38 years on, Germany is my home

Frauenkirche in Nuremberg

When I look back at what I did 38 years ago, I cannot imagine how on earth I managed to pull it off! Let’s just say it was the Power of Love!

Taking a Leap? No it was more a plunge into a life, a very foreign one in every sense which tested me to the limit. But has it all been worth it? Well, I’m still here after all those years! Not only did it improve my life, to say the least, it has completely changed it and me.

It all began in Manila on a blind date set for dinner at 7:30 PM one Friday in June 1982. The meeting was arranged by a lady friend who was just starting to date her now husband and the gentleman I was being introduced to was his boss. They were on a business trip dealing with military intelligence equipment. Sort of secret agent stuff! As it’s the Philippines where punctuality is unheard of by the government officials, the men waited for hours and so our set timing was not kept. Well, I wasn’t going to wait for 3 hours! It was in the early 80’s, no mobile or smart phones for communication, so no word from the men. I went home but as FATE may play its hand, they came to the house and we went out after all. It may sound corny, but it was Love at First Sight! It felt like being struck by lightning but no pain! Not sure if anybody experienced that feeling before, I never did.

That was on a Friday night. We got on so well, that we spent the weekend exploring Manila together and talked about everything and anything. I haven’t been so happy in a while after I broke up with my Chinese boyfriend. I was told by his mother that as a tradition in the family, I will have to settle being the second wife since I am not Chinese! No point hanging around then!

I had a promising career working in the banking industry with my aim into becoming the president of the bank one day! My job involved working closely with the Central Bank to avail the re-discounting financing facility for the private bank. I was the only female in the circle of powerful men who called the shots in banking. It was quite intriguing because I got to know about their illicit affairs ( it was normal for them!) with the famous women in the society and they treated me like a confidante. My work colleagues were good friends since we knew each other for a long time as grew up together in my hometown.

In all of this, my life in Manila was going well until the oversized (6’4”) Briton appeared in my life in June. He came to visit several times that by September; he proposed that I move to Germany. No talk about marriage but I didn’t really care. We loved each other and that was enough.

I started preparing for Germany by enrolling at the Goethe Institut for basic German language learning. Holy macaroni, it was an uphill learning but I was determined. I informed my boss at the bank about my decision to up and go to Europe. All the reaction I got from everybody was shock. How can I do it when I barely know the ‘Man’ and it’s a very foreign country with no friends and family? I made up my mind that was it! The president of the bank who knew me personally called me to his office to find out what the real score is. I told him about how I felt, I was happy and that I prayed hard before I made the decision. I told him that I believe I needed to make the Leap! He was speechless for a while then finally congratulated me for knowing what I want in life. His final words were, do not submit your resignation from the bank unless you are settled properly in Germany. He also assured me that I could always come back and get my job again should it not work out for me. How comforting but I mustn’t think of returning.

I moved to Germany in December 1982 and it was bloody wintertime!

Well, there has been many, many tearful times getting adjusted to the completely new, strange and different cultures (German and British) but I have grown and evolved into a woman without regrets and comfortable in my own skin.

At the end of the day, I must say love and people who care for me and whom I care for are the pillars that made my adventurous leap into the unknown all so worthwhile. Germany is now my home.

One final word for those who find themselves hesitating into taking a leap: remember it could be a missed opportunity and should the result be not as desirable as planned, well, it’s a learning experience. Through this experience, one draws an incredible sense of one’s pride. Believe me, growing into the person you want to be is so fulfilling.