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  • Rica Peralejo Says Her Husband Had A ‘Turn Around’ While They Were Stranded In The US

    It was the start of the pandemic, and they couldn't fly back home.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
Rica Peralejo Says Her Husband Had A ‘Turn Around’ While They Were Stranded In The US
PHOTO BY Instagram/ricaperalejo
  • While Rica Peralejo enjoys the great outdoors and prefers the provincial life, she says her husband of nearly 12 years, Joseph Bonifacio, has always been an urbanite who'd rather stay in the city.

    But to the actress-public figure's great and pleasant surprise, the pastor-youth leader started appreciating the beauty and benefits of living in the countryside when they were stranded in the United States.

    Rica tells SmartParenting.com.ph in an exclusive online interview that she and Joseph, along with their kids Philip and Manu, flew to the U.S. in March 2020, when COVID-19 was just starting to become a global health crisis, and they had to stay there because of pandemic-related travel restrictions.

     "Hindi kami nakauwi," she recalls. "'Tapos humaba nang humaba, naka-six months pa kami sa America. No'ng medyo nag-o-open na 'yung mga borders parang, 'E what if mag-land travel tayo? Let's cross from California.' 'Tapos umabot na kami ng Oregon, [which] is like a farm place. So rent kami ng parang medyo farm house, ganyan."

    Probinsya life

    She then says of her husband, "He did a lot of things that he didn't like doing before, like long drives. Ay naku! Ang hirap kausapin n'yan sa long drives. Ayaw din niya ng mga farm, gano'n.

    "But then, at the end of it all, he was so convinced na sabi niya, 'You know, I can live this kind of life.' And I was like, 'Who you? Bring back my husband! Who you? Oh no! Somebody abducted my husband when I was asleep. Where is he?' But yeah, I mean that was his turn around."

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    She adds, still in awe, "He's so convinced that it's so good for our family. So yeah, so parang ngayon, nafi-feel na niya na parang this is good for us. That's something that he likes din pala. And that it's so good for our boys. So he's been changing a lot of his preferences lately, as well."

    Rica can't help but recall the years she spent longing for the countryside while Joseph basked in citylife: "It feels like for me na parang, "Uy! Lord, thank you, ha?" Kasi I really died to myself when it came to those things. But I didn't know that, that little sacrifice I made like many years ago, God will turn it around after so and so years din pala. So it's like a sweet turn around for me."

    Stuck in the U.S. for six months

    As Rica talks about their pandemic experience overseas, it becomes clear why Joseph had a change of heart about the countryside. She says, "Sobrang nakakatawa lang talaga 'tong US na 'to pero feeling na rin namin it's a divine thing, like God really ordained for us to be there."

    She continues her story, "Ang dami naming plano. Every day, 'Ay! Hindi na raw puwedeng pumunta sa Hawaii. Ay! Hindi na? Bakit?' Parang isa-isa nang nagsasara ng border...Pero syempre everybody thought at that point that it will blow over in like a week's time or even just a month.

    "So we're thinking, 'Hindi! Magiging okay. Makakauwi rin tayo next month.' 'Tapos next month na, nakapag-Easter pa kami do'n...So we kept trying to book 'tapos lagi lang naka-cancel.

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    "By May, sige na nga, parang medyo accepted na namin na parang matagal pa nga yata 'to. So nagbukas na ‘yung mga ibang national parks, ikot-ikot naman kami, nag-Utah, gano’n. Nag-joke na naman ako, sabi ko, "Alam ninyo feeling ko dito magfi-first birthday si Manu.' Come June, do'n na nga."

    She then lets out a laugh: "Ito na 'yung nakakatawa. Sabi ko, 'Hindi pa ba talaga kami uuwi kasi July na, ibig sabihin magho-homeschool na kami. So dito ba talaga kami magho-homeschool?' And true enough, dun din kami nag-homeschool. We started homeschooling."

    Turning serious, Rica shares her experience teaching her two kids herself: "I saw the value of homeschooling. You can homeschool anywhere. You don't actually need to be in a certain structure for you to actually continue schooling, and you can work out as well."

    She adds in reflection, "Siguro when I look back, matanda na ko, gray hair, ganyan, sasabihin ko some of my finest and happiest years belong to that period. Ironically so and strangely so during that first bout of the pandemic.

    "And that's because, you know, I feel like parang si Lord also gave us that precious time to be together. And I think, that's the same for everyone, lalo na 'yung mga may small families na very busy parents, always running, hustling, and bustling.

    "Like 'yung husband ko sabi niya, 'Grabe! Ang sarap palang makita 'yung mga anak mo na may araw pa.' Kasi it was very rare for him to see his kids in the daylight because he would always come home to us gabi na dahil nga sa work. Sun up, wala, tulog pa rin naman ‘yung mga anak niya so hindi niya nakikita. Pag uwi niya sa bahay, ano na, gabi na, 'di ba? So whatever energy is left of him na lang."

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    "But in the States," Rica says of Joseph, "he got to experience that kind of life where you know, it's still daylight and I get to hold you and I get to play with you, and there's not much work. Everything is just so slow and it's like time stopped and you got to focus on things that really matter."

    Read here on how to keep intimacy alive in relationships.

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