Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012: 35 years of gratitude

A blog of Thanksgiving - a long-delayed birthday blog of appreciation - to all the blessings I received (be it people, places, things or events) this year and for the past 35 years.

  1. My loving and supportive parents. They have ALWAYS been there for me. Enough said.
  2. My brother, 11 months younger than me, who is a nemesis as well as an ally.
  3. My immediate Aunts and Uncles. I was raised in a very close knit family, whether they lived a few kilometers from us or a thousand miles away, they are a part of my life somehow.
  4. My cousins (first to nth degree) whom I spent most of my Christmases (paternal cousins were together almost every single Christmas since I was born to when I was in college to celebrate with our grandparents, like a mini reunion), and school holidays (maternal cousins from Manila would go on summer holidays at our place and we would spend every waking hour at the beach) with. My "kuyas" (big brothers) who would always keep an eye for me - my protectors. My mom and her siblings made sure that we cousins were updated about what happened to each other's lives, even though we were from the opposite sides of the world. We would write letters and record video and voice tapes to keep in touch.
  5. My BFFs - Jhen and Leng - who were my high school classmates. That makes it more than 2 decades of friendship! Now, living thousands of miles apart, we have our own families, I thank them for being there - good friends through good and bad times. I hope our children will get to know each other and be each others' friends.
  6. My elementary and high school teachers who have given me a good foundation in my education. Special mention to Auntie Nini (Ms Datugan) who was my Grade 3 teacher. She was not only there during my 3rd year in primary school but until I graduated secondary school - as my teacher, my coach, my mentor - be it spelling bee, math competition, dance competition, band competition, etc. I had a lot of good teachers throughout my life, but she is the most memorable one.
  7. My great group of friends, the Strolls (1994) (yes we have a group name!). I enjoyed going Christmas caroling with them, and the money we got we used to buy bread from the bakery before we attend the early morning mass during Christmas season. Yes, my parents allowed me to spend the night with my friends, not only because my brother was also a part of the group. but because my parents knew who my friends were and they trust us. I think that's one positive outcome of having strict parents early in life. I wasn't allowed to go to friends house much, but my friends were welcome to go to our house anytime they want to. My parents got to know them well. And until now, almost 20 decades after HS graduation, we are still keeping in touch (thanks to FB) and are still good friends. 
  8. My high school classmates. Our teachers said we were a special batch because we were really close to each other. We did meet after graduation and during college years. But as time passed by, we became busy with college studies, then with work schedules. Some went off the radar while others still kept in touch. Again thanks to FB, we are back in track and are constantly updated (whether we like it or not!).
  9. Being a Youth Councillor (1994) when I was in my last year in high school was indeed a very enriching experience. It was one of the memorable moments of my teen years as I felt I really did something useful to the community, and gained some of my closest friends in the process. Special thanks to Ate Macel for asking me to become a part of her "party".
  10. Being a TOYZ awardee (Ten Outstanding Youth of Zambales) 2004 before I left for uni. I wouldn't have gotten this award if not for the people who supported and provided opportunities for me to grow. Special thanks to Kuya Vimvic, our SK Chairman then, who was the one who ran around and got the necessary documents required by the committee to assess the applicants. 
  11. My dorm roommates (1994) whom I shared the first crucial year in the university and some who were witnesses and sponsors at my wedding. Whom I shared laughters and tears with throughout the years I was away from home and battling the challenges of uni life. We became each other's pillars somehow.
  12. My college orgmates and dance-mates. They became my second family during uni years and made my uni life more fun and meaningful! Thanks UP OBEM, UP Zamabalenos and UP AIT classmates. All those days (and nights) together, the conversations, the laughters and tears, I will treasure forever.
  13. Auntie Sang - my guardian throughout my years in the dormitory. Thanks for putting up with me all those years.
  14. MIRC - one of the older platform of social networking way back then. Why was it memorable? It was the place where I met the man.....
  15. Mark - my first (now ex) boyfriend... who is now my loving husband :) Who would have thought things like this really happen (people meeting up online and ending up together). All I can say is that I am thankful. Sometimes I think he came in to my life quite early but then again, he couldn't have come at a better time.
  16. UP AIT college and university scholar- received an award for gaining a specific weighted average. My mother was happy and even said that having a boyfriend was actually not a  bad thing after all!
