A Love Story
After Ivy Caine moved to Canada from the Philippines, she met a Canadian guy, fell in love and bought some shoes for their wedding. But can the in-laws embrace each other?
I came from the Philippines and moved to Taiwan in March 2007. On April 17, 2009, I moved to Canada. My first job in Canada was as a counter attendant at Booster Juice in Leduc, Alberta.
One night my friends convinced me to go to the Coyote Club, a local pub in Leduc. Right away, I noticed a Canadian guy sitting on a wooden chair and holding a glass of beer. His beautiful eyes, pointy nose, and attractive smile stole my heart.
After a year of dating, that guy and I decided to live in Calgary. I was nervous since I had never lived with a man before. Luckily, our relationship was full of excitement and happiness—we both like watching football and Trailer Park Boys. On October 9, 2011, he proposed to me on Thanksgiving Day in Spray Lakes in Canmore. That moment was breathtaking.
I did not know what my family, especially my mother, would say about our engagement. She could not speak English. We often video-chatted, and the only words my mother said to my fiancé were “Hi” and “Hello.” She told me that my fiancé needed to learn Tagalog – the Filipino language.
I flew to the Philippines to arrange our wedding and spend time with my family. I had not seen them in seven years, although I had thought of them constantly and sent them money. My three siblings had grown up during my absence. My sister has a son, and my two brothers work in the fashion industry. I am proud of them, but it felt awkward when we met in person. Since my siblings were busy, I spent more time with my parents. I reassured them that I would continue to care about them, and help them financially, even though I would be married and living in Canada.
While I was there, a friend and I went to the mall. We stopped in a shoe store. I bought a pair with wedge cork-like soles and black straps. The shoes were handmade in the Philippines. They fit my wide feet perfectly.
My husband and I tied the knot on January 31, 2013, in Lucena City. I wore these shoes. I received many compliments on them. That day was also my parents’ twenty-eighth wedding anniversary. While I walked down the aisle, my father cried with happiness. The reception was in a hotel garden decorated with tropical flowers. Butterflies fluttered everywhere. My mother gave a speech. She said, “Jon, you are a wonderful man. I can see that you love my daughter as I do, and I trust you.” My mother had learned to speak English. I was impressed. “And then my mother said, “Masaya kami na ikaw ay naging parti ng aming pamilya.” It means ‘welcome to our family.’
When we came back to Canada, my mother-in-law threw a reception at the community centre in Leduc. We showed the photos and video of our wedding in the Philippines. It was one of many ways that our two different families and two different cultures came together.
On October 30, 2013, I became a permanent resident of Canada. I wore my wedding shoes to the immigration office, where I signed the documents. My heart beat fast. My feet were sweating. I had not been that excited since my wedding.
I love the life I share with my husband and look forward to learning more about his family and more about Canada’s beautiful people and culture. We hope we can help my parents come here for a visit in the next few years and we can all be together again.
IVY CAINE is from the Philippines. She’s been in Canada for eight years, works for the Alberta Government as an administrative assistant, and is a marathon runner.