A Canadian couple from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan is celebrating their first year anniversary, several thousand kilometres apart. Warren and Juvelyn Nukarak share their Canadian love story.
Warren Nukarak and his wife Juvelyn Gella are like many Canadian families separated by Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions, which prevent all but Canadian citizens, permanent residents and a short list of exempt individuals from travelling to Canada.
The couple first met online in 2018. After a year of courtship, Warren flew to the Philippines to meet her in person for the first time.
After Warren’s visit, the couple made plans for Juvelyn to apply for a visitor visa to come to Canada for the holidays.
Her application was denied by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), so the couple was forced to look for other ways to apply.
Warren decided to propose to Juvelyn, he made a second trip to the Philippines.
They were married on February 18, 2020 in Cebu. With Warren scheduled to go back to Canada, Juvelyn was supposed to get her application to join him started.
The couple did not foresee what effect a global pandemic would have on their plans.
Shortly after Warren’s return to Canada, governments around the world imposed lockdowns and travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Philippines.
Juvelyn was supposed to submit documents as part of her application to go to Canada, but was unable to even get a copy of their marriage license because most government offices were closed.
It took her several months to complete the application, and finally submitted her documents through the Visa Application Centre (VAC) in November 2020.
With IRCC still experiencing reduced service levels due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the couple has not received an update on Juvelyn’s application, except to say that it might take another year to process.
Taking another trip to the Philippines isn’t an option for Warren either, since both the Government of Canada and the Philippine Government require international travellers to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Warren’s employer only allows three weeks of vacation a year.
“I just tell her every day, we’re one day closer to being together,” Warren told Alison Sandstrom of PANOW. “We don’t know when we’ll be together, but we do know it’s one day closer every single day.”
Warren remains hopeful that he will reunite with his wife this year.
“That’s the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with and she’s made the same commitment to me,” Warren told Alison Sandstrom of PANOW. “So we’re just sticking it out, as tough as it is, just waiting for our day. We say 2021 is our year, let’s just hope that it is.”
The distance is certainly challenging, but having access to online messaging services certainly goes a long way.
“Talk everyday, even if you have nothing new to say, just hearing your spouse’s voice and seeing their smile makes a difference,” Juvelyn told Alison Sandstrom of PANOW. “If you have a dream or want to be with one special person, don’t let anyone or anything get in your way. Your happiness is up to you.”
A couple from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan is sharing their Canadian love story to inspire others, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
A couple from Prince Albert, SK spoke with CTV News.
Ryan had met Celeste online, where they were both looking to meet new people. Ryan was in Canada, while Celeste was in the Philippines.
Ryan was 32 when he first met Celeste. They carried on a 21st century courtship, spending months getting to know each other through email and video calls.
Despite his physical disability, Ryan was determined to see Celeste in person.
He applied for a passport, then bought a ticket. He was still living with his parents at the time, and they didn’t approve of his relationship with Celeste.
He had to sneak out in the middle of the night to board his flight to the Philippines.
Celeste met him at the airport, and the couple remembers that it was the happiest moment in their lives.
“What pushed me to go there was I knew that Celeste was the one, the love of my life,” Ryan told CTV News.
“I like him because he is true. He means what he says and he’s handsome,” Celeste told CTV News.
Ryan and Celeste got married in a civil wedding two weeks later.
Ryan and Celeste shared their story to serve as an inspiration for other people to follow their hearts.
Ryan’s parents have since forgiven their son for running off in the middle of the night to get married in the Philippines. They have also welcomed Celeste to their family.
Ryan and Celeste just celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. Do you have your own Canadian love story? We’d love to hear about it!
SOURCE: CTV NEWS
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