara, I felt I loved him. I had a job and the means to come and see him again, so I booked a two-week holiday in Easter 2016.

When they met at the airport, she says, it felt like being with family, it felt so comfortable straight away. Nkosi says: I was happy. We were in a position where you cant analyse it. You just have to know it, and I knew. We had to make it happen. Clara, he says, inspires me to be the best I can be. For her, Nkosi really calms me down and grounds me because Im someone who is quite analytical.

A few months later, Nkosi came to the UK so he could meet her family and friends. Clara waited at Gatwick for him. Hours passed. Finally I got a call, about five or six hours after his plane landed, saying he was being detained and questioned. She was interviewed a couple of times on the phone, sitting in an airport cafe. Eventually they told me he was going to be sent back to Trinidad and Tobago, that they werent satisfied that he was coming here on a holiday to see his girlfriend.

Clara managed to find out where Nkosi was being held and, having missed the visiting hours, she pleaded to be able to see him. She was told she had 15 minutes. It was pretty bittersweet, she says. The obstacles to being together, says Nkosi, made me work harder that became the inspiration.

Clara had qualified as a primary school teacher and for the next two years went to Tobago every school holiday. Nkosi tried again to come to the UK last year. This time, despite being questioned for several hours again, he was allowed to enter. When he got through, I was almost delirious with happiness, says Clara.

They got married earlier this year in Tobago and are hoping to live in the UK together. My mum sent Nkosi a picture of me working on our visa application, says Clara, and he texted her back saying: Thanks for everything especially that lift. It really did change both of our lives.

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Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

 

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