What better way to share to all the "Story" of our beginnings than with a "Facebook-like" timeline highlighting some of events and tavels in and outside Dubai. They say that you really get to know a person after a long road trip or vacation, and to be sure we’ve had plenty. Here’s a look at some of the places and events we’ve shared together over the last 3 years, each a solid step on the journey to holy matrimony. Also many may not be aware of our crazy travel adventures!
July: One fateful day, on July 11, 2010, a collegue invited Crissy to watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup Championship, Viva La Espania! She was not very keen of going out that night, coz she was too tired from work, but the collegue insisted. And there HE was sitting at the corner of the bar drinking alone. Owning that sweet, innocent, quiet and mysterious persona. We got introduced and realized we worked in the same project but never in two years had we stumbled on each other. At “The Hub” two complete strangers talked endlessly on everything- unnoticed. After that night, we finally bumped into each other at the office cafeteria. Crissy remembers having that absolute pit in her stomach. The next thing we knew we were going out but not exclusively.
August: We had our first date at Mamzar Park (where more recently we had our Engagement Photo shoot). Things are heating up! and not just the 41degC (106 degF) heat. From then on we were inseparable. Nonstop calls, sending messages and driving home. You know, the lovey-dovey kind of stuff. We were together almost every day.
September: aka the “Getting to know each other stage” month. The month was filled with nights out to Rockys, Rock Bottom, Buddha Bar, Neo's, and Mai Thai. Drinks were full and the wallet was empty. But what a blast.
October: Time to take the next step of the relationship with a little travelling. Oct. 1-15, 2010, we took our first trip together and visited South East Asia. (Manila & Boracay Phils., Malaysia and Singapore). Actually it was more like a giant leap, as Dan meets Crissy's family (that was quick!) The times spent exploring SE Asia really bring us to a different level in the relationship. Romantic nights in Boracay, the infamous Jeepney ride in Manila, and Crissy shows off her amazing karaoke skills. In Singapore Crissy falls ill, but Dan is there to take care of her. Back to Dubai we go, but rest is for the lazy, Oct. 21-23, 2010 we head out again for a short weekend trip to Bahrain with friends.
November: Some highlights for this month: Abu Dhabi Formula 1 race, our first concert together (Kanye West). A long drive to Sohar, Oman for a quiet weekend. To cap it off, we visit Burj Khalifa, feeling on top of the world "At the Top."
December: Dan takes Crissy to her first Rugby 7’s experience (and since then, it’s one of her favorite yearly event in Dubai). Also, Aunty Irene and uncle Walti visit Dubai! Fancy coctails at the top of 7-star Burj Al Arab with friends, evening of shopping at Global Village and Souk Madinat, and Dinner at Palm Atlantis are just a few of the fond memories shared. To cap it off the end of year there are two great Christmas Dinners, SLWP at Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Worley Parsons at Hilton in Abu Dhabi. Last but not least, Dan reluctantly leaves Dubai to spend Christmas with Family, and to leave Crissy alone on Christmas.
January: Dan takes the midnight express to Dubai, just in time to make 2011 NYE! Straight from the airport they head to Chi @ the lodge, a club near Dubai Airport, for an unforgettable New Years Eve. Later that month Auntie Theresa and friend Barbara visit Dubai, for a action packed few weeks at Armani Hotel, the Westin for a spectacular buffet dinner, and horseracing at Meydan.
February: Possibly one of the best month ever for the both of us. Where to take our 2-week roll-out and how to top our last vacation to Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore?? Months before, we were talking about where to go… but because Crissy has visa "issues" our choices are limited. Oh well, we decided on a Trip to Thailand! Our itinerary is as follows: Dubai-Bangkok-KohSamui-KohPangan-ChangMai-Pattaya-Dubai. For a country twice the size of Oregon, its amazing how much can be explored. In Bangkok we took the city tour to the ancient temples of Ayutthaya, and met new friends along the way. But Koh Samui is where our heart skipped a beat. The first night we took a boat out to Koh-Pangan for the infamous full moon party. Other days were spent on a moped exloring the while island of Koh Samui. Next we hopped on a plane to the jungle city of Chang Mai, for a leasurely few days, including one whole day cooking class, and a zip lining adventure above the trees. Of course in between of those activities we had Thai massages for 200 Baht (6.50 or 24 AED) twice a day, and cheap cheap Singha, Pad-Thai, Tom-Yum, and fresh Sea bass.
March: Another concert to watch and this time it’s USHER! Crissy's favorite concert. We visit the Ferrari World with friends for an exciting day of rides and shows. That roller coaster ride was the scariest thing I ever did in my whole life! (says Crissy -_-) During this month is also when Crissy finishes her contract at EMAL project.
