Remember when we were kids? There was a point in our childhood when we used to transform blankets into wedding dresses and dream of being a bride. We used to watch fairy tales and confidently tell ourselves “Someday, I’m going to meet my Prince Charming and marry him.”. Then, when we entered our teenage years, we started to practice writing our names with our apple of the eye’s last name; we fantasized about creating a family with them; we played FLAMES with our crush’s name and get so frustrated whenever we get “Angry”as a result. We used to do it over and over again as if doing it a hundred times over can change the result.
Back in grade school, I remember my teacher finding my love letter to my childhood crush. The note says “I love you, Mar__.” I was so embarassed. What do I know about love at seven years old? We used to think that love will come easy. That all we have to do is to leave a pair of shoe and let our prince find his way to us so we can start our happily ever after. As I grow older, life taught me that love isn’t the easiest thing to find. I am a late bloomer. I still played with Barbie Dolls when I was in high school. When I went to college, I still cried when my mom left me in my dormitory. But, when I started working abroad, though it was hard at first, I started to realize that I am a strong and independent woman. And being one made me believe that I don’t need a man to depend on. I can do things my own. Or atleast that’s what I tell myself.
I remember writing this blog post sometime in 2015, Cheeseburger.
Last night, I craved for a cheeseburger. I thought how nice it would be to have you around to buy me one. How easy and nice life would be if I have you as a constant run to person. A comfort zone. A secret hiding place. But instead, I found myself walking along the dark pavements of the street going to the nearest restaurant. I got myself a cheeseburger. After eating it, my craving isn’t satisfied. Then I realized, it wasn’t cheeseburger that I was craving for. I was craving for you.
No matter how independent we think we are, there will come a point in our life when we wish for someone. When my friends started getting married and having kids, I started to develop an unknown fear of the future. It might be because the society tells me so. I never had a boyfriend. I am not getting any younger. I didn’t even have a love interest. Some days I don’t mind being single, but some days, I have an intense longing. I have spent my single life going out with friends, shopping, doing what makes me happy and not being sorry for it. But as years went by, I slowly outgrew these things. My closet is full of clothes, bags, and shoes but that special area in my heart feels empty. It’s not that only a romantic love can fill that void in our hearts but I know it can make a difference. Our hearts have always been full the moment we let God in. And I believe that even God dreams of sharing our hearts with an angel on earth that He has prepared for us. Because God wants to see us happy. Because God uses people as an instrument of His unconditional love for us. But because I am a woman, I can’t court guys I like, I can only pray for them to like me back. And if they don’t, then they are not God’s best for me. All I can do is wait. Wait with joy. Wait with God. My season of waiting is not a walk in the park. I’ve had heartbreaks but I also realized my worth. I am God’s princess after all. I have found peace in waiting. Trusting God’s better plan. I let go and let God.
A lot of people tell me that maybe I have high standards. I just laugh whenever they tell me that. What do they know about my standards? I wrote my negotiables and non-negotiables. My standards are not high. My standards are just right.
I always tell myself and others that I want to marry at the age of 32. That if I will have to marry someone. I want to marry someone who loves his family especially his mom. I want to marry someone who’s intellectual and speaks really well. My aunts sometimes joke that I should find a news caster for a boyfriend.
Then, I met Arjay.
He was introduced to us as one of the newest Singles for Christ (SFC) member. He moved to Qatar from Manila and was integrated. When I heard him speak in front for the very first time, he speaks really well, I remember giving that “look” to my friend, Diana. A look that says “pwede!”. New crush mode activated. Then later on, I found out that Diana has a crush on him too. So I just gave way. Years passed, we forgot about him, made new crushes, and moved on with life…as a single person. A single and strong and independent woman. Arjay went on with his life, too. He pursued other girls. He didn’t have an eye for me. His heart got broken too. He embraced the pain, he moved on until he was healed.
Then, a brother told me (Hi, Bro. Tristan!); “I think you will have a GG (God’s Gift – a term use in SFC referring to a boyfriend or girlfriend) this year.”. The thought iself gave me butterflies. But, I don’t have anyone in mind. I don’t even know if I am ready for it. So I didn’t have expectations. Soon after, I moved to a new house. It was in the same compound where Arjay stays. A sister even joked and said “Uuuyyy, lumalapit sa pag-ibig.” I didn’t entertain that thought because first, Arjay is not my crush anymore; I even said that I find him boring. Second, we weren’t even close, he’s just an acquaintance. Lastly, I wasn’t focused on finding someone at that time. I was in my YOLO stage. I was busy enjoying my life.
