The Forgotten Wish

By Reliza Halili • January 8, 2015

Have you ever made a silent wish, but deep down you knew it was impossible to come true and you knew it was more like just a wishful thinking, and then later forgot all about it? Years have passed and one day you have no idea your wish is about to come true. The Universe gives you a foretaste of what is to come, perhaps sends signs in disguise as coincidences to get your attention, but you are clueless until the real thing happens. And when it does, you realize it is a thousand times better than what you had only glimpsed.

When I was in high school in the Philippines, while all of my friends from school were sure of what they wanted to be, like an engineer, an interior designer, a teacher, etc., I had no clue of what I wanted to be. There was this Filipino movie I watched at the time and can't even remember what the title was now and who the actress was. All I know is, it was filmed somewhere in Europe. The leading actress was a flight attendant in the movie. At the time, I told myself, "That's what I wanted to be, a flight attendant, so I can travel like her and see other countries."

I left the Philippines before I even finished high school to join my mother in California in 1985. I left family, friends and a boyfriend. I was planning on going back to the Philippines for a vacation after I finished high school. My boyfriend and I were planning on secretly getting married. Three months before I graduated, I met someone else and that changed my plan. It kept me from going back to the Philippines. Six month later, we got married. And after three kids and 10 years of marriage, we got divorced.

In 2007, I joined match.com and met a guy who was originally from New Jersey, but had moved to California. The following year, in 2008, we ended up taking a trip to Cancun together and stayed at Fiesta Americana. It was the first time I traveled outside the United States after being here for 22 years. Shortly after Cancun, we broke up. Two weeks later, I received a friend request from a relative in the Philippines on myyearbook.com (which is now meetme.com). I met a guy on the website who was also from New Jersey. I did not expect to meet him, I did not even know myyearbook existed if I did not receive an invitation from my aunt, which was random because we did not even communicate. Nevertheless, meeting Marlo was exactly what I needed. Three months later, I had to travel to Savannah, Georgia for work and I stopped in New Jersey on the way back to California. We finally met in person. We kept a long distance relationship and eventually, I made a decision to move to New Jersey. I only stayed there for 8 months though. I had to go back to California. I could not stop thinking about my kids. They needed me.

Last year, for some reason, I took short vacation trips more than usual. For instance, in July, I took the kids to LA. I wanted to take them because they were still small the last time we went to Universal Studios, so they probably did not remember it anymore. And in addition, for the first time I wanted to try one of the bus tours. We took the tour called, "Los Angeles City, Movie Stars' Home & Beach Tour," and one of the stops was Venice Beach. In August, I went to Las Vegas for my birthday. The only reason why I went was because I had miles that would expire and had to use them. I met with my two friends who live there. I did not stay in the city though, I stayed at Lake Las Vegas Resort, an elegant Mediterranean-styled village, situated alongside the lake. I have always wanted to go there. I stayed at Hilton Hotel. I chose it because of its beautiful Italian gardens. Then, in the beginning of December I went to Cabo. The only reason why I went was because I needed a break from work. My employer changed my job description after two of my co-workers left. I had too much on my plate and was under a lot of stress. I wanted to get away and relax. I wanted to go to Cabo for the first time. There were a lot of resorts to choose from, but I chose Fiesta Americana because I stayed at Fiesta Americana in Cancun before. Traveling alone to Mexico, I had to stay at a familiar place. On the way to the airport at the end of my trip, I passed by this place called, "Mykonos." I only glanced at it briefly, but it reminded me of Santorini. It looked like one of the houses in Santorini. I wished I had stayed there instead and I thought, "If I ever come to Cabo again, I would have to stay there."

It has been 5 years since I returned to California. My kids are grown and all have jobs, I was ready to move back to New Jersey. I was not going to drive this time and decided to ship my car, but it would take two weeks for it to get there. An idea came to me of having a vacation for two weeks while I was waiting for my car to get there. I had always wanted to see Santorini. Every time I saw it on TV and saw its pictures, I just thought it was so beautiful, the white washed village, surrounded by the wonderful blue ocean. I was not sure if it was worth it though, the expensive airfare and nearly 20 hour flight from San Francisco. Then, another idea came. I noticed one of the connecting flights was from Venice, Italy. I started searching for flights to Venice and I was so surprised to find a flight from Oakland, California to Venice, Italy for only $400.00 something. Therefore, the idea of a two-week European vacation was born, which was something I never thought I would be planning, especially not this soon. I had always thought, “if” it would ever happen, it would be when I am retired and old.

I would lie if I said I was not scared. I had drove alone across the country before, when I first moved to New Jersey, but traveling to another country or countries whose languages were not even English and alone, terrified me. I traveled to Mexico alone, but Mexico is just next door to the US and I have been to Mexico before, but I have not been to Europe before. And I do understand Spanish, but I don't understand Italian or Greek. But like I told a long time friend of mine, who was nice enough to treat me and take me out when she found out that I was moving out of state, “I’m scared, but If I let fear take control, I would never get anywhere. I would never make my dreams come true.” Another thing that also helped me and always helps me when I am afraid, is to switch my focus on my favorite quote, “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen” (Ralph Waldo Emerson). I kept reminding myself, “If I made it back when I traveled alone outside the country, to Cabo for the first time, then, I would make it back also if I traveled alone outside the country, to Europe for the first time.”

As I browsed on TripAdvisor.com to find places I would like to visit, I accidentally found Mykonos, Greece, which I realized I liked just as much as I liked Santorini. And when I was looking at the pictures of Venice, seeing St. Mark's Square, brought back an old memory I did not even know I had. That movie I saw when I was young, 30 years ago, which made me want to travel, this was the place I saw in the movie. I remembered seeing a square, with pigeons all over it. It looked familiar, it had to be it. I wondered, "Can this be true? An old, forgotten dream is about to come true and I did not even see it coming?"

When I got there, it was really like I was having a dream. I could not believe what I was seeing and what I was experiencing. The best part was the bus ride to Venice. As I rode on the bus and gazed wondrously at every new thing I saw, I was having the time of my life. It was nice to see people, young and old, riding their bikes to wherever they needed to go. I thought the architecture of the houses and the buildings were so charming. I especially liked the lovely flowers on their windows. Then, I remembered I have seen this before when I was in Vegas. And it dawned on me, "That was just the glimpse and this is the real thing... and the real thing is a thousand times better!” Upon realizing that, what I felt was indescribable. I was tearful and overwhelmed with emotions.

Some people might say, "It's not a big deal, it's just Venice. Thousands of people go there every day." It was more than that to me. It was about having a dream and when it is time for it to come true, to not be afraid to let it happen. When I did, the reward was more than what I could have possibly imagined.

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