Summer has just ended and it was a sleepy afternoon. I was at my best friend’s place, scrolling down on my Instagram, when suddenly a notification popped out, mentioning that I got a message request. I tapped and paused for a second, thinking, who can it be?
My eyes widened. I got to admit that the request awakened my brain. In a jolt, my attention was full on. I wasn’t sleepy anymore. I was excited. Who wouldn’t be if it’s a handsome guy from Pennsylvania?
I replied with a simple hello and he introduced himself. His name is Ryan. From there, our conversations started to blossom. We talked about ourselves and our interests. I eventually said to myself, I like this guy’s sense of humor. Since we’re both curious to each other, I gave him my number so we could continue messaging on Whatsapp. But then I realized that he’s using an iPhone. I had to try to send him a text through iMessage and I was relieved that it worked.
At first, our messages were just about basketball, one of his favorite sports. He told me he’s a fan of Lakers even though he’s from Philadelphia and Kobe is one of his idols. I connected to this interest of his because of my father, who’s also a big fan of the sport. After a period of time, we started exchanging pictures and it made me smile that he always used superlatives when describing me. Compliments like: you’re so beautiful, you’re super sexy—made me feel wanted.
Exchanging messages with Ryan became a day to day thing. However, on one particular day, the thought of his voice piqued my curiosity. I wanted to know how he sounded like. I asked him: Can we have a video call? At first, he had some alibis to postpone my request because he was shy to talk to me. He wanted to make sure to get a haircut, that he’ll look presentable. Then, on the next day he reached to me with a video call.
It was awkward at first. We just only stared to each other for minutes, trying to familiarize our faces—and just like that, it was love at virtual sight. It happened so fast, we couldn’t explain it. I felt butterflies in my stomach and he felt the same. And the strange thing was we knew it was love. He made my picture his wallpaper and I did the same.
Days had passed and we kept exchanging facts about ourselves in order to deeply know each other. He told me he just graduated, got hired in a casino, and was really excited to work. I just told him that I’m a registered nurse and currently working in a local hospital in my city.
There were times I couldn’t answer his calls because I was busy planning my first ever out of the country trip—a connecting trip to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam—but it didn’t stop Ryan from contacting me every day. He really likes me so he’s always eager to know what I would be doing and if I were okay or not. It’s so sweet of him. Later, we started talking about our exes because I got curious with how many girls he dated before me. He said he had 3 and I thought of myself—not bad; I had 5. Oops! I guess he lost in that department.
One unexpected night, he experienced difficulty of breathing and because I have knowledge about health and emergency stuff, I helped him out and from that on he was sure that I’m the woman of his dreams. He told me so. He courted me virtually and it was funny because I wasn’t hesitant. I directly said: Yes! We’re now officially dating! I told Ryan about his competitions because there were two other guys who were trying to court me during that time too. But in the end, I chose him since he was special. Not just because of his physical attributes but also because we really share the same interests.
Here in the Philippines, celebrating romantic relationships in a monthly basis is a common thing. We call it ‘monthsary.’ But the thing is Ryan isn’t familiar with the culture. I explained to him that every month we should celebrate our love. July 1st came and we greeted each other. We had a virtual toast of our glasses filled with juices. It felt real and we were both happy.
It wasn’t completely a happy story though. There was a problem at his work that made him feel down and depressed. I just stayed by his side and made my best to convince him to always think positive. He moved on and grabbed the second job that he has been offered with. I went to an eight days out of the country trip and it didn’t stop us from communicating with each other. I shared my ventures and Ryan was happy for me, although he was low-key jealous because he was not with me to see all the beautiful places in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Relationships aren’t perfect, there will always be the possibility of jealousy because of potential new friends that you can meet when travelling and meeting other friendly people. Since I’m a backpacker, I always choose hostels. And usually, hostels have only mixed men and women rooms. Ryan thought there were other guys hitting on me but I always made sure to video chat him every now and then to ease his mind. From then on Ryan trusted me. He deeply knew that I’m a trustworthy woman.
The 1st of August came, which was our 2nd monthsary, and he bought some flowers and showed it to me virtually. I appreciated his gift and asked him why he bought yellow flowers. He said that the color was cute. We video chatted and greeted each other while he bragged about his yellow flowers. Thanks boo!
August was a tough month for us as he began working at the postal office, his second job, and that it was also very busy in my workplace. He’s on a night shift plus the time zone difference makes it hard for us to communicate to each other. But then again, as long as you truly love your partner you would do your best to find ways. And we did!
