10 Reasons Why My Friend, Wela, is Awesome.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

10 Reasons Why We All Need Younger Friends

I am a Gen-Xer. They are millennials. Somehow, friendship blurred the generation gap.

Six months ago, I was new to a job and I found myself in a group of 20-somethings who are wise beyond their years. (Because they took me in as their friend! Ha! Kidding.) There were challenges to the job but it is easy to forget the struggles because I had these friends who always had my back. These friends are more than a decade younger than I am yet their maturity is something I want to turn into a pill so that I can just take a dose of anytime in order to breeze through adulthood effortlessly.  I think it is safe to say that I am keeping these friends and  I think you also need to find your own awesome squad like mine.

Here are the reasons why:

1. They wear their hearts on their sleeves. You know their triumphs and struggles because they know how to express them. They live in authenticity and never apologize for who they are.

2. They will make you feel younger. They radiate youthful exuberance and, like air, you inhale it and  fuel yourself with the energy that comes with it.

3. They see the world in a fresh perspective. I often wonder what I was doing when I was their age. I was just trying to eke through life then. They, on the other hand, have plans for their future while dancing to their own beat.

4. They are your backbones when you lose your own.  You will feel you can do anything when they are always there cheering you on. My voice cracked and my tears were in the brink of rolling down my cheeks out of stage fright when I was asked to give a speech. When the ordeal was over, they were there still cheering me on.

I remember that we traveled 128 kilometers to attend a wake of a colleague’s brother.

5. They love to eat.  And they say that people who love to eat are the best people. Most of our group photos involved eating! They are young so they do not struggle with weight woes.  I feel like I do not have to by association. (Ha! excuses, excuses)  My peers are now in the chapter of their lives where maladies, cholesterol, etc are slowly sprinkled into the conversation.

6. They are driven. They put in the hours when they need to and smiled their way through it.

7. They are multi-talented. Ask them to host an activity, sing, dance or write a last-minute report, they will do it.

8.  They make you feel like you belong to their group. Well, at least until I got carried away and exposed my age. I remember commenting about the time when the airport terminal fee was only Php20 (now it is Php150) during my first plane ride which we immediately realized that they were not even born then.  And there was a time when they had to ask me the name of Brad Pitt’s first wife. They are in the generation along with Selena Gomez, Lee Min Ho, hmm okay Darren Espanto while I belong to… hmm never mind. I should stop. Ha!

9. They are brave. One friend got married in her early 20’s which I think is not very common these days. ( Or is it just me who think so? )

10. They are camera-ready. You won’t forget memories because they are well-documented.  I swiped many of these photos from their social media accounts.  Thanks, Jumegs!

Today marks the 6th month since we became friends.  Happy monthsary!!! Stay strong! Lablab!

Meet my friend, Grace.

They say that there is a slim chance of finding real friends on Facebook. I took a chance and found one in Grace.

Grace and I have been Facebook friends since 2011. It started when our common friend, Ginee, suggested that we add each other as friends since we often found each other commenting in Ginee’s posts. It turned out that Grace was my college roommate’s best friend in grade school, too.  (Hi, Daisy!) Our world became smaller. As I kept updated with her life through Facebook (and she got updates with mine, too), I got to know Grace better.

Fast forward to 2014, I found her workout clip on Instagram (Gracegetfit). She was into a fitness regimen for several weeks already and I found her exercise routine to be something I can manage. It was Les Mills Combat. I tried it and I loved it. She was my one-man support team who encouraged me to get up and move. She gave me tips on what to eat and what to avoid, although I hardly follow them.  Thanks to Grace, I get compliments that I am now trimmer. I am still not in my ideal size (flat abs is the goal!). But I am happy to have a cheerleader in Grace. She has a cheerleader in me.  We’ll get there, you elusive flat abs!

Grace embraced (more like, endured, haha!) my quirks, inner weirdo and eccentricities. I do not have to edit or put careful thoughts on what I tell her. I do not get judged for what I did or said. She listens to my woes and triumphs and shares her thoughts on what I have shared.

In many of our conversations, we had planned to meet when she comes home to the Philippines.  You see, Grace was born and raised in the Philippines, studied in Japan and works in Dubai. She had not been home for years and her Philippine vacation was long overdue. We had often quipped that we would meet in some coffee shop and chat on our mobile devices.  We are both introverts.

Since last year, she had been planning to spend her vacation here in the Philippines in July. It finally pushed through. I agreed to meet her. She planned to visit Butuan but with two kids in tow and one is not accustomed to long drive (Butuan is five hours away by bus), I went to meet her in Cagayan de Oro.  I stayed overnight in her parents’ home (which she and her siblings helped build). How cool is that? I have not met her before and here she was opening her home to me. She was more awesome in person than I imagined her to be and we did not have to pull out our devices to have a conversation. It felt like we have been friends for a long time.

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Grace and me with Grace’s son, Benja, goofing around.

I went with her on a trip to Dahilayan in Bukidnon. Grace has a wonderful family who is easily to get along with.

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And she has an equally awesome daughter, Pristine, who easily became my buddy. We crossed the hanging bridge together shouting at the top of our lungs, every time the bridge wobbled.  Ha!

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Me and the lovely, Pristine.

I compiled all my photos with Grace. Thank you for being such a wonderful person, Grace! I had a wonderful time. Cheers to friendship!

Photos are all taken by Grace (stolen by me!)

Photos are all taken by Grace (stolen by me!)

Grace is also a blogger. She is one of Dubai’s Influential Bloggers. She writes about her experiences in SandierPastures.com.  Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Like her page on Facebook.

I end this post with this thought.

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Cheers to Friendship!

