It was love at first sight for Jeneline and Katrina Escala, but it took nearly 20 years to make it official.
They wed on Thursday in one of the first lesbian weddings to be held in Wyndham, yet they met in the Philippines when Katrina was still in high school some two decades ago.
“Jeneline is five years older than I am, so she was 20 and already working when I met her,” Katrina said. “We started hanging out … when I graduated, I went to the city to do uni and we got separated.”
They lived separate lives for most of their 20s, with Katrina moving to Australia, marrying and having four kids. But they always kept in touch through social media, and Jeneline was never far from Katrina’s thoughts.
“Every time I went home to the Philippines, we caught up,” Katrina said. “Sometimes I’d go straight to her house first, before I even reached my parents!”
In 2016, the pair became a couple. They lived together in the Philippines, sorting out Jeneline’s visa before moving to Wyndham Vale in February.
Katrina said it felt serendipitous that the gay marriage vote had been passed just before they moved back to Australia.
“It was surreal, like it was meant to be,” she said. “The reality of it is just hitting us now. Our love for each other never died; we were each other’s first girlfriends, but we didn’t know how to label it back in the day. We’re happy that we have each other again.”
They celebrated their wedding with a night away in Torquay.