"Some things happen just like that, suddenly. For the outsiders, the change is at times inexplicable. To the ones inside, it’s just the flowing of all the right elements with the right energy, in a silent manner, but in the right way. Most people tend to call those things ‘a miracle’”.
I have sang so many songs of love over the years, that I feel compelled to write this post to talk about love, as a way to share with you the wonderful miracle that is happening in my life and to announce you the great news: I just got married to a handsome, smart, loving man with a heart of gold and the ways of a true gentleman, whom not only I love and loves me dearly and it’s incredibly compatible with me, but is also incredibly supportive of everything that I am doing.
And with that combination, my life, that was already awesome, has just become even better.
That compatibility thing…
I never though I would find him. I really had given up on finding anyone, and was ready to continue my life as a happily single person.
And the reason is, that in such an international city as Houston, compatibility can be a tricky thing to find. Imagine: Houston. All the nationalities to choose and pick from. All personalities different. And a Venezuelan.. in Houston. But a Venezuelan that had a very marked scientific side for a long time, in addition to an artistic side, and that was now artist in transition from part time to full time.
True compatibility seemed like an impossible thing to attain, as I knew that I could not be with someone strictly scientific or strictly artistic. And just as importantly, the compatibility that I was looking for was one that also included a match in common sense, in habits, in decision-making processes, in ways of expressing affection, in your relationship with the spiritual, and.. a common language. And, it was imperative that that person not only enjoyed jazz, but lived it. Just as imperative that that person supported my new venture as a full time artist, even in the midst of uncertainty. Ah, and that person needed to be in Houston. Not anywhere else.
I know that can seem impossible, and now you understand why I had completely given up. In the past, I had my trials and clashes by not really being clear of what was and was not going to work with me. It was always based on attraction. But now I had a list. It was very clear and very specific set of about 40 non-negotiable points that extended from the most superficial things to the most transcendental ones. And I was not going to settle for less.
And then he came
A friend of his invited him to one of my shows at Petit Cafe back in March. I don’t remember having seeing him on that occasion, but he left me his email in my guest book. It was two days before I departed to Venezuela, where I was about to spend about a month helping my adoptive mother, Adela, through a severe health crisis. After that show, I didn’t get a chance to add his email from the guest book to my list, as I always do after each show, because of the rush of the trip.
So after I returned, the next show came and he didn’t get notified; but he found his ways to knowing when it was happening, and that evening on Friday of April 17, I found him sitting down at the first row of tables closest to the stage, by himself, very early before the show even started.
I didn’t know who he was, and his sitting there seemed strange to me, but there was something really attractive and special about him. I kept setting up my singing equipment as I tried to ignore his presence.
Eventually that night, a common friend introduced us, and upon finally adding him to my email list, we continued the conversation over email.
A fast ride and a handful of fortunate happenings
At the beginning it was just conversation about jazz and and jazz venues. A coincidental meeting at a supermarket. An invitation from him to go to a jazz jam, which I couldn’t do, and a first outing to a jazz concert at an open park in downtown Houston. A picnic on the grass over a perfect evening of May. And from there it was a fast ride uphill to more and more dates, experiences and special moments.
And the discovery process. The strange surprise of realizing, coincidentally, how similar he was to all the things that I had on my list, from those superficial things to the transcendental ones. One by one, to my amazement, I was able to check each of those things. It didn’t happen all in one day, but as days went through, it was clear and it was impressive. And it was also great to realize that as we knew each other more, we felt more attraction, more respect, and more admiration for each other.
He, being from Brazil, had a trip planned to visit his family there in July and he wanted me to go with him. I said yes.
A Honeymoon before the wedding
Soon enough we found each other swimming in the tempered Atlantic waters that surround Ilhabela, an island off the coast of Brazil close to São Paulo, during the Brazil’s wintery but sunny month of July; having all the time to ourselves and exploring the green, the blue, the flowers and the dawns of the beautiful Ilhabela and later in Copacabana and Ipanema in Brazil. I met his friends and family in São Paulo, which helped me answer any left over points and confirm my own perceptions. And by then it was clear to both that we felt perfectly happy in each other’s company, and that we wanted to continue in each other’s company for a long, long time. We started talking about how would we make it happen when the times were rough. When we disagreed. When things were not rosy and one of us had a bad day. And it seemed we were ok with all that and that we had a plan. And that we both came in with the right intentions. And then it was all clear.
- “I can hear bells ringing”
That phrase It came like a whisper in my mind, on the very first date that we had. Call it premonition. Call it body language reading. Whatever it was, one week after we came back from Brazil he proposed marriage at my pianist’s house during a rehearsal. I knew it was coming, I just didn’t know when, and it did get me by surprise. He did it as we were singing Corcovado together, a song that we have adopted as personal.
We decided that for our wedding we wanted to do something really intimate, small, very far away from a big production, and two weeks later we were getting married at a little chapel in the middle of the Hill Country just outside of Austin TX, with over 20 people as guests. It was on August 14. And everything fell into place. We had lots of help from our friends and from the Universe, and what seemed impossible happened smoothly. We prepared our wedding in only two weeks. And we got married five months after him stepping into Petit Cafe that first time.
And the bells rang!
A final note
As I reflect on this experience I can only be incredibly thankful to the Universe for providing him and myself with the incredible gift of having found each other. I am also thankful for all the previous good and not-so-good experiences in my past, because they helped me clarify what I wanted and what did not want in my life. It feels that once I knew what I wanted and I expressed it in words, the Universe decided that I was ready to receive it. And it made it happen.
This is a story about learning how to trust. Learning how to wait. And learning how to ask. I have decided to open up and share it with you all hoping that in the best of the cases, it benefits you, and if not at least entertain you or inform you. Many of my circle of acquaintances were shocked when they heard the news and could not understand anything, how did it happen in such a short period of time. And then, once they get to know him, they realize why we are together.
But I have also decided to share this because this is my personal love story. Not sure if I’ll ever get to put it into a song. But regardless, love is not only something that is talked about in songs. Love happens.
Thank you for reading.
Raquel Cepeda | Houston Jazz Singer
Photo Credit on top: Joseph Grey
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