In the previous post, I wrote about my plans for the year. On the first week of the year, I think I have done two of the plans: make time of  people I love and nurture friendship.  With this blogpost, I would be able to “show appreciation more”.

On January 1, my friend Shirly and I agreed to go for an early morning walk and visit that breakfast place near Gaisano. However, later in the day, we got a message from Ernelyn inviting us for breakfast in her house. Our friend, Marvin, would be leaving that evening and it was the only time he was free for a get-together. It was a morning of good food, good friends and a lot of singing. Marvin is an accomplished singer and voice teacher.

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In the afternoon of January 2, I met up with my high school friends, Chin and Jonah with their super cute daughter, Livie.

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In the evening, I had dinner with my friends, Shirly, Dinah and Wilbert.  We had coffee and foot massage after.

On January 3, I met up with my travel friends.We visited our friend, Ayet, at her hotel room because we learned that she got an ear infection. Good thing, she was already better and we were able to chitchat over junk food. We went out for coffee, too.

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On the same night, I proceeded to another resto to meet up with friends. Three of them were leaving the next day.

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By January 4, my body called for a rest. I was in bed most of the day nursing a headache.

Everyone was back to the grind by January 5. The freelancer that I am, also needed to get things done. I edited the wedding photos I took on December 30.

On January 6, I was on Facebook early in the morning when I saw January’s status stating that she was traveling to Butuan. January blogs at photosbyjanuary.com, deliciouslyspicy.com and www.janzcrystalz.info. I immediately arranged for us to meet up. Good thing she was free that afternoon. I brought her to Margie’s and we chitchatted like old friends. Since we read each other’s blog, we never ran out of topic to talk about. Thank you for meeting me, Janz!

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Later in the evening, I had dinner with good friends, Shirly, Ernelyn, Mitzi and Dinah.

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Shirly spent the night at  my house for a much-needed catching up. We pushed through with our plan to walk to the the breakfast place I wanted to try.

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On January 8, my cousins, Arvin and Tweetty, and their friends, Goy and Lyn, went to try the new shrimp place. It was celebration that I finished editing the photos. Hehe! Lyn’s brother was the groom at the wedding.

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And you think, I was done with the get together?  Yesterday, my aunts, uncle  and cousins went to the house of a family friend for an afternoon gathering.

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Thank you, God, for good friends.

Let me take this opportunity to thank my thoughtful friends. I got all these gifts for Christmas.

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I did not even ask for these gifts. I am blessed. I feel loved.  I love you all! No, I do not love them because I got gifts. I love them because  they never fail to show me how wonderful it is to have friends and be loved. With friends like these, who needs a love life?  Kidding! Thank you, friends.

So what did I get for my friends? Some of them became guinea pigs for my artwork.  Hehe! Yes, I made artworks for friends. I still have pending requests to accomplish.  (Am I such a cheapskate for not spending a lot for gifts? LOL!)

These are the artworks I have made.

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Cheers to friendship!

10 Things I Learned from My Friend, Ayet

Two weeks ago, my friends found my blogpost about our trip to Laguna. My friend, Ayet, missed that trip because of work. She expressed her regret not being part of the photos I have shared. I promised she will get featured on this blog. Now is her time to shine! 😀

I met Ayet 3 years ago on a trip to Naga. We had common friends. We belong to the same high school batch. I know she’s a keeper because we have only been friends for three years now yet it seemed like we have been friends for a long time. She is one bright girl with a loving heart and an adventurous soul. I learned a lot from her in the past three years.

Here are the things I learned from her just by observing how she lives her life:

1. Never be afraid to take adventures. This girl does not have an ounce of fear in her body. At least, she does not let it show. She climbed Mt. Apo, wakeboarded in Naga, surfed in La Union, plunged in Bohol, parasailed in Boracay , paraglided in Australia and a lot more.

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Photo taken from her facebook account.

2. Know your good angles and strike a pose. As much as I love to take candid photos, she peppers my shots with glamour poses! She is responsible for many of our ‘choreographed’ photos. It makes traveling fun.

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3. Treasure the memories. She has several albums on Facebook full of photos. Recently, friends have unearthed the high school photos she shared long ago. There was a fun exchange of comments in the process. In my case, I got know what some of my friends looked like in high school since I did not know them then.

4. We all need some sense of humor. She introduced us to some terms of endearment that we end up using when we get together. These terms have become inside jokes and would result to fits of laughter among friends.

5. No act of kindnes is ever wasted. For two of our trips, she opened her home for us. We all converged in her room like sardines but we loved it. We were all together. Such generosity of sharing her space no matter how small is always remembered.

6. Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less (CSLewis). She has this funny way of putting herself last on the list even at her own wedding! She once told us, “Do you really still need to take pictures of me preparing for the wedding?” Yes, we do! You are the star of that day. She does not put herself under the spotlight even if the light is directed towards her. And she never rubbed it in our face that she topped her class in school.

7. Know when to let go. She has her own share of trials and heartbreaks. Her unwavering faith has kept her strong through the years. It takes courage to walk away from things that you worked hard to keep together because they no longer make people happy.

8. Her family is always in her heart. She flew home in a heartbeat when the family needed her. You can see how she is loved and how she loves them back.

9. Take time to reflect. There is power in silence and in listening to your own hearbeat. We can be alone in our thoughts and find better perspective in life. She writes from the heart when she feels like she needs to express something. She goes on a retreat to recharge her spirit. She says a prayer whenever she can.

10. Never give up on love. She allowed herself to love and be loved.

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I know I will learn a lot more from her.

And since I am sharing this post to her, this is my special message:

Happy, happy birthday, Ayet! I admire you for your kind and loving heart, wicked sense of humor and adventurous spirit. I truly appreciate and treasure your friendship. Mwah!

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