Recently, the jazz radio station where I live had a contest for Valentines Day. All one had to do to win a marvelous series of prizes, was to write an email to the station stating why our loved one deserved to win their prize. I tried it. I did not win. The winner’s letter was read aloud on the show. That letter described a scary flirt with death the winner had after 28 years of marriage, and how his wife helped and supported him during that experience. It was touching. But I concede that I felt jealous, not because I didn’t win something marvelous for my wife; but because he had 28 years with his loved one before his serious health trouble, and given my own marital circumstances, I will be very lucky indeed to have more than 28 years of blissful marriage with the love of my life.
My letter describes our story very briefly, and I thought some of you might be keen to know of it. Here it is:
I Found My Soul-Mate on Facebook
By Greg Chako, Jan. 24th, 2016
Exactly 1 year ago, I was finally reunited with my beloved wife, when she arrived at Rochester International Airport from Singapore. We had been painfully separated for two years due to the USA’s immigration regulations, just after getting married in Singapore Jan. 8th 2014, on my winter break from DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) degree studies at The Eastman School of Music. When we got married, we had no idea we would be forced to live apart for so long!
Our story is poignant and bittersweet, and that is only 1 reason I believe my wife deserves such a wonderful Valentines gift from 90.1. The other reason is because of her character: she is generous and compassionate to a fault. She has spent a lifetime helping others, even when her own personal circumstances might seem to have demanded more concern for her own wellbeing instead of that of others. Let me briefly tell you how our love affair developed.
Roughly 20 years ago, I was a steadily working jazz musician in the tropical island paradise of Singapore. Gigging nightly and managing a successful music production company, I could afford some basic housekeeping help much more than I could the time to do it myself, so I hired a Filipino maid part-time on the advice of my roommate, an American sax player who knew of this woman’s “side” work cleaning houses. I knew her then as Josie, and for a year or so, she came to my apartment once a week to help clean and straighten things up. We were both intimately involved with other partners at the time, so our relationship was only of a friendly business nature. She was oddly attractive to me then, but I had no notion that at the time, she harbored quite a fascination with me! This I learned only after we got married 20 years later. Josie left my employ for better work and we lost touch with each other for a long time.
In October of 2013, I got a private text message on Facebook from a Jocelyn Eswagen, asking me if I remembered her. I replied, “No, I didn’t,” and it was what she said next that really intrigued me: she wrote, “oh . . . I used to clean your underwear!” We started texting each other, sharing a lot about our lives, and after a while, I asked if I could “see” her using Skype. Eventually, she complied with my request, and honest to God, I fell in love the moment I saw her. Many more conversations ensued long-distance, and I wanted to see her in person very much. She could not visit America because of her “24-7” retail business (and 3 kids) in Singapore, so I came to her. When she met me at the airport, she approached me and hugged me tight. Honestly, I knew in that moment that I had never before been hugged like that before . . . and I felt that the emotions were real. I stayed with her there for about 3 weeks, actually marrying before having to return to Rochester to continue my doctoral studies. Had I known then that it would be a two-year separation, as opposed to merely a few months, I would never have come back; because in that moment, nothing was more important than being by her side.
There were many ups and downs (mostly downs) which occurred during our immigration ordeal, but ultimately, we prevailed and are together now in Rochester, NY. Getting settled in has not been easy, but we have quickly adapted. I am no longer the (relatively) “rich and famous” jazz musician she admired in times past, but I long to give her everything she deserves, and this prize from 90.1 sounds fantastically romantic and deserving of the gifts she provides me with selflessly in the course of her daily life. She deserves this gift, and our love and dedication to each other is fitting for this timely Valentines Day reward. Let us welcome this remarkable (please take my word for it!) individual to Rochester, NY in STYLE, ok?
Below you can see a couple pictures of the two of us, shortly after getting married . . .