By the Way, I Turned 25

May 31st, 2008 § 11

There’s nothing magical about turning 25. At least I’ve proven that myself now. There was no thunder and lightning, no additional white hairs (at least none that I noticed of), no booming voice from above sending specific life instructions your way. Mostly, everything’s just a continuation of the day before, just like any other year. Some say that things are bound to change from here on — but I guess that’s a pretty generic thing to say, after all, everything’s bound to change anyway.

But one of the cool things about being 25 is perhaps, the illusion that you really are a grown-up now. (No, I’m not sure I was ever regarded as a “grown-up” when I was 24. Hah!)

We’re grown-ups now, and it’s our turn to decide what that means.” Yeah! :P

Yep, no one would dare tell you you’re “too young” for something when you’re 25. (Except maybe too young to die? Hmm.) But well, 25 years is a lot of years, I know right. I was thinking of blogging about 25 things I learned on my 25th year, or 25 places I want to go to this year, or 25 items in my shopping list, or 25 gifts I received.. but gaah, 25 is just too many now for this lazy blogger that I am. Sorry naman.

So let me just make kwento about how I spent my 25th birthday. :)

Ironically, while it was my official grand entrance to the world of quarter-life, I ended up celebrating a pink day in the office (which kind of reminds me of Disney princess, lol), and a Mcdonald’s kiddie party with my most favorite kids in the world. Not too grown-up, eh? :)

The first one was a surprise — my team came to work in pink, and because I was overwhelmed by the pinkness that they were, we had boxes of pizza delivered in the afternoon. Thanks guys, I’ve never seen that much pink in my life it’s.. sickening. :))

USAP’s SEO-Internet Marketing Department in Pink

The second one was rather impulsive — (accidentally) passing by Mcdonalds two days before my birthday, I decided to book a kiddie party right there and then. I’ve always wanted one but I didn’t really plan on having it this year. But now I realize that it was definitely the best time to do it. I would have invited my friends too, but I thought it would be more meaningful to share it with kids, specifically those who have not experienced being in one before. So I invited them:

Here are the boys from SBC’s Street Children Ministry

My Dad loved these kids. Some of them are homeless, some have families in the urban poor areas in Manila, some don’t even know who their parents are. The smile on their faces is undoubtedly the best gift I’ve ever received. :)

My bible study group was there too, full support yay :)

..and of course teh whole family. Still missing Daddy, but we know he’s always with us. :)

So yep, that was my 25th birthday. Couldn’t have spent it any other way. I guess if there’s one thing I learned that day, it would be acknowledging that one can’t really live alone and independent from anyone — and still be genuinely happy. Life is simply not worth living if you don’t have people to share it with.

I’ve experienced independence (to some extent), and sometimes I enjoy being in solitude too. But to go through this journey without family and friends backing you up, or without someone holding your hand and giving you everything-is-going-to-be-alright hugs when you need them, or without a God who’s in control of even the littlest details in your life.. ugh, living is simply impossible. Thank God He allowed me to have all these. Thank God that I didn’t have to go through the past 25 years, and that I won’t have to go through the next 25 years, by myself.

Happy Birthday to me. :)

Segue: Interested to have a Mcdonald’s kiddie party in the Philippines? Details after the jump. ;)

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I Heart My Mom

May 12th, 2008 § 5

Responding to Joni’s tag, albeit a day too late. (No need to tag others now, eh?)

In the spirit of delayed mother’s day greetings, I uploaded more pics here. :)
Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy. You’re super. As always.

It’s true what we often hear them say (especially in our younger years when we seem to enjoy fighting with them all the time, heh) — someday, we’ll understand what they do for our own good, and appreciate their role in our lives. I guess that “someday” has come to me now.

So hey.. in behalf of those who, at some point in their lives, shut their doors to their moms’ faces, I raise the white flag in humble defeat. They’re right. They do know what’s best.

Happy Mother’s day to all moms out there. :)

Do You Ever Want to Go Back?

May 3rd, 2008 § 5

At the risk of making this blog look like a One Tree Hill fan blog, here’s another feel-good snapshot from Season 5, Episode 15 entitled Life is Short.