  17. Ramos family, my in-laws. My mother always said that I should have a good relationship with my in-laws if ever I got married. I'm really lucky to have them as a family for the past 12 years (and the future). I've gained 2 sisters who really cares a lot and reminds me that life should be fun. And even if I only spent a short time with my mother-in-law, I felt loved and pampered by her.
  18. wedding day - every woman's dream. They say it's really a bride's thing. It was indeed special - my favorite color theme, my chosen bridal gown design, lovely beach ambiance as a reception, and with the blessings of our family (my grandmother and aunt even flew home from the US) and Bishop as our officiating priest. I couldn't have asked for more. Thanks to Ninang Erna for helping us with all the preparations. She is really heaven-sent. I'm glad that we were able to include in this special day the people who have been a part of our lives - past, present and future - from our grandparents, family members and college buddies. 
  19. Kelvin Cassidy (2000)- my first born. He was so frail. A very charming and quiet baby.  A bookworm since toddler and a very diligent student. Now, 12 years on, he is taller than me and is becoming a more independent young man. 
  20. migrating to Singapore (2000/2001) - a giant leap for a family who was just starting. It was a very challenging year for us. But I think we made the right choice. The experiences and opportunities we had made us appreciate the family we are in. Singapore is our home away from home.
  21. A busy 2004 - So many things happened, one after the other. 
    • STA Travel in March. How can I forget my first job. Thanks to Lily for taking a gamble with me. It was indeed an opportunity of a lifetime. I enjoyed every learning curve with my colleagues at STA Travel. 
    • PR approval in September. After 4 years in Singapore we were Permanent Residents.
    • Flat acquisition in October. It all happened so fast, thanks to our very efficient and thoughtful agent, Andros. We found the flat that we want at the price we were hoping for. And the previous owners were also kind enough to introduce us to the neighbors before moving in.
    • Giving birth to in November. Ira Zachary - my little baby boy. The street smart, talkative and energetic one. He is tough but sweet, and still gives me hugs and kisses all the time.
    • Moving to the new flat in January 2005 with a toddler and newborn in tow! Thanks to my mom for being here with us during that time.
  22. Pinoysg - an opportunity for me to share stories and experiences with fellow Filipinos in a foreign land. I'm thankful for finding good friends in your forums.
  23. Singapore Soul Sisters Karen and Beth (2006) - who would have known that a thread about motherhood and parenting will bring us together? These ladies are my inspiration and motivation. Strong, independent, sweet, thoughtful, loving. If I need a wake up call, it's them I run to.
  24. Kelvin graduating from Pre-school and getting into Montfort Junior School (2006). Thanks to the guidance of his then K2 teacher.
  25. Hosted Christmas Party 2006. The very first party at home with family and new-found friends.
  26. 10th Anniversary as a couple. We made it! No 7 year itch or anything. Just the two of us with additional 2 boys in the family.
  27. A very memorable Christmas at HOME (place for migrant workers in distress). We,  Pinoysg members, prepared a Christmas feast for the residents, some gift bags and a performance from Coedliza. It was truly heartwarming that my boys were able to make the women there happy as they reminded them of the children they have back in their hometown. Tears were shed. Smiles were shared. The gift of sharing, the true meaning of Christmas.
  28. Kelvin received 1st in class award in P2 (2008).
  29. Started my travel and personal blogs. A journal of our adventures around the world. And the other one, the stories of our family milestones. It's a way to share to family and friends what we have been up to through the years, especially my parents and close family members. And now it's reaching out to a bigger crowd.
  30. Kelvin received Best in Progress award in P3. Also passed his swimming exam for the Bronze level.
  31. 10th church wedding anniversary. We're moving up to the next level. Diamond here we come!
  32. Attending a sewing class with soul sister, Karen. It was another dream come true to be able to sew my own dress! I'm still far from being the great seamstress my grandmother was. But during that time, I knew she was watching over me and guiding me through every stitch. Thanks to hubby for getting me a sewing machine.
  33. Our family holiday getaways - from our first out-of-Singapore holiday to HongKong and Macau (2002). Hello Ocean Park, Victoria Peak and the Harbour.
