There is a song by Kenny Rogers that was popular years ago, the song is called Through the Years. That song is a favorite of Feyma’s, and I came to love that song through her. Today, I’ve been thinking back through the past years since I’ve known Feyma, and some various thoughts have come to me which I thought I’d share with the LiP community.
Back in the late 80’s, the Philippines really held no special meaning to me. I had never thought of visiting the Philippines. The thought that I may one day marry a Filipina was the furthest thing from my mind. I would live in the Philippines one day? My friend, you must be crazy to say something like that. Why would I ever live in the Philippines? But, all of those things happened, and I’m glad that they did.
Since I was in elementary school, I had a fascination with far away places. My passion for exotic places was satisfied through my interest in listening to shortwave radio. I would tune in radio stations in places like the Philippines, Australia, China and on and on. During my days of listening to shortwave radio, I tuned in stations from more than 150 different countries all around the world. As I got a little older, when I was in High School I took my radio hobby to the next step and became an Amateur Radio Operator (also known as Ham Radio) in the late 70’s. Now, with my Ham Radio license, I could talk to people all over the world, not just listen.
In 1987 or so, I made contact with a fellow named Valery Tuliyupin, another Ham Radio operator. Val lived in Barnaul, Central Siberia in the Soviet Union. Val was lucky for a Soviet citizen, he was able to communicate with the world via Ham Radio, and also he even made a trip to the United States in 1988. I met Val in Los Angeles, and we had some pretty interesting conversations in the 2 days we spent together. The next year, 1989, I decided that in 1990 I would take a trip to the USSR and visit Val and his family. I couldn’t wait for the adventure.
However, as I prepared for my trip to meet Val, I met a girl, through the mail. She was the friend of a friend, and we exchanged letters on a regular basis. Her name was Feyma. After an extended period of letter writing, my plans changed. I no longer had the thirst to go to the Soviet Union and meet Val, instead the Philippines and one certain Filipina was calling me, although she did not know it. So, I booked a trip to the Philippines. In July 1990, I left the USA and touched down in Manila, later going on to Cebu, where Feyma was studying college.
Meeting Feyma was wonderful. She had some cousins, and aunt and an uncle in Cebu, and I spent a few days with all of them before Feyma and I took off to go meet her parents in General Santos City, Mindanao. While in Mindanao, we took the plunge and tied the knot.
Back in those days, Feyma was a very typical young Filipina (she was 21 at the time). Very shy and demure. A simple girl, leading a simple life, a family loving girl that seemed so wonderful to me. I was right too, Feyma is indeed a wonderful person. Feyma is still a wonderful person today, but much different than the girl that I married in 1990. Today, Feyma, having lived in the States for a decade, is much more vocal, opinionated, etc. Demure? Ha ha, who are you kidding? It’s OK, though, I love Feyma more today than that July morning in 1990 when we first laid eyes on each other.
Back in those days, Feyma was living a very simple life. As I think back on it, I sometimes wonder what happened, and why is life so complicated now, compared to before. It sure is, though. Truth is, I don’t see that kind of simple life in many parts of the Philippines these days, not like it was 20+ years ago. In ways that is good, in other ways it is bad. But, it is what it is, and it won’t go back that way again, I can assure you of that.
Well, if you are still reading, you may have already guessed, or maybe not. Today is Feyma’s birthday! I do want to wish Feyma a very happy birthday. I’m not going to tell you how old she is, but maybe she will. I am pretty sure you can guess pretty close though.
My dear, it’s been a wonderful life with you so far. I hope we have many more years to come. You have been a great wife, even though I know that sometimes (probably most of the time) I have not been the easiest guy on the planet to deal with. I am sorry for my shortcomings. You can be sure of one thing, though, when it comes to loving you, I surely am not short on that, because you have my complete love.
Happy birthday, my love. You have changed my life in so many ways, and I am grateful for every one of the ways you have changed me.