“Sometimes in the middle of our ordinary lives, love gives us a fairy tale”
My previous job in Corporate Sales introduced me to a lot of things, events and remarkable people from different walks of life; I even have had clients that became dearly close to me. It was fun, daring and a very rewarding career.
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Once upon a Friday afternoon, I met Scott.
He was a Diplomat and the US Navy Chief of Operations of the Joint United States Military Assistant Group (JUSMAG). Literally, everything started with just one hello. He asked me out, we started dating and things seemed to be going great between us. A few months after, he finished his tour in the Philippines and had to move to the US for his next assignment. But we continued dating despite the distance. Two years after knowing each other, he popped the big question and in between sobbing, I managed to say YES! Yay!
Marriage, generally is a life-changing event! Think about how much more if you marry somebody outside your race and move to a foreign country? I would say that marrying Scott is one the boldest things that has ever happened in my life! Never in my wildest dreams did I think of marrying a foreigner, but Hey! Isn’t that what makes life more interesting?! We can plan all we want but what’s meant to be will always find a way, no matter what.
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Up to this day, it still amazes me how wonderful life is to be able to share every-waking day with somebody I vowed to cherish and love. (Yikes! Mushyness overload!) And here, I’m going to share how marrying an American man made me realize these things I have learned overtime:
1. ENGLISH. Yes, English is widely used in the Philippines, both in school and business, but it’s still not the native language. Even though I have a good command of the language, there are a number of “Pinoy” words that don’t have direct English translation like “kilig”, “gigil”, “basta” etc. So there’s some truth to the “Nose bleed” thing that Pinoys say when conversing to a foreigner. Guys, the struggle is real! Hehe! But that only makes our relationship more fun because we strive harder to understand and be understood. Learning a language is unique because it’s a thing that a person will just naturally acquire overtime. Now, my husband can totally impress me with his basic Tagalog in his cute American accent.
2. SPORTS and TAILGATING. Sports in the United States are an important part of the country’s culture: Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey, you name it! And whether you like it or not, you will absolutely watch them (even when you don’t completely understand the rules!). Americans just love Sports. It’s a whole new experience for me because Basketball is the only popular sport I know back in the Philippines. And I had no idea what “tailgating” was. So, tailgating, or a tailgate party is a kind of social event held literally on or around the open tailgate of a truck though thousands of fans participate even if their vehicles do not necessarily have tailgates. It typically involves consuming alcoholic beverages and grilling food that occurs in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas before and occasionally after games. Normally, people gather together and bring their own beverages and barbecues which are sampled and shared among fans attending the tailgate. It’s amazing how crazy the crowd gets when the team they’re rooting for is winning – sometimes you would even see yourself “high-fiving” with strangers and gain instant friends!
3. PATRIOTISM. My husband is a Navy guy and it makes me very proud of how noble his profession is. Same goes to all who serve in all the other branches of military and other careers that put their lives at risk just so their countrymen can live safely and be free. Each time we’re out somewhere and Scott wears his uniform, Americans take time to stop and say “Thank you for your service!” and that simply shows how much these people appreciate the men and women who serve their country. There are also a number of patriotic events such as the 4th of July (the counterpart of our Independence Day in the Philippines), Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, Marthin Luther King Day, and President’s Day, which are all WIDELY celebrated in the country in honor of their heroes.
4. FOOD. Steak, Burgers, Cheese. American food is GREAT and it always comes in BIG servings! Sodas/Pop, or more popularly known as “soft-drinks” in the Philippines come with free-refills so you have to watch your diet if you want to stay fit, because food here is great! There, I said GREAT more than once! And for the record, Americans eat rice too. My husband actually likes it! And it’s a great thing as I have incorporated a lot of Filipino dishes into our roster of dinners and he has learned to enjoy them as much as I love American food. So the culinary influence goes both ways for us. Scott even cooks Adobo for us! And as how he says it in our language: “It’s MASERAP!” (Delicious!)
5. APPRECIATION. We all have different definition of beauty and being a tan-skinned Filipina with naturally dark hair, I have always wanted to be “whiter” to be able to conform with western standards. It’s probably the reason why the “Skin-whitening” business is such a big hit in the Philippines, as most Filipinas dream of achieving white skin. Ironically, tanning salons are what’s “IN” in the US. Living here and being married to an American makes me feel comfortable in my own skin. Sometimes we have no idea how our own-perceived “flaws” are the things that makes us more attractive to others – so really – we just have to love our own!
6. KARAOKE. Karaoke is a culture in the Philippines! My husband, as he used to live in the Philippines, has tried karaoke a few times and actually enjoys it! In fact, we own a “Wow! Premium” that we use to keep ourselves entertained, especially during the winter. When we have family and friends over to the house, we make sure to get the karaoke out to add a bit of Filipino flavor to the American crowd.
7. AFFECTION. Being married to an American, I am so spoiled. My husband is thoughtful and goes out of his way to make sure I am happy! When Scott and I first met, I thought he was the serious type, but I came to know him overtime and found out he’s everything BUT serious! He is easy-going, delightful, smart and very funny! He takes pride in having full responsibility of the family. He is also chivalrous and does sweet affectionate things like always opening the car door for me and holds my hand when we’re out (all the time) and many, many other sweet gestures. Some of our best quality times are spent on the couch just sitting snuggled beside each other while watching our favorite shows, movies or (his) sports. He still sweeps me off my feet with his sweetness!
8. RUNNING THE HOUSEHOLD. When I moved to the US, I was so intimidated in the kitchen department as I knew nothing about cooking. I wasn’t very domesticated. But then being the good wife that I aim to be, little by little, I learned different recipes from YouTube and now I’m able to feed my husband decent meals, do the dishes and fold the laundry. Being a wife, I am delighted to do all these labors of love for him and I take pride in creating a nurturing environment in our home. I take care of him like a Baby no matter how tall and hunky he is! Hehe! Also, nanny services are not as common here compared to the Philippines.
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Being married to an American man also helped me discover a lot of things I didn’t know about myself. Being away from my home country and family makes me homesick at times but my husband is always there for me, and takes pleasure in helping me fulfill my duties as a daughter to my parents, a sister to my siblings and a responsible citizen to my new home. That’s how I knew I found a keeper, because he supports my dreams and brings out the best in me! So I guess I’ll agree to everyone who thinks I was lucky to marry an American man – after all I know I married the RIGHT one!!!
NOTE: This article is based on my personal experience with my asawa (husband) and in no way suggests that all American men are this wonderful! Hehehe!
About the Writer:
Anne Bonghanoy – Alms is a Tourism Management graduate at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (University of the City of Manila) with extensive Travel Trade and Corporate Sales experience in the Hospitality Industry. Interested in fashion, wellness and language, she also loves going places, discovering the world’s greatest wonders, exploring cultures and be able to share them through her writing. Anne was born and raised in Manila now living in Iowa, USA.