Fast forward to that time in February 2017 when he invited me to join him, his family, and some of our friends who are in their house having tea. I was fighting jetlag at that time so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to join them. So I did. We had a great time. We made Valentine’s Day plans, he told me to come with them if I don’t have other plans. He started to constantly message me. Constant good mornings and good nights and anything in between. I told myself and my friends, I wasn’t ready for it. I had a butterfly riot in my stomach. My friends told me to just enjoy it and not to overthink things. But, I just can’t. He confessed that he likes me and wants to pursue me if I will allow him to. With all my strength, I gave him the go signal. Love is something new to me. We stumbled and failed many times so I decided to tell him to stop. He complied. We never saw each other for months, we never talked, not even a word. I won’t elaborate but those times were hard. Until God made a way for us to reconcile. God brought us back to each other.
Our relationship is not an ideal one. Sure, we fight a lot. We both have our shortcomings. We don’t always see eye to eye. We hurt each other unknowingly. But, as time passes by, we have learned how to deal with our differences, we learned how to understand each other, we learned how to compromise. Our love grows stronger. It is strong enough to endure every misunderstanding, to accept all our differences, and to surpass every challenge. We chose not to give up even if life tells us that it is the easiest thing to do. We made a promise not to give up on each other. We’ve been through a lot and we always remind ourselves that giving up is not an option. It will never be an option. Our relationship got better in time. Thank You, Lord. It has been God who is working for us and with us all along.
We used to talk about getting married. I used to daydream about the day that I will marry him. We weren’t even engaged but I asked him if it’s okay if I will start to write down wedding ideas. He said it’s fine. I bought a notebook and I started writing down wedding plans. But, I laugh whenever I do so. It’s funny, I wasn’t even engaged. So, I stopped. He had fake proposals. There was this one time while watching “A Walk To Remember”. When Landon proposed to Jaime, he re-enacted the scene and asked me to marry him. He said just because we didn’t have a ring doesn’t mean we’re not engaged. The ring is just a fad. I was so confused. Then, when we went to the Philippines for a vacation together. We were sitting under the stars when he started talking about how our wedding will be. I told him, “but, we weren’t even engaged yet.” and he started giving me lectures on how the ring is just a craze and not really a tradition. That people can get married even without a grand proposal. I just threw tantrums at him. A lot of people expected and assumed that he will propose in the Philippines. I never expected him to propose though there were moments and places that look perfect for a proposal. But I know him, he will not do what others are expecting him to do. In short, I came back to Doha without a ring on my finger. And I am totally okay with it, I know what we are and I am certain about our future together.
I told him about my dream proposal. I said I want it to be well documented and I want him to sing “Marry Your Daughter” to my dad. “Not gonna happen.”; he said. Whatever. Haha!
October is my birth month. My birthday is on October 6 and our anniversary is on the 8th. He told me to enjoy my birthday with friends and we’ll just have my birthday dinner on the 7th; just like last year. I said okay. Days before, he constantly reminds me about it. I asked him what should I wear. He didn’t tell me where we’re having dinner. He wants to keep it as a surprise. I told him I don’t want to be underdressed or overdressed. So, he took me to the mall and bought me a dress. He said that’s the appropriate dress to wear.
He encountered a lot of challenges along the way, he lost his car key so he ended up getting an uber to pick me up. I still have no idea where we’re going. I made a lot of guesses. We were heading to West Bay area. I saw a glimpse of Sheraton Hotel. Then I remember his promise to take me there someday. I was right. It was the fulfillment of his promise. We reached the Nusr-et Restaurant. I was greeted with a happy birthday song, a bouquet of red roses, and a whole lot of smoke for a dramatic effect. When we finished dinner, we headed out. He told me beforehand that he prepared an outdoor activity. The activity requires a blindfold. He blindfolded me. He told me to just trust him.
The activity goes like this:
While blinfolded, he asked me to rate my happiness at that point in my life. 10 being the highest and each number is equivalent to 10 steps. I told him 5, because my life is a balance of happiness and sadness. He told me to take 50 steps. After 50 steps, he asked me if I want to be happier. “Of course.”; I said. Then it was followed by a question, “What are you willing to do to be happier? Are you willing to take a risk and move forward?”. I thought about it and said yes. He asked me how many steps am I willing to take to be happier? At first, I said 20 more steps then decided to take 50 more so I can reach a hundred which is the perfect happiness. After 100 steps, we didn’t reach the venue so he quickly think of something to say just so I can take few more steps forward. He said, “Do you know that even if you already reached the perfect happines, you can still be happier?” Then he told me to take 10 more steps forward. Then he told me to sit down. I still had no idea where we are at that moment. I felt the couch. He sat beside me. He asked me about my realization regarding our activity. My realization was “In life, we can’t be stuck. If we want to be happier, we have to move forward. We have to take risks. We have to walk towards happiness and sometimes though we are already happy, we can still be happier.” Then he removed my blindfold. I was in awe of the place. It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was in a canopy by the beach with dim lights and with rose petals everywhere. It was a romantic spot.
