Meet Maritess

On August 17, 2013 I was en route to the bathroom at my dear friend Mike’s house when I first bumped into Maritess. She was only about a foot tall, sitting atop the dinning table, conversing in Tagalog with her sister–on Skype. So Melanie, her sister, called me over to sit and say hello to the small figure on the screen. Little did I know then, what hilarious and possibly romantic adventures lay ahead for me with this girl. Now, after 7 months and 9 days of on-line-only encounters, this Wyoming man is about to meet the exotic and etherial Maritess, on the shores of her tiny Philippine village.

When Mike married her sister Mel over a year ago I mentioned how I’d love to tag along for the ride. I knew nothing of her family or Maritess, but my love for foreign travel compelled me to set a plan in motion to join him when he was ready to take his wife back to the Philippines to visit the family.

As a single man who has e-dated and e-failed with women in at least five languages (six if you count Canadian), I swore I’d never search for a woman on-line again, and in large part I’ve kept that vow. But never did I suspect that one could literally bump into another soul 9,000 kilometers away on the internet as I did with Maritess.

Tomorrow, will mark 227 days since our serendipitous encounter. We’ve spent most of those days on Skype, talking, laughing and slowly working ourselves up towards this, our fist real-life meeting tomorrow at the Cebu Airport in Roxas City, Philippines.

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Breaking all the rules I formerly adopted about on-line encounters, Maritess has compelled me to make meeting her part of my Philippine adventure. In one week, I’ve already met her family, her friends and have just finished a decadant dinner of crab and oyster at her brother’s restaurant. The only one in her family I’ve yet to meet, is Her.

As one friend put it, “you know this can’t end well,” alluding to my largely horrific past encounters (chronicled in my upcoming book: Reply All; how I spent my mid-life crisis).

But I’m willing to roll the cubes one last time. I’ve been content alone. I have my writing, my art and more freedom than most men I know to travel the world. But right now I’m here, in the middle of one of the poorest countries on Earth, about to meet one of the prettiest, funniest and inspiring women I’ve ever met on-line … and tomorrow, I meet Maritess for real.