Patience, faith and love in the Philippines

Patience, faith and love in the Philippines

When Jimmy Nolan went on vacation to Boracay, he had no idea that the love of his life was waiting for him on a beach
love and other catastrophes
At Andy's house.

Do you believe that true love only exists in fairy-tales? Or are you a skeptic who thinks that long distance relationships aren’t worth the effort? Well, for some that might be true, but for me it has become a reality. After a year of longing to be with the one I love, we are now together everyday.

To me, this was one of the biggest risks I’ve ever taken: traveling to another country to meet a girl I had only met for a few days. — Jimmy Nolan

It all began during the 10/10-holiday weekend in Taiwan, when my friend Mike and I traveled to the island paradise of Boracay, Philippines. Being Canadians, we were in awe of the beauty, the sunshine and good times to be had on the island. It is a truly remarkable place. I met Andy, my girlfriend, when I saw that my friend was hanging out with a group of Filipinas by the beach and I decided to join them. Andy just had something about her that caught my attention. I couldn't get enough of her eyes, which I thought were stunning, she was quiet and just the fact she was such a nice person intrigued me. Over the next few days, the whole group of us hung out daily, and Andy and I really hit it off. With much disappointment, the girls returned to Manila. I knew that there was something special between us, but I had no idea what to do. I was going back to Taiwan, where I was teaching English.

Daily contact

Upon returning to Taiwan, we kept in daily contact, and I decided to return to Manila for her birthday at the beginning of December. To me this was one of the biggest risks I’ve ever taken: traveling to another country to meet a girl I had only met for a few days. I was putting it all on the line with the possibility of humiliating myself.

Well, it was the best decision I have ever made. After a romantic weekend, we both knew that we had something amazing. However, we both knew that it would be hard to make this work, as Andy’s parents had reservations about her dating a foreigner and we still didn’t know each other very well. Also, some of the traditions of courting in the Philippines are more conservative. There’s much more of a family aspect to the relationship than in North America. Luckily, we overcame these issues by talking and reassuring each other that we could get through these little obstacles, and lots of patience.

love and other catastrophesOn Puka Beach.Once I returned to Taiwan, we talked nightly via Skype. To be honest, Skype was a lifesaver. Even though we couldn't be with each other, we could at least see each other and know that we were ok. We had to fill the physical void by really getting to know each other. We were forced to talk about everything, such as simply asking our likes and dislikes, and we also had a random question of the day, which could be about anything. We used Skype to meet each other’s friends, and that’s how Andy met my parents! And I also did silly things, such as impromptu dance routines, just to see her smile. I was also able to fly down to visit her, about every month and a half, which helped satisfy our longing to be with each other.

Leap of faith

Eventually, I came to another crossroads, as I was applying for my Masters of Education degree. My two options were to return to my hometown of Halifax, Canada, or take a huge gamble and attend Ateneo de Manila University in Manila. It was at this time that I took the leap of faith to move to the Philippines, as this is where I wanted to be. I am now with my girlfriend, obtaining a great education, and enjoying life.

Since relocating to Manila, things couldn’t have turned out better. We’re together everyday, her family has been nothing short of amazing towards me, I have met great people, and the Philippine smile has been spread across my face.

It’s funny when people ask me how I knew I was in love. It’s just that feeling that I can’t describe. It’s the wake up, feel great, and can’t-wait-to-see-her feeling I get that lets me know that I am in love.

love and other catastrophesAbout the author: James Anthony Nolan (Jimmy), 26, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Master of Education Student at Ateneo de Manila University. Loves ice hockey, traveling, and working with kids. Aspires to continue teaching. Enjoys writing: I just started my personal blog.

Andrea Samantha Yu (Andy), 22, Manila, Philippines. BS Management Graduate of Ateneo de Manila. Currently a merchandising assistant. Loves traveling, fashion, painting and going to the beach.

Jimmy submitted this piece as part of CNNGo's CityPulse section. To find out what other stories we are looking for, go to our CityPulse page.