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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Birthday Letter

Dear Jesus,

First of all, hey, hey, hey, Heyppy berthdey! (a la Eugene Domingo in Ang Cute Ng Ina Mo).

Sooo, how was Your birthday? This is like Your 2040th birthday right? Nevertheless, I hope You had a great day. Because I sure as hell had a great time on Your birthday.

Before, I used to didn’t like that my birthday is so close to Yours, because more often, my birthday and Christmas gifts were like a 2-in-1 package. But of course, now that I am older and know better, (and most especially this year in particular), I am so lucky that my birthday served as a kick-off party to this year’s celebration of Your special day. Since my birthday, things have always been on the up-side. And now that Your actual birthday is over, the fun things doesn’t seem to be simmering down. So, thank You so much for that.

Since I have already determined my Christmas wish weeks ago, allow me to just thank You for a lot of things.

Let’s start with my Christmas ‘loot bag’. Like I said in my Christmas post, I have more new clothes than I actually need. I know that weeks ago, I told You that I am not really that excited about doing some Christmas shopping for myself. I mean, if I used to consider it of utmost importance to have some new clothes to wear for Christmas, I am happy to tell You – not anymore. But when my orgmates and I went window shopping last week, I just couldn’t resist. The purple top just kept calling my name from its sorry rack, even when I tried to ignore it, haha!

Then of course, there are the chocolates and other sumptuous food treats! Gosh, I never thought there will come to a point in my life where slowing down on eating chocolates even if there’s lots in the ref will arrive. I am not sure if whether it’s because of the enormous amount of chocolate intake, my system kinda undergone a withdrawal syndrom or, I finally learned to control myself (meaning, another sign na nag-mature na ako!). Well, I sure hope it’s the latter, haha!

As for the Filipino tradition of Noche Buena, well, Noche Buena kung Noche Buena! Whereas before, my best participation in the preparation is helping out with the desserts like fruit salad, leche flan or ale ube, well, this year, I prepared a main course! Whoa! *Alleluia please* It is my first time and with the help of internet instructions and a quick question from my chef-friend Jigs, I was able to cook Alfredo sauce, all by myself. So while my sister went out for some last-minute shopping and my Mom and Dad were having a pedicure/manicure at the terrace, I was busy whipping cheese, milk and cream over the stove. My Dad was very skeptic of my culinary intuition and skills, but imagine the look of victory and vindication on my eyes when he finally tasted it and loudly admitted – “Ba Rex, kalinamnam na ning gewa mo!” Haha! My garlic bread turned out to be the biggest hit, as far as my nephew Justin is concerned. Even though I just kind of quickly carelessly tossed the bread in the pan with melted butter and garlic powder, for him the triangular piece of garlic bread was so good, he sandwiched it between two more slices of bread. (Oo, mga kaibigan, ginawa niyang palaman ang garlic bread!) It sure felt more fulfilling to share a feast with your loved ones when you know they’re enjoying something that you prepared yourself.

The Christmas Eve Mass wasn’t so bad either. The priest who delivered the homily was kinda corny, haha! But nevertheless, it was strangely amusing to see old neighbors – as in the ones you only get to see at Church once or twice a year, Christmas and Easter.

Then there came Your birthday itself, Christmas Day. Now You do know, this is a day I sort of dreaded because it is the one day in a year where relatives would keep pestering me with acads-related questions like “Eka pa magobra (Aren’t you working already)?” or “Kapilan ka mag-graduate kanyan (When will you be graduating)?” And my, this is the bad year to be asked that question! Lord, I know I am not supposed to care what other people think, especially relatives whom I only see during the holidays. I am sure, they only ask such questions just for small talk, because we don’t really have something interesting to talk about. But I hate to have to explain EVERYTHING so I won't, but by not doing so, they would certainly think of the usual cliché reason why a person is unable to graduate.

So how did it go then? Well, despite my efforts to maintain a low-profile key and hoping my nephews’ antics will steal the limelight from everyone else in the room, I was still able to get a total of four graudation-themed questions. Hmm, maybe wearing the visually attractive purple top I bought at Landmark was such a bad idea for a Christmas attire after all, hehe! Good thing though, the excruciating moments of having to answer “No” passed by quickly enough and I was able to go back to obscurity in no time at all. More luckily, only one uncle dared to ask why for yet another reason for the marching delay (with his wife commenting, (“Baka nag-loko siya”). And my Mom came to my rescue. Whew!

On the up-side (gee, this season, there is ALWAYS an up-side, haha!), despite my age and due to my non-working status, I was still able to receive P800 worth of aginaldo, haha! Again, thank You for that. Well, thank You as well for the thoughtfulness of my two nephews, Jasper and Justin who, at the start of the day, took pity in me and gave me P200 and P100 respectively, dahil “nakakaawa ako, walang nambibigay sa akin”. Haha! So that would’ve brought my total to P1100. But of course, I returned Justin’s P100 to my sister and just told Jasper to treat me to Starbucks (of the 3 brothers, he had the biggest total, that’s why he’s feeling so generous).

Then came the bonus news! My org will have another gift-giving shindig on the 29th, so I will have a chance to do something fulfilling after all, yey!

So that’s just about it – all that happened to me on Your birthday, Jesus. It was Your special day, not mine, but I definitely shared in all the fun.

I feel so blessed this Christmas that, during our way home, my heart broke as we passed by an old lola, in the middle of the highway, stopping the cars and asking for some alms. By the time I recovered from the aching shock, she was already a hundred meters away, being escorted out of the highway by a policeman. If there’s something I don’t understand, it is why can't all people just be happy on Your birthday. But of course, Your party on earth just doesn’t work that way. I just hope that when I joined my orgmates in a gift-giving activity to the less fortunate, in some way, somehow, I am able to pay my blessings forward to those who lack even the most basic resources of Christmas spirit.

Well, this is all for now. I will try to write another letter come New Year’s. For sure, I have a year’s worth of stuff to talk about, haha!

Again, happy, happy birthday! Thank You so much for allowing me and my family and loved ones to merrily celebrate Your day with You.

With much love and gratitude,
Rex

PS. Please don’t take back the fun times too soon, too fast. I sure know, by the law of gravity, what comes up, must come down. I wish that whatever big problem I will soon face, the memory of this fun month will help me weather it. I realize for certain that big problems are inevitable, and that the world will just make one after the other, momentarily pausing to at least let us savor our victory after each problem. And it’s not like the happiness I have right now is already at its peak for my life that I am so ready to die, haha! Not yet, please, not just yet.


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