Nina: It's strange how things happen... you
are trudging through the mundane weary lanes of life when suddenly,
out of nowhere, love walks in and touches your life in a way that you
know that nothing could ever be the same again...
She's From: The Philippines He's From: Scotland
The second part of this story is one of
sadness and joy...pain and happiness... loneliness, despair, hope and
and Maria at their wedding
in The Philippines
I left part one with meeting Maria's family
after flying out to meet her and spending my first two glorious weeks
with her...well...all that had to come to an end as I had to come back
We didn't marry on my first visit for
several personal reasons but I vowed to return to take her for my wife.
During my stay with her I experienced the happiest moments of my life
and I proposed to her in our room and gave her a diamond ring to
remember me by.
Waiting at the airport for my flight to be
called and spending the last moments with my beautiful fiancée before I
was to fly back to the UK...was utterly unbearable...I almost stayed
with her...turned my back on the rest of my life and remained with Maria
but something pulled me onto that plane.
I went and she stayed. On the flight home I felt
depressed and lonely... it was the lowest point of my life...I knew I
would return some day soon but until then I had to face 10 months of
waiting and saving and waiting and loneliness and yearning and
waiting... back in Scotland I continued to stay online with Maria while
she waited for the interview with the British embassy...
Being away from her was hell. I would pine for her every night and talk
to her almost everyday on the phone or the net. I felt so sad and I knew
she felt the same. I could hear it in her voice and she spoke of her
sorrow in her letters. I felt responsible for her pain... this was the
hardest time. It was the time where I started to question myself. I knew
that at anytime I could back out and she would understand. Her family
would understand. I questioned a lot of things in my time away from
Maria. I had met her...fell in love with her and now torn from her arms.
I had time to think and to plan what I was to do next...should I give
up?...turn my back?...was it really worth all the sleepless nights and
long grey days? It's not right to have to be separated like this but we
had to prove ourselves to the embassy that we were committed to each
other, so what should I have done?
I had never met anyone like Maria. She was my whole life...my guiding
light. I couldn't give up on her or our love for each other. I needed to
stay strong and eventually when she had her interview at the embassy the
consul still kept us waiting. No visa for my love. I felt devastated and
so did Maria. What now? They hadn't refused us but they wanted more
proof. I didn't know what to do so I wrote to them and re-sent all the
documentation they needed and still they questioned us. This was turning
into my worst nightmare. I thought we were never going to be together. I
thought...if the visa gets rejected then I will move to Manila to be
with her. I could do that...I could stay with Maria till I find work and
work on my visa. I tried to convince myself that everything would work
out fine but inside I was scared of the thought of moving to
Manila...the language and the heat... I was not used to this. I was a
Scotsman...wind and rain and snow was what I was used to. This was going
to be difficult, and all the time we talked and planned and talked and
Our dream would be for Maria to get the visa, for me to go to the
Philippines and take her home with me to Scotland and for us to get
married in a traditional Scottish wedding ceremony with the white silken
gown and me in a kilt and plaid...and that's what we planned to do...it
was a dream to us and that was what made us hold onto each other and
gave us faith...
Well the visa situation seemed to be static...I phoned the embassy and
got the same answer from them - that they needed more information from
me to convince them that I was able to support my wife. I was lost. I
contacted my local member of Parliament and he helped me
tremendously...it was a long slow process and finally I decided to go to
the Philippines and just marry Maria regardless of any visa. I felt
reckless and thought what the hell...I would marry her and see what
happens...if the embassy didn't give the visa after that then I would
stay in Manila and find work. I was past caring... I just wanted Maria.
I planned my trip to the Philippines and decided that I should go over
the Christmas and new year period and spend 5 weeks there. Then I
realised that the airline companies were all booked up for the Millenium
and the ones that had free spaces wanted 3 times the usual amount but I
had no choice...I bought the ticket on a special charter and packed up
and flew out.... Maria had no idea what was going to happen. She just
knew that I was coming home to her and that we were going to get
married... the rest was in the hands of the gods...
Before I left I wrote a letter to the entry clearance officer telling
him of my intentions with maria and that our relationship was
serious...I didn't know what effect it would have but I figured it
couldn't do any harm....he was only doing his job..at least if he said
no..then I would know my fate either way.....
I flew out in late December just in time for Christmas. It was a long
and anxious flight. I left a sub-zero Scotland and headed for a tropical
Philippines and I developed a heavy cold on the plane as we landed in
the Middle East and waited for a few hours...the heat really affected
me...back on the plane I was swamped with balikbayans coming home for
Christmas. Everyone on that flight was Filipino except me and they were
noisy and excited...singing and playing guitars and I was happy
too...going home to be with my Maria for the rest of my life...
Landing for the second time in Ninoy Aquino this year...it was
light...late morning and the flight was late...the place was packed with
Filipinos waiting for their loved ones and I pushed through the
throng....waiting for a glimpse of my lady....people were
everywhere...and suddenly...as I looked round...I saw her there...she
stunned me once more...just as she did when we first met 11 months ago.
The heat of the airport and the long 24 hour flight and the vision that
waited me left me feeling speechless and dazed. Maria had done this to
me once before and now...as I felt prepared...she had done it again...
she opened her arms and hugged me tightly...sinking her soft kisses onto
my lips. She looked beautiful...I held her tightly for a while and
stared at her.....we walked off hand in hand we strode through the
customs section and out in to the baggage area...we felt enamoured of
each other...unable to tear our glance away to even look out for my
luggage as people stared at us in the airport...our open and tender
affection seemed misplaced amongst the confusion and excitement and
noise of the returning Filipinos from the Middle East.
