It all started with a simple click. Do you want to meet her? Yes or No. Well, hell ya, I clicked. There’s not much room for description, but her quick profile at hotornot.com was all I needed. Not long after that, she also agreed to ‘meet’ me as well. With this match made between 2 random strangers, we were then able to communicate. It’s been 2 years now, from March of 2007. My suave opening lines were: Hey, i see that we have a double match here, and wanted to say hi to introduce myself. My name is Phil, i am 29 years old. I live in North Carolina, USA. If you’d like to chat i have yahoo messenger as radialmonster and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org take care, hope you had a good weekend!
We chatted back and forth randomly when we’d see each other online. Occasionally there would be an email. We’d chat and I remember thinking that we had a few things in common and enjoyed chatting quite a bit. But what was the chances of anything actually happening? I had been single for a few months and was looking for dates. With her being on the other side of the world, that wasn’t going to happen easily. Besides, she seemed really busy. She just had a kid. She hadn’t mentioned that in her profile. I’m not sure if I would have clicked yes if she did. Days, weeks would go by sometimes between chats. And often then they were only as much as Hi, I’m still around. There was even a period of several months gone by where I didn’t hear anything at all. I assumed she didn’t want to chat anymore. Or that she found a boyfriend. Meanwhile, I dated, or at least attempted some dates. I did have quite a few. But nothing ever turned out for the good in that regard. Some were just really bad. But I did meet some good people as well that at least provided good conversations to stave off the loneliness and still keep the good ones as friends today. She sent me a few of those forwarded emails. You know the type. Well, I don’t go for those, so I just assumed she had me on her group list and was sending them out to everyone, me included. I didn’t reply.
Then in March of 08, after over a year of our initial meet and greet, I get this: “How are you? Hope you’re good, actually we might have a chance to see each other on April since ill be in Virginia to visit some relatives. Let me know if we can meet up” Hmm, well Ok I guess we can try to meet. I emailed her back and said sure we can meet up. She called me I think that same night to tell me about it. It was the first time I had ever spoken to her. She asked if I had married yet. I had chatted to her before about some of the dates I had gone on. I said no, not married, I didn’t even have a girlfriend.
We began to chat again, about her upcoming trip, things she wants to do etc. We chatted quite a bit. My friends were used to me chatting on my cell phone when we hung out, and we started to chat quite a bit, everyone would laugh every few minutes when they heard the familiar ding sound of my receiving of a new text message. They knew her only as Philippine Girl. They knew that she was in the Philippines, and that we chatted a lot, but I didn’t tell them she was coming. My plan was actually that she would come to the states, I’d pick her up and bring her to meet my friends and show her around. I’d just come up to our usual Saturday hang out with her and say Hey, meet Philippine Girl. With them not knowing that she was even coming, all of a sudden this stranger from the other side of the world is right here. But, it did not turn out that way.
Her family did not approve of us even meeting. Which is why I didn’t write anything about any of this, or her, here before. She had to convince them to even let me come up there and have lunch together. There was no way I would be able to bring her with me for a while and hang out, show her around here. All I knew is she had 1 month to be here, then she would be going home again. She had no friends here, so I wanted to be able to show her around the area during the short time we had. It looked more and more like we wouldn’t even get the chance to meet at all. She had found some people to hang out with where she was staying. And looked to me like she was doing quite a bit of that by the pictures she shared. So, I didn’t pursue it any longer. If she really wanted to meet, she’d have to arrange it.
My step-mom Marie had a birthday party on May 1. We went out to the Carolina Ale House to meet up with some of her friends. I had already told Marie about this new girl, Mylene. Marie is also from the Philippines, and she has lots of Filipino friends that I’ve met so that was a good common thing that I could talk to Mylene about. During the party at the ale house, Mylene called and I gave the phone to Marie. They chatted for a bit, and then we chatted as well. Apparently, Marie and Mylene were chatting about me, and whether we were going to get together or not. It would be nice to, I enjoyed talking to her, thought she was right attractive, but the logistics of it all just wasn’t adding up. She just didn’t seem that into me when we talked.
After the party, I drove Marie home. It was already like 1 or so am at this point. Marie was still recovering from the nearly $200 bill at the ale house. We sat out in the driveway and talked. She kept asking me what I thought of Mylene and what were my plans. Well, I didn’t have any plans, didn’t look like we could meet. Besides, she has a kid back home, she’s met some people up in Virginia now that she seems to enjoy hanging out with, if not more, family doesn’t want us to meet etc etc. Apparently, Mylene had told Marie that she didn’t understand why I wasn’t “courting” her. Well, hmm. Seeing as how there’s no way we can just go on a date, perhaps that has a bit to do with it. I was interested, but how exactly would I “court” even though now she was closer, albeit like 300 miles away. Mylene called that night, yes that same night, like 2am while me and Marie were still out talking and I’m listening to her drunken ramblings, and we talked, but this time with me knowing that she was interested in me. Later I find out that apparently I did something magical a few days before hand, on April 27 2008, because that was when she started liking me.
