Meeting my husband onboard "the Loveboat"

My job as a celebrant involves me retelling the beautiful stories of how my couples met & fell in love.. I personally love hearing a great love story.. and my own is no exception.

I first met my now husband Ramon in August 2011 when my sister Alana and I went on a Mediterranean cruise onboard the “Costa Romantica” (not even joking that was the name of the ship) Friends refer to is as "the Loveboat!" Ramon was working as a bartender. The first night we met we approached the bar before bed looking for bottles of water, Ramon tried to be all cool asking us questions about ourselves.. we were such sass queens with our responses. Very sarcastic. Like who is this guy just give us our dam water. 😂

The next day we were in Turkey and we came back early as it was about 300 degrees outside, we sat at the empty bar and ordered a drink. Ramon then started his shift and said to us “welcome back!” Alana and I looked at each other confused- do we know this guy? We had no idea it was the same guy from the night before..

It was day two of a 7 night cruise and it was very apparent we were on a family cruise.. not the kind of cruise two young twenty year old girls would make friends. Ramon called it a “senior citizens cruise” which is why the two of us stood out. So we made friends with the Filipino bartenders who all spoke good English. Ramon in particular, he used to come to our cabin with a bottle of straight vodka with ice, we used to talk shit and just hang out on his breaks, which if he were caught he would have been fired for. As the week went on I started to notice he was treating me differently to Alana, but I was 23 and really naive so I didn’t know what to do. I could tell he looked at me differently.. it got to the last day and he said to me “does Alana always have to be with you?” I was both mortified and intrigued.

Alana & I spent most of this week drinking or hungover when we were on the ship. I think this is why I no longer drink alcohol.. 🤣 Ramon and I ended up alone in my cabin and we had our first kiss...

The next day we exchanged numbers at the bar and we left the cruise. I remember emailing my friends and telling them about our week and finished the email with- “this guy lives in the middle of the ocean so it won’t go any further” next minute.

I remained in Europe travelling for another 3 months, Ramon would call me every break. It sounds weird but we really got to know each other because all we had was conversation.

By the time I got home in November I was totally in love with this guy, like obsessed in love. Gross! On my phone constantly waiting for his next call or message.

The following two years were possibly the best yet worst in my life. We had to do long distance. I was in Australia and he was working on a cruise ship that traveled to all parts of the world, I would wake up to his calls at 3am even if I had work the next day. I had many fights with friends and family who didn’t understand my situation, why couldn’t I just find a guy here? They truly believed it wouldn't work out and I would be left heartbroken. The heart wants what the heart wants people! You can’t help who you fall in love with. I was determined to prove them wrong.

The following June, Ramon left the cruise line as one of their ships the Costa Concordia had sunk, and the company dropped their already shit wages dramatically. It was no longer worth him working away from home. We decided he would come on a holiday to Melbourne. We applied for his tourist visa, on my Pops 80th Birthday Ramon called me to say his visa had been denied. I cried so much, what options do we have now? This was before I worked in travel so I had no idea about applying for Visas and the fact he no longer had a job went completely against him. I was a total nightmare for my family at this time too, I can admit that. My mum and sister were in America and my poor dad did not know how to cope with me. I was distraught.

Ramon was also a total pain in the ass once this happened, for 6 weeks he sparingly talked to me, he told me "your country doesn't want me, you need to move on and forget about me!" Wowee, what a mess I was in. I was walking around the block with my sister one night and something just came over me, I cannot put my life on hold fighting for this guy who is no longer fighting for me. So I told him, it was great but I can't do this alone, so have a great life.. Few hours went by and he came back around and said what are our options?

The next day I booked my ticket to the Philippines, I came home and told my mum and said "you can tell dad" he came into my room that night and said one thing "if he hurts you, I will kill him!" Typical smart ass me replied- "good luck finding him, there's 100 million people in he Philippines..." honestly I was such a cow.

Anyway 3 weeks later I boarded that flight and went to see him, my parents were worried sick, we didn’t even tell my pop till I got home. I had to see for myself if this was real or some weird online/ phone romance. It was real. And after that trip my friends and family understood. They saw me come home safe & happy. Six months later, I traveled back to the Philippines where we decided to apply for a partner visa for Ramon to move to Australia. The wait for this is like nothing else. We knew this was our only chance, if this was denied it was likely our relationship would end. We knew that, and that was a hard concept to think about.

So almost two years after we met, Ramons visa was granted and he arrived in Australia in July 2013.

Remember at this stage he had only met my sister, so the poor guy arrived in Melbourne and the next day he moved in with my entire family... who are absolutely not shy and not quiet people. He quickly learnt the ropes of being in our family and life in Australia.

It’s now been 7 years since he moved here, we have a home, a daughter and a pretty great life.

I put my life on hold for those two years, and he changed his whole life for me. We didn’t give up when people told us to.

And that my friends is our story! It was not an easy road, but it was worth all the heartache xx

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