That house belonged to a woman who had married an American man she met through the mail.“To marry a foreigner was really my ambition since when I was young—to have handsome and beautiful kids and also to have a comfortable life,” said Leonor.“You can come with me.” She was startled by his speed, but she packed some clothes in a duffel bag and joined Dan in Thailand.
Instead of taking Leonor to the US, Dan poured his energies into building a wellness center in the mountain town of Valencia outside the provincial capital of Dumaguete City, a cool area in that perennially hot country that was beginning to see some tourism.
In addition to raising his children Dan expected Leonor to run the center day to day, coordinate with helpers and gardeners who did not speak English well, and do a lot of the cooking herself.
She didn’t see any other way to make that dream happen.
They’d only been living in Thailand for a month when Leonor found herself pregnant, and at first Dan didn’t believe the baby was his.
She registered on Filipino and, over the last year and a half, has corresponded with several suitors.
Unlike the first time, when she got together with the first viable man who came along, she vetted the men she met through their Facebook accounts, chatted with them on Viber and Whats App, and then eventually got on Skype with the ones she felt most serious about.
Divorce is illegal and socially taboo in the Philippines, but Leonor realized she would have to leave her husband.
She had followed a well-worn script when she and Dan met in 2001: beautiful young Filipina meets old but rich Western man.
In 2001, at age 23, she found her way to a fledgling internet cafe in a nearby city and registered at Cherry Blossoms, the oldest and most established mail-order bride service in the world.
Cherry Blossoms began publishing catalogues of international women looking for husbands in 1974, charging foreigners a fee in exchange for a woman’s address.
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