April: Not to be forgotten or underemphasized, the Dubai Brunch experience was full throttle for the month of April. 3 out of the 4 weekends were spent at a brunch, 1 including an afterparty at Nasimi Beach - Atlantis (Sandance and Foam party). It was this time, when Dan convince Crissy to go back to school and take up a Contract Management course at Zabeel Institute, where she successfully finished with an "A". Wrapping up April, Crissy begins her new experience at Bechtel next door to Emal at ADPC. So close, yet so far.
May: Crissy and her sister, being HUGE fans of Roxette growing up, had always dreamed of seeing them perform live. In Dubai, city of all possibilities, their wish came true, with a live and spectacular concert show at the Dubai Exhibition Theatre. A new karaoke machine was procured, so that Crissy could continue to sing Dan all the Roxette songs for the whole month of May, in the hopes he too would become a fan (he's warming up to them, but still not a HUGE fan).
June: One month before Dan leaves Dubai and Emal Phase 1 (for good,,,,or so he thinks). Grey clouds start to form over the sunny and perfect Dubai life. Both have reservations where the relationship is heading, how to handle a LDR on opposite sides of the world. Both are thinking positive thoughts, One bright event of the month is a night out at Cavalli Club, arguably the most posh and uber-luxurious night club of Dubai. Red Carpet, Felt walls, crystal chandaliers, and uber expensive prices. Check.
July: Our 1st Year Anniversary. Dan asked Crissy to dress up "more than normal." He picks her up at work and drives towards JBR. Suprise, we are at the ”The Hub” were we first met a year ago. We had a couple of beer and then head over to the newly opened At.mosphere Restaurant in Burj Khalifa, where we toast to our 1st year full of happiness and adventures on the 122nd floor. The next few days Dan takes Crissy to Palm Atlantis for her 28th birthday. Unfortunately, this celebration is overshadowed by the Dan's last days in Dubai. She pretends everything is ok because he tells her so “Everything will be ok between us, trust me”. She believes him. Crissy drops him off at the airport together they hug each other’s so tight, afraid of letting go. They kiss goodbye (haraam!) and walk away, uncertain of the fate.
And so begins the most difficult period of our relationship, the worst part being the uncertaintly. Will Emal Phase 2 will materialize, can we survive the LDR, should we hold on? Of course the answers are yes, yes and YES.
August till September: We skype all day and night. Definitely, it sucks to be in LDR, especially with a 12 hour time zone difference, but you have to be strong and trust each other. That’s all you can do.
September: Last week of September, we have arranged to meet up in Manila for a 2 weeks vacation. We spend some time with Crissy's family. We went to Palawan, Bikol (Crissy's hometown), and we meet some of Dan’s friends in Boracay. The 15 shot challange at Cocomangas is a notable mention. But this vacation has a more intimate meaning, and definitely the highlight are the moments just embracing the time together again. As soon as it started, so to did it end, and once again we are left embracing each other so tight. We kiss goodbye...(not Haraam!) and never looked back. As to when we will see each other again... No one knows.
October and November: Just getting used to our live's being apart. Dubai-Seattle is a 12 hour difference. Dan goes to work while Crissy goes to sleep, and vice-versa, We skype for max 30 mins on week days and a few hours during weekends. It's not easy. There were times that Crissy just wanted to give up, but Dan tells her to hang on and be strong. The LDR keeps our relationship stronger and we both realize how much we care for each other. On the lighter side, we managed to enjoy our life even while we're apart. Crissy sees Janet Jackson and Britney Spears live in concert with her BFF's in November. She also resumes a normal everyday routine, work, excercise (when Crissy became a little yogi master), cleaning, cooking, going out with her BFF's. Dan on the other side of the world does the same (taking a Six Sigma class, catching up with old friends and family). It makes the Long Distance Relationship easier, lighter, and go by so much quicker. Also there is great news that Emal Phase 2 will proceed! Now beings the waiting game, to negoatiate and wait for official word to return.
November: End of November, Dan makes a surprise visit in Dubai! He calls Crissy late at night and asks her to come outside her apartment. She is hesitant at first. When she opens the door, there HE is! It was a short business trip (4 days), but a surrealistic recharge to the relationship. Also Great Great news! Emal phase 2 is officially underway, and its only a matter of time before Dan can come back to Dubai.
December: And so it's December. Another Christmas being apart. Crissy remembers being extremely sad because she wanted to visit him in Seattle but was refused again for a US visa. ARG! Darn Visa.
January: NYE is spent apart, Crissy with BFF's in Dubai, Dan with his family in Edmonds. But the sunrise is on the horizon and soon enough Dan is back in Dubai. Jan. 16, 2012 Dan returns and resumes his work at EMAL - Phase 2... and does Crissy! Together again... and now in the same company (SNC). We are more serious about our relationship, really enjoying each other’s company and looked forward to better days.
