As I (April)was approaching my 30th birthday, I knew I had to find someone who I could share my life with. I am from the Philippines and being Catholic is important to me. To get married in the Catholic Church is a great blessing. I was watching EWTN when I discovered that Catholics have their own dating websites too. So, I joined Catholic Match in 2004.
I met some nice gentlemen in the site. I met a couple of them face to face while I was vacationing in the United States. So, don’t fret if you don’t meet “the one” right away. Just enjoy meeting new people who share our love for God.
It was Dec. 15, 2005 when I sent a “smile” to Mark, bachelor #110962. He responded. It was his commitment as a volunteer that got my attention. Oh well, and his bald head too.
It took us a couple of months of emails before we started chatting. And another a month or two before we really talked via internet. In March or April 2008, I asked him if he wanted to come out to the Philippines to meet. Later, Mark told me that he was waiting for another month or two to ask if he could fly out to the Philippines to meet. But he wasn’t ready to book a flight then. So we kept on emailing and chatting. One thing that got me trusting him was that when we chat, it was also via video and there would be times that I would meet his mother, his nieces, his friends.
In the summer of 2006, Mark announced that he got a great deal from an airline to travel in September. I shocked my parents when I told them I was expecting a guest. (Ok, I didn’t tell them until it was a month before he was scheduled to arrive.) Our first F2F was in Sept. 3, 2006. We spent the week talking more, going on sightseeing trips and he met a considerable number of people in my family. (That means he hasn’t met the whole town yet.) Everything was just so awkward at the first time Mark came. But my family warmed up to him eventually. A year was too long a gap for another trip to Philippines so I suggested to him that I am willing to go there and meet his family too. (Now it’s my turn.) Before that, he came to get me and spent another week in the Philippines. This time, my family was comfortable with him and he met more family and friends. And best of all, got to meet my students. (I teach piano.)
Before we went back to the U.S. together, I had the surprise of my life! Mark proposed to me. And on the beach! Of course I said yes, accompanied with all the tears.
We went to California where he had to meet my grandparents and aunts and more cousins and then to New York to meet more one more cousin and his family. My cousin and his family accompanied me to New Jersey on March 30, 2007 when I first met Mark’s family. So, for two months, I was back and forth New Jersey and New York, getting to know my future husband better and preparing for the wedding. Well, we couldn’t do much right away since I had to fix my papers to become a legal resident of the U.S. I went back home in June of 2007 and waited for my papers to be processed and then called by the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines. It took about almost six months before I heard of any progress. Talk about pressure! We were already thinking of wedding dates. But we couldn’t confirm wedding dates until I had all my medical checkups and interview done. On Feb. 4, 2008, I went for my K1 (Fiancée visa) interview. I thought it would be very difficult. But you know what? As long as you are doing it for the right thing and tell the truth, nothing will ever hinder you.
We got married as soon as soon as I arrived in the U.S. Of course, we thought we would just do the civil marriage at first and have the Church wedding in the Philippines later but it never felt right. So we ended up with two Catholic Church weddings. Our wedding in the U.S. March 29, 2008 and our Philippine wedding last Oct. 11, 2008. We were so glad to celebrate them with both sides of the family. Both weddings had its own different and unique tradition that it was all worth it.
Our daughter, Amelia, was born April 25, 2009. It was both joyous and tragic. I had a difficult delivery. I lost a lot of blood and was rushed to the ICU and my heart weakened. But after months of medication, I am now well and my heart is back to normal. Now 10 months old, my baby girl is growing up fast.
I am not going to the very details of my ordeal. Let’s just say it was difficult taking care of a baby and at the same time I was taking heart medications. Not to mention dealing with those baby blues too. What we went through, both me and husband, especially the emotional times were very stressful but he stuck by me through my most difficult moments. Through sickness and in health…..This I can say I married the right person. God was with us and still with us and I know God will watch over us the rest of our lives.