I was very surprised!
It happened when Grandma met Feyma
So, I went to the Philippines in July/August 1990. Before my trip to the Philippines, Grandma told me that I better not go and get married there! She had no idea that I was considering doing just that.
To be honest, I was a little worried about this statement from my Grandma. Although for the vast majority of my life, we lived far away from Grandma, I still felt close to her, and I loved her very much. But, after meeting Feyma, and marrying, I felt very close to Feyma as well. If I did not feel that way about her, I would not have married her, of course.
I told Feyma that if anybody in my family did not support her, or did not treat her well, I would no longer consider them as my family. She was the person that I wanted to start my own family with, and that was that. But, I was hopeful that all of my family, including Grandma, would accept and love Feyma.
Feyma arrived in the States on January 6, 1991
After going through the immigration process, Feyma arrived in the States about 5 months after our marriage. She got there on a very cold day, the high that day was 6 degrees. Feyma had never felt that kind of cold. In the Philippines, if it is 75 degrees the people are cold and they wear heavy coats.
After taking a week or two to adjust to the different time zone and temperatures (and pretty much every other aspect of life), we took a 4-hour trip to go and visit Grandma. I was a bit nervous about the trip, but Feyma was very nervous, she expected the worst.
Arriving at Grandma’s house
As I recall, we arrived at Grandma’s house around mid-day. When we walked in the door one of my very young cousins was playing in the living room. He was 3 years old at the time (I feel more like an uncle to him). He saw Feyma for the first time and was instantly in love. I introduced him to Feyma and his first statement was “Feyma, can you come and lay down with me under the table?”. We laughed, and the young boy’s father (who is my uncle, but feels more like a cousin because we were close in age) said “That’s my boy!” proudly.
We moved into the kitchen. Grandma always spent the vast majority of her time in the kitchen, and there she was waiting. When she saw Feyma, Grandma started crying and she stood up to hug Feyma. She would not let go. It was love at first sight between Grandma and Feyma.
When I started talking with Grandma, she said “Bob, why don’t you go to the other room, I want to spend time with Feyma.” LoL. I felt like I was instantly disowned, no longer part of the family, Feyma had taken my place. But, it was a good thing.
A long talk with Grandma
Feyma and Grandma spent hours talking. They were like best friends on their first meeting. It made me feel good.
Later in the day, I asked Grandma if she was OK about my marriage because she had warned me to not go and get married in the Philippines. Grandma denied it! She told me that she never said such a thing. Haha… but I know she did. I am not sure if she forgot, or just had such total acceptance of Feyma that she would have been embarrassed to even admit having said that.
The rest of the family
As I said in the first article, only my parents and a few close friends even knew that I had plans to possibly marry in the Philippines. My parents had never met Feyma before she arrived in the USA. Mom and Dad had traded some information with Feyma, sent her a cassette tape of them welcoming Feyma to the family, and some other things, but they had never met face to face. I felt pretty good that Mom and Dad would love Feyma, but had to see how it worked out for sure.
Mom and Dad did fully accept Feyma. They loved her. In fact, there was a time when my parents told me that if Feyma and I should ever divorce, they would keep Feyma and I would no longer be part of the family. That never happened, though.
All of the rest of my friends and family also took Feyma in as a friend and family member too. Feyma is special, it’s hard not to love her.
Feyma won everybody over with ease. Especially me. I mean, I decided to marry her based on only writing letters and talking a couple of times on the phone. I guess I was a pushover.
Now, more than 30 years later, I love her even more.