Some years back I met a girl. She was special, and has never left my heart in those many years. Even today, I cannot get her out of my mind. She changed my life, and certainly changed it for the better. Of course, I’m talking about my wife of 19+ years.
Today’s a special day here in the Martin household, because it’s Feyma’s birthday. I’m not going to reveal her age, although I think it’s already known here on LiP, but, you know… it’s a respect thing – you just don’t reveal a woman’s age. So, I won’t.
I met Feyma in Cebu City, in 1990. She was studying at the time, nearly finished with college. We had been corresponding with each other (snail mail… the Internet was not really available to the public yet at that time) for only about 6 months when I came to the Philippines to meet her. I was here for only 3 weeks, and we got married while I was here. Many people told me I was crazy, an idiot, or worse for marrying a girl that I had only just met. Well, after 19 years, I can only say that history proved my actions right. I was lucky, yes. I continue to be lucky to this day.
We’ve had our ups and downs in the past 19+ years. What couple has not experienced ups and downs in the course of a marriage? None. But, the ups are way bigger than the downs ever were. Feyma does everything she can to make me feel special. I do things for her too, but to be honest, I am far more often on the receiving end than the giving end of that. I feel guilty sometimes for that too. But, I hope Feyma knows how much I love her. I always will too. Sometimes, if we are having an argument over something, even as tough as I might try to make myself sound to her, inside I think to myself – “what would I do if I didn’t have her?”
So, today, I will be doing what I can to make Feyma’s day special. She deserves it, after all. I’ll take her out for lunch, just the two of us. My only problem is that whenever I take her out for a meal, I never can get her to choose the place! She always says, “you decide,” even though I want it to be special for her. But, that is her nature, I suppose.
Feyma is not the same girl I married those many years ago, though. She is very complex. Back in 1990, she was that typical quiet, shy Filipina that we have all met here. Then she spent 10 years in the States, and that changed her a lot. She is much more assertive now, much more confident. She is now Feyma 2.0. I’m OK with that, though. Yes, she has changed a lot, but I love Feyma 2.0 as much as I loved Feyma 1.0.
As I think about it, maybe I’m wrong. She is probably Feyma 3.0, I guess. Feyma 1.0 was that Feyma that I met in Cebu in 1990, and fell in love with. Feyma 2.0 was the woman that she grew into after living in the States. The new Feyma 3.0 is the Feyma that came to be after returning to the Philippines. It took her a long time to adjust back to life in the Philippines. She didn’t revert back to Feyma 1.0 either. How could she? No, she took the best from Feyma 1.0 and Feyma 2.0 and combined it into the best version yet, Feyma 3.0 that we all know today.
A lot of foreign men will say that you should never bring your lady to live in the West, it will change her, take away the special part of her culture, or whatever. I find that if Feyma had not lived in the States for 10 years, she would not have the understanding of me that she possesses. Now, Feyma is not a Filipina, nor an American, she is a combination of the two. I suppose I have also become a combination of the two after nearly a decade of living in the Philippines. I suppose that we have somewhat grown together through our life in my culture and hers. I like that. It works well for both of us.
Happy Birthday to my sweetheart. I hope we can celebrate many more birthdays together! I love you very much.