As promised in my last virtual postcard, I'm going to reveal why I'm currently traveling abroad in Costa Rica.
But before I do, you should know a bit of the backstory.
In November 2019, I met my Filipina girlfriend, Jesa, over Facebook. Soon thereafter, we entered into a truly long-distance relationship — separated by 7,000 miles of land and ocean.
From the beginning of our relationship, I've been writing and posting poems about my girlfriend on social media. And not surprisingly, because these poems come from the heart, they resonated with a large international audience. Including Jesa's home country — the Philippines — where I have over 130K followers on Facebook.
In my love poems and publicly, I’ve affectionately referred to her as Luna. (We even manage a Facebook fan page, Night & Luna, together).
Here is one example:
She called me Night,
because I loved the darkness
And I nicknamed her Luna,
because she reflected the sun
Since we first started dating, Jesa and I have chatted on video every day through the Messenger app, gotten to know each other very well and decided that we truly want to spend the rest of our lives together.
She has even told me she plans to take care of me in my old age. (If you didn’t know, there’s a huge age difference between us.)
I love video chatting with Jesa every day! It’s so wonderful to have technology to keep us connected. But it doesn’t make up for the physical intimacy we’ve been seeking since the beginning of our relationship. We always had that yearning to be in the same country, same city, same room — at the same time.
That's why I booked a flight to the Philippines in early 2020. I had a plane ticket and was set to arrive in April. When I got there, it would be the moment that Jesa and I had been waiting for. We would close the distance and finally have our physical closeness.
Then the coronavirus pandemic hit the world hard!
That was March 2020 and the Philippines went into a strict lockdown. Other countries did too. And to our dismay, the Philippines was no longer letting foreigners into the country. We were heartbroken. Our original plan of meeting had been thwarted.
Even amid the bad news, Jesa and I remained hopeful that the lockdown wouldn't last more than a few months and foreigners would be permitted to enter again. Even if it required following strict entry protocols and a short quarantine period.
But that never happened!
2020 passed us by without a sign of good news.
Thanks to the Love Is Not Tourism movement, I quickly discovered Costa Rica was allowing all foreigners to visit their country. They officially re-opened their borders for air travel in November 2020 and to this day continue to let foreigners in.
(All you need to do is purchase mandatory insurance for the duration of your visit, which covers COVID-19 related medical expenses.)
So late last year, I made a life-changing decision:
I would sell my house in Arizona, with plans to eventually move to the Philippines and live with Jesa.
But before I could do that, we started making all the necessary arrangements to meet and get married in Costa Rica.
Selling a house in a pandemic is no easy feat, but luckily for me, the Phoenix metropolitan area was a red hot real estate market. I sold my house quickly through OpenDoor and closed the deal on March 1st.
Now, the only thing we needed to do was wait for Jesa's passport to arrive. So I stayed in hotels for a few weeks before departing on a plane to Costa Rica.
Jesa's passport arrived the first week of March. I remember her smile. It lit up the room. And soon all our waiting would pay off.
That’s when I immediately booked her a flight to Costa Rica. After she got a PCR test for COVID-19 and tested negative, she was ready to fly out.
The night before her flight, Jesa could barely sleep. That's how excited she was. It was her first trip out of the country. In fact, it would be her first flight anywhere.
But once she got to the airport, she ran into a big snag!
Our long-distance relationship, mainly because we haven't met in person yet, raised several red flags with the Philippines Immigration officers at the Manila airport.
The officers questioned her for the longest time at the immigration checkpoint. I was starting to even worry, because I knew her flight would board soon. And if she didn't board on time, then we'd have to go through the hassle of booking another flight.
The Philippines only has one flight per day, at 11:30 P.M., that departs for San Jose, Costa Rica.
Of course, because Jesa is a strong young woman, she remained diligent. I'm proud of her for how she handled all the interview questions with immigration.
And that's not the end of the story. But that's where I'm signing off this week.
(Yes, newsletters can have cliffhangers too!)
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Tune in next week and find out the answers to these questions:
Did Jesa get through immigration?
Did Jesa board her flight on time?
Did Jesa face any other challenges?
Did Jesa make it safely to Costa Rica?
Did we ever finally meet?