Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Romance Meets Reality 1: Paperwork

This article is originally posted on my other blog. 

To be inlove means to feel like in seventh heaven. Everything becomes vibrant, inspiring, and, of course, happy. Right?
On the other side of the coin, people will tell you being in a long-distance relationship is like being in a suspended honeymoon where the energy is focused on the time spent together, forgetting the other essentials. 
For some, LDR means living in a fantasy world. That's until they realize that we come crashing against reality, too. We are pressured to prioritize, commit, share, and plan in closing the distance sooner. 
Indeed, when romance meets reality... get ready for a head-on collision (or maybe not really). 
So lately Chris and I have been contemplating on how to start with the next step in our relationship. We've been reading a lot about the process of getting married, applying for a visa, and moving to EU together. It was just startling to know how tedious it is to get our papers ready for tying the knot in the Philippines. I personally known someone who just got married here and had our online research verified by my student's account on how she and her husband (also a German) had spent 8 months to get their papers done for the wedding, and now having to wait again for the family reunion visa process to begin. (It is now on the second month and the marriage certificate from the NSO isn't available yet.)  That's beside the issue of having to spend about 10,000 euros for the entire duration of the process. It is not really about the money, but it sounds really impractical. 
While we were trying to figure out where to exchange our vows, I began to gather the papers we will be needing. You know, to avoid having to rush on things and not able to get everything ready ahead of time. (Add the never-ending queues in the government offices). I was lucky to be living in Iloilo City where many government offices are located. 
I started with my expired passport.
I went to the Department of Foreign Affairs inside Robinson's Mall to apply for a new one and was surprised to have seen a long line by 8AM. Since I was expecting to be done quite fast like the last time I had my passport, I was a bit disappointed. I had to be in the office for a meeting with parents and I couldn't stay long. I just asked for the form and left. I filled out the papers in the office and returned to DFA early the next day. Yep, I was there at 7 AM and was given a priority number, 106. They only cater 300 applicants a day and that should give you an idea how early you should be there. I suggest preparing your requirements before going there to avoid delays. 
Here are the requirements:
Requirements for Passport Application and Renewal at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Regional Consular Office (Iloilo)
As of February 2, the day of my passport renewal, express processing is again available! I decided to avail of this. You just need to add P250.00 to get your passport ready in 10  working days. For a regular application, you need 20 working days to get your new passport. 

How Travel Boosts Your Romance

This article is originally posted on my other blog. 

How could you not fall in love? Malalison Island in Antique is one of our favorite places. 
How many times have we heard of people booking themselves a one-way ticket to mend a broken heart? I have known a number of acquaintances who have done the same thing. Most often, they would say the roller-coaster ride of going somewhere unfamiliar by one’s self brings some sort of energy that empowers the broken heart, bringing it back to life.
But, travel isn’t just for the broken-hearted. It’s definitely  for those who are in love too! While you are both in love, there is also the constant need to learn how to live with each other, working things out as a couple. Even if  you live just five minutes away from each other, travelling together on your own offers a whole new experience, and can lead to discoveries about the love of your life.
Chris and I met online and had been in constant communication for a couple of months before he flew to me and we became, officially, a couple. (Technically, we had been together but as true blue realists, we wanted to meet personally to hug, hold hands, kiss and have dates the way normal couples do, so we can gauge where we go from there.) With this, we would go travel together. When you are in a long-distance relationship like us, then I believe subjecting the relationship to a series of travel tests is essential.
Sol Y Mar is one of the places we love going to when we need time alone for talking but hates the long commutes. 
Based on our experience, here’s why we think travel can be quite a catalyst for your romance.
  1. It strengthens your bond through the test of communication skills. When you are both in an unfamiliar place, you are left to finding things on your own. With this comes the need to communicate clearly and compromise on certain choices you have to make as a couple. You will find yourselves trying to come up with solutions to troubles you are facing, like missing your boat rides. When Chris and I traveled to Boracay, the weather wasn’t really on our side and the cancellation of trips to the island is a possibility. We tried to talk about the possible game plan and agreed on our alternative schedule for the day when it comes to worse.  Also, we would talk about the food we can try that day, of the place we will hang out for the night. So just as with anything else, travel gives you the chance to talk and have your points heard.
Read the full text here. :) 

5 Things You Need to Know Before Your German Guy's Visit

This post is originally posted on my other blog. Click here to view the full entry. 

