Oh, it wasn't like I hadn't been to The Philippines before, I'd been here numerous times, although not for almost eleven years. Nope, it was the unknown for a very different reason. I had left my life in New Zealand behind; kissed my seventeen year old son and fourteen year old daughter and boarded a flight bound for Manila, with little possessions and bugger-all money, just a burning desire, at 51 years old, to try to rebuild a life that had been shattered by bad and calamitous decisions.
Little did I know, as I took a deep breath at the top of the ramp that leads down to the waiting area what the next five years would hold in store for me. I was about to meet, in person, for the first time, some of the most important people in my brave, new,world; my future wife and two of her children.
I knew I always had a fallback position, if things didn't work out, but that wasn't something I even wanted to contemplate, in my worst nightmares; running back to New Zealand with my tail between my legs and the expected taunts from family and friends; "told you so", "I always said it was a dumb idea Grant", and worst of all actually, the looks of sorrow and pity I would get from my nearest and dearest. No, I knew this was probably my last shot at happiness, at making something work in my life and I wasn't going to give it up without a fight.
I'd been friends with Thess for over four years, online, before I decided to take that ultimate step and come here. It had been something that had been brewing in my mind for a long time, but it was probably my 50th birthday that crystallised it and made me decide it wasn't just a good idea, it was essential.
As we all do, probably, on these annual milestones I sat down and reviewed where the hell I was in my life. My son was about to head away to University and I would be left in a small town in southern New Zealand, essentially alone (my daughter having already gone to live with her mother in another City). If ever I was going to try something bold, exciting and new, now was the time. I was well aware of the relentlessly ticking clock and figured this might be my one and only shot left, at making something happen. I decided right there and then that come hell or high water, I was going to give this a good crack.
I turned toward the voice and although it sounds cliched, my mouth dropped open and I felt my eyes begin to water. There she was, my internet friend, my soon to be lover, my future wife; she was even more beautiful and more stunning in reality than any picture or cam could ever do her justice. I had long wondered if our first meeting would prove to be awkward, uncomfortable and filled with long, pregnant silences. I need not have worried. She dropped the hands of the two young girls she was with and literally flung herself into my arms, kissing me intensely and with more passion than I had ever thought possible.
Oblivious to the people bustling all around us, we clung to each other like two castaways who had spent years alone on opposite sides of the same island and had finally, somehow, discovered each other. Nothing and nobody existed in those few moments except two love-starved people seeking the long awaited succour from each other.
The last five years have thrown us many challenges, but we're still answering them and dealing with them. There are only two certainties in life, they say; death and taxes. Well, for me, there are three. Death, taxes and the love we both share. Whatever the trials and tribulations that may come our way now and in the future, we will face them together, until there is only one of us left. That is the certainty for me.
So much has changed in our lives over the five years but one thing I know without a shadow of a doubt, is that I am a much better person than the lost, lonely, 51 year old BOY, who walked off that plane and into the arms of the most amazing woman I have ever been privileged enough to meet...let alone love. I am now a full-time author and I have only one person to thank for steering me onto my true path in life and that is her; my best friend, my confidant, my lover, my wife and my other half. Thank you darling for finding me and saving me from myself.
MARAMING, MARAMING, SALAMAT PO!
I have a picture of two of my biggest critics and detractors over the years; but also my two biggest supporters in this life, my wonderful parents, taped to the wall above the computer. They're both, sadly, gone now, but every so often I look up at their smiling faces, wink and say; "Well Mum, I got this one right!" I swear I can almost hear her voice whispering back; "Finally, Grant, finally...yes you did!"
Till next time, have a wonderful, peace-filled day!
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
Have a great life and spread the love!
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