It was a shock!
Thankfully, I didn’t follow her advice
Recently I wrote a series of articles about my Russian friend, Val. I wrote that I had planned to go to Russia and visit Val in 1990. As it turned out, I canceled my trip to Russia because I met Feyma and wanted to go to the Philippines to meet in person and spend time with her.
I went to the Philippines at the end of July 1990. A couple of weeks before my trip to the Philippines, I decided to go and visit my Grandma. Grandma lived about 4 hours away, and I tried to go visit her a few times per year. For most of my life, we lived very far from Grandma, so I didn’t always get to go visit her.
Not many people knew about my Philippine plans
I had been writing letters (snail mail) to Feyma for about 6 months. There was no internet (for the public) at that time. It was pretty much only available to the Military and Universities. Probably other government agencies too, I suppose. So, snail mail it was. Feyma’s family did not have a phone, so that was not an option.
After a few months of writing, I had pretty much decided that I wanted to marry Feyma. I could just tell that she was a special person. After thinking this for a while I told a few people.
- My Parents
- A few very close friends
Nobody else knew that I was thinking of getting married. I just figured I better go to the Philippines and then I would know for sure.
Trip to visit Grandma
So, I headed north to visit my Grandma a couple of weeks before my trip to the Philippines.
I told my Grandma that I would be making a trip to the Philippines to visit a friend there. Grandma was very suspicious about this trip, inquisitive I guess is another word that would describe her reaction. We talked and talked about it. She asked me lots of questions, and I just said that I was going to visit a friend there, which was true.
Then my grandma said it!
Don’t you go over there and get married!
Huh? I asked her what would make her say that? Her reason for saying that was logical, though. She said:
You know I live near a Navy base. A lot of those sailors come back from the Philippines with wives.
What could I say? I just kind of jokingly said, “Well, you never know, I guess!”
That was pretty much the end of that topic of conversation.
My Philippine Journey begins
I arrived in Manila, the Philippines on July 26, 1990, around Midnight. I would meet Feyma in Cebu, where she was going to college and living with an Aunt and Uncle there during her studies. Bright and early on the next morning, I headed back to the airport and flew to Cebu, about an hour flight.
I met Feyma at the Cebu Airport, which was a tiny, dumpy little place back in those days (it’s a beautiful International Airport now). I met her there at the airport, and everything went very well. The words from my Grandma were weighing on me, though.
Feyma didn’t know what my Grandma had said, but I knew I wanted to let her know, so she would be prepared if we got married and she met my Grandma, I was not sure how Grandma would react to Feyma in that event. I thought she might be against Feyma.
Almost immediately I knew Feyma was the one
It didn’t take long, probably the first day that we met in person, I knew that I wanted to marry Feyma. When I did ask Feyma to marry me, she immediately asked me a question:
Will your family accept me? We are not the same race and from different cultures.
My parents already knew that it was a possibility that Feyma and I would get married, and they were supportive of that. In fact, Mom and Dad loved Feyma. I had shared some of our letters with them, and like me, they had already fallen in love with Feyma. I told Feyma how my parents felt, and she was happy about that. But, I still had to tell Feyma what Grandma had said.
Explaining the words to Feyma
So, I told Feyma. I told her that my Grandma had warned me not to get married in the Philippines. I explained to Feyma that I was not sure if Grandma was really serious, and would dislike Feyma, or if it was just sort of an off-the-cuff remark, and there would be no problems.
It was something that each of us worried about a bit, but we decided that it would not get in the way of our desire to be married.
So, I’ll write one more installment to this article, our first trip to visit Grandma. What happened? Well, you’ll have to wait until the next article, but what happened might surprise you!