February: A second chance, a new years resolution. Crissy and Dan join Corefit in Dubai Marina. Exercise becomes a integral part of our daily routine. Yoga, Body Pump, Body Sculpt and Zumba become Crissy's new evening and weekend pastime, while Dan sweats it out with Corefit and Yoga 2-3 times a week. With all this exercise in February we load up on carbs and sugar by attending Brunch at the JW Marriot's Bamboo Lagoon with friends, Also of significance, we move out of Grand Millenium in Tecom and into our Dubai Marina's unfurnished Al Majara apartment. So begins the shopping; and shopping; and more shopping. Luckily its Dubai Shopping Festival, so they save many Dirhams.
March: First concert of phase 2, this time the very popular DJ David Guetta in Abu Dhabi.
April: Another long weekend, another excuse to plan a vacation. This time its to the Maldives, the most prestine of beaches and a real getaway to the hustle and bustle of work and dubai. Postcard sunsets, dancing crabs on the beach, and the most surreal scuba diving experinces. Also Crissy applies for and obtains her first Schengen Visa to Europe! Plans for May set.
May: Crissy and colleague planned a vacation to Vienna and Prague. Dan tags along, never passing up an opportunity to travel. The medieval city of Prague is full of suprises, and Dan's tourist ambitions wear down the two short-legged travellers. Time for beer! Vienna is a delight in its own way, with classic and modern architecture, great food, and great great beer! Dan having to work, leaves prematurely, and the two kabayans venture on, with bicycle ride in Vienna's vineyard backcountry.
June: June 3 Madonna rocks Abu Dhabi, and of course we attend. Crissy's inspiration for her "vogue," "material girl" and "like a virgin" lifestyle ;) The following 3-day weekend is another mini-vacay, originally planned for Greece, then Beirut, and somehow finalized for the small Omani town of Salalah. The place isn't your top notch dream desitnations, but the fun and memories we shared with friends makes it a worthwhile experience. Last but not least, Crissy leaves Dan the following week and flies to Manila to visit family. Busy Crissy!
July: Time is like driving on Sheik Zayed, 160 km an hour tailgating and weaving in and out of the buses of our lives. We celebrate our 2nd Year Anniversay and Crissy's 29th Bday. Dan surprises Crissy (yes he can occassionally pull one of those) for a candle lit dinner at "101" restaurant at the One and Only the Palm. The next day, Dan leaves Dubai to attend Maya's wedding in Seattle. Just in time for Crissy's B-day, Dan is back! While on a trip, Dan manages to coordinate with 2 dear friend about Crissy's party at Ruth's Chris. "It was a fun night and one of the best bday I've ever had" (Crissy says...)
August: How many holidays we have in UAE? Many, and there is another in August. This time we go to Thailand's largest island, Phuket! We take a speed boat for island hopping...Krabi (Phi-Phi, Maya Bay), Phang Nga and so on.. there is so much to explore! We Party all night in the infamous Walking street and Crissy's favorite past time - Shopping. It's at this time Crissy gets her first tattoo..(brave woman). Other activities we partake include; Massages, eating, lying on the beach and watch the sunset... oh we love Thailand!
September: A Quiet month, where all you can do is to go for Brunch on a week end - The Warehouse at Le Meridien.
October: Eid Mubarak! simply means, another holiday, wot wot! This time we go to the largest city of United Kingdom - London. Freaking cold and windy...(warm up for Crissy before she experience the real Cold weather for Europe trip in December). Dan got sick along the trip but it didn't stop them to explore the big city. Not to worry, coz he always has a filipina nurse to take care of him wherever he goes. We are having a great time, enjoying the sights, but then the phone call. On Oct. 26 - Crissy gets a call that her papa has passed away. Straight from London, she flies all the way to Philippines to attend the funeral. A 30 hours flight. London-Dubai, Dubai-Manila, Manila-Bikol, (Naga-Balatan, where papa is laid to rest). "London is not my favorite trip.. I will never ever forget how Big Ben made me cry" Crissy says :-(
November: Dan's birthday. Crissy planned a big party months ago, but because of what happen recently, she had to cancel the party. She came back just in time for Dan's bday and his cousin Sergio was in Dubai so we had dinner and went to Armani for few drinks. To end the month of November, another concerts to add in our list. It's Jenny from the block. J-Lo's concert was sold out and it was her only show in the Middle East.
December and Early January 2013: Ok, how did we start our Decemeber? Dec. 8, Usher came back for another live performance in Dubai together with Katy Perry - "One night, 2 Superstar". What a night to remember! Crissy had an Usher Fever for 2 weeks or so...
