10 Reasons Why My Friend, Wela, is Awesome.

friendship

I am lucky to have friends who had my back and Wela was one of them. It is only fitting to write about her today, her special day. So let me tell you how awesome Wela is.

1. She is one of my longtime friends. Our friendship spanned 32 years and counting. We first became friends when we were seatmates in grade 4. Both our mothers accompanied us on our first day of school and sat us together after telling us that we are cousins.

This is her grade 4 ID picture which I kept. I did not even have a copy of my own ID picture but I have hers with dedication from her.

Friendship

2. She taught me how to draw Garfield and we would create different cartoons featuring Garfield.  I need a lot practice now. Hahaha!

garfield

3. She is a true friend through and through. Even though I betrayed her, she saved me from embarassment. And that mistake was forever in my conscience. Yes, 32 years of forever apologizing to her. So here’s the story: We had a classmate who kept on teasing us. I can no longer remember was it was about. It was recess and we were hanging out at the terrace of our classroom. When recess was about to be over, I went inside and Wela followed leaving our classmate behind, oblivious that the class was about to start. I had the brilliant idea of closing the door with him locked out in the terrace (which should not be a huge deal because he could always knock and ask to be opened. Duh! There were at least 30 other classmates inside who could hear him.) So I told Wela to lock the door. The classmate started crying. The teacher heard the crying and asked me, “Katrina, what is that all about?” I answered, “Ma’am, it was Wela.” (I feel like Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus.) Wela then answered, “Sorry, Ma’am.” And she then opened the door. My heart sank and I carried the guilt all these years. Wela acted like it never happened- that I did not betray her. I do not know what nice things I did to her all those times that she still kept me as her friend.

friendship

4. She was my high school penpal along with our friend, Shirly. I studied in a different school in high school. I would always look forward to reading her letters whenever my mama visited me in my school. I lost all her letters when mama did some spring cleaning while I was away for college. I remember her drawing of her cheerleading uniform in one of her letters.

5. She was my college dorm mate. I was glad we went to the same university. We really did not hang out a lot because she spends her weekends with her relatives in Bulacan while I stayed in the dorm but it was comforting for me knowing that I have my childhood friend just two rooms away from me.

I am the one wearing striped shorts; Wela in blue shorts.

6. Wela was my officemate. For more than a year, we worked in the same company. We were both busy with our respective jobs. We may not look like close friends at work but unbeknownst to many, Wela was my voice of reason. She would get emails from me whenever I am upset at something work-related. She would share her thoughts on the matter and made me feel better. Wela made work meetings a lot better just because she was there. ( I hated meetings because I had processes I had to run on my computer that I need to monitor.)

I was sad when she left for another job because her leaving felt like losing an ally. When she broke the sad news that she was resigning, she also told me she found love. She made me forget the bad news by bringing happy news.

love

This is Wela and Kit on their wedding day.

7. Wela was there during my saddest birthday and made it a little better. It was 2009. My father was bedridden for a month already. He just suffered his worst side effects from oral chemo. Celebrating my birthday was the last thing on my mind. Wela came in the afternoon and brought me flowers and brownies. Even for a few minutes, I was happy to celebrate my birthday.

8. Wela is a great poet. I am lucky and blessed to receive two poems from her. You can read her poems about me in this post and this post. These poems are few of my treasured possessions that no one can take away.

Wela and I on my 40th birthday.

 

9. Wela is a great mother to Lui and wife to Kit. She makes sure she spends time with them that we already understand whenever she misses many of our get-together with friends.

10. Wela makes sure to drive me home whenever we spend time together. Even if it is difficult to navigate the narrow road to my house, she drives me home anyway. Thank you, Wela!

I am really blessed to have a friend in Wela. I love you, Wela. Happy, happy birthday! Thank you for your friendship! Mwah!

Note: I swiped some of the photos from her Facebook account.

Goodbye, 2017. Hello, 2018!

This post is 5 days late. I am still in a holiday-mode. I feel like I need a holiday break from the holidays. But then again, we gotta earn living or, in my case, start panicking! Breathe in, breathe out. I survived another year in this independent professional work that I am trying to create for myself. There were bright moments of 2017 and there were those heart-skipping moments whenever I looked into my bank account. Then I am suddenly reminded that I have somebody up there looking out for me. I should be okay.

I am excited for 2018! I have two high school reunions, 1 vacation already in the calendar, 1 wedding of a friend and several other things planned. Plus, my cousin is moving back in town! She will be staying in the unoccupied room of mine in the other house and she had laid out plans on how she would decorate it. We already spent one morning just hanging out and planning what she should do to the space.