I can name two people who loved (will love) this scene. Three, if you count me. It’s nice to see Brooke and Lucas in a different level of friendship now, considering the failure of their on-screen and real-life love story. (Hmm, could it still be..?) Even more so, it’s nice to see how much these characters have grown, and how their lives have changed in a way that’s so familiar you can almost feel their pain, and struggles, and joy, even from the other side of the TV screen.

Lucas, Brooke, and Little Angie

Brooke: Do you ever want to go back? I remember being sixteen, and everything just seemed much easier. Would you do it differently?

Lucas: I’d try to appreciate the things I took for granted. But I think we have to go through all these stuff you know, to get to the places we want to be.

“Sometimes when you’re young, you think nothing can hurt you.. it’s like being invincible. Your whole life is ahead of you, you have your big plans — to find your perfect match, the one that completes you. But as you get older, you realize that it’s not always that easy.” Well, there goes Lucas Scott’s VO for you.

It reminded me of that open letter I blogged more than a year ago. (How bitter can my bachelorette life be! Heh!) Don’t get me wrong, I’m turning quarter-of-a-hundred in a few weeks, and I actually love how this life is turning out to be, complexities and all.

But it’s really just easier to WANT to grow up until you come to a point where everything just flies by too fast, and bills start piling up, and responsibilities start getting bigger and bigger. Suddenly, you hear your younger self lobbying inside you, complaining about still being too young to handle too much grown-up stuff. Missing what used to be, and wishing you’re back to that time when life is simpler, are just some of the things you expect to happen frequently as you grow older.

A while ago, we finished packing up our 7-month worth of mess. Tomorrow In a few hours, Ivy and I will be moving to a new apartment, and I’ll be saying buhbye to Aster after two melodramatic years together in the lalaland of Ortigas. (I’m gonna miss her terribly. *sniff*)

I’m starting to master the art of moving from one place of residence to another already. This is the fourth, in a span of about 2 years, and I’m hoping this move will be the last for me. Hopefully, the next one will involve packing up 20+ years worth of mess, and moving to a place big enough to build a family in.

Err. Okay, that may be a little too advanced to think about at this point but whatdahek. Grown-up stuff, you know.

I Heart Brooke Even More Now

April 25th, 2008 § 6

Yes, this is a spoiler, if you haven’t seen Episode 14. :P

I held my breath long after the screen had gone blank. As of my most favorite One Tree Hill moments, Brooke Davis’ dream come true has, no doubt, climbed the charts. Definitely the perfect ending to an episode that was aptly titled, “What Do You Go Home To?” See, it inspired ME to blog, that must be something huh? :)

So.. Have you ever had that feeling? Waiting anxiously, almost impatiently, and finally getting the very thing you’ve dreamed of and fought for? That’s exactly what this Brooke moment was about.

Waiting, fidgeting, searching far and wide

Worried about what to do, scared to know how it would finally feel

And then.. the moment just happens. You watch your dream come closer and closer to your reach, and you brace yourself to finally grab it with arms wide open

..and you stare at it in awe, giving yourself mental slaps to see if it’s real and that you’re not just dreaming anymore. And when the reality of it finally sinks in, you know that every agonizing step towards that moment is worth it all.

It’s as if all fears are gone, and suddenly.. you forget that the rest of the world is happening around you, and all uncertainties are replaced with that one sweet moment of euphoria (see Brooke’s smile? Classic.)

..and everything just starts to make sense. You freeze that moment in your heart, make it linger for as long as you can, until you’re ready to carefully land your feet back on the ground.

Then the moment passes, and you go on living your life — only a little better, a little sweeter, a little lovelier this time.

Meh. I want to feel that moment again. No, I’m not getting a baby (although I’ve been sooo drawn to wanting one, no thanks to Sheila’s pregnancy; and having to hear Johann stories and the joys and perils of motherhood from Maia every single day).

It’s near. I can feel it. I’m coming home. One dream is going to come true for me real’ soon. :)

Just in Time

April 10th, 2008 Comments Off on Just in Time

You know those text messages that come just as you need them? Well, I got one tonight. Like, right about now. I know I’ve neglected this site for almost a month already (lots of unfinished posts in my draft, believe me), but I’m breaking the silence now to post another quotable quote from an unknown text sender. Thank you, whoever you are.