Now we had finally established that we liked each other and could perhaps move on the conversation. However, it looked as if the family was not going to allow anything more than talking on the phone. I tried to explain to her that although she may look it, she’s not 12 years old. However, she didn’t want to disrespect the family that was disrespecting her so it was all up to her what to do. In a few weeks she would be leaving the states to go back home anyway.
The time came and passed for her scheduled leave. She ended up getting to stay longer than expected. She was excited to be able to stay, but felt trapped where she was. Due to the extended stay she lost her job back home. She could not work here due to her visa status. She was not allowed to go anywhere on her own, and was reliant on who she was staying with to provide money to send for her son back home. The family was even attempting to set her up on dates with other guys. Many a nights I listened to her cry about her situation, but there was nothing I could do about it, and nothing she wanted to do about it. I offered her to come stay with me as long as she wanted. I had plenty of room, and it would give us a chance to know each other and for me to show her the world here as I wanted to do all along. But that wasn’t going to happen. Talk was that perhaps she could come as long as Grandma could come stay too. Um… no. Perhaps on one of their trips into NC to visit more family we could meet somewhere for a supervised dinner. Perhaps I could do that for a first meet. But that didn’t even happen.
Finally, by some chances and by much protest, we had a date setup for May 30. I took Friday off work and drove up to Virginia Beach with my newly purchased GPS. We met at her aunt’s hair salon.
I knew the deal. Aunt Julie was the first contact. If the aunt didn’t like me, the whole thing would be called off. Police in riot gear would probably show up and escort me out of the area. But apparently it was ok, after waiting like an hour for her to show up I finally get to see her for the first time. I think we shook hands or maybe just waved a hello from across the room, don’t really remember. We sat down in one of the offices for a while and talked. Decided to see if we could go down the shopping mall to get some lunch. Family said she could go, but had to be back in so many minutes.
I broke out the camera, cuz you know I love pictures, and snapped this first shot of my lunch date. Decided she was much cuter than I had imagined and we had some lunch and sat by the window watching the cars go by. Throughout the talk, it didn’t take long for us to feel comfortable with each other. I was worried she was quite disappointed in me. Not sure, why, just my feeling. But it didn’t seem to take long from going to this first picture of us together onward to a closer one, to an even kinda clever one I thought.
After lunch, she asked if we could go over to a very nearby park, Mount Trashmore. Exactly as it sounds, an old landfill turned park. That we did, and had a scheduled meeting time afterwards. I was amazed she was allowed to get in my car so we could whisk away. Since the park was right down the road, it was a short ride. We explored the park, walking from one side at the bottom to the top of the big trash heap.
Hm, whats that in the distance? Oh, a makeshift carnival. We walked closer and contemplated going to it, but ended up settling down on the hillside overlooking it and talked. Although I’m not sure who talked more, us or her on the cell phone trying to convince someone new that she was still alive.
We talked about jobs, home, cultures, time, places, friends etc etc. Compared things between us. Such as hand sizes. And eyesight.
We took pictures. By this point, I’ve realized she enjoys pictures as much as I do. So we took lots of pictures. And it was all very comfortable and relaxing. And right.
Besides, we weren’t sure when, or if we’d see each other again. Either I would be deemed a psycho by family and a threat to society, or she wouldn’t like me and say thanks for meeting me but no thanks. So we made the best of it. It was more than a first date though. It was as if we’d been dating for years, and we were just finally able to see each other again and needed to catch up on old times.
Later, her family came back and brought some left over foods for us to eat for dinner. We setup a picnic table and had the foods. I wondered if the food was safe.
It was getting dusk, and apparently she turns into a pumpkin or something and we had to part ways. We said our goodbyes, and I said goodbye to the family that would speak to me. Grandma would hardly look at me, even despite my attempts to wave good bye. I shacked up at a local hotel. The next day, since I wasn’t allowed to come to her house, we met at a local mall and we took off from there on another adventure. Mylene had been in the states for over a month now, within just a few miles of the ocean, and she had yet to go to the beach. So that was our first destination. Here’s Mylenes first US beach encounter.
Since she can’t swim, and I wasn’t dressed or ready to swim we skipped that part. Instead we spent a bit of time just looking, and then went back to the boardwalk for a tour of the shops. It was past lunch time and I was pretty hungry. We went to that Italian restaurant that I always seem to end up at. Even though the food is mediocre, overpriced and they don’t even serve sweet tea. The enjoyment of Giovanni’s.
Got back to the car and sat in the air condition for a while to talk and decide our next venture. We decided to go to the local botanical gardens that she had been at before. A 155 acre flower pot. Here, I broke out the video camera and my nicer Fuji. Mylene was happy to take charge of the visuals, which quite impressed me. We had a total of 4 cameras.
