Friday, November 1, 2013

What Dreams are Made of

Welcome to Shalunya & Boyet where we celebrate the beauty in life, pray about the bad things and embrace friendship no matter where it comes from. This is very special blog post about dreaming, about dreaming big. It's about reaching for the stars and continuing to reach until you grasp that dream. 
My darling Filipino husband, then fiance, arrived in Oklahoma more than fifteen months ago with the goal of starting a new life with me in America. While  we  were struggling with immigration, employment frustrations and finances, Boyet was busy setting his goals high, much higher than most. As fate would have it, the Oklahoma City skyline had recently received an upgrade in the form of the Devon Energy Center, a sleek, glass structure soaring fifty stories above the city. The Devon Tower, as it's commonly called, added a new level of class and elegance to a simple, down-home city known for it's strong sense of community and its fierce determination to triumph over adversity. As soon as my husband discovered they were opening an exclusive restaurant, Vast, on the top floors of the Devon Energy Center, he knew that was where he was meant to be. 

In August of 2012, Boyet discovered that Vast was hosting a career fair in order to staff the restaurant even though they were still under construction at the time. Although Boyet did not yet have his Permanent Resident card, green card, he attended the job fair just to meet with those in charge of employment at Vast. His strong work ethic and easy disposition served him well. He had humbly advanced his career from banquet wait staff into the kitchen of a South African steak restaurant in Doha, Qatar which is where he found his passion and became a chef. He dedicated himself to learning the beauty of culinary art and continually worked to improve his skills. With confidence and hope for the future, he met with the Executive Chef and others to explain his international work experience. 

His easy smile and impressive resume made a great impression, Vast wanted to hire him. They felt his talents were exactly what their upscale restaurant needed. Before accepting the position, Boyet realized that he needed to explain one more thing to them. He told them that he was still waiting for his Permanent Resident card and unrestricted Social Security card which should be arriving in a few weeks. They wished him luck, shook his hand and handed him their business cards. Although, they wanted to hire him, legally they couldn't.  Dejected, Boyet walked away and silently vowed to himself that he would not cut his hair until he was able to don his chef's jacket and enter the kitchen at Vast. 

Weeks turned into months. His hair grew, thick and dark. The seasons came and went, leaving Boyet empty handed and empty hearted. More than a year passed and we were still waiting for his Permanent Resident card. Luckily, Boyet was able to get some work through a temporary staffing agency; but, in the meantime, Vast filled his skyline with untouchable dreams for the future. Although the temporary work gave us some money and him some sense of contribution; it wasn't igniting his passion. It wasn't fulfilling his dream. As time passed, his hopes waned and his hair grew. 

More than a year after that hopeful meeting at career fair for Vast, Boyet finally received his Permanent Resident card. After receiving his unrestricted Social Security card, he called the Executive Chef at Vast and they quickly set up another interview. The morning of the interview dawned bright and calm, Boyet walked the few blocks from my work in Midtown to the Devon tower while the sun reflected off her glassy sides warming his hopes once again. During the interview, they were delighted to see him again as they remembered why they'd previously been so impressed; but, Chef asked about his long hair. He explained his silent vow to not cut his hair until he received this job that he so desired. 

They looked him straight in the eye and said, "It's time to cut your hair." With that, my hopeful husband was offered the position of his dreams, the position that loomed over him every day. In a few short days, he will be getting his chef's jacket and working in a beautiful new restaurant overlooking his new home. His first year in America, the land of opportunity, has been anything but opportune. It's been full of government bureaucracy and hand wringing while waiting tirelessly to begin his American dream. Thankfully, dreams do come true and good things do come to those who wait; but opportunities are not found. They are created from sweat, tears, prayers and faith. I'm so proud of my husband. He's an amazing man with a heart of gold and a passion for food. Get ready, Oklahoma City, my husband promises to feed you well and I promise you he will do it with a heart worthy of being called Oklahoman. 

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