The moment he said he will fly to meet you, you know this is getting serious (almost always). Perhaps after countless conversations with your Deutsch (German) guy online, you may want to take this connection into a whole new level. Though there is nothing wrong with dating someone online, you should meet personally.  This is because personal encounters can make you assess the person quite well, and ensure what you have actually works.
Though one may actually see red flags even when just communicating online, nothing seems to be more reliable that hearing what the person says as you look each other on the eyes or sitting side by side. His gestures are as important as the words he say. Remember that it if doesn't feel right, then it might as well not right to proceed any further.  You just have to be honest about your feelings as he also invested his time, effort, and resources to see you.
To finally meet the guy is quite thrilling, right? Don't get too excited, though. Before your German guy flies in, be sure to arm yourself with some information. It will save you from the stress and will give you both a much better opportunity to enjoy the time being together.
  1. If he wants to meet your family, then he must be really serious. This is quite a no-brainer. If he shows much interest in meeting your family and spending time with them, then he really wanted to know you deeply. Your family is an extension of yourself, and meeting them means getting an upfront idea of how were raised, the kind of parents and siblings you have, and your over-all personality around your family. Of course, when he would love to spend time alone with you but his eagerness to see who plays an important role in shaping who you are means he wants to understand you better, and this is a good sign for you.

How My Online Experiment Helped Me Find Love

This post is originally posted here. 

Love really has its own way of getting on your way when you least expect it. I bet you are now on this page as you may be in love with a German or is interested in one, romantically. I am so happy I am not alone in this.
As my title goes, it started with a little online experiment on a dating site. It was inspired by a course requirement in the graduate school that aims to set a foundation on possible topics for linguistic studies. To make it brief, I opted for a more unconventional topic which is the analysis of language use by foreign men when writing to a Filipina on a free dating site. (Curious enough? Here's the link to the findings) Little did I know this will pave way to finding the love of my life, mein Deutsch mann.
Now you may actually  be wondering what he was doing on a dating site, right? My boyfriend knows another German guy whose wife happens to be a Pinay. They used to be neighbors and with what he had seen and heard from the guy, became quite curious about what really is going on in the country (of course, with its women too). My boyfriend used to have a lot of stereotypical views on Pinays.  As his neighbor had suggested, he created an account on the dating site (and I am thankful he did, anyway) and got some sort of "the feel" on how many would talk to him there.
On my end, the trouble brought about by a handful of crazy things that happened in my personal life and career on that period has opted me to open my dating site profile again. I was looking for some funny things to divert my attention to. I was eager to answer some mails from quite decent guys, too. But there was just no spark. One day, I found myself looking at a profile of a guy who looks quite serious. As I have an inclination for men who look strict, I clicked on the link and found out he was offline for some time. I saw his picture on my page again the next week, and when I visited his profile he just got offline again. I said I should try again the next day, and I did. He was online, but he didn't view my profile back. I told myself there was nothing to lose, so I wrote to him and said the basic niceties which he eagerly replied to. And so we talked for the next three hours. This continued for quite some time, too.
The next thing I know, we talked on the phone for about two to six hours everyday (yep, even if we're both at work), exchanged pictures of our random days and laughed about how we agree on many things.
Then came the bouquet of roses and some small stuff.
Truly, nothing captures a woman's heart the way roses do, <3 dd="">
I sent him a handmade card on his birthday, and the next thing I know, we are both quite clueless about where exactly do we stand on each other's life.
A simple present you pour enormous efforts in can make a difference. :)
Then came the notice to visit me just two days before his flight. I stood at the arrival area trying to calm myself down with a cup of coffee. He got off the plane quite nervous about whether I will pick him up or he flew in for a bogus individual (just like what he had read on the blogs and forums back home).
There he was, standing neatly  in his white long-sleeved shirt, exceeding the image of what I have imagined him to be, looking right at me (he said he looked at how high my shoes are) with a full smile. I know from then on that I have found the one for me. He kissed me on the forehead, held my hands all throughout the trip to the hotel, and I never felt so secured in my life.
I brought him home to introduce to my family, had a tour around (some of this in a jeepney), brought him to the office, and shocked him with some food, too.
This wasn't his only flight to me.  In  fact, I went home from work one day and found him drinking a bottle of beer with my brother!
We try to make the best of whatever the time allow us to do when we are together. But, this isn't all a bed of roses. We have our challenges too (this I will be writing about very soon).  We both can't wait to see what life has offer us, together. <3 p="">