In front of us is a projected video presentation. He played it. It was a slideshow of our photos. Too much memories flashing right before my very eyes. It truly moved me to tears looking back on our memories. Each photo tells a story. A flashback of our good and bad times. We’ve been through a lot and there we are sitting hand in hand as we watch the video presentation. I got really emotional. Right after the slideshow were videos of family and friends giving their vote. Shouting words like “It’s a YES for me!”, “Please say YES!”. My mind went blank. I didn’t get it at first. I was thinking that maybe it was for our anniversary. Then came our parents’ messages with “Marry Your Daughter” as a background song. I was ugly crying the whole time. Then, he asked me to stand up which I gladly did. He bent his knee, reached for my hand, he started to speak and cry his heart out. I couldn’t absorb everything. All I can remember is him saying “You have no idea how happy you make me. This is the very reason why despite all the pain that we went through, God brought us back to each other. Will you be Mrs. Diego? Will you marry me?”
I uglycried some more and cried again until he took the ring from his pocket and put it on my finger right after I responded with. “Yes. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.” Everything was followed with a lot of ugly crying.
Then 3 of my friends who documented everything popped out of nowhere and congratulated us. Thank you, Josh, Deej, and Diana.
Everything felt so surreal. We spent the night talking about how he managed to pull it off. I honor him for giving me that magical proposal. It is truly the most magical moment of my life. I don’t know what I did to deserve it but it is an affirmation that God sent me a man who will go out of his way to make me feel loved and special. To make me feel that he loves me with the love of the Lord. And, I love him just the same. We have come so far and we still have a long way to go.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu
As we gather all our strength and courage, please journey with us as we take the blessed sacrament of marriage.
The future isn’t a scary unknown anymore. The future is so much brighter. The future will soon make up for my past. My childhood roleplay will soon become a reality. If God wills it, then it is what’s best for us. I never thought that my heart can contain a love like this. Thank You, Lord!
The proposal video will be uploaded soon. Also, the wedding series section is up on my blog for my wedding planning journey. <3
Spreading the love,
PHOTO CREDITS: Josh, Diana, Deej <3
I used to picture out love like stars in the sky – shiny and extravagant. I used to believe that it will give us endless and constant butterflies in our stomach. I have pictured a fairy tale kind of love story. I have always been a damsel in distress waiting for a knight in shining armor to save me from the mess I am in. I imagined someone who will give me the moon and the stars in the sky. Who will do whatever it takes to win my heart. Who loves me like I have never been loved before.
I imagined waking up with flowers everyday. I imagined having someone whom I can call anytime of the day when I feel like the whole world is against me. I imagined myself never having to eat alone. I have always thought that it would put an end to my late night emotional breakdown when things get rough. I imagined seeing the world with the most important person beside me. I imagined someone who sees the best in me even at my worst. I imagined everyday reassurance and affirmation that I am doing just fine; that I am enough. I imagined love to be perfect and too big to contain. I have always thought that love’s extravagance will sweep me off my feet and will keep me wanting for more. I have dreamed of my happily ever after even before I met a prince.
I have waited twenty nine long years to get a taste of this thing called love. It was never a priority to me. I was contented with the company of family and friends. I am a strong and independent woman; a princess who wasn’t owned by a prince. I spent twenty nine years of solittude and for a time, I thought that I will never need a man to make my life more meaningful. Until one day, unexpectedly, someone brave enough knocked on my heart’s door and crashed the walls I have built around my heart for the past years of total independence. There he was, smiling the sweetest, his dimples making it a lot more sweeter.
Being new to it made it very challenging. I got a taste of what love is really all about. It’s not a walk in the park. It’s not about smelling flowers. It’s not about being in cloud nine. Butterflies in the stomach aren’t always there but a physically painful heartache is as real as it can be. I spent most nights crying. I have doubted and blamed myself. I have felt love sliding through my grasp. I had let go of it once no matter how much I wanted to keep it.
But love has its own way of finding its way back. Fortunately, God blessed the broken road and lead it back to where it should be.
