Disclaimer: This is a love story. LOL You will not be able to see/read any heroic deed done by a Soldier in the battle of some sort, hence, this is a story of a Soldier Boyfriend who took every difficulty into an opportunity to prove his love to his girlfriend.
***This is a story about a “take-life” out-of-the-country travel.
EI: “Take Life” (def: anything done against the rules) more definition of terms below
A LITTLE BACKGROUND. It was our first time to travel outside the country. But not the typical type of “travel” where both of you availed a promo a year earlier from an agency and together you go and enjoy a 2n3d tour. It’s more of a “visit” I think; him, coming to see me here in Japan. I’ve been here for almost 3 years now for school and work.
Unfortunately, my Dad passed away earlier this year (Read: To Moving Forward), it was devastating, I don’t know if I could still make it in life without my Father. I was so close to my Dad since I was the only girl among 5 siblings (I am 2nd to the last according to birth order), and I communicate with my Dad every single day especially when I was already working overseas. I didn’t see it coming, and still, up ‘til now, thinking about my future without my Dad is horrifying—that every single day when I wake up, I couldn’t find will to live. This prompted my boyfriend to get his visa to visit me here, to know if I was really doing ok. Even if he knows he has to go through tedious process of acquiring a visa despite his busy schedule, you know, he is a Junior Officer in the Army, that means he only gets to have vacation during their R&R (which he could use to complete the requirements for the Visa).
I won’t continue my story about my loss or anything that will make you feel sad because believe it or not, I get too sad easily, too. Hehe Dapat happy lang lagi diba? I am writing this article to share to you how my boyfriend beat the odds of acquiring a Japanese Visa and how we experienced the first trip we had internationally.
We have some experiences roaming around far flung areas in the Philippines, given that he was assigned to the South (we are both from the Northern part of the country). We tried going to places where there was no electricity, no phone site, the roads were eaten by wild grass and the trail were bitten paths; not only that, the walls of your room were only Mcgyvered military rain coats and your bed was military folding bed beside gallons of gasoline supply and arms and ammos. We survived it. We’re both simple individuals so whatever the situation is, I think we could make it through and could make the best out of any circumstance. But this abroad experience of ours is kind of amazing. It will be one of my favorite adventures.
Japan is only 4 hour-plane ride from the Philippines. Many yuppies visit Japan to unleash their otaku inside. It is very possible and somehow very easy for others to get Japanese Tourist Visa after completing paper requirements which they get from different government offices, but for a Soldier, it’s kind of impossible, unless mag-take life.
So there he was with his burning desire to see my face in flesh, hoping that all the circumstances will conspire to make his trip smooth. First, he completed all the requirements to be submitted for visa approval. Not to mention how it cost him extra bucks for the visa assistance fee, and his unending take life from the CP to the city where he is assigned to get the papers ready. (Imagine how long and grueling the hours of trip from the mountains down to the city where there is civilization, I know, because I’ve tried visiting him in the CP.)
Even before submitting the papers for visa approval, due to his excitement, he already bought plane tickets way earlier than his planned visit. Hehe ganun niya ako ka-miss.
He was very excited to complete the papers and this time, it is in the hands of Japan Embassy if he gets to see me or not. It took him a couple of days to be able to know the results, and luckily, the universe conspired, his visa was APPROVED.
He was given 3 long months of Tourist Visa. If only he could stay that long, I’d be very eager to take care of him even after every tiring day from work and school. Hihihi Kilig much naman, pero I booked him for 11 days only, his R&R was only 15 days and manggagaling pa siyang Mindanao.
On the day of his flight, we both hoped for it to be smooth and it did, for the earlier part of his entry to the boarding area until the Philippine Immigration section where he was grilled. The Immigration Officer was asking for his R&R permit/letter from his Boss. Oh my. It was 5am! How will he produce that kind of paper at these wee hours of sleep?
