“Tall, white, and handsome,” Luningning tells her friends while dining out at Max’s restaurant, a stone throw away from Hawthorne’s Place where her aged employer is presently housed.
She is talking about Ivan Adore, a Romanian visitor who has been in Canada for the last three years. A dyed-in-the-wool Bohemian and flamboyantly generous hook, line and sinker, Adore does iron grills on the side as he has no work permit.
Petite and bubbly, Luningning shows off her diamond ring, and blurts out “(I)’m engaged.”
A whirlwind romance, Luningning and Adore first met at Panciteria, a cozy restaurant known for its Ibanag’s batil-patong (a mixture of noodles, toppings and egg), located in the heart of Lawrence and Bathurst. They eventually got married at the idyllic fishing village of Peterborough.
Handsomely stunning in his striped long-sleeve who croons like Eddie Peregrina, the deceased ‘60s Filipino balladeer, Adore was an easy target for Luningning who fell for him at first sight. Romance blossomed and they have since become inseparable except when Adore would seek refuge at McDonalds, his favourite hang-out.
Luningning came to Canada as a caregiver. She had big dreams and she always wanted to go to North America. Living in the boondocks at Tapaz, Capiz, walking about three kilometers to reach school, Luningning never wavered until she obtained her bachelor’s degree and passed her licensure in Nursing on her third try. The eldest in a brood of six, Luningning was the beacon of light to her family. While working in a provincial hospital with low salary, she reignited her hope of coming to America and told her father that she was going to Canada. Faced with a placement fee of P100,000 to get an employer in Canada, her father never asked any questions and he sold their two hectares of riceland, the family’s only source of income, to pursue her destiny. Behind his mind, Luningning’s father believed that the riceland will be returned two-fold.
With a dint of hard work and a dogged determination. Luningning completed her caregiver program and she applied for permanent residence. Being single with no dependants, she will be granted her permanent residence within a year or so with no issues.
Ninety days of summer having passed and having informed immigration by courier as fast as an RCPI telegram of old of her marriage midway of her application, Luningning received a refusal letter advising her that she was inadmissible and had to leave Canada after the expiration of her work permit. Like a pandora’s box, Ivan Adore was a convicted rapist. Adore’s criminal inadmissibility extended to Luningning who became disqualified to land In Canada.
Like a sound of loud thunder, Luningning’s dream has vanished and about to be vanquished.
Uncomplicated as her life was, Luningning’s immigration status has become complicated and clouded by uncertainty. Her life has since been wayward like a derailed train and shrouded with guilt as she seems to have betrayed her father and hopelessness as she seems to have breached Canada’s immigration law and subject to exclusion and deportation.
Being a caring society, Canada may still treat Luningning’s case with compassion and it may give her another chance on humanitarian grounds.
Biting her soft lip as did Adore ninety days before, Luningning has realized that dreams may go rust if overwhelmed with stupid love and not handled with care. Briskly walking towards No Frills at Jane and Finch, Luningning sings “(T)oo much love will kill you.” Adore after-all is not a knight-in-shining-armour but a knight-in-rusting-armour.