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I've got a great "job." Well, if you want to call sitting at my computer all day with no phones ringing, no boss hovering over me (The Sainted Patient Wife leaves me alone for the most part) and no daily commute on Interstate 55,  a "job".DSC

One of the terrific parts of my "job" are the emails and Facebook messages I receive from my readers. I received a Facebook message from a new Filipina friend the other day, and "Jade," (not her real name) sent me a interesting message which she has graciously allowed me to post. Her message, part of which was a love story in which she, a Filipina living and working in the Metro Manila area, and her American fiancee James, who works on an oil rig in North Dakota,  tells of how the two met on the "FilipinaHeart" website  (now called "FilipinoCupid.com." See my ad on the right sidebar for more info.) Now before you think I've gone all "mushy" on you, take a look at my mugshot on this website. Do I look like a "mushy" kind of guy? But I really was touched by Jade's message.  Here is the story of Jade and James in her own words:

"I stumbled upon your website while looking for accommodations and tourist spots on Guimaras Island and got sidetracked by your candid and witty accounts of your life as an American expat in the Philippines. Some of your adventures–and misadventures– are hilarious and engaging. I enjoyed reading your insights and those of your fellow Kano who, like yourself, are married to Pinays and their families. I find your devotion to your wife endearing and your search for a simple, happy life truly admirable. From hereon, I will try to follow your continuing mini-sagas and watch and learn as I, too, will soon become one half of a Fil-Am marriage.

On that note, my fiancee, James, is arriving in 2 weeks and we make it a point to go to a different destination when he's here and I thought this time it would be great to bring him to to San Joaquin, my dad's hometown, and meet my paternal relatives and then take a 2-day side trip to Guimaras before returning to Manila. I love Iloilo and the whole of Panay island to bits and wish to one day retire there permanently. But for now, work is in the big, noisy city.

James, on the other hand, is a twice-divorced Florida native and resident and works as a derrick man for an oil rig in North Dakota. So you can imagine the long drives my sweetheart has to make every 2 weeks to get to and from work (1,894 miles!). It wasn't so bad when his rig was in Louisiana but most of the drilling has moved up north. I constantly pray for his safety whether he's on the road or at work and get super anxious when I don't hear from him. We first "met" on Filipinaheart in 2009 (when we were both 48, you do the math) but then we lost each other for a year due to missed emails on that site. We found each other again on FH in June 2010 and started chatting and web-camming on YM and Skype consistently, despite the timezones and weird hours of both our jobs. Pardon the cliche, but it was like we've known each other forever. Oh, and there's also Boost mobile and Verizon when either one of us is in transit but I worry that his expense for that is through the roof. Just the same, thank God for technology.

On his first ever trip here in Oct 2010, he insisted he meet my family for the first few days before whisking me off to Coron for a week on our first real date (we did mini-dates online for months where he "took" me to different places, cute). When he returned in February, we went to Boracay. He flew in on short notice, driving from Louisiana to Dallas after a 21-day hitch and forging through a snowstorm on a flight that got diverted to NY. I found out later it was to personally deliver tons of chocolate in heart boxes– and a super special sparkly ring–and formally pop the big question, on Valentine's Day. Who could possibly refuse that? So here we are, engaged and bracing for the rigors of the US fiancee visa and preparing myself mentally and emotionally for the big uproot to Florida.

But for now, we need to go on our third out of town date for some sun, sea, sand and food! Our sanity depends on it. 🙂

So in a way, Dave, I will be living your life in reverse, that of a Filipino middle-aged woman who will be leaving behind everything she holds dear–family, home, friends, pets, career, security, country–to live in a strange land halfway around the world with the person she loves. Isn't that crazy? But I guess you know the answer to that."

I loved your story, Jade. I wish James and you all the best. Folks, as you can tell by this heartwarming account, there is still real love to be found on the Internet. As I've said before, if you're a single guy that has never visited the Philippines, I encourage you to visit. Your own "Jade" might be waiting for you here.

9 thoughts on “Jade and James: A Fil-Am Love Story

  1. I’ve seen you picture Dave – you are a badass on the outside but a teddy bear on the inside 🙂

    Good luck to Jade. I worked twice on an oil rig (Transocen CR Luigs) and used to drive from Houston to Morgan City, LA and then take a 1.5 hr helicopter ride to the rig since it was in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Not an easy commute.

    I would think that James’ company would fly him to the nearest airport where his rig is. I saw this on a lot of rig workers who lived all over the US. Being a derrick hand is not easy with it’s 12 hrs on, 12 hrs off work rotation; 2 wks on, 2 wks off. But the pay is good since his expense while working is zero. Food is provided by the company and since most rigs are in the middle of nowhere, you spend nothing.

