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The Proposal: It’s A Yes For Me

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

In Search of Something

Soul Searching:

noun. deep and anxious consideration of one’s emotions and motives.

Twenty six days ago I posted about my so called soul searching. It would have been finished by now if I just started it the moment I said I would. But, my thoughts weren’t organized. No matter how hard I try, I can’t put my thoughts into writing. I was frustrated. I still am. But, I have to fight against my frustrations. So, here I am now, with my still unorganized thoughts and lack of words, facing my computer screen, squeezing every amount of creative juice inside my head, looking back on the days that passed, writing. Ah, it has been a while. So, let’s start.

It was a normal evening. The pre-summer breeze doesn’t burn that much. I was sitting inside a coffee shop all by myself while waiting for a friend. I pulled a couch and faced it towards the view of people inside cars rushing to go home, the blinking of traffic lights from green to orange to red, the traffic jam and the impatient people, the dark sky and the tiny dots of stars, the vast horizon of the unknown. I was facing towards everything and anything that my eyes can see. I felt so small and ,not to mention, irrelevant. There is a big world out there that needs to be explored. There are a lot of stories waiting to be told. There are reasons why those people were rushing to go home. We all carry our own burden. No story is ever the same. I am just a tiny dot in this big big world. I could disappear at that very moment and no one would ever notice. Truly irrelevant.

I was so full of myself. I only listen to what I have to say. I only mind my own feelings. And, all this time, I was thinking that the world is against me. I did not realize that the only thing that is against me is myself. I was so focused on myself and I failed to realize that myself is just a tiny dot in this chaotic world. Things started to not make sense to me anymore. It seems like I don’t understand a thing.

That night, my friend and I talked about basically anything. We jumped from one topic to another. We talked about our dreams, our pains, our sentiments, our burdens and disappointments. We told each other stories of our lives; about past hurts and triumphs. Everyone has a lot of stories to tell if we will only sit down and listen for a while. If we will only let others talk. There is a time for you to share your own stories, too. I found it strange retelling stories that I chose to forget; telling stories of sentiments that I chose not to acknowledge. But, that night, I came to a realization that I have gone through a lot in life and I survived them all. I realized that sometimes, problems really do reoccur until we learn. I have been dealing with the same old struggles ever since I can remember and it pains me to know that I never learned,  I refused to learn. What is there to learn anyway? What is life trying to tell me? What is the relevance and significance of the tiny dot that I occupy in this world? Is there gonna be more to life?

I don’t know if I have enough enthusiasm to find out. But, I am here and I want a relevant existence. Thus, the search begins. I am now acknowledging my need for understanding my emotions.

“Lord, empty me of myself so I will be filled with You.”

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That Place Called Qatar

“Kapag nagkapera ka eh gusto mo na lang gumawa ng pera tapos marerealize mo eight years na ang lumipas.” – Anthony to Mace, That Thing Called Tadhana The Movie

(When you make money, you’ll want to make more of it. Then, you’ll realize, it has been eight years.)

In my case, six years. I celebrated my 6th year anniversary in Qatar last February 26. I can’t believe it has been six years since I left my country with high hopes for a greener pasture and a brighter future. It is more than the years I spent in college. I don’t even know how it passed. It’s like I just woke up one day and I am not as young as I was before. Here I am now. Living on my own, paying my own bills and working hard to get what I want. Yeah, total independence. It’s funny how we rush into growing up believing that it is more fun and fulfilling not knowing that growing up means stepping out of your comfort zone and dealing with every cruel things this world has to offer.

“Aren’t we supposed to be great by this time?” Mace to Anthony. After watching this romantic comedy film, that line got me thinking. Am I really supposed to be great by now? Am I supposed to be successful? Am I supposed to be living the dream? What is greatness anyway? What is success? And yeah, what are my dreams? Or…do I even have one?

Six Years ago, I remember the first time I left. I had a bag full of dreams which I carried with me. The 30 kg baggage allowance isn’t even enough to bring all of them. But, I carried them all in my heart and they survived the 9-hour flight from Manila to Doha. At that time, I felt like I can conquer the world. The independence is quite liberating. It makes you believe that you can do everything you want. But, I was wrong. It wasn’t a walk in the park. It wasn’t as easy as I believed it would be. In fact, it was harder than I thought. My first year was filled with problems. The struggle in finding a fulfilling job, frustrations, homesickness all rolled into one. The succeeding years didn’t get any better. I still have to deal with same problems plus more. The struggle in staying in a job that I hate, frustrations, homesickness, money, family and relationship issues. Things are just falling apart one by one. I have told myself for so many times that I don’t want to do it anymore. Every time I will go home for an annual leave, I always tell myself that I will not be coming back. But, every time, I always find myself inside the plane going back to the place that I ought to forget. With tears in my eyes, I always watch the Philippine lights until they disappear from my sight.

It has been six years now. It’s amazing how I got this far. I don’t know how but I am glad I made it this far. I have always thought that I put my life into waste by staying here. I guess I became too busy making money to buy superficial happiness without noticing how time flies. I was too busy making money that I can’t enjoy. I was too busy making money not for myself but for those who are counting on me. It was a fulfillment for me to give back to my parents. But, as time goes by, I realize that I am losing my dreams. I don’t know how to dream anymore. I always imagine how my life would turn out if I didn’t take that flight to Qatar; if I didn’t agree to come here; if I gave up on my first year; if I didn’t do the things I did. Would I be happier? That will always be a mystery. Because this is where I am now, this is where I’m supposed to be, this is where God intended me to be. Yes, I spent six years of my life here. I still don’t own a house or a car or anything grand. I still fall short sometimes. I don’t have a career that I can proudly tell the world about. I haven’t done anything extraordinary. All I have are experiences, insecurities, learnings, realizations, triumphs and failures.

A friend once told me, “If I will be miserable, I should at least be miserable in a place that I like.” Friends always ask me why I keep on coming back if I don’t really want to. Why am I staying here if I can choose to go back home anytime? It’s true. It’s so easy to take the last flight out. To turn my back on this country and just leave everything behind and to never look back again. But, then I thought, Qatar made me stronger in every sense of the word. Qatar taught me many lessons, sometimes the hard way, that I will never forget. Qatar might have been tough on me but Qatar lead me to where I am supposed to be, to the people that, one way or the other, changed me. Qatar made me who I am.

I don’t know how long I would stay here. Maybe a year or two. Maybe another six years. I don’t really know. Would I do it differently if I could go back and rewrite the past? Maybe not… hmmm? On a second thought, maybe a few minor revisions would be helpful.

Are we really supposed to be great by this time? We are already great. We just haven’t realized it yet.

By the time I wave good bye to Qatar, God knows when, it will be bittersweet. But, just like before, I will  carry all my fulfilled, unfulfilled and even my forgotten dreams in my heart as I take that last flight out. With tears in my eyes, I will watch the Qatar lights as they disappear from my sight. I can’t wait for that day. Oh, I just realized, I never stopped dreaming. Because going back home for good has always been my dream.

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