At that very moment he was still able to message me to inform me that he was asked to come in the Immigration Office because of his papers (or because they’ve learned that he was a Soldier that’s why they were strict to him haaays!).
Meanwhile, that exact time, I was having breakfast at the nearest Mcdonald’s before my airport limo bus arrives. We were only communicating through FB Messenger and I was using McDo’s WIFI. Lol I was so worried that even the WIFI connection got lost and I don’t know how to contact him. (I’ve already been living in Japan for almost 3 years without phone line/personal WIFI; imagine how thrifty I am! Haha I am only using free WIFI the whole time for 3 years!)
Is he going to be ok? Will he still be able to ride his plane? Will I still have to go to the airport without the certainty if he comes or must I now head back home? I was spiraling. I was with my Japanese friend that time and because my friend was also stressed out because of the immigration issue of my beloved boyfriend, it caused her to light a cigarette. Haha. Napa-yosi pa siya dahil sa kaba. She was sharing the same emotions with mine. Haha. But going back to reality, I really don’t know if he passed the Immigration, but I trusted my guts and still rode the limousine bus heading to the airport. It was 4 hours of WIFI-less ride, imagine how worried I was the whole trip, but I still managed to sleep, haha galing pa kasi akong duty nito, I was so tired, I couldn’t help it.
Blessed enough, his Mistah, the very person who can only give out official papers/permits in the Battalion was awakened by my boyfriend’s call. He responded immediately with a scanned permit allowing him to travel outside the Phils, with my Japan address, and his Mistah’s very important signature. We were very lucky.
I faded off to sleep for a couple of hours, and I arrived safely at KIX. As I opened my phone, it kept vibrating as if my phone was committing suicide haha. I know he was also eager to hear from me, and yes he had messages 4 hours earlier. Just as he left the Immigration Office, he messaged me and told me that everything went well according to plan and he was able to catch his flight. Whew. Thank God I didn’t think twice, and thanks to his kind Mistah, he didn’t fail him.
I really didn’t know what will happen to our fate that time, haha will I see him or not? But, I know, all this time, love keeps us through. I entered the airport and went straight to the sink because I want to be looking ok when I see him again after almost half a year. I waited for only a few minutes and out of a sea of unfamiliar faces, from a distance, his face rose vibrantly as he approached me. I was so happy to see him, even if we were only a hundred meters apart, I could see his face lighting up when he spotted where I was. This face, even if I don’t get to see it everyday, when I remember it, I remember why my heart still chooses to beat and continue on with life. My Dad never left me empty-handed, yes he rested, physically, but his love for me is unending when he accepted this unknown man to be a part of my life—to be a part of our family. I was glad that we were able to bond with my Dad for quite some time before he passed away.
Now, at this very moment, right in front of me is a man, who may be an ordinary person to others, but for me, he is the resemblance of a million reasons to stay alive and continue fighting. He is a gift I open everyday. I promise from then on, I will wake up with grateful heart because God gave me a future, and more importantly, a present to love and nurture everyday.
Oopps… What happened to my “travel” story? Ayun, natuloy siya dito sa Japan, after all those uncertainties he faced, sobrang take life lang talaga ito. Masyado kasi talagang farfetched or imposible for him to visit me here, akala ko panaginip lang lahat, pero natuloy talaga siya. We had a great time and I didn’t see what’s coming next.
R&R: rest and recreation
Yuppies: young professionals
Otaku: someone who loves anime so much that he/she lives/drinks/eats and dreams anime every waking moment of his/her life (Def from Wikipedia: Otaku (おたく/オタク) is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the anime and manga fandom)
CP: Command Post: A small unit belonging to a Battalion
Take Life: Doing something against the rule (or ask your Soldier Boyfriend to explain this term to you, I might be wrong LOL)
Mistah: Classmate (term used inside the Academy)
Sink: Military term for restroom
Above photo from Josh Sorenson via pexels.com
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