I have my own personal goals. Honestly, I did not achieve much of my 2017 plans except for item no. 5. I did make a lot of memories and that is more than enough. I am eternally grateful. My journal is filled with much love and happiness.

I think my greatest achievement for the year is when I got the same remark from three different people in different occasions telling me that I seem to have no problems in life. Honestly, I do have my share of problems. I guess I need to write another blog post to share how I deal with them.

I hope you all have a wonderful year ahead of you. I hope we all get to achieve our goals. Even if we don’t, I hope we can learn a thing or two in the process. I leave you a video of this adorable little girl talking about New Year’s resolutions. I hope this makes you smile.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn36cBi9v6A?rel=0]

10 Surprising Things You Need to Know About My Friend, Janus.

Last March, I posted on Facebook a link of the blog post I wrote about my friend, Ernelyn, as a way to greet her on her birthday. I got a comment from my friend, Janus, that he was sad that I did not write a blog about him. I know he was kidding but I already promised to write something by January 1, 2018- on his 42nd birthday.

This was the conversation, mostly in Bisaya. (You may skip reading this part if you do not understand Bisaya. )

So here it is! Let me tell you 10 surprising things about him.

1. Janus was a hearthrob. In grade school, girls from other schools would ask to pose for photos with him. Like an artista, he would oblige.

2. Janus once declared that I was not his friend. And it was true. Although I knew him since grade school, Janus became my friend just 6 years ago. Our common friend, Mitzi, told me that when she invited him to her birthday, he asked who were invited and when Mitzi mentioned my name, he immediately said that we were not friends. So, when I saw him in a get-together with friends, I said hi. From then on (and with much regret! Kidding!), he became my biggest bully.

That regretful day. hahaha

3. Janus may be a bully but he has a soft heart. He and another friend once organized a visit to an orphanage. They sponsored the food we brought and spent time to play with the kids. He was also quick to organize a pass-the-hat activity whenever a friend needs financial help.

4. Janus is a dog-lover turned cat-lover. He used to have a pet named Extra. He chimed that he called him Extra because of the extra expenses incurred in having a dog. He gave him up for adoption when he saw that Extra looked lonely living with him. Now, he is a magnet for stray cats. #titogoals

5. Janus is surprisingly witty. His friends know that he is effortlessly funny. To his friends, he is the undisputed comment king on Facebook. Post something on Facebook and you kind of expect he would have an opinion about it. Sometimes, when I sense a conversation that seemed like an onset of a joke, I would just ask him to tell me the punchline because I know he has something up on his sleeves and I don’t want to be outwitted again and again.

Ernelyn and I were in fits of laughter.

6. Janus is a grammar nazi. He has quite a radar for such language blunders. (So, please be nice to me when you see grammatical errors in this blog post, Kuya Janjan. I call him Kuya Janjan because I am respectful to elders. Hahaha)

7. Janus is well-loved by friends and many of them are female friends. I guess it is because when one needs his opinion on something, he does not mince his words. He gives his unedited male perspective on things. He also shows he cares even when he is miles away.

8. Janus is old-fashioned when it comes to dating. He puts on the works- flowers, chocolates and gifts. Maybe because he is older. Old dog, old tricks. Peace, Kuya Janjan!

9. For someone who likes giving chocolates, he does not like chocolate.

10. Among my friends, Janus is the most eligible bachelor and he is not afraid to find that person he is going to spend the rest of his life with. I hope you find her, Kuya Janjan.


Cheers to your 42nd, Kuya Janjan! Happy birthday!

Photos: Credit goes to the owners of the photos. (Grabbed from Janus’ FB)

So I Turned 40, What Now?

As I try to reflect on the past month, it is hard to pinpoint what I have accomplished in the first month of being 40. Nothing much happened on the surface but internally, I am more relaxed and happier. I think this has something to do with just being grateful. I like the person that I am now than the person I was 10 to 20 years ago. Life experiences enriched my soul. I am looking forward of the many life experiences that will add layers to who I am. I trust God’s will in my life. I cannot thank Him enough for all the blessings in my life. Although it is not all bed of roses for me, I am thank God for the strength to survive whatever setbacks that came my way.

So what was I up to the past month?

Catching up with family and friends.

Two of my uncles turned 70 and 80.

My friend, Glenda, also celebrated her birthday and invited us to dinner.


An aunt and uncle celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. What a feat! There is forever!


Finally, my cousins and I were able to go to the food parks we wanted to try and stuffed ourselves with these food. Ha!


My friend, Pia, is finally back from more that a month long trip to South Korea. We have been following her adventure. I love her photos so much that I wanted to go to South Korea. We had dinner with friends to catch up.

Photo swiped from Pia’s FB.

