So This Happened

I’ve been living here in Iloilo City for a bit over 6 months now. It feels like just yesterday that I got here, and at the same time it feels like I’ve been here forever. I will interpret that as a good thing; it feels new and fresh and exciting, and at the same time it feels like I’m settled and in place. When I tried settling in Tennessee, I never had that feeling of being in my place.

After I had been here a while, I met and dated a woman a few times. She was nice and we got along alright, but there wasn’t any spark between us so we ended that. That’s alright, I certainly didn’t expect the first woman I met to be my soulmate.

Then I met Eden. Our first date was a walk along the Esplanade on a Saturday evening, followed by pizza at Giuseppe’s. At the end of the night I asked her if she would take me someplace for Filipino food the next day, and she agreed. We started at the food court in SM City for batchoy, then we wandered around and talked for a while, and ended up at Pedro Bulalohan a couple of hours later for several dishes I didn’t recognize, and don’t now recall. I do remember we ordered way too much food for 2 of us, so we ended up taking the leftovers over to Inday’s (Eden’s nickname is Inday) workplace and sharing it with her colleagues.

That day out continued into the evening, when we finally ended up in Molo Plaza. It being Christmas season, which in the Philippines runs from September to January, the plaza was lit up with Christmas lights, and being Sunday evening it was crowded with families. At Christmas time small groups of children go around singing Christmas carols, and in exchange you give them a few coins. After one trio sang for us, Inday opened her purse and took out coins to give the kids. Afterwards I said something to her about not giving away all her money, and she replied “That’s okay. Those are the coins I didn’t spend for my food today because I am with you.” That made a big impression on me, because that’s the kind of person Inday is.

So, we’ve been together every single day since then. Has every moment been perfect? Of course not. There are cultural differences to adapt to in each other. There are food differences. I’ve eaten more rice in the last six months than I have in my entire life pre-Philippines! Eden speaks excellent English, but in the beginning I could tell that having to speak English constantly was wearying for her. And anyone who knows me knows that I am pretty rigid. I doubt anyone has ever described me as being flexible or easy going or anything similar. But we’re good together. Really good.

A few weeks after we met, we made the trip up to Barotac Viejo so I could meet Inday’s family. I met her mom and dad, her 5-year-old son Edrian, and several of her 6 sisters, and various children and neighbors.

I never expected to meet somebody and be in a committed relationship so soon after arriving here. Just before I met Inday I had committed to a 12-month lease on a 1-bedroom condo here in Iloilo. It was plenty of room just for myself, but now there are three of us.

As of this last Saturday, we have been together for 6 months. We are now engaged and planning a December wedding, on Inday’s birthday. We have plans for our life together, but more on that later. For now, I just wanted to introduce you to Eden and Edrian, and share the part they play in my life now. I will add here that my daughter Anju has agreed to be my “Best Woman” and stand up with me at our wedding. That makes me very happy. I’m looking forward to her being here for the wedding and Christmas and New Years, and seeing what my new life is like.

2 thoughts on “So This Happened”

  1. I’m so happy for you. My sincere congratulations to you both! To start a new life at your “advanced age”…lol…is not the easiest thing to do. But, personally, I think you have what it takes to make this work. No, better than work. To make it flourish! All the best.

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