Diega and Scott

How We Met

I live in the Philippines, he lives in California. We were both on vacation in Japan. We met on my birthday and it was our last night in Osaka. He was flying back to the US and I will be on my way to Tokyo the next day. I was with my friend Ash, and we had just had a lovely late dinner and wanted to go out for a drink before going home. We went to an English karaoke bar called The Drunken Clam (from Family Guy!) and sang a few songs (cue in some I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor!).

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Diega's Proposal in Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

This cute guy came over and told me I have a lovely voice, and we started talking, singing, and dancing. He introduced himself as Scott. He’s from San Jose. Silicon Valley, the Bay Area. His friend Dave is a great singer and sang some Ed Sheeran. Next thing we know, it’s 4:30 AM and the bar is closing. He and his friend Dave walked us home. We exchanged numbers and shared our first kiss (or kisses) that night and a few hours after they flew back to California and I took the train to Tokyo. Five days later, he wrote me a short story. It was 6 pages long, poignant, passionate, and romantic.

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Diega and Scott's Engagement in Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

He wrote: “My thoughts were now filled with wonder. What lies ahead for us? We leave for the states in less than a day. Will I ever see this intriguing creature again? These few hours we shared were bittersweet. It was a taste of something magical. My heart was open to this girl. We both gave freely to each other. Part of me wanted to cancel all of my plans. Throw it all out the window. Run back to her. Spend another day, week, forever near her. Find a quiet place and pick her brain. Connect on deeper levels.”

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In the meantime, I was also writing a letter to him. When I got home from my trip, he emailed me the short story and I was in tears! I sent him my letter where I wrote: “How do we develop something from a random meeting in a bar in a country that’s not ours? How do I explain to my friends the instant connection I felt that night with you, the jolt of electricity running through my body when we kissed, the calmness and reassurance I felt when you were caressing me, the weakness of my knees and my heart as you looked into my eyes?

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“It’s hard to explain when you have this urgent and pressing attraction to someone you’ve only met for a few hours, in the dead of the night and in a completely foreign place. There’s simply no logic to it. “Yet for some reason, I feel it and the emotions rushing through me making me cry. I’m holding back tears as I type into my laptop, aware that this feeling I have may just slowly fade away as the physical distance engulfs us. It’s bittersweet to meet someone who you think may be ___ (I’m too scared to write it down) and to let them go away because of circumstances that are out of your control. Maybe I’m just jumping to conclusions. Maybe I’m being overdramatic. Either way, it doesn’t lessen the feelings I have.”

Within 2 weeks of us meeting, he snail mailed me a handwritten letter where he wrote his first “I love you.” I got it a month later. For the next 5 months, we would talk 4 to 5 hours a day getting to know each other, asking the tough questions, learning and exploring. By January he came to the Philippines for a visit and to meet my family and friends. Soon after, we planned a trip for me to go to California to meet his. But, a week before I flew to California, I received some bad news: they discovered a tumor in my brain the size of a duck egg which has been growing for the past 10 or so years.

The doctor said that we needed to operate right away, but postponing it for a week of travel will not affect the growth as long as I’m under preventive medication. The fact that I’ve had it for the past decade and wasn’t feeling any symptoms except a 3-day headache that brought me to the ER also showed that my brain was adjusting to the tumor. It was devastating, and he was heartbroken because he couldn’t be there physically for me. But I was determined to leave, and following my doctor’s advice on medication to prevent swelling and seizures, I braved my way to him. It was the best time of my life! He and his mother surprised me with a trip to Disneyland all the way from Fresno.

How He Asked

The day before my flight back to Manila, we drove to San Francisco to see the tourist-y spots. It was late in the afternoon, and it was getting cold. Being the tropical person I am, I wasn’t feeling well already (plus the fact that I wasn’t dressed properly—um shorts!) We walked around the pier, ate some crab sandwich and clam chowder, saw the seals, and walked the souvenir shops.

Then, we drove to the Golden Gate Bridge and walked half of it. Took lots of pictures. Went back.

On our way back, he saw one of the picnic tables and sat down. He propped up his phone for a video. I had complained before that we didn’t take enough videos when he was in the Philippines, so he said now’s our chance.

We kissed. We hugged. We danced some salsa. And then he told me he wrote me a poem:

Fate brought us together,

Time and distance keep us apart,

Our love brings us closer,

You’re always in my heart.

When he knelt down and asked me to marry him, I didn’t even see that he was holding a ring. My eyes were too blurry from crying. But I looked into his eyes and saw my reflection and realized how much I love this man. Ring or no ring I will marry him in a heartbeat and I said yes, of course, I already said yes! In the background were a big tree, a beautiful sunset, and the Golden Gate Bridge. But it didn’t matter. I only saw his face and his love and that’s all I truly cared about.