Sometimes you just want to quit a battle when things start to hurt. You want to stop and leave everything as it is before the pain gets worse. Times like this, remember that when you’ve prayed and claimed for it even before you’ve stepped in the battlefield, you can be assured that it’s definitely worth going this far.

I know what you’re thinking. Riz has got some problems up her sleeve, eh? Haha. I know right. I have a theory that my boss lurks on my blog everytime I start messing up at work, and fishes for info about my personal life, then devices a way to motivate me from there, hehe. Works all the time! (Ehem, just a theory.)

But no worries. I’m okay. No problem too big my Big God can’t fix.

Meanwhile, I’m too caught up with so many things, work and stuff. Just wanted to share the text message above, in case you need it too.

Be Right Back. ;)

When You Pray for Love

March 17th, 2008 Comments Off on When You Pray for Love

I can’t believe I’d be quoting from a highschool crush (eek, I know right) who’s now a good friend I can occasionally talk to. I just can’t help but feel how much what he said makes sense, and how timely too, in a world where unbelief is staple and true love is hard to find.

When we pray for love, He doesn’t zap us with warm, fuzzy feelings, He gives us the opportunity to love. And I think, that within that impossibly hard and unchangeable situation, there lies best place to cultivate the love that we are all looking for.

I guess there’s no better way I could rephrase those words. So I quote.

Dreading March 26

March 11th, 2008 § 7

One of the things my Mom “assigned” me to do following Daddy’s death was to write a short letter of thanks in behalf of our family to everyone who was/is there with us throughout this whole ordeal. Mom would always tell me that I’m the writer in the family, that I’m the best person to do it, or sometimes, in her desperate attempts to make me move, she would make bola and tell me that Daddy would have wanted me to do it more than anyone in the world. It has been my greatest challenge since.

It’s gonna be Dad’s first death anniversary on the 26th, and I still haven’t come up with anything. Mom has been so patient with me, even though I know that she’s starting to get frustrated about not being able to at least give a thank you card to everyone after all these months.

It’s just that.. everytime I try to sit down to work on it, I always end up staring at a blank sheet of paper, or a blank text file, and a few minutes later, I’d start tearing up again. I’ve ran out of excuses to explain to Mom why I still haven’t come up with what she’s asking for. I know I could easily just string together words of appreciation, layout them together with a photo of my Dad, print, and send. But it’s difficult, because no amount of words is enough to thank everyone who was part of my Dad’s life and ministry. *Sigh* I’m not just being lazy. I’ve been stalling, I know right, but only because the mere thought of working on THAT letter relieves the pain of our loss, and it’s as if I have to accept over again that Dad’s already gone.

I’m turning 25 in a few months, but I still haven’t stopped feeling like still being too young to lose a father. I guess I’ll never stop feeling like that. Dad’s early death may have forced me to grow up, but deep inside I will always be that little girl who’d give anything to twirl around her Daddy in circles again. Ugh, it’s just too frustrating sometimes. I mean, why do other twentyfiveyearolds get to share their lives with their Dads and I don’t? *More sighs* Okai, I stop whining now.

So yeah, March 26 is just around the corner, and I’m starting to have more and more thoughts about Daddy again. And I have no more excuse to set aside writing that thank you letter now. I owe it to my Mom. I know how important that is to her.

But mostly, I owe it to Daddy. Since he didn’t get to have that last chance to thank all those people who were part of his life, I want to do it for him with all my heart.

Missing Dad, Eleven Months Now

February 27th, 2008 § 10

Among the gazillions of memories that my Dad left us with, these two photos are probably the ones that will forever be etched in my head: the black-and-white photo from the last sermon he gave in church, and the color-ed one (with that eternal smile) from a medical-dental mission from way back.

For the past eleven months since Daddy’s death, I’ve gotten so used to seeing these two pictures around — on my Mom’s office wall, in our living room, on a mural in church — that I’d sometimes find myself automatically saying “Hi Daddy, how are you?” everytime I pass through them.

Then again, there are times, such as last Sunday (or NOW), when staring at his pictures would make me cry uncontrollably again. There are just no words to describe how much I miss Daddy. Sometimes it would feel as if the pain of his death is being relieved in my heart over again like it just happened.