    EJ
    Houston, Texas

  2. It has to pointed out that Jade has a command of the English language which is rarely exibited on either side of the Pacific.

    Perhaps we could all anticipate a blog of her own.

    Switching pronouns good luck to you Jade, your voice alone would indicate you are a Jewel, haha

    1. Dave,

      In defense of the SPW’s gender confusion; I have to admit that I experience that sometimes too. I am not sure if the Crocodile Dundee crotch grab method is foolproof here in an Asian country though. On a serious note I have noticed that many people here have a bit of trouble with the feminine and masculine pronouns. I always recieve apologies from people that are insecure about the amount of English that they have. I tell them that it is me that owes you an apology for not learning more of your language in the two years that I have lived here.

    2. I noticed the excellent english too. My wife has been in central illinois more than 3 years, completed more than 40 hours of college and still doesn’t do that well. The pronouns are a particular problem.

  3. Dave,

    I like the date part of the story. I knew that Jho had never been on a true date before. So on my first trip to visit MBA, I arranged for a date at Lover’s Rock at Plantation Bay. I wore a long sleve shirt and tie. I wanted MBA to have great memories of the date and arranged for a guitarist and singer to serenade us with love songs. I will never forget the tear in her eyes. The date was a great experience for both of us.

  4. Dave,

    Very enjoyable story. Hope it works out for them. It might hard for her when they live in the US because he’s away all the time for work. Take care, be safe.

  5. I loved the story. Dave..I guess i wasnt lucky enough the first time I joined a dating site and had an englishman lover thought it would end up like the rest of the success stories.but it was shortlived.. quality wise , not the quantity of years we stayed together, but every minute counted.. just wonder where he is now, havent heard from him..there is still the mystique of the western asian romance, so i dont want to give up and maybe bump into that long lost soulmate ive been seeking for. Though many times disappointed and vowed to stay away from dating sites since then, i still have that thought ringing at the back of my head bugging me, if others became happy why cant me?, when i read stories like these, I get back to that capsule five years ago, when an imperial western invader came to my shores, scooped up white sands,
    tucked it in a clear bottle and handed it to me with a label, “endless love”..like the sands of time, my love will endure.. Crazy enough to make me smile.. Its a fact there is a whole throng even multitudes of men who like romanticing the game , and we women Pinays almost/always/often get into the trap of being lured to the exciting, different, special attention that Western men give, that Pinoy men lack.As for that site FH i havent tried it.My philosophy before was seek and you shall find.But after several unlucky attempts, i would rather let the natural course of history take its place,bring my feet elsewhere, and maybe one day bump into him, maybe the beach? mall?park?or where expats thrive ..I love happy stories, happy endings, but where are the few good men who are available?

  6. Thanks for the good wishes,and for liking my comment. I know there are many out there who are in the same dilemma as I am,.You were prompt in noting my comment.,Actually, i was tempted to try posting a quick profile at the site, and just took a look at the quality of men there. It is interesting to see that men take effort to put photos (which look like real),and some even multiple, and tried to complete their profiles, at least the basic information shows and more relevant info needed for a dating site. I also observed that since its a paid site, and men need to upgrade to send and receive mails, it works better, at least to lessen if not prevent scammers and predators. When i joined five years ago in that site which is now gone, it was also a paid site and thats where I met my man..So it also follows that a free site makes it harder to screen those who are serious and those just looking, and those who belong to the group sex tourists.it was easier to screen and even meet up earlier than the long process of knowing each other online or via long distance ., my ex bf, and I, communicated for 6 months, before he finally came here to meet me., He, I call him the “Imperialist”,emailed me everyday for 6 months , and wrote love letters and poetry,and called me through regular phone lines and not thru Skype, or voice chat..So it was obviously clear to me that he was serious and considering that he isnt rich, just an average professional.Anyway, when Jade mentioned of the time zones we have to endure for the sake of love online, she was correct, it is exciting , this long distance romance, and its worth it. however, we have to accept that not all things are permanent. Sometimes, you can loose what is precious, if you do not take care of it.Love is a work in process. You work at it from beginning to end, It doesnt stop at marriage either. When you bleed for love, it makes you a little bit stronger, wiser, careful, but never indifferent to love.. Love is my fuel.It keeps me moving, so I guess I need a lot of overhauling to do after all these years. I will get back to you surely if something good happens to me, at least I owe you something, not really trying to sound desperate on this, but just not closing my doors.

  7. So Sorry about that, I have occupied a lot of your page.. I didnt know that the first message got through as i was disconnected, so i sent a new one. . you can just delete the first reply that i made., I hope i can hook up with jade and james soon as they go through their new journey.The are a wonderful example of success stories online.good luck to your blog.

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