Maria smiled and both us us grabbed my stuff and hurried to the exit and
her awaiting father...we drove once again through the streets of
Manila...and once again the heat was tremendous but I knew what to
expect this time. We rushed to collect some provisions and then off to
Maria's home. I was greeted by her family warmly...like a prodigal son
returned... there was lots of food and hugs from everyone and I was
given a beer and told to rest up after my journey. Her family are very
loving and generous and selfless... her brother and sisters accepted me
almost at once and her mother and father were pleased that I chose to
stay with them rather than a hotel nearby. My lady and I retired to our
room for some rest....
A few days after...just before Christmas, Maria received a phone call as
we visited a family member...it was a fax from the embassy that had been
sent to her work. It was a simple fax that plainly said that we were to
report to the British embassy as soon as possible in order to pick up
Maria's visa for the UK. It took a while for the message to sink in...we
were both stunned...we looked at each other and then the realisation
that we would be together forever suddenly struck home... The next
morning we hurried to the embassy early and waited to be called...and
sure enough...4 hours later Maria had her visa in her hand...we were so
happy and now we could plan our wedding in the Philippines with the
knowledge that we would travel back to Scotland 2 weeks afterwards
We planned the wedding in a local church quite a simple affair with
Maria in her white designer wedding down and a group of family and
friends and of course ninongs/ninangs...(we don't have that in
Scotland). We booked ourselves into the Heritage hotel and the next day
we got married. None of my family were there to witness it and they were
sad about that but I promised to get married again in Scotland once we
came home and have our own traditional greeting.
Maria looked enchanting in her gown...so sweet and delicate and
lovely...and I saw her smile at me as she approached the altar to stand
at my left side with her veil down. It was a wedding in the Philippine
tradition with coins and chains and candles unlike a Scottish wedding so
it was all new to me. The wedding itself was beautiful and soon after
the ceremony we went to the reception and received our various gifts...
During my time in the Philippines with Maria...we went many places...and
travelled a lot...but my special place was with her...no matter where
that may be...as long as she was there it was special to me. Eventually
Maria had to prepare to come home with me...she was still employed and
had to tie things up there as well as saying goodbye to all her friends
and family with promises of frequent visits...and emails and letters.
It was incredibly hard for her and I did all I could do to help but
sooner or later that pain of leaving would overwhelm her and I was there
to comfort her...as we said our goodbyes at her house...it was the last
time Maria saw her father alive...a tragedy was to occur a few months
later that devastated Maria even more... it added to her pain and she
cried and cried.
Saying goodbye to her brother at the airport she was unaware of what was
to unfold over the coming months... we met our friend inside the
terminal building and were treated to first class hospitality and flight
tickets for the journey home...we stepped on the plane and we were
off...to our new life and into the unknown...safe in the knowledge that
we will have each other for all time to love and to cherish..
The plane flew over the south of England on its approach to London's
Heathrow...the biggest airport in Europe...it was about 6 am in
February..it was dark and as the plane bumped down on the tarmac we both
felt a rush of excitement. I was bringing Maria home and we hurried off
the plane and immediately were held up at immigration. The officer there
questioned us for about 10 minutes and sent us off to get a medical
certificate. The entry clearance officer then looked at the visa,
studying it closely and then looked at me, looked at Maria...and said
'welcome to the UK madam', smiled and waved us through.
We wandered through miles of the airport to the exit gate and suddenly
after 5 weeks in the Philippines we were reintroduced to the British
winter...a biting chill below zero greeted us which was to drop even
further as we were headed for Glasgow.. the third largest city in the UK
and 600 miles North of where we were right now. We decided to take the
bus as I wanted to show Maria the British country side but this proved a
mistake. Eight hours of bleak winter countryside and eventually we
arrived in Glasgow and were picked up by my parents and taken home....
This time it was Maria's turn to be driven through a foreign land at
night...thousands of miles from home with only me to protect her and
reassure her that everything will be just fine. My family greeted her
and instantly took a deep affection for her and she was warmly accepted
Maria settled in well here...she is a fine English speaker which was
good because absolutely no one in Scotland speaks Tagalog...and has to
rely on her English 100% in every situation that she faces here.
Filipinos are a rare breed amongst the Scots...unlike America, there are
no Filipino stores here or communities in the area so it was a hard
adjustment to make for her...even the unforgiving winter receded into a
pleasant 25C summer and she saw sights that she had never before
seen...just as I did on my trip to the Philippines.
Maria gets great pleasure from feeding the
graceful swans that swim near our newly bought house. She has a new job
here and has fitted in very well...everyone loves her and asks where she
is from. When on the phone, most people comment on her soft accent since
Scots people are not used to hearing the delicate tones of a Filipina
and even after the tragedy of her father, she is finding moments of
happiness here in her husbands arms...she finds time to develop her new
interest in cooking Chinese and Filipino foods and cross stitching
intricate designs as we spend the evenings together in our home...we
have long evening strolls and weekends away together and enjoy shopping
for all the new appliances and furnishings and decor for our new
So we face the rest of our lives... here in our home by the
sea...together in harmony and awaiting our return to the Philippines and
embarking on part 3 of our lives...a new baby...who knows. For anyone interested, our website is