I didn’t realize until earlier today that it’s been almost a year already since Dad left to be with the Lord. A lot of things has happened ever since, and there was not a time when I didn’t wonder how different things would have been if he was still around. How I would have made better decisions if I got to have a piece of his wisdom, or how it would have been happier to celebrate special days and victories with him, or how trials would have been easier to bear if I could talk to him, get a piece of his mind, or probably laugh my sorrows away with him.

I guess these are some of the things I will always remember about Daddy. He always had a way of staying calm even though he’s got a gunk of problems to think about. He had this ability to trust God wholly in spite of all the discouragements that this world is made of; and to smile even through trying times.

Smile though your heart is aching, Daddy would often sing — while taking a bath, or while driving, or once when I was so brokenhearted from breaking up with my first boyfriend. I guess he knew that these lines would never fail to bring the smile back on my face. Coincidentally, Daddy also sang portions of this song during his last sermon in church, unaware that it was going to be one of the last memories he’d be leaving us with forever.

The song’s been playing over and over in my head the past few days. It also happened to play on the stereo while Mom and I were in the car the other day, and as tears started falling down my cheeks, Mom sent reassuring smiles my way as if to say that it’s okay to cry.

The irony of this song is, the manner by which it tells you to NOT cry makes you cry EVEN MORE. Pfft.

But I needed it then. And I sure do need it now. Even though it’s making me CRY MORE than SMILE, I’m okay, because there’s something so refreshing about being able to cry things out, while holding on to the simple truth that in this cruel world, God will always give you reasons to smile. And what do you know, hearing Daddy’s faint voice from a distance as if he’s singing the song to me makes the thought even sweeter. His memories shall always live by.

So hey, I’m gona grab some Kleenex now and cry some more. :) Meanwhile, here’s the song — click to play — just in case you need to hear it too. (Lyrics after the jump.)

Smile, whats the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

Smile by Nat King Cole | CLICK

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I Want to Fly, Literally and Figuratively

January 30th, 2008 § 12

There’s always something to remind me of those dreams — of flying out of this country and starting my career off from scratch in a place where I can be anyone I want to be because no one knows me.

There’s the KC Concepcion documentary about her life in Paris. Or Ala Parades‘ chronicles on their new life in the land of the Oz. Or this girl (let’s leave her anonymous hehe) whose blog I always lurk on, who went to England to take graduate studies, and eventually work. Or movies like Devil Wears Prada (okay, I just had to say that one). And the constant talk among friends about Sydney, Singapore, and New York. My heart beats doubletime every time I think of flying away, anxious because I feel like there’s something I have to do to pursue those dreams and I’m not doing anything about it because I’m too scared.

I turn 25 this year, and the constant desire for a change in environment, for an adventure, for something new, is just something I couldn’t deny even to myself. Sometimes I wonder if I just need a break, but I feel that I need more than just that. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I love what I do. And God knows how thankful I am to be where I am at this point in my life.

It’s just that lately, my prayers involve a lot of, “please make me desire going out of this country less if this is not Your will for me” or “please make me bloom, regardless if I stay in this country or not.” You get what I’m saying?

Oh whoosh. I’m monologuing again. :) I guess all I’m trying to say is..

Watch me fly. Soon. Literally or figuratively, we’ll see. :)

Coffee Break

January 9th, 2008 Comments Off on Coffee Break

Today, I took a break and had coffee without sugar. I’ve never had coffee without sugar in my life, until now. And let me just say that I hate it. I hate how it tastes — its bitterness leaving this annoying after-taste in my tongue that I could not get rid off even after gulping mug-fulls of water.

But I drank it still, taking it all in because I thought it was about time to learn to like what’s unlike-able. I had to know how far I’d go without sugar — how I’d live without depending too much on the sugary taste that I’ve gotten so used to.

You see, life is like that. It’s not all sugar and spice and everything nice. Once in a while, you have to learn to live with the bitterness and the un-wanted things that come with life (also, to accept things you can’t change, and not attempt to change things you can’t accept).

I’d like to preserve a memory in this post. Something that will keep thugging at my heart for sure, but one which I’m determined to accept, to leave behind, and eventually, forget, by God’s grace.

After all, I know that a few more mugs of water will wash the bitterness away.

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