When The “Ayoko Sa Pinoy” Took Her to the Road Less Traveled
After graduating from elementary school, I lost contact with Amiel, a dear friend of mine. She even missed all our batch reunions but thanks to social media, we finally reconnected thru Facebook only a few years ago. We tried to catch up and during the time, she already was in a relationship with a white American guy she fondly calls Shepardo. I was curious why she took this road less traveled and asked her questions one after another. From then on, we stayed in touch.
When I came up to this idea of sharing inspirational stories in our blog, her story appealed to me. I was, at some point, reluctant in pitching this to her since it would mean opening up her private life for everyone to see. It turned out she couldn’t care less. It was somehow difficult to put in words the questions I would like to ask because it might sound too personal but she didn’t like general questions. “Girl, it sounded like a “Miss Universe” Q&A.” LOL. I am just beyond grateful that she agreed to do this.
I remember one of the posts you’ve put in Facebook where you’ve repeatedly prayed to God “Lord, wag Pinoy. Ayoko sa Pinoy”. What’s up with that? You don’t hate Pinoy guys, do you?
Hell no! I just thought God might already be bored hearing too many serious prayers 24/7 so I changed the way I uttered mine. With regards to that post, well, I’d like to first include the part where I grew up getting used to people around making me feel less desirable. Because I don’t have a lighter skin, sharp nose and I don’t dress up in a conservative way. And then, there’s this point in my life where I told myself, “Amiel, there is no Filipino guy that’ll be good for you. And you will never be good for any of them either.”
A proposal from a Filipino guy and a realization
That part happened when I was in my mid-20’s. There was this Filipino guy I worked with at Robinsons Supermarket. He seemed to be serious in proposing a relationship with me, taking it to a higher level. We were just contractual workers back then and so his proposal SCARED THE HELL OUT OF ME. This could have been my one and only chance to be in a genuine relationship with a local guy. And I let it go because I had too many hesitations.
I was like, if this guy can make big decisions as careless as this, what would my future with him be like? Wouldn’t I just end up repeating the history of my childhood and passing it on to our future kids? Where we’re always broke and owing people money? Isn’t this the kind of attitude most Filipinos have that is why poverty here is like a cycle that never ends?
I am not ashamed of how poor I was when I was young and I don’t have ambitions of becoming rich. But I’ve always wanted to have a higher quality of life and so there’s this voice somewhere telling me I’ve got to look elsewhere.
She tried online dating and almost gave up after wasting time with the wrong people, until she met “the one”.
So for our reader who might be curious, how did you meet your husband and what qualities of him stood out?
I met him through an online dating website, Filipino Cupid. I’d been a member of that site for 5 or 6 years before I met my husband. I used to be very active in my search but my motivation had declined. After realizing I’ve invested so much time with the wrong people. I was already at the point of just concentrating with my career in Accenture and enjoying life by travelling with my friends more. Then one day, I got this email from Shepardo.
His email was very sincere and straight forward. What I loved the most about our online communication was that, he showered me with undivided attention. Something that I’d unknowingly been longing to have since I signed up on the website. Plus, he already had a work-related flight schedule going to Philippines. That was 6 weeks from the time we first met online. So I had a really good feeling my search’s gonna be over that time.
Fast forward to five years later after getting married and raising a kid in US.
What are the things you enjoy and miss the most living outside the Philippines?
When it comes to talking about what I miss the most, it’s the Holidays. Christmas, New Year, Fiesta, Flores De Mayo, name it! But it’ll be specially harder for me this year when Christmas and New Year come. Because ever since our Little One was born, all I’ve really wished is for him to be old enough to travel. And for our situation to get better so we can fly to Philippines. Unfortunately, it may not be possible this year.
And what do I enjoy the most here in the US? Well, I love that people are very cautious about stepping into your privacy. Small talks here usually starts about the weather. And the typical “how are you? I’m fine, thank you.”.
