Thursday, February 6, 2014

Happy Birthday Boyet

Today is a very special day. It's my husband's birthday. Many of you know bits and pieces about him. Today I'd like to explain to you all of the reasons why I was willing to fly halfway around the world to meet this man that stole my heart while playing poker on Facebook. 

Zynga Texas Hold'Em Poker where Shalunya and Boyet met.

So how did this cute Filipino go from just some guy at the poker table to the love of my life? He made me laugh. Then he reached in and touched my soul. As we sat at the poker table that first evening we began chatting with each other in the chat box. He was telling silly jokes if my memory serves me correctly. After the jokes, we also discussed the basics like age, location, employment, etc. I explained that I was not currently working but focusing on my complicated medical condition full time. I explained that I was working hard to remain hopeful and optimistic in the face of adversity. He said to me, "I will always carry your story with me." It was just a simple statement to remind himself to remain positive. For me, it was a realization that I had touched someone at the very core of their being. 

Boyet's profile picture that Shalunya fell for.

We became poker buddies, then Facebook friends, and eventually we began sending IMs on Skype. Then one night I was struggling with a brutal migraine and needed to give myself an injection. He was curious about my symptoms, my treatments and how I managed such a complicated disease. I explained that if he really wanted to know I would show him what my treatment options consisted of.  He agreed and our first video chat began. He bravely watched as I stuck a wide 1.5 inch needle all the way into the top of my thigh. He continued to video with me until the drugs helped me fall asleep. From that day forward any time we were both home we were Skyping with each other. We spent hours getting to know each other, listening to each others' stories, talking about our hopes and our dreams. We watched funny YouTube videos together, listened to music together, folded laundry together, played more poker and we got to know everything about each other. Since he was living and working in Doha, Qatar we were in vastly different time zones so we often found ourselves watching the other sleep. We spent hours upon hours in front of our computers. 

Shalunya plays Sims 3 while watching Boyet sleep. 

After months and months of chatting daily. He invited me to meet him in the Philippines as he was going home for vacation. That was the most nerve wracking flight I have ever taken in my life. It was a huge leap of faith for me; but he was worth it. I knew I would need to meet his family and see where he was from if we were to ever become what we dreamed we could become. After 30+ hours of traveling I arrived in the Manila airport and he wasn't there. Then I realized there was no one there. There were no people waiting for people getting off the plane. So I followed everyone else as they left the airport. Hmmmmm, he wasn't outside either. I was beginning to get worried. I noticed that everyone was going across 5-6 lanes of traffic and into this concrete walkway. Again I blindly followed them into this walkway and down this curved ramp. I looked into this sea of faces and his was the first one I saw. I was relieved, thrilled, excited, anxious and nervous all at the same time. I made my way over to him and he gave me the best hug of my life. 

The first picture of Boyet and Shalunya. (Humidity is a brutal beauty foe, it will always win!)
His family gave me the warmest welcome and lovingly accepted me. All of his family speaks English, as well as Tagalog so communication wasn't an issue. My Mother-n-law speaks very little English; but we do just fine together because we share a love for the same man. I spent five weeks with Boyet and his family. We quickly realized that we were truly meant to be together for the rest of our lives. I was blessed to meet his beautiful daughters and be able to form a bond with each of them. They are such beautiful young women who stole my heart. I miss them terribly and am so blessed by everything about them.  

Boyet and his beautiful daughters

We managed to steal away for a weekend on Boracay, a very popular tourist destination similar to the Caribbean. We had an ocean view room with a balcony overlooking the pool and just beyond a beautiful white sandy beach We spent time walking along the beach, watching sunsets and just being in love. 

Boyet in Boracay

The more time I spent in his world, the more I got to know him and the more I fell in love. I became part of his family and his country became my home. The hardest thing I ever had to do was to leave him and the girls to come back to America. When I arrived back in the states I began the paperwork for Boyet to immigrate to America.  After a year of waiting for his visa, we met again in the Philippines and I brought my son along with me. My Critter met his sisters and they met their kuya (big brother). His family welcomed him as warmly as they welcomed me. We had become part of a beautiful family with a blending of cultures, differences, religions and lots of love. 

 Critter (Shalunya's son), Shalunya, and the girls (Boyet's daughters)

In July of 2012 after knowing each other for 2 years, Boyet's visa was granted and he finally flew to Oklahoma to be with me. Just like that silly new tv show, 90 day fiance, we had to marry within 90 days of his arrival into America. Although there was none of the goofy drama like the show. We were just grateful to know the wait was finally over. We have been married since August 2012 and we are now working on the process of bringing our girls to America. 

Boyet's arrival in America

Boyet, you have captured my heart, broadened my horizons, shown me the world, treated me with unending kindness, and taught me about unconditional love. You've always been so understanding about my illness and so patient with my challenges. I tease you a lot about it taking God 12 years to perfect a man for me; but God knew what he was doing when he put you in my life. I knew you were the right man for me when you took such beautiful care of me, gently laid your hands on me, and prayed to God for my relief from pain when my body had collapsed from excruciating pain. The immigration process has been more challenging than we ever imagined; but it's worth every ounce of heartache we experienced. I know that the rest of my life with you will be filled with joy, wonder, beauty and love. I look forward to watching our family grow and to growing old with you. Thank you for showing me how beautiful love truly is. You remind me that my strength is deep, my trust is quick, my faith is strong, my heart is big and my love is true. In short you make me a better version of myself. I love you with all my heart and my future is all yours, Bebi. Happy Birthday My Love. 

Boyet and Shalunya on their wedding day

A Fairy Tale Begins
I packed my bags,
For a journey unknown,
Butterflies set flight,
As I travel alone.

I board the plane,
My destination clear,
As the story unfolds,
Its ending, I fear.

The hours spent lost,
Deep in my thought,
With a hopeful dream,
Happiness I sought.

What lies ahead,
Only time will tell,
A happy beginning,
Or in misery dwell.

My heart beats wildly,
The plane touches ground,
Now discover I will,
If my future I've found.

From the plane I step,
Into warm island air,
As I begin searching,
My heart is in prayer.

In a crowd of faces,
Faith, my silent plea,
My fear evaporates,
When his face I see.

Anxiety now soothed,
Smiles beaming bright,
The first touch is magic,
Our future is bright.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear from you.