Febuary 2011 was "THE" vacation of southeast asia, but December 2012 was "THE" vacation of Europe. Once Crissy got the Schengen visa, there was no stopping her. First leg was a flight from Dubai to Vienna, but immediately we took a train to Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart and the Sacher Torte (Cake). Here, Crissy sees REAL snow for the first time! Also our hotel has 3 saunas and a steam room, perfect for the cold nights out. Next stop was Munich, Germany's Bavarian capital. So many great memories in Munich, most notably meeting some new friends from the US, the Neuschwanstein Castle, the Hofbrauhaus, the Beer Gardens, and the street sausages! Next stop we took a train to Zurich, where Aunty Therese picks us up, and went straight to Dan's mother's hometown Merlischachen, near Lucerne. Christmas eve first at church, then a wonderful family dinner at Aunty Irene and Uncle Walti's house. Next day, more great food (and cheese!) at Aunty Barbaras. Later, Crissy buys her most sought after leather boots in Lucerne. The next day we took the train into Zurich, and spend a night in downtown, exploring the shops and churches of Switzerlands largest city. To end our Switzerland trip, we went to Mount Stoos for Snow Boarding with Dan's family. Here, I teach Crissy how to Snow Board. She did great for a first timer! Next Stop is Paris for New year. WOW! What a time. Amazing architecture, amazing food, amazing shopping, the amazing Eiffel tower, the awe-inspiring Palace of Versailles, the Louvre, the Notre dame, the list goes on and on. Also, and the odds are so incalculable its unbelievable, but we bump into Dan's long family freind Maya and her Husband Troy on top of the Eiffel tower. CRAZY! Not to cut our vaction short, on our way home, via Amsterdam, we venture out into the city for a day and night out of hop-on hop-off bus touring, sightseeing, and window shopping....but not that kind.
January: After an amazing time in Europe, time to do some serious working to save for another trip. ok, back to work!
February: Crissy gets her Canada visa. One big step forward. Serious planning begins for the next trip. Dan regretfully leaves Crissy to US for Rich and Tiffany's wedding, separating them on Valentines day. The heart grows fonder.
March: One of the spectacular events in Dubai this year is The Dubai World Cup Horserace, where people dress up in posh suits, glamourous dresses, and fancy pancy hats. The next day is Easter Sunday, but not any ordinary sunday. The stars align at the end of March, and Dan proposes to Crissy!
April: 2 days later another miracle occurs as Crissy FINALLY gets her 10 years US Visa!. Vindication for all the planning, tears of Visa rejection, and letters of sponsorship. Worries of the future melt away. To celebrate the momentous week, Crissy and Dan throw a small Engagement dinner at Ruth's Chris with close friends. A Wedding date is set for October and so begins the hectic process of planning a wedding. April 19 is one of these milestones, as Crissy tries on her first wedding dress - she considers it a very special moment in her life.
May: Crissy's first visit to Seattle! She is so nervous meeting Dan's mom, but the two instantly connect. Elisabeth hosts a family and friends Engagement party, where Crissy is able to finally meet the rest of the family and friends. After a 4 days stay in Seattle, we hop on a plane to Vegas to see Crissy's biological father and half sisters. For those who doesn't know yet, it is Crissy's first time meeting her dad. After Vegas, its a short 1-night stay in Seattle, before we embark on our next adventure to Vancouver with Dan's cousin Sachiyo, her bf and Dan's best man James. Of course along the way there are stops at the Seattle Premium Outlet and LuLuLemon outlet store. Before goin back to Dubai, Crissy buys her wedding dress with mom. the first and a very special mother-in-law - daughter bonding moment :-)
June: And so a long weekend comes, and again another trip, this time to Thailand (Bangkok). Did we say we love Thailand? or is it obvious? Crissy cant find a good selection of wedding materials in Dubai we need for our wedding. (well, you can actually find it but 3x more expensive). Weeks ago, she was planning to make a short trip to Manila to visit her family and to shop at the same time. But the flights are extremely expensive for a 4 days trip so then she kept on checking for flights everyday. Until one fine day, she told Dan that Bangkok flights are really cheap and convince him to make a short trip to BKK instead of Manila. Because Dan love's Singha and massage and pad-thai and sea food and so many reasons to go back to Thailand, it was easy for Crissy. The next thing we knew we were at the Subarnabhumi Airport! The 4 days trip was mainly shopping and nothing but shopping. Thank God we have some spare time at night to do massages, eat our favorite thai food and drink Singha and Chang Beer. Going back to Dubai after Crissy made the expense report for the trip, we then realized that we saved 50% from our original wedding budget. Good job! Now we're all set for the Big day!
Will keep you posted for any upcoming travel plans. Thank you for reading our very long story!