Though I still secretly long for the extragance of love, I have also realized the warmth little things bring.
I value quality time. A lot. I believe quality time opens the door to more heartwarming moments. Togetherness brings comfort – the feeling of safety. Like nothing can harm you.
I love crashing into my Love’s arms when I am having a bad day.
I love overcoming challenges with him.
I love building dreams with him.
I love being enveloped in his arms. That’s the safest place I would want to be in.
I love reading little notes from him.
I love daily breakfast supply; not the food but the effort he puts in preparing it.
I love it when he holds my hand while he drives and when he kisses it everytime the traffic light turns red.
I love when we sing along together in the car.
I love sharing many good meals with him.
I love it whenever we talk about the future that seems so bright. It makes me wanna travel to the future as fast as I can.
I love it whenever I win over sleep because I know sleep for him is like air. It is essential to life.
I love sitting on the couch with him laughing at the silly things Vice Ganda says.
I love being silly with him and laughing with him.
I love our movie nights.
I love cuddling with him. I am always at peace.
I love seeing our picture as his wallpaper.
I love it whenever he encourages me to do something I believe I can’t.
I love knowing he’s excited to meet my family and friends.
I love how he makes me feel that his family is my family too.
I love how he looks forward in building our own family.
I love it whenever he silence my irrational thoughts and reminds me to have a little more faith in our love.
I love randome ILOVEYOUs.
I love seeing him happy. I love it whenever he smiles.
I love it whenever he assures me that he will love me despite my double chin and extra belly fat.
I love it whenever he surprises me with my favorite ice cream.
I love waking up to sweet good morning messages even though the sweetest goodnight message from last night is still fresh in my memory.
I love the little things he does for me.
I love every little thing we share.
I love having him around.
I love having him.
I love him.
The little things. The little moments. They are not little. They are truly the big things.
This is the only love I am longing for. Simple but heartwarming, assuring, understanding, accepting. Imperfect but real.
We owe it to the little things.
“Thank you for flying with Qatar Airways. Local Time is 11:20 in the evening…”
The pilot said his final announcement in a very monotonous voice. No sign of excitement for making it alive after a nine hours direct flight from the Philippines to Qatar. This best describes my feelings at that very moment. My cousin who traveled with me brought my carry on luggage down and I dragged it out of the plane.
Arrivals — Transfers
That sign welcomed us at the airport. It means my cousin and I had to part ways. My final destination is Doha while my cousin still have to wait for his flight bound to Oman. We stood under the sign and said our goodbyes then we turned our backs and went our separate ways. That’s it. The last person who makes me feel closer to home was out of my sight. Reality set in. I had to walk out of the airport alone. I am really back. Qatar and I have this love-hate relationship ever since. It has cradled me for the past nine years but it broke my heart countless times. But, I am here and I am back whether I like it or not. I stopped by a rest room to put on a red lipstick. I feel stronger when my lips are red. It hides whatever anxiety I am dealing with. The airport corridors were clear with people. My co-passengers are probably waiting for their luggages while I am walking alone on my way to the immigration. I appreciate that tiny moment of solitude. It helped me sink in the fact that I have to spend another year before I get to go home to my family again. I was staring blankly while walking until I reached the conveyor no. 3. I watched the luggages and boxes go round and round. I have been staring at the conveyor for a very long time and I didn’t get a sight of my boxes yet. I waited a little longer before I approached an airport officer to ask if the check-in baggages for flight QR 931 is in conveyor no. 3. Then he said, it’s in conveyor no. 8. I laughed at myself and started walking towards the right conveyor. My boxes were there enjoying their time circling around. I was the last one to get my baggages. I felt like I own the place. I took them out of the conveyor. I saw what my cousin wrote on my box before I left home. She wrote: #YourMomNeedsYou. Right there and then, I was reminded of my purpose. I am so ready to work harder and endure lonely days and nights again.
Okay, so I can no longer prolong my time. I pushed my cart out of the airport. In a big crowd, my eyes went looking for a familiar face. There he was, with shining eyes and a bouquet of flowers in his hand, greeted me with a big smile and wrapped me around his arms; the most comforting embrace. I told myself, “I am home.”. Being back doesn’t feel that bad anymore. The end of missing someone. And I am so proud on how we managed to endure two months of being away from each other. Thank You, Lord, for the grace.
A bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken was waiting for me when we got home. This made my comeback even more real. Haha! I came home to a messy (this is an understatement) house. I didn’t even know where I can sleep. I couldn’t stand seeing the house like that. It’s not very comforting especially when you are so tired. I put on new sheets and rested on the bed. I was so tired but I couldn’t get myself to sleep even though I was wide awake for the entire 9 hour flight. I got up and tried to declutter the house a bit. I tried to unpack some of my stuff. It was already six in the morning when I felt the need to go back to bed. I think I was able to sleep for two hours before I woke up chilling. I felt cold. Yes, I was right. I woke up with a high fever. Maybe I was just tired but I was sick for three days. Thank you for a very sweet welcome, Doha!
Well, being sick extended my vacation for three days. I never got the chance to enjoy it though because I was in bed feeling cold and sickly. I couldn’t even eat properly and catch up with people. After three days, I resumed to work. It’s not my favorite thing in the world. But, it is something that I will have to eventually face no matter how long I prolong it.
I have been here for two weeks now. I couldn’t believe it. A lot has happened over the past two weeks. I am back to dealing with lots of issues and anxieties. I have to face the same struggles at work. I have to keep moving forward no matter how much I miss home. I have to overcome challenges and inner battles. Did I mention that I have made Sesame Street’s “Elmo’s Song” viral in the office? I told them that that’s our happy song and when things get a little harder to bear in the office, just sing it and they will be happy. I can only hope that it’s effective because for me it is. (La la la la, Elmo’s world! La la la la, Elmo’s world!). I have also tried singing that while stuck in traffic with windows down just in case someone on the road is having a bad day. I just love being a wounded healer.
Until I came across the THE POWER OF NOW in the internet. It says, in our current situation, if we can do something about it, we have to do it now; if we can’t do anything about it, we have to let it go. I am still trying to figure out what to do. Sometimes life is just so confusing. I am still trying to sense where God is leading me. For now, I will just rest on God’s promise of a future full of hope. If I survived two weeks, I think I can survive more.
Will you pray the serenity prayer with me?
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
I have been in an emotional turmoil these past few months. It is crazy. I couldn’t even think straight. I am an emotional disaster in the most beautiful kind of way.
But, at the same time, a disaster is still a disaster. There’s no way to sugar coat it. I am a mess and it took me a lot of courage to admit that.
So, that’s it. There you go. I am a mess. What do we do now?
What did I do?
Even though I have heard a million times that isolation won’t help. I isolated myself countless times. I just know that I cannot stand being in a crowd.
So, I began choosing when to show up.
I tried to enjoy my own company in the comfort of my tiny room. And yes, I surprisingly did.
There were days I felt my room is a sanctuary. I never wanted to leave it.
But there were days I felt like it was a prison cell. I was confined with my own toxic thoughts.
Until one day, it consumed me. I became lost. I did everything to redeem myself.
I tried doing things that usually make me happy but failed.
I watched feel good films, documentaries, etc but failed.
I tried eating everything that I crave for but failed.
So, I don’t know what can make me happy anymore.
I prayed trusting that I will be redeemed.
One time, around two in the morning, I had the most powerful prayer time. I cried it out to God. I surrendered everything that hurts. I prayed for Him to take it all away.
But, the moment I woke up, I got the opposite of everything that I prayed for.
I even remember telling God; “Lord, I don’t wanna be like Job. Please don’t test me like that.”
I was ashamed. I was ashamed of my faith. What a weakling.
Until I realized that there is something lacking in my life. I lack intimacy with God. I was blinded by my sufferings.
I was never willing to carry them. I wanted God to take them away. I kept on asking Him for an easy life. But, life is never meant to be that way. God didn’t promise that it will be an easy life. He just promised that He will be with us every step of the way.
But, I am not fine with that. I wanted an easy life. I started feeling bad. I was rebellious.
I was fighting it but I knew it wasn’t enough.
I started staying away from Him.
After a long time of isolation, I was invited to attend our household, small group prayer meeting. I set my mind, I won’t go. I will decline.
But then a friend made me realize, it wasn’t an invitation from our group leader, it was an invitation from God. Why would I say No?
With trembling knees and hesistant heart, I confirmed.
I had no expectations. I just wanted to show up and get it over with.
But, WHEN GOD SPEAKS, WE LISTEN.
God sent His message to me.
When I was asked by one of my closest friends if I want to travel with her and her family to Hong Kong, I didn’t even think twice. I said YES right way knowing that her parents are the nicest and I was like their adopted child when we were in college. To prove that, I got my very own luggage tag from her mom. Isn’t that nice?
“I need the prayers of those I love while traveling on life’s rugged way; That I may be true and faithful and live for Jesus everyday.”- Vaughn
I was told before that the best kind of friend is a praying friend; which I have proven to be true.