Yes, she did not miss the small talks with the “Titas”
In the Philippines, it’s very different and can be shocking. Our small talks are about you losing weight, you getting fat, being asked where your husband is, things like that. Privacy for Filipinos either has a different meaning or it doesn’t exist at all. In the last 4 years, one of the very common questions I’d get when I’m with Filipinos was, “Aren’t you pregnant yet?” And as soon as I answered “No” I’d often get follow up questions like, “Why? You’re not getting any younger!” or “Does your husband want to have one, anyway?”.
I totally understand that this is how our culture is and so people don’t even realize it’s none of their business. I have no intention of campaigning for a change but keeping mum about it doesn’t help either. So, if there are women out there reading this who have been bombarded with this kind of questions, just shrug it off. It’s your life, you’re the one responsible for it so never base it on other people’s expectations. Our essence as a woman does not evolve solely in our capability to give birth. No question, it is a great thing but, we are worth more than that.
It’s been five years and yet here comes another challenge that will make them even stronger.
This month you are celebrating your 5th year wedding anniversary. What kind of blessings and challenges have you experienced in the last 5 years that you don’t mind sharing with us. And how did those challenges make your relationship stronger?
Since day 1, I’ve considered my husband as one of the greatest blessings in my life. We have the first four years of our marriage to savor the “Just You and Me” part by dating a lot on weekends and traveling to places occasionally without being careless with our finances. We also have this one of a kind opportunity presented to us several months after we got married. Our landlord offered us to buy this condo that my husband had been renting for years, for a price lower than it’s market value. To think how high housing costs and how challenging it is to own a property in San Francisco, we’re beyond grateful.
A blessing and a challenge, raising a kid in US.
I can go on and on but this will be lengthier than it already is so, let’s fast forward it a little bit by mentioning our very healthy 6 month old baby boy! This little monster changed our life forever and we just love him so much. So I now have two guys in my life, oh boy… one of them can be really handful at times, but they mean the world to me!
As for challenges, we are now experiencing the classic American way of raising a baby. We do (almost) everything on our own. My immediate family are all in the Philippines. Paying for a full time childcare is very expensive. So it made more sense for me to resign from my office job and be a full time Mommy. And just May last year, my husband lost his 20 year film programming job (and then a month later we found out I was 6 weeks pregnant). More than anybody else, this shattered him the most. And it’s heartbreaking to see him in a state like that. As a wife, this is the time he needs me the most so as he tries to climb back up, I’ll keep holding the ladder. I may feel tired too, but I have no intention of giving up.
And here’s the person who became an instrument in training her to be gradually strong to take this road less traveled
Aside from having a loving husband, what gave you the courage to leave the life you had for 31 years in Philippines?
It’s more of a “who” than a “what” really…or maybe a combination of both. When I was 15 years old, my father told me I was free to go wherever and do whatever I want as long as I don’t ask money from him. It sounded like music to my ears when I heard it.
From then on, I’ve learned to live my life the way I think is best and NOT how others think otherwise. It’s not surprising to say that I ended up making mistakes more often than I wish I would. But another good part of being independent is that, it’s easier to learn how to take responsibility for your actions. So yeah, neither my father nor I knew what fate has to offer me back then. But I feel like my father trained me for this journey. That he made sure I’d be strong enough to get me to where I am destined to be, to take this road less traveled!
Her strength and courage is indeed admirable! We may be miles apart but we always find time and I truly enjoy our chat, cut short by, hey, little monster woke up so suddenly. Or bedtime for my girls, catch up next time? We’re far from the giggly girls way back then worrying about silly things.
She prayed for a non-Filipino guy, she got one. Maybe we all need to make our prayers clear and specific. And the way we’re raised affects our future decisions. See how Amiel found the strength to take this road less traveled? So think about how we’ll equip our children to get through their journey called life.
I already met her hubby and I am so looking forward to meet her little one hopefully soon. Isn’t he adorable?
If you are looking for inspirational stories like this to brighten up your day, check K Inspiration for more.