First Ambassador

The moment you find out you will be posted, there is a period of secrecy. You aren’t supposed to tell anyone until it is announced publicly by the government, especially when it is an appointment to be an ambassador.

I was young, and happy to be living where we were, but it would all change. We knew before Christmas of 1985 that my Father’s next posting was to be to the Philippines. We didn’t know however, that Marcos would call for snap elections, and Cory Aquino would emerge as a strong contender as the People Power Revolution exploded across the Philippines. My Father was quickly told he would be leaving for the Philippines sooner than we thought. He knew that Marcos would be quickly removed from office, some sources said he was advised to leave quietly, but there was also another theory, one that my Father never confirmed or denied, which was the American’s tricked Marcos, and brought him to Hawaii.

My Father left for the Philippines, leaving my Mother alone with 3 kids to finish up the school year, and to pack everything up. We would reunite in 6 months. My Father arrived 3 days after Marcos left the country, and was the first Ambassador to show his credentials to the newly elected Aquino. My Mother never said anything, but as I got older and understood the massive step it is to become an Ambassador, and to show your credentials for the first time, I knew, it must have been extremely difficult for my Mother to be on the opposite side of the world, and not be there for my Father’s moment. They both worked really hard for that moment, and anyone who thinks that it was my Father who worked hard, doesn’t know how much a spouse or family sacrifices for that one career.

It was probably the most difficult separation for all of us. I often remember my Mother crying quietly in the bathroom from stress. We had some family close by, but the Philippines was pretty volatile, news reports would come to us, and my Mother often times could not get a hold of my Father. I remember almost every 3rd day, having a little blue envelope arrive, in the days of airmail. How lovely it was to hear from my Father, I often drew him pictures and dropped them in the mail. During that 6 months, I only spoke to my Father 1 time, the time difference made it almost impossible with school taking up the majority of my day.

When we finally packed everything, we moved into a temporary apartment downtown, making trips to the doctor’s office, getting shots, glasses, teeth cleaned. When we finally got on an airplane, I was both frightened and excited to finally see my Father. My Mother was beyond exhausted, but excited to finally be whole again. Getting off the airplane in the Philippines was the most dramatic landing. We arrived close to midnight, My Father was standing at the gate with local guards, his face was electric, he was so excited and happy. We all ran for him, my Mother burst into tears. It was the first day of the most pivotal 3 years of my life.

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