We sat on the grass beside this creek thing, careful to not sit in some geese goop. We talked about how the days had gone by, and if everything seemed to be ok. Everything seemed just fine to me. That’s when she asked me why I’m not her boyfriend. I don’t know, why aren’t I? I’m not exactly sure how the conversation went, but by the time we got up from our seating spot I had a new girlfriend.
We continued our walk, and found ourselves surrounded by roses. This was the most roses I had ever seen in my life. Especially all in one place. Here’s one also of my favorite tree, the weeping willow.
We found a hidden shack up in the trees. Like a tree house overlook thing. As we approached the steps, she instructed me to make a wish. I couldn’t figure out why exactly I needed to wish, but something about every time you reach a new set of stairs you wish for something.
We made it through the kids section, and on into the desert section. We saw this tent and wanted to see if we could get over to it. There was a stream, and a bridge that looked like it was broken that went over it. Mylene jumped across the gap first. Then I was trying to figure out what do with my bag when some kid came up, got on the broken bridge, and used the ropes to move the wooden platform from one side to the other.
Mylene found this tree and made the joke that this should be my own tree. I still have a few more years to go I think.
We continued our tour and walked into a huge open area with trees and grass. The path split in two directions. We were trying to find the butterfly building, and the sign in the middle of the path said Left, Butterfly Building. But it also said Right, Butterfly Building. I asked her which way she wanted to go. She said straight through. So that we did, and trampled all along the nicely manicured grass through the tree farm.
Found this artwork, and this guy is actually kinda scary. It was getting late and we had about worn ourselves out walking around. This metal butterfly was the best thing we could find.
It was super hot also and I was ready to get in some air condition. We found a tram stop and cheated back to towards the entrance snapping pictures on the way.
Oddly, the botanical gardens is RIGHT BESIDE the Norfolk International Airport. There is even a walkway to an overlook area. We contemplated that from here, one day soon, she would be leaving to go back to her home.
By this time, although she didn’t know it, I was about ready to fall out. I don’t remember the temperature but I was getting right sick. Her family was already calling asking where we were. They wanted to meet to pick Mylene up and all I wanted to do was pass out in some cool air. We got back to the car and I took a few advil. I had already decided where I wanted to go eat the night before. A sushi place nearby that was reviewed by everyone I could find to be the best sushi in virginia beach. I took Mylene to their meeting spot at some other mall and they asked what I was going to do. I said I guess I would go get some dinner. They offered for us to eat together, but they wanted to eat somewhere nearby, like mcdonalds or sonic. I declined the offer and said I hardly eat fast food, and that I really already had my choice made and was in the mood for some good sushi. She suggested another place to go so I caved in and we all met at Sakura for dinner. On the way Mylene hit her head on my car door as she opened it. They half joked that it was a good thing they saw her do that, or they would have thought I did it to her.
The dinner was ok, but I was expecting some knockout sushi and this sure wasn’t it. After dinner, I gave Mylene her present. She had mentioned to me that she used to play guitar back home and she would like to borrow one of mine while she was here so she could occupy some time. So I bought her a new acoustic guitar. They loaded it into their car, along with Mylene and took off. I went back to my hotel and passed out.
The next morning they wanted me to join them at church. I’m not a church going guy, but went anyway, mostly so I could see my new girlfriend again. Sorry, but apparently I didn’t take any pictures. So that was interesting itself. It’s a Catholic church, so stand up sit down kneel down stand up kneel sit kneel i had no idea what was going on. I grew up in southern baptist church where you sit and the only time you kneel is if you fall over from sleeping. After church we went to a Philippine cafe thing. Susan’s Kitchenette. You walked up and ordered what you wanted out of the display case. I didn’t know the names of this stuff, although I had seen it and had a lot of it before. So I left to Mylene to pick some good stuff for me.
Afterwards, it was about my time to head back home. They offered me to join them on a trip to the gravesite where her husband is buried. I didn’t want to impose on such a journey, but they insisted it would be ok. At least it would give me more time with Mylene. It was on my way home also, but quite a bit farther from virginia beach than I realized before hand. Neither of us knew where we were going, and we struggled to find the cemetery in the points of interest on the gps. But we eventually did find it and get on the way. During the journey we thought about ditching them and going elsewhere, but the gps took care of that itself not being clear about the direction of one of the highways. Another mishap happened when Mylene attempted to clean her and my hands with my sanitizer and ended up spilling near the entire contents of the huge bottle into her lap. Luckily it dried quick, otherwise it would have looked like she pissed herself, or worse.
So we sat out in the cemetery, and Mylene broke out the guitar. I showed her how to tune it and played a little bit while her aunt and grandma watched over the site.
Eventually I was allowed a picture with the family, perhaps they were warming up to me.
We left, and made one more stop at a gas station so I could fill up for the journey back home.
After this, we parted ways. We blew kisses at each other and smiled knowingly. I had met a great girl, and I hoped that she felt the same. I don’t remember any other first date to be as great as this one, and really felt something special with her. In fact, by this point, I already knew I loved her. But the complications of so many things clouded it all. We would just have to see what would happen next.