September 1st, it was my time to surprise him. I bought a cake and a balloon for our 3rd monthsary. He had no idea. During the usual call time, he tried to reach me but I dropped his calls several times because my surprise was not ready yet. He was so worried, didn’t give up calling. When everything was already set, I finally answered. I greeted him loudly with a “Happy 3rd monthsary boo!” I also sent him pictures of the cake and the balloon with me holding it. He was speechless. He was crying but it was happy tears. He told me I’m the first girl that did that to him ever. You’re most welcome, boo.
During our 4th monthsary, October 1st, I surprised him again. Now, I prepared 4 sweets and put his initials on the top of the cupcakes. He told me he’s the luckiest guy on earth. I said in reply to him, “I’m blessed to have you in my life, too, boo.” Since it was also my birthday month, I was busy preparing for my birthday bash. When my 25th birthday was fast approaching, I was heavily faced with scary thoughts and confusing emotions. I got a feeling that I was facing a quarter life crisis during that time. I was having mood swings. However, the predicament didn’t last long because Ryan was always there. Ryan did his best to help me during that unnerving experience. Thanks for your patience, love.
I was really busy organizing my own birthday and to my surprise Ryan did something big this time. He got me 3 surprises: first, a necklace with his name engraved on it; second, a bouquet of white roses (my favorite!); lastly, a sweet letter. Overwhelmed and thankful, I cried happily. He’s the first one to give me my favorite bouquet of flowers. Moreover, the effort of secretly reaching my best friend from the other side of the world to set everything up because he couldn’t do it himself, amazed and moved me into tears. It was the best birthday ever.
November came and it was time to book the plane tickets. Good thing I found a promo in the Philippine Airlines that’s a direct trip from New York to Manila. No hassle for him for any layovers. Calendar marked. He’s coming!
December was the busiest month for the both of us. Time flew fast that we didn’t notice it was almost Christmas. He asked me to make his Christmas list and so I did. He was gleeful because I made the perfect list, just all he needed for our vacation. As a thank you gift, he bought me a watch. We video-chatted on Christmas Eve and greeted each other. We did also the same during the New Year’s Eve. We both couldn’t contain our excitement to see each other!
It’s January! This is it! Our 7th monthsary and his birth month. Again, we were full on excited and happy. We’ll be seeing each other in the flesh for the first time in 14 days!
I was busy thinking about a good surprise and a birthday gift for him. Eventually, I came up with an idea. I booked my tickets to Cebu and just couldn’t stop thinking of what we’ll do on the Day. Hug? Kiss? Well, I couldn’t wait. He was also busy packing his clothes and preparing his essentials. It’s his first time to travel across the world and the fact that he’s travelling alone was proof enough that he loves me so much.
The Day came. I arrived in Cebu eight hours earlier than his arrival, and so I got enough time to prepare for the surprise. I ordered balloons and a cake and set it up in the hotel. Finally, it’s time to pick him up at the airport. And there he was, my beloved Ryan Daly in real life. Goodbye virtual world.
He hugged me tight, kissed me, and we’re both speechless. It’s like we’re dreaming. We still couldn’t believe that it happened. We waited for seven long months and finally the day has come. We rode a taxi and I just hugged him and held his hands throughout the entire ride. When we reached the hotel, I opened our room and shouted the loudest ‘Happiest Birthday, love!’ that I could muster. He was so delighted that it made him cry. He told me I’m the first one to do such sweet thing to him. Of course he deserves everything.
He made a wish and blew his cake. We ate the cake together and he liked it so much. After that, we just cuddled and talked about how we still couldn’t believe that we’re actually hugging each other. Dinner came and I made a surprise dinner at the rooftop where you can see a good view of Cebu City. We ate steak and had red wine. Cheers and Happy Birthday again, love!
The vacation continued. The very next day, we went to different islands of Cebu. He loved it. He’s a tropical guy, he said. We both enjoyed every single moment spent with each other. Then I took him to my city to meet my family and friends. He was much welcomed and loved. He felt so happy being accepted by my family.
However, the bittersweet day came. We went back to Cebu because his flight back home is fast approaching. I was taking a shower when he surprised me. And it wasn’t just a regular surprise, it was the big SURPRISE. When I got out from the shower, he proposed to me. He was holding a ring in front of me. Of course I said yes. It’s a dream come true. He’s my forever and I’m his.
Happiness will always followed by sadness. What started as a sweet moment turned a bit bitter as it was time to say goodbye to him. We departed our ways and my flight was earlier than his. I was the one who said goodbye first. We both couldn’t hide our tears because all the happy memories we shared for 10 days are officially put on halt. But we both tried our best to think positively, that the goodbye was temporary and that it’s just the start of our journey to forever. I will see you again soon, love!
We’re back to having a long-distance relationship. I hope everything will turn out fine because we both couldn’t wait to be in each other’s arms, to be reunited in the presence of true love once again.