    • to the back to back US trip in 2002-2003 (when I got to see my cousin, Hazel, with her family, who drove all the way from Arizona to LA just to have special time with us. And then we got to see my aunt (mom's eldest sister) and cousins on the east coast for the first time! Auntie Pines and Grandma, you were very hospitable) 
    • to accompanying my sis-in-law in their pre-honeymoon in Baguio (2002) 
    • to the short break in cool Genting (2003) 
    • and then soaking up the sun in the now number-1-beach-in-the- world Boracay (2004) 
    • to a one night Chinese New Year trip to Kuala Lumpur (2005) 
    • then an overnight couple-only trip to Bintan (2005) 
    • to the flight Down Under (2006) exploring Western Australia
    • followed by a trip to the land of smiles Thailand (2006) where we got to ride elephants and go on a bamboo raft along River Kwai
    • and back again to Bintan (2007) for a pre-Christmas treat for the kids where we got to ride the buggy (Kelvin at age 7 and Ira 3)
    • balikbayan in 2008 bringing the kids to Potipot Island, nostalgic since I've been here way back when I was in high school for a secret Biology class trip
    • Phuket in 2008, another pre-Christmas holiday, this time with in-laws. The more, the merrier! We got henna tattoos and the kids went snorkeling for the first time.
    • trip to heaven-like New Zealand (2009) is by far the best ever vacation we've ever had. Lots of luge rides the kids enjoyed. Mini golfing in scenic Queenstown. Walking towards glaciers (both Fox and Franz Josef). Climbing rugged hills. Cruising along Milford Sound. On-board TSS Earnslaw Vintage Steamship to Walter Peak for a sumptuous bbq lunch. Driving around Glenorchy in search of the hobbits. Panning for gold in Arrowtown. Having a thermal wonder adventure in Rotorua. The list just goes on and on.
    • the great European escapade in 2011. It was worth the 2-year wait for another great holiday. A 21-day, 6-country adventure with family and in-laws. Thanks to our gracious hosts, Tito Peter and Tita Ingrid for sharing their LOVELY home in Gelnhausen with us, and Ate Malou and Volker, for their cozy, Belgian retreat. Childhood dreams came true once again in Disney Paris. Oh, how I love those castles and palaces. What a wonderful feeling it was to be at the Top of Europe in Jungfrau just in time before its centennial. Getting lost in the middle of nowhere in the wee hours was scary, but all a part of an unforgettable European road-trip.
    • ending the year 2011 with a holiday in HongKong and Macau (take two!) with our travel buddies. It's a multitude of celebrations - the kids' birthdays in one big party, our 10th wedding anniversary at Ocean Park, and the 9th year anniversary visit to HK/Macau.
  34. MJPC - A camaraderie of parent volunteers who give their time and talents to school events. Here I meet fellow parents, share parenting stories, work with them in school events, and even became close friends to some. It's a way of giving back to the school - for the opportunities provided to our kids with and for caring teachers it has. A friend introduced me to this parent group in school in 2007 (thanks Grace Lee), and the rest was history. I was not really that active in volunteering until Ira joined Kelvin in school in 2011. But it was sort of "addicting" and found out that at the end of that year I was the most active Parent Volunteer! Volunteer work is fun, productive, interactive and a different learning experience. And it's good to be in the company of fellow parents and friends. Thanks to MJPC volunteers for making my volunteer experience interesting.
  35. Kelvin graduates in Primary School, passed the PSLE and on his way to Secondary School. Thanks to his very dedicated teachers who guided him along the way. To Mdm Tay, Mdm Uma, Ms Han, Mdm Lee Teck Lan and Mdm Lim, my heartfelt THANKS to your continuous support and constant motivation to the boys. Not every student will have this "powerhouse" of teachers in their lives and I am glad you have been there for him every step of the way. I also give thanks to Ms Ruth, Kelvin's MT tuition teacher, for being patient with him and caring enough. These teachers are the pillars of society which are seldom recognized for much of the work they are doing in grooming our children to be the best they can be not only in academics but their values as well. Through these teachers, and the friends and experiences Kelvin had in his 6 years in primary school, I have proven to myself that I did make the right choice in sending Kelvin to Montfort Junior School.
  36. Thanks to Adeline, for sharing the wonderful gesture of making memory books for P6Humility. It was a way of showing our appreciation to the teachers and what they have done to help our boys in their journey to PSLE. And also to the other parents who made this project possible. The boys were able to share their parting words to their teachers.
  37. Ira is moving up to P3S (which he says is the first class). He finished 5th in class and will be in the company of some old friends and some new ones next year. Thanks to Mr Thiru for his patience with him and for believing in him.
These things and more, I am THANKFUL for. And most of all, I am grateful to God for letting me have all these memories and experiences, and whatever it is that's waiting to happen in the future.

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milestone moments | Desenvolvido por EMPORIUM DIGITAL