Practicing my landscape painting skills.
My friend asked me to paint landscape in watercolor for her. She already sent some samples of the type of painting her husband likes. I already researched on some inspiration for the final painting I am doing for them. Below are two of the practice pieces I have done to prepare.

Practicing some baking.
My friend, Dinah, just celebrated her birthday and she saw that I baked my own durian-filled birthday cake. She wanted one for the gathering she planned soon. So while I had have the time, I tried to bake this Durian-flavored Japanese cotton cheesecake which was a failure. The cake was supposed to rise to a certain height and this one did not. It still tasted good but this is not pretty to look at.


It was supposed to look like this.

Photo from Rasa Malaysia.

Good thing that this was just practice. Maybe I should stick to the same recipe I did during my birthday.

Chilling with this cutie.

Lately, Blessy has been hanging out with me- sometimes in my room and sometime in my work area. I placed a clean, old curtain on the floor for her sleep on. Sometimes, she looks at me chilling in my bed that she wanted to chill with me, too. once in a while, I give in and let her hang out in my bed. I love this dog.

I love Joaqui, too, and we still miss Peachy.

I am loving my 40’s so far. This week, I need to finish the painting and I have a workshop to document. Plus, I have the cake to bake for Dinah.

Bye for now!

The Day I Turned 40

As I write this, it has been 13 days since I turned 40 and I still do not feel like I am 40. I do not think I have my parents’ wisdom when they were at this age. My parents had everything in control at 40. I feel like I am still wading though life and trying to figure out what I want to do more in life. Adulting is hard.

Even with all the uncertainties I face, there is one thing I am sure I am going to do with my life. I am going to enjoy every minute of it. I am thankful for everything I have. When I think about it, I may look like the loneliest girl in the world: single, orphan, no siblings, no child, no better half. However, God had already blessed me with wonderful parents that all the love they gave me were more than enough to help me survive life without them. I have aunts who stood as my second parents, cousins that treat me like a big sister and friends who support me with all the love and care . It does not matter if they are near or miles away. I never feel alone. Thank you, God! I could not ask for anything more.

With all these blessings, I could not let my birthday pass without a little celebration. We had a simple dinner at home. I invited my friends and relatives over and I am glad they came.

My journal is now filled with happy memories.

The celebration was a family effort. My aunts prepared the house. This meant a lot of cleaning and rearranging.

I also baked my own cake.

My cousin, Baby, helped me bake cupcakes.

Lani came to cook shrimps, sweet and sour fish and dinuguan. My cousin, Alan, arrived early to help with the preparations. My cousin, Arvin, ran errands for me. These people made my life easier so as a reward, I will not subject them to such work every year. No birthday dinner like this next year. Hehe!

My friends made this day special, too. Aside from their presence, I got wonderful gifts to treasure. I got another poem from Wela. She already wrote a poem for me 2 years ago and, now, I got another one. Here is what she wrote:

Happy 40th birthday Kat,
For this you deserve a pat,
For being a true friend to hold,
And for letting God make you into His mold.

We your friends are so much thankful,
For giving us someone who is soulful,
Not someone whom we cannot count on,
But one who is always there to rely on.

One who is artistic and also creative,
Intelligent and at the same time innovative,
What more can we ask for and search?
You’re always there and easy to reach 

So on this special day that you were born,
A prayer is sent your way not to make you cry ‘popcorn’, 
But to let you know how much you’re appreciated,
For all the things you’ve done and orchestrated.

May you live a harmonious life,
Praying that one day you’ll become a wife,
To a man who is well-deserving,
Of your gifts and unconditional loving.

For the mean time here’s hoping for good health,
May you be blessed with more friends and wealth,
Overcome every trial that comes your way,
Be grateful for all the things that you receive each day.

We lve you! 

Isn’t that beautiful?

Wela and I.

My friends also planned a little video presentation. The funny thing is that I knew all along that they were going to do this. One friend told me about it beforehand because he thought it was funny that they had a problem who will edit the video since I am always the designated editor for videos. It was funny to see how my friend, Ernelyn, wiggled her way into borrowing my laptop so she could play the video that was sent to her messenger. She said she needed to finish something for work. Ha! Although it was a lame excuse, it was an endearing gesture.

Erns trying to run the video.

Here is the video made by my cousin, Bong. Yes, they got Kuya Bong to create a video for them. The awesome thing is that he was able to get in touch with my high school friends. I was only expecting video messages from our common friends. Like the poem, I will also treasure this video.

And the celebration did not end there. My friends who missed my birthday came two days after to celebrate with me.

A week after, I got this package from Grace.

I feel loved.

I am looking forward to my 40’s. Life begins again and it looks great from where I am now. I am beaming with gratitude and happiness. For those who feared